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June 1, 1863: Lee mourns Jackson's loss, reshuffles Army of Northern Virginia

Jun. 1, 2013 - 02:05PM   |  
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RICHMOND, VA. — Coming on the heels of his mid-May meeting with President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate States war council, General Robert E. Lee has restructured the Army of Northern Virginia, creating three corps under generals James Longstreet, Dick Ewell and A. P. Hill.

According to top aides, Lee is still grieving from the loss of his most trusted field commander, Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who died May 10 from complications from pneumonia and the loss of his left arm after being shot by friendly fire during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He was 39 years old.

Shortly after learning of Jackson’s injuries, Lee is said to have told him: “Could I have directed events, I would have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead.”

A deeply religious man, Jackson was said to have been thankful to die on a Sunday.

“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,” Confederate surgeon Dr. Hunter McGuire told Military Times. “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.’ ”

After learning of his death, Lee told a confidant: “I have lost my right arm. I’m bleeding at the heart.”

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