James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 10

Stonewall Jackson’s Way

By John Williamson Palmer (1825–1906)

  • Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own men while reconnoitring at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He died on May 10.
  • These verses, says Mr. William Gilmore Simms, “were found, stained with blood, in the breast of a dead soldier of the old Stonewall brigade, after one of Jackson’s battles in the Shenandoah Valley.” Though widely copied and justly admired, their authorship long remained a well-kept secret. They were unquestionably written by Dr. J. W. Palmer, of Maryland.

  • COME, stack arms, men! Pile on the rails,

    Stir up the camp-fire bright;

    No growling if the canteen fails,

    We’ll make a roaring night.

    Here Shenandoah brawls along,

    There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong,

    To swell the Brigade’s rousing song

    Of “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

    We see him now—the queer slouched hat

    Cocked o’er his eye askew;

    The shrewd, dry smile; the speech so pat,

    So calm, so blunt, so true.

    The “Blue-Light Elder” knows ’em well;

    Says he, “That’s Banks—he’s fond of shell;

    Lord save his soul! we’ll give him—” well!

    That’s “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

    Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off!

    Old Massa’s goin’ to pray.

    Strangle the fool that dares to scoff!

    Attention! it’s his way.

    Appealing from his native sod,

    In forma pauperis to God:

    “Lay bare Thine arm; stretch forth Thy rod!

    Amen!” That’s “Stonewall’s way.”

    He’s in the saddle now. Fall in!

    Steady! the whole brigade!

    Hill’s at the ford, cut off; we’ll win

    His way out, ball and blade!

    What matter if our shoes are worn?

    What matter if our feet are torn?

    “Quick step! we’re with him before morn!”

    That’s “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

    The sun’s bright lances rout the mists

    Of morning, and, by George!

    Here’s Longstreet, struggling in the lists,

    Hemmed in an ugly gorge.

    Pope and his Dutchmen, whipped before;

    “Bay’nets and grape!” hear Stonewall roar;

    “Charge, Stuart! Pay off Ashby’s score!”

    In “Stonewall Jackson’s way.”

    Ah! Maiden, wait and watch and yearn

    For news of Stonewall’s band!

    Ah! Widow, read, with eyes that burn,

    That ring upon thy hand.

    Ah! Wife, sew on, pray on, hope on;

    Thy life shall not be all forlorn;

    The foe had better ne’er been born

    That gets in “Stonewall’s way.”