I was reading the Richmond Daily Dispatch the other night looking for something else when I came across this amusing anecdote of Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg. It certainly reinforces his reputation for both eccentricity and asceticism.
The Daily Dispatch: January 3, 1863.
Anecdote of Stonewall.
The Richmond correspondent of the Charleston Mercury gives the following anecdote of Stonewall Jackson the night after the battle of Fredericksburg:
On Sunday night a friend of Old Stonewall, invited to share his tent, turned in about 11, and wrapped up snugly in the blankets. At 1 o’clock Jackson entered, and just as he was, brand new uniform, boots, spurs, and all, pitched into the pallet, was snoring in 15 minutes, and in 15 more had robbed his friend of all the blankets. After a hard struggle this friend managed to get back enough cover to keep him from freezing – the night was very cold – and slept, as he supposed, five minutes. He was aroused by Jackson, who sprang up, divested himself of every particle of raiment, opened the door of his tent, and went forth in puris naturalibus. He called for his old negro man – the same who knows when a battle is going to come off by the fervor of his master’s prayers – and made him dash over him two large buckets of water, which had been standing in the freezing air. This done, he returned to the tent, rubbed himself dry with a course towel, donned his new uniform, and went out to attend to the disposition of his forces, fully expecting the attack to begin at daybreak. It was then just half-past 3; about 7 o’clock Jackson woke up his friend, and told him to come to breakfast, the Yankees were clean gone.