"Stonewall" Jackson's personal copy of A Complete Treatise on Field FortificationsThomas "Stonewall" Jackson Signed Copy of His West Point Textbook, A Complete Treatise on Field Fortifications. The future Confederate general's bold signature, signed "Thos. J. Jackson" ca. 1846, occurs at the top of the front free endpaper. The textbook (New York: Wiley & Long, 1836, 12mo [3.75" x 6.25"], 268 pages) is authored by U.S. Military Academy Professor Dennis H. Mahan, who taught at West Point for forty-one years.
When the tall, shy Jackson arrived at the military academy in 1842, he was scholastically and socially underdeveloped. His childhood had been difficult - he was orphaned - and he was mostly self-educated, so he needed remedial instructions upon entering the military academy. But he was a disciplined student who became noteworthy at the academy for his obedience and remarkable deportment (ethics was his strongest subject).
Eighteen years earlier, Dennis Mahan had graduated first in his West Point class. Shortly after his graduation, he became a professor and by 1842 was already outstanding among the faculty. Known as a challenging instructor with a preference for Napoleonic tactics, Mahan taught his students how to take advantage of the environment and to be courageous and daring. Cadet Jackson studied under the legendary professor and author in his final year at the academy. His future Civil War battlefield decisions and successes suggest that he learned more from Mahan's daily class than his moderate grades reflect. Jackson graduated in 1846, seventeenth in his class of fifty-nine, and went on to become one of America's greatest soldiers, revered for his seemingly invincible leadership during the Civil War. His untimely death in 1863 was one of the greatest blows to the Confederacy. This textbook contains pencil markings throughout, presumably made by Cadet Jackson. The twelve pull-out plates are intact and in fine condition. Foxing with professional restoration to rebuild the spine and corners, presenting a tight binding.
Jackson's textbook is accompanied by an undated letter of provenance written and signed by the granddaughter of General Jackson, Julia Jackson Christian, to General Charles P. Summerall. "I want you to have this book which was used by my Grandfather General Jackson while he was at West Point. Your visit gave us all great pleasure. If you have an opportunity I would love to have you come in and look over the books at your leisure. . . . I feel that it was a great privilege to have had you in my home." General Summerall, an 1888 West Point graduate, served in the Spanish-American War and World War I.
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