Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia in 1824, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson graduated from West Point and served in the Mexican-American War. After the war, Jackson retired to Lexington and became a Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and an Artillery Instructor at Virginia Military Institute. He married Mary Anna Morrison, and they lived happily in Lexington until Jackson was called up to defend Harpers Ferry on the eve of the Civil War.

Thomas J. Jackson earned his nickname of 'Stonewall' at Manassas I for his composure on the battlefield while turning imminent Confederate defeat into victory. In 1862, Stonewall Jackson took control of the Shenandoah Valley and repeatedly defeated the Union Army through rapid, surprising moves. As Jackson liked to say, 'Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible.' Jackson went on to further victories at Cedar Mountain, Manassas II and Fredericksburg. Stonewall Jackson was a gifted tactician, and his moves, particularly in the Valley Campaign, are studied even to this day.

Yet, at Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee's 'Perfect Battle', Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men during a nighttime reconnaissance. He was first taken to Wilderness Tavern near Ellwood Manor, where his left arm was amputated. Jackson's amputated arm was buried at Ellwood. He was then taken by 'ambulance' (a horse drawn carriage) over rough dirt roads on a 27-mile ride to Fairfield, the home of Thomas and Mary Chandler in Guinea Station, where he was to rest and gain sufficient strength to be placed on a train to receive further medical attention at the Confederate hospital in Richmond. The route of the Stonewall Jackson Ambulance Ride begins at Wilderness Battlefield and ends at the Chandler Plantation in Guinea Station.

stonewall jackson shrine

The original waiting room at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine is located downstairs.

Jackson's room was set up in the office building adjacent to the Chandler home where he could rest quietly and privately with Mary Anna and their daughter Julia at his bedside. Unfortunately, Stonewall Jackson developed pneumonia and died within a few days at Fairfield. The great general's immortal last words were, 'Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.' Stonewall Jackson was buried in Lexington at the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.

The building in which Stonewall Jackson passed away was dubbed the Stonewall Jackson Shrine by the railway company that later purchased it. The shrine is open daily to the public. The room and the bed in which Stonewall Jackson passed away have been preserved upstairs in the house. Other rooms include Jackson's staff and servants' quarters and a waiting room. A park office is located on the first floor of the Shrine, and park rangers provide tours of the building.

Pictured at the top: The Stonewall Jackson Shrine at Guinea Station was an office building adjacent to the Chandler family home that had become a field hospital during the Civil War. Gen. Jackson's private hospital room was set up in the plantation office next to the family home.

stonewall jackson shrine

The 740-acre Chandler Plantation was located in Guinea Station next to the railway that was to take Stonewall Jackson for further medical treatment in Richmond. Today, freight trains still rumble by the Stonewall Jackson Shrine.

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The Stonewall Jackson Shrine and the scenic grounds of the Chandler Plantation are preserved and interpreted by the National Park Service and open to the public daily.