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Posted at 07:38 AM ET, 08/12/2011

Civil War diaries cite Gen. Jackson’s ‘bravery & coolness’

Diaries of Alexander Sterrett Paxton surfaced this summer. (Courtesy of Washington and Lee University)
Today, The Post’s Dan DeVise writes about six diaries, now part of the Special Collections library at Washington and Lee, in which a Virginia college student-turned-Confederate soldier recorded a first-hand account of the Civil War from start to finish.

Among the excerpts included on the auction site is this one, a recollection of the July 2, 1861 Battle of Hainsville:

Owing to the skill of our Gen. we escaped the trap laid for us by the wily Yankee Gen. They plainly showed that they relied on their numbers & aimed to flank us & then get the advantage, & not come out boldly & attack us in an open field in a fair fight ... Gen Jackson understood their intention & not wishing to sacrifice so many lives, ordered us to fall back, so we resumed our march towards Martinsburg. In the engagement at Hainsville, we had only about 400 of the advance regiment engaged, whilst they had about 2500. W, strange to say, had only 3 killed & about 10 wounded, whilst they lost at the lowest 150 killed & many wounded. This seems unreasonable, yet 'tis fact.... During the engagement at Hainsville, Gen. Jackson exhibited the greatest bravery & coolness. He sat calmly on his horse & wrote a dispatch to Gen. Johnston, whilst the balls were flying thick around him, knocking up the dust, cutting down leaves from the trees &c. He is certainly a brave man & worthy to be a namesake of ‘Old Hickory’.

The university purchased the diaries for more than $21,000.

Read DeVise’s story on the diaries here.

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