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Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy Camp
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Beverly Tucker Lacy's Narrative of His War Experiences
From the Dabney Collection of the Southern Historical Collection
Wilson Library, University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 

1st acquaintance soon after Maj. Jackson jointed Military Inst. Lacy Agt. for Ch. Extension preacher in Lexington cause. After the congregation left noted a gentleman apparently waiting to speak. Dr. White's said. "That is Maj. Jackson", a member. Introduced and Jackson said, "the cause you presented has interested me much. It is a worthy and noble cause for as you may fail to meet me tomorrow, I wish to hand you my contribution today. He handed a check for $50.00 saying he regretted he could not give more and hoped to give as much annually.

Rev. Mr. Lacy's intercourse with him in Lexington . When Agt. for Dom. Minist. of Montgom. took deep interest. Subscribed and inquired of him. But whenever he met Jackson in Lexington it was with great cordiality and constant reference to state of religion in So. West. Va. Preferred topic.

Beverly Tucker left Kentucky in August of 1861. Jackson sent a message to him through Col. J.T.L. Preston saying come to the army and I will find chaplain work for you to do.

First interview was at Corbin house, about 3 weeks after the battle of Fredericksburg, a visit. Lacy proposed to join the army as a chaplain after a time, which Jackson liked. Conversed till a late hour at night. Jackson was much interested and made a conditional arrangement for Lacy to come and organize the chaplains' work. Remarked, "Only thing which gives me any apprehension of his army and people. If he commanded a converted army, he would feel confident.” He asked if such an army, praying constantly for God's direction and blessing, might not surely expect a favorable answer. He lamented his own busy state, forbidding him to look fully after the chaplains. He expressed extreme anxiety to have their efficiency increased. He wanted Lacy to join in order to organize the chaplains labors, correspond and increase the number of chaplains. They slept that night in the same room, praying together night and morning in the chamber. The whole conversation much turned to experimental religion. His spirit very holy and devout. Impression on Lacy eminent.

Lacy joined him last of February, 1863, having had no further conference. Was received most cordially. Jackson said, "We must get to work." That night they discussed plans. Three plans: (1) For Lacy to be commissioned for the Corps, live at headquarters to the correspondence, and organize the chaplains, preaching at brigades as a missionary; (2) Come to camp as a missionary supported by the Churches, Jackson promising $500; (3) That Lacy should be chaplain of a Regiment, if War Department refused a commission for the Corps and labor outside on the general plan, as much as possible. First plan preferred. Jackson applied for Corps commission which Department promptly granted (to Jackson's agreeable surprise) and Jackson added $200 to salary, with use of a horse. Jackson's interest, all along was deep, constant, excessive; can't be exaggerated. Jackson placed $300 in Lacy's hands, to be expended in buying testaments and other religious reading.

Meantime as Lacy had passed through Richmond, Dr. Moore commended extremely a pamphlet of Thornwell, "Our Danger and our Duty". He lent it to Lacy who lent it to Jackson who had not yet seen it. He read it with intense interest and said: "Let us appropriate $100 of the $300 to circulate this pamphlet." This was done and 5000 copies circulated in the whole army.

Lacy then secured a list of all chaplains and all vacant regiments and arranged for a meeting of all chaplains. Lacy was the first preacher in Stonewall Log chapel, 1/2 mile from Jackson's quarters. Jackson went (walked) nearly every night when preaching was; and usually worshipped there Sundays.

