Copy of the Order Written by Stonewall Jackson



This copy of the order is written in the handwriting of Stonewall Jackson. As it exists in the North Carolina State Archives, it is very faint in its image. This is partly due to the way Jackson wrote it, using a light pen of some kind and partly due to how it has been preserved. At some point in the distant past, Jesse Langforth tells me, an archivist ironed out the creases of the document. The script along the border is the writing of Jackson's adjutant swearing the order is written in Jackson's hand.

Mac's copy of the order shows "For D.H. Hill" in the lower left hand corner. Lee had this inserted to enhance its credibility as an authentic order; i.e., it had to seen as meant for someone. Lee did not like Hill. Hill was argumentative with Lee on more than one occasion. It seems Lee and Jackson picked Hill to be the goat.

Hill was Jackson's brother-in-law and he was attached to Jackson's command by virtue of the way his division crossed the Potomac and he was to be detached to act as the army's rear guard. Clearly the movement order information, under Confederate Regulations, was to come to him through Jackson. At some point in time and place Jackson handed Hill the copy.

Once the order is read, Hill quickly sees his place in the scheme of things and should have treated the order as he treated in the ordinary course all such orders; destroy it, or give it to his adjutant to include in his headquarters papers. Instead he caused it to be sent to his wife in Lexington, and thus was able to produce it months later when fingers were pointing at him and accusations were being made.

Compare what he did with his to what Longstreet, in his autobiography tells us he did with his. Longstreet says he ate it. It seems obvious to me that Longstreet, who was being ostracized by the time he wrote, was ridiculing the idea that Hill would have so carefully preserved his copy. The contrast it seems to me is telling.

What cannot be ignored is recognizing that is making Hill the goat, Jackson gave his brother-in-law a defense against the accusations he must have known Hill would have to face, once the fact Mac had Hill's order became public knowledge.

  D.H. Hill's copy, written in Jackson's hand, is in the possession of the North Carolina State Archives, in Raleigh. D.H. Hill retained possession of the document during his life. His daughters then possessed it and at some point after 1900 gave it to the State.  



Collected by Joseph Ryan from the North Carolina State Archives



Supporting Exhibits

Sharpsburg Campaign: Photo Album

Lee's Ruse of War: Special Order 191

American Civil War Exhibits



Joe Ryan

Joe Ryan Original Works


About the author:
Joe Ryan is a Los Angeles trial lawyer who has traveled the route of the Army of Northern Virginia, from Richmond to Gettysburg several times.