Next to Robert E. Lee himself, Thomas J. Jackson is the most revered of all Confederate commanders.
- A graduate of West Point (1846), he had served in the artillery in the Mexican War, earning two brevets.
- He resigned to accept a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute. Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson served on the VMI Faculty as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy & Instructor of Artillery from August 1851 until the beginning of the Civil War in April 1861. Thought strange by the cadets, he earned "Tom Fool Jackson" and "Old Blue Light" as nicknames.