The first chaplains meeting was 3 miles from headquarters in Round Oak Church (Baptist). Jackson was deeply interested, though he did not attend (now or after) because he said he wished the chaplains to move in this matter, as though spontaneously and not as though pushed on by official machinery and because he did not wish to provoke any criticism by being personally prominent. The chaplains agreed to meet weekly for prayer and concert of work. They resolved to appoint a Chairman and Clerk for one week. The next meeting was opened by the last Chairman with a sermon, then elections, then minutes, then enrolling chaplains, then "free conversation" and devotion, then unfinished and new business, viz. supplies of preaching for destitute Regiments etc. Devotional exercises. From that date, the chaplain meetings were regular. At the first meeting a Committee was appointed to write an appeal (written by Beverly Tucker Lacy). A committee of correspondence was appointed, representing several denominations to correspond with ministers and church , about a supply of chaplains, and another Committee, to introduce chaplains to the Regiments. These meetings have been beneficial beyond hope. General Jackson was no so sanguine as Lacy cautioned him of disappointment. He was greatly delighted as the results, often saying: "Let us give God the glory, we cannot be too thankful." Often, at news of promising plans he would say: "Good, Good." The chaplains were more drawn to headquarters hence, on committees, etc. Jackson's manner was that of a Christian brother. To Lacy, his personal kindness was tender beyond expression. "For his work's sake." The chaplains were drawn much nearer to him in his Christian aspects and their love was much warmed. Lacy read the "Appeal" to him first and he suggested two verbal criticisms and approved it. Evidently, the success of this plan was a source of real happiness and often was the subject of his prayers. Everything was done to facilitate the chaplains' work. He was prompt to apply by letter to Committees of the Senate and House to grant chaplains' forage, tent and fuel. The bill was reported, but failed in the hurry of the closing session. He uniformly asked Lacy to come to his tent and "report" after chaplains' meeting, saying: "Hope you had a good meeting today" and giving thanks. Whenever Lacy had been to preach, he made inquiries of the results. He was advised as to the topics of discussion in the chaplains' meetings. He was extremely anxious to secure faithful, hardworking chaplains, who would endure hardness and stick. He often said: "A good chaplain should not resign for any less cause than a brave officer"; that they should learn to feel their office an essential one, and should lodge with their regiments and never dream of leaving without furlough, any more than a field officer. Otherwise the troops would practically taught to feel that their performance was perfunctory and religion a non-essential.

He was also anxious to have prominent ministers visit the army to interest them and have able preaching.

At the end of March, he moved from the Corbin house to tents near Ham. crossing, 1/2 mile from the Yerby House. There Jackson instituted through Lacy Sabbath preaching at headquarters. Jackson was much interested and delighted at the immense congregation which ultimately attended, with high officers. Jackson considered arrangements for the comfort of the congregation. Great joy at success. Sometimes 2000 attended, with the Commander in Chief, staff, etc. Ladies were in adjacent tents. When a deep religious impression was made, it was noted by him with deep interest and even triumph.

While staying at Moss Neck, Jackson and Lacy, who slept in the same room, always had prayers together. Jackson often conducting the devotion. Still his private devotions were never neglected after these prayers. More than once, when sitting at his business table, when looking perplexed, he moved his chair back and engaged in silent prayer and then resumed his pen.

On removing into tents near Ham. crossing, family worship (unsuitable before, on account of the dispersion of staff tents) morning worship was set up, consisting of reading, signing and prayer, in which Jackson often prayed and always conducted when Lacy was absent. Prayer meetings Wednesday and Sunday nights. Jackson always, was present, at all three, and one of the regular hands to pray when called on, at the prayer meetings. Morning prayers were attended by nearly all the staff, out of respect for Jackson (probably not by his personal request. He never obtruded). Jackson's prayers marked eminently, by humility and affection. His elocution in prayer was wholly manlike, his common quick and stern emphasis, on the contrary, tender, soft, pleading, almost plaintive. His language was spicuous, simple, pure, always grammatically correct. The prevalent topics, gratitude, confession of unworthiness, religious interests of the army, deliverance of the country, but always in profound submission to Divine will. But these prayers for secular benefits were always brief. His prayers were rather the outpourings of his own personal communings with God and his spirit of adoration. Oftener than any other man, he expressed his gratification and thanks to God, for his edification in prayers and sermons.

Jackson turned all confidential conversations to experimental and practical religion, more than any other man.

