Ghost Stories from North Carolina

 

The Tombstone of Stonewall Jackson’s arm

Whilst most of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was buried in a Lexington, Virginia, cemetery that now bears his name, he was so famous at the time of his death that his amputated left arm was buried in its own separate grave.

On May 2, 1863, General “Stonewall” Jackson and his army had just launched a devastating attack against Union forces at Chancellorsville. Returning to his own lines with several staff officers, Jackson, ever the aggressive soldier, decided to conduct reconnaissance in the area. As he and his men through the woods near Confederate lines, a North Carolina regiment, unable to see who was riding up on them, opened fire. Jackson was struck by three bullets, two of them shattering his left arm. The general was evacuated from the area and given medical treatment, but the arm couldn’t be saved and was amputated. Pneumonia set in, and on May 10, 1863, the South lost its most effective tactician. While Jackson’s body would travel to Lexington, where he had taught before the war, his severed arm would receive its own burial.

Thinking that the limb of such great a solider was too precious to simply throw on the regular body part trash pile, Jackson’s unofficial company chaplain, Reverend Tucker Lacy wrapped the arm in a blanket and took it to his brothers home that was nearby. The reverend gave the limb a standard Christian burial and placed a marker above the site.

But Stonewall’s arm would not get the peace it deserved.
Union soldiers apparently exhumed the arm in 1864. Although they apparently reburied it, no one knows if it was in the same spot or somewhere else. Many years later in 1903, former Confederate soldier James Power Smith set a stone in the cemetery, marking the graveyard as the resting place of Stonewall Jackson’s arm. If there was anyone who knew the true whereabouts of the arm in 1903 it would’ve been Smith, who had served as Jackson’s aide-de-camp during the war and had then married into the Lacy family. Still, some suspected that he may have intentionally mismarked the location of the arm to protect it from treasure-seekers.

The Grave marker for General “Stonewall” Jacksons arm can be found at the Lacy family graveyard at Ellwood Manor in Orange County, Virginia.