e do not expect you to read all of these books in preparation for the tour. This is a special selection by historian Bill Potter that can enhance any reading preparation you would undertake. Some of the books mentioned are out of print and hard to find but all are worth reading if you are interested in the topic. There are many other available books on most of these topics; feel free to ask Mr. Potter about them if you have further questions.
The Commanders, Lee and Jackson
Dabney, Robert Lewis, Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson
Originally published in 1865, this “official” biography by Jackson’s friend and Adjutant General displays the character and Christian faith of Jackson. The military campaigns lack full treatment and sometimes accuracy but every biographer since has had to deal with this intimate portrait. Available in reprint by Sprinkle Publications.
Fishwick, Marshall, Lee After the War: The Greatest Period in the Life of a Great American
The life of General Lee after the war, lesser known but vital to understanding the faith and service to God of General Lee. His heart for the Gospel and for his students is evident throughout this period of his storied life.
Potter, Bill, Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife, 1857-1863
Reprinted letter fragments from Jackson to his wife Mary Anna, within their historical context. They tell the story of a 19th Century Christian marriage. Originally published in various places in Mrs. Jackson’s Life and Letters of Stonewall Jackson. (Vision Forum, 2002)
Robertson, James I., Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend
Published first in 1997, this is still the best overall biography of the great general. Robertson takes Jackson’s faith seriously and shows how it is impossible to understand him without it. Wonderfully written and a labor of love by one of the foremost Civil War historians of the 20th Century.
Robertson, James I., ed. Stonewall Jackson’s Book of Maxims
Dr. Robertson found these maxims in an obscure library while researching his biography of Jackson. Lost to history until then, we find that General Jackson had kept a private memoranda book in which he jotted down principles of living and self-improvement for many years. (Cumberland House, 2002)
Wilkins, J. Steven, All Things for Good: The Steadfast Fidelity of Stonewall Jackson
A brief history of his life and the lessons we can draw from Jackson’s fidelity to Scripture and Christian service. An old-fashioned moral history by a 20th Century pastor and historian. Very useful as an introduction to Jackson for younger people. (Cumberland House, 2004)
Wilkins, J. Steven, Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. LeeA
brief biography and lessons from the life and character of the Commander of the Confederate Army. A good introduction to the life of Lee, especially suitable for young men.
Williams, Richard G., Jr., Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man’s Friend
Williams shows the compassion Jackson had for the spiritual welfare of slaves. It is the story of his colored Sunday School and the glorious results among people who were converted to Christ while in bondage and built churches and carried the Gospel to future generations after the Civil War.
Davis, William C., The Battle of New Market
The standard account of the battle of New Market in 1864. The VMI cadets and all the other regiments, both north and south came together outside a strategic village and turned the tide for the Confederacy in the Valley for a short while.
Krick, Robert K., Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic
Written by one of the premier historians of southern military history, Krick’s definitive account of Jackson’s decisive repulse of the Union invasion of the Valley in 1862 brings alive the fierceness of the fight, the near capture of Jackson, and demonstrates why Port Republic was one of the most important battles of the War.
Patchan, Scott C., Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign
The campaign in the Valley in July and August of 1864 by Confederate General Jubal Early began with success and elan, and ended in bitter defeat and recrimination. In the he resultant backlash, the Shenandoah Valley was burned by General Sheridan’s Federal Army from range to range so thoroughly that “a crow crossing the Valley will have to carry provisions.”
Svenson, Peter, Battlefield: Farming a Civil War Battlefield
An unusual and quirky first-person account of a 20th-Century farmer from “up North” who bought a farm in the Shenandoah Valley and discovered that it lay in the middle of the unpreserved Cross Keys Battlefield, one of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley battles. This is his story of how he farmed the site while researching the battle in the archives and by talking with local people. How should a battlefield be preserved, or should it?
Tanner, Robert G., Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862
A sparkling narrative of Jackson’s Valley Campaign, which made him a legend and secured his status as a brilliant strategist and tactician in world military history.
Personal Reminiscences and Biographies of Valley People in the Army and at Home
Bean, W. G., The Liberty Hall Volunteers: Stonewall Jackson’s College Boys
When the Civil War began fifty-six of the boys of Company I of the 4th Virginia Infantry, enlisted en masse from Washington College in Lexington. At least one-fourth of them were studying for the Gospel ministry. The ladies of Falling Springs Presbyterian Church presented them with a flag that had the sewn inscription pro aris et focus (for alter and home). In the course of the war, the company would suffer 128% casualties.
Bean, W. G., Sandie Pendleton: Stonewall’s Man
In some ways Pendleton became the son that Jackson never had. One of the most competent Chiefs of Staff that a general could want. Young Pendleton served Jackson till his commander’s death. Sandie was killed in battle in the 1864 Valley Campaign, a devout Christian soldier to the last. He was the son of the Pastor of the Episcopal Church in Lexington.
Cockrell, Monroe G., ed., Gunner with Stonewall: The Reminiscences of William Thomas Poague
Poague was a fellow-member of the Church in Lexington with Thomas Jackson. He rose to the rank of Lt. Col. Of Artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia. He became an elder in the church after the war. This memoir was written for his children in 1903 and is a Confederate classic.
Colt, Margaretta Barton, Defend the Valley: A Shenandoah Family in the Civil War
A descendant of the Barton-Jones clan in the Shenandoah Valley, this book was a labor of love over seven years of research. A clear and engaging writer, the author tells the story of a family that sent eleven sons to battle. David McCullough called this book “a wonderful event.” Robert Krick described it as a “sad, brave tale of a family in the midst of that anguish and chaos—an instant classic.” And so it is.
Heatwole, John L., Chrisman’s Boy Company: A History of the Civil War Service of Company A, 3rd Battalion, Virginia Mounted Reserves
This book relates the heroic service of a company of seventeen year-old cavalrymen from the Shenandoah Valley in the last desperate year of the Civil War. Too young for regular service, this home-guard unit tried to stop the burning of the Valley.
MacDonald, Cornelia Peake, A Woman’s Civil War: A Diary, with Reminiscences of the War, from March, 1862
The story of a Christian mother with ten children, husband and three sons at war, with two married daughters in a town that changed hands some 25 times in the course of the Civil War. She has to keep two rambunctious sons, a small daughters and a lap baby alive when there is little food and no money. This is my favorite woman’s account of life in the Shenandoah Valley in the most desperate circumstances. She ends up leaving her home in Winchester and ends the war in Lexington. An incredible story of faith and fortitude. (If you find the edition I have, edited by Minrose Gwin at the University of Wisconsin, be rest assured Cornelia was not a proto-feminist. . .)
Turner, Charles W., Ted Barclay, Liberty Hall Volunteers: Letters from the Stonewall Brigade
In these letters you see the smoke and hear the din of battle and agonize with him over his spiritual struggles. Although raised in the church he was uncommitted to Christ till the middle of the Civil War. In God’s providence, Ted survived the war and took his place in Lexington as devoted churchman for forty-six years and ardent Christian as he raised his six children and served his town and community as a model farmer and businessman.