One frequent subject of conversation was "importance of an implicit faith" casting all our care upon God, in diligent performance of duty, descanting on evidences of divine faithfulness, in his Providential nature and redemption. Another topic: duty of conforming our wills to God's and whenever divine will was manifested, duty of cheerful acquiescence. He often speculated as to modes in which divine will might be safely ascertained. Another favorite topic was "Duty ours, consequences God's". Another was: Blessedness of full obedience, in its effects on our personal happiness. Still another: the connection between national prosperity and obedience of the people to God, especially in Sabbath observance, and the Government not placing itself in any way in opposition to God's laws and institutions. See papers on his efforts for Sabbath observance. He requested Lacy to address letters to Dr. B. and others in Richmond to get up a secular Daily which should do no Sunday work, discussing pecuniary drawbacks and engaging to bear a part of such loss, either by first, or by assuming part ownership. Prominent subject with him. Love of these religious conversations extremely elevated and earnest. Evidently inspiring for glory. leading him along the highest and holiest walks of spiritual life.

Socially, his character was mellowing. There was more social intercourse at the table, and more affable and genial. The last two months evidently were very happy ones and made so much by growing religious interest in the army.

Remarked that the passage of S.S. most dear to him was: "All things work together for good". Lacy preached on it to a small audience, greatly to his satisfaction and again later, on the day of his death, to General Lee, Hill and 1200.

Jackson talked freely to Lacy of the merits of his general and staff, commending freely when he could and generously and justly as to all.

Note social intercourse with citizens and their families, kind, courteous, greatly endeared him to neighbors. With wife at Mr. Yerby's, domestic affections were very warm. He had his child baptized at Mr. Yerby's the day it was 5 months old. Ladies of Mr. Yerby's greatly loved him. Mrs. Neal (cousin) said to him: "General Jackson, I pray that God may preserve your life till the war is over and then take you for him, for no earthly honors are adequate"

At Moss Neck speaking of the coming campaign, he said he must make it an exceedingly active one, only thus can a weaker country cope with a stronger, is to make up in activity what it lacks in strength. A defensive campaign can only be made successful by taking the aggressive. Napoleon never waited for his enemy to become fully prepared. Said with intense fire and energy. During the two months intercourse, impressed Lacy more than any other man with his holiness.

When the Yankees commenced crossing, Jackson changed. His bearing because quicker, energetic, more lofty, whole man energized and inspired all else. Thursday morning he walked to his tent, where servant had his horse, he said "hold my horse" entered the tent and soon after the servant signalled to others near: "Hush, the General is at prayer." All observed a solemn silence for 15 minutes. When he came out, with countenance peculiarly severe and elevated, yet assured and mounted his horse.

(In the General's tent, the outline of his form at night was often thrown by the candle, kneeling.)

