National Park Mystery Photo 23 Revealed: Stonewall Jackson's Deathbed
This week's Mystery Photo was of the bed in which Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson died eight days after being wounded by his own troops who mistook him in the dark of night.
The bed can be found inside the Stonewall Jackson Shrine, which can be found within Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. The shrine itself originally was a plantation building on Thomas C. Chandler's 740-acre plantation named "Fairfield."
As the National Park Service tells it, "(T)he office stood bare, except for a few items in storage, when Jackson's ambulance arrived. Although offered the use of the Chandler house, Jackson's doctor and staff officers chose the quiet and private outbuilding as the best place for Jackson to rest after his long ambulance ride. If all went well, the general would soon board a train at Guinea Station and resume his trip to Richmond and the medical expertise available there."
As for the room in which the general died, the Chandlers had "prepared this room using the same bed frame and one of the same blankets exhibited today," the Park Service notes. "They also added the clock on the mantel with the hope that it would make the room look more homelike and cheerful, but furnishings could not dictate the mood of the room.
"Despite the efforts of pneumonia specialists, nothing seemed to bring relief to the General. Jackson observed, 'I see from the number of physicians that you think my condition dangerous, but I thank God, if it is His will, that I am ready to go.' On Sunday, May 10, 1863, the doctors lost all hope of Jackson's recovery, and the General was notified of his condition. But as Jackson grew physically weaker, he remained spiritually strong. 'It is the Lord's Day; my wish is fulfilled,' said Jackson. 'I have always desired to die on Sunday.' Jackson realized that desire at 3:15 p.m. with Dr. McGuire carefully noting Jackson's last words:
"A few moments before he died he cried out in his delirium, 'Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks' -- then stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished. Presently a smile of ineffable sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly, and with an expression, as if of relief, 'Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.'"