Thursday, the army got into its old position against Fredericksburg. Enemy making a feint to cross, with 35,000 as Jackson supposed, ostentationately displayed. Jackson smiling and elated. At night General Jackson returned to headquarters and Lacy remarked that "falling back was talked of and he was depressed" Jackson said, "who said that? No sir. We have not a thought of retreat, we will attack them." After a little he said "Mr. Lacy I want to speak to you, come to my tent." He then asked him if he knew the roads towards Chancellorsville. Lacy described three roads. He asked could you guide a column there in daylight, or could you get me guides. Lacy suggested young Yerby. Jackson proposed to go to Yerbys to see them especially as he had not called there for some days and he did not know whether he would return. But when they got to Yerby's, the family were in bed and Jackson would not allow them to be waked. As they walked back Jackson stated that the enemy was in force at Chancellorsville, that General Anderson was up there at Tabernacle Church about 3 miles in front of the enemy. Lacy asked if the enemy were likely to attack Anderson. Jackson said yes. Lacy asked if they might not attack Anderson at day next morning. Jackson said he had no data to make him know, but they might do so at any time. Lacy said "Why not march up tonight. The moon is bright." Jackson answered, "As a general thing I make it a rule not to march troops at night, but the reason you suggest is weighty." Jackson then asked Lacy if he could find guides, who could take the troops up there by moon light. Lacy said he could. He went to get the guides and Jackson sent for his chief of artillery (while Lacy went to find guides) and ordered him to prepare for moving and sent for his division commanders. Lacy returned with guides about midnight. The troops were then put in motion and Lacy was required to take an artillery officer, Major Braxton over to the Telegraph Road, to show him the road and then to wait for the head of the column. General Rhodes got to Lacy on Telegraph Road about 3 a.m. when Lacy guided him over to the Plank Road (The troops were air taken out of the trenches for this march.) The army was thus passed over to the Plank Road, across the county in three columns, and before the morning fog had lifted sufficiently for the enemy's balloons to see them, they were plunged into the woody country towards Chancellorsville. Reached General Anderson's position about 11 a.m. (It extended from intersection of Mine Road with Plank Road, Tabernacle Church to intersection of Mine Road with Old Turnpike Road at Zoar Church.) Jackson then deployed skirmishers and drove in the enemy's skirmishers. It continued, growing more heavy, till by the night fall, the enemy were forced back within 3/4 mile of their position at Chancellorsville, to fork of Furnace Road with Plank Road. Here Jackson, Lacy, and General Lee bivouacked. Next morning Lacy waked before day and saw a fire. Jackson was sitting on a box, warming. He said to Lacy sit down. Lacy declined. He said sit down, I want to talk to you, making room for him on the box. Jackson then said: "The enemy were in great force at Chancellorsville in a commanding position and to dislodge them by a front attack would cost a fearful loss." Did Lacy know of any way by which to flank either their right or left. Lacy answered, yes, there was a blind road leading from the Furnace, nearly parallel to Plank Road, which fell into a road running northwards, which again would lead into the Plank Road 3 1/2 to 4 miles above Chancellorsville. Jackson said take this map and lay it down. When Lacy had done so, Jackson said: '"That is too near, it will go within the line of the enemy's pickets. Do you know no other?" Lacy replied that he presumed the furnace road would intersect the other road leading back above Chancellorsville, but he had never rode it himself. Jackson then said: "Go with Hotchkiss to Furnace, ascertain whether those roads meet and are practicable for artillery and send Hotchkiss back with the information and you get me a guide." Lacy went, found Ch. Bev. Welford, Hotchkiss returned and soon Jackson was seen coming up the furnace road, and not long after, the troops. Jackson was employed directing the placing; of a little foot bridge over a branch near the furnace. He now told Lacy to go to General Lee, get a Regiment of infantry of McLaws division, and relieve a Cavalry Regiment of General Stuart, which was guarding the mouth of the blind road and do you, see it placed. Lacy did so and saw Jackson no more till wounded.

Sunday morning at light Lacy reached the hospital tent near Wilderness tavern his arm already off and recovered from the effects of the chloroform. Lacy spoke to Jackson in the hospital tent, inquired after him and expressed his pungent regret. Jackson thanked him with his usual politeness and then said:

"You find me severely wounded, but not unhappy or depressed. I believe that it has been done according to the will of God; and I acquiesce entirely in his holy will. It may appear strange, but you never saw me more perfectly contented than I am today for I am sure that my heavenly father designs this affliction for my good. I am perfectly satisfied that, either in this life, or the life which is to come, I shall discover that what is now regarded as a calamity, is a blessing. And if it is regarded as a great calamity (for surely I shall feel it to be a great inconvenience to be deprived of my arm) it will result in a great blessing. I can wait until God in his own time shall make known to m the object he has in this afflicting me. But why should not I rather rejoice in it as blessing, and not look upon it as a calamity at all? If it were in my power to replace my arm, and to restore myself to perfect health, I would not dare to do it, unless I have reason to believe it was the will of God." '

At another time (same day):

"I thought, after I fell from the litter, that I would die upon the field; and I gave myself up into the hands of my heavenly father without a fear. I was in the possession of perfect peace. It has been a valuable and precious experience to me, that I was brought fact to face with death, and found all was well. In that experience, I learned an important lesson, that one who had been the subject of converting grace, and was the child of God, could, in the midst of the severest sufferings fix the thoughts upon Go and heavenly things, and derive great comfort and peace. But that one who had never made his peace with God, would be unable to control his mind, under such suffering an in such circumstances, so as to understand properly the way of Salvation and repent an believe on Christ. I felt that if I had neglected the salvation of my soul before, it would have been too late".

(Same day)

"Our movement on yesterday was a great success. I think the most successful military movement of my life, but 1 expect to receive tar more credit for it than I deserve. Most men will think that I had planned it all out from the first, but it was not so. I simply took advantage of circumstances as they were presented to me in the providence of God. I feel that his hand led me. Let us give him all the glory"

(In substance, nearly Jackson's words)

During Jackson's illness he conversed more than once on these topics: "Religion in everything", "Religion makes every man better in every lawful calling: a better general, a better shoemaker", illustrated by him in tailors; religion produces here, punctuality, and care in promising. Work will be thoroughly done, from conscientious motive. Prayer aids any man, in any lawful business not only by bringing down divine blessing, but by putting his own mind and heart in tune. e.g. General _________ calmed etc.

"Every act of man's life should be a religious act." Referred to Dandridge who recommended spiritualizing every act, washing, clothing, eating, etc.

"The Bible a rule for man in everything."

If men would search, they would find a precept, principle or example for any possible emergency of duty, no matter what a man's calling.

Lacy found the amputated arm, wrapped up outside the tent. Large and muscular. He buried it in a private graveyard of J. H. Lacy.

Jackson remained at the hospital tent till Monday morning. General Lee then sent word to remove him. He went to near Guineys' Station, 25 miles and put up at a Mr. Chandlers, in an out house, for convenience of lifting him out of the ambulance. He then expected to go on to Richmond the next day.

During Monday's ride he met many teamsters with supplies, who as soon as they heard Jackson was in the ambulance, wounded, suddenly laid aside their and yielded the road with tenderness. One said: "I wish it was me, sir." (common expression) On the road he made no complaints and maintained his unfailing courtesy in answer to all inquiries, saying he felt far more comfortable than he had a right to expect. But before arriving, began to complain of pain and used wet towels.

After reaching Chandler's he became more restless and doctors found it necessary to restrict conversation. But Lacy read and prayed daily at 10 a.m. often chap. of Psalms, of his selection. He remarked at times, faith clear. Spoke of perfect willingness to die, but always expected to recover. Pain in side increased. Wednesday cold rain. Used wet towels much. Thursday morning called for wet towels, not having used them all night. At 8 a.m. his breathing was bad and gasping. Pneumonia set in. Lynafusions and cupping. Dr. Morrison then called in and reached Jackson in evening, 2 p.m. Lacy in going for Morrison called on General Lee and told him Jackson's sickness was more threatening. Lee said he was confident God would not take Jackson at such a time when his country so much needed him. He added, give General Jackson my affectionate regards and say to him: He has lost his left arm, but I my right arm, and tell him to get well and come back to me as soon as he can. When Morrison and Lacy returned, Mrs. Jackson had arrived. From Thursday morning, his mind wandered somewhat, some stupor. During his wandering he seemed often to imagine himself at the head of his troops and gave orders. Several times, asked anxiously about issue of battle. Being told Tuesday that Hooker was entrenching north of Chancellor's, he said: "that is bad, very bad". When waking from his next nap, he called out, "Major Pendleton, send in and see if there is high ground back of Chancellors." Sometimes engaged in prayer. Asked of McGuire concerning whether the persons healed by Saviour ever suffered by the same disease again. He thought not. Lacy continued to pray in his presence, but he was hardly lucid enough to hear it. Sunday morning, before starting to preach at headquarters, Lacy told him that he was going to preach. He asked where? Lacy answered at headquarters. Jackson rejoined, "Ah, yes, that's right, go, and preach." He went. Lee, A.P. Hill, and staffs were present, with about 1800. General Lee inquired anxiously and when told that Jackson's case was nearly hopeless seemed much disturbed and said "Surely Jackson must recover. God will not take him from us now that we need him so much." After preaching, Lee again stated his belief that the prayers made for Jackson would be answered, and added "When you return I trust you will find him better. When a suitable occasion offers, tell him that I prayed for him last night, as I never prayed, I believe for myself." He then turned away in overpowering emotion.

Jackson had determined, expecting to be able to travel, to go to Lexington. Lacy asked to go with him. He said thank you. You are very kind. It will be a great pleasure to have you with me. A few hours after, he said, he must not deny himself, it would establish a bad precedent. He thought Lacy had better remain and labor in the gospel. This kindly and delicately. Hence, when he died Lacy continued in camp and did not accompany the body. Preached next Sunday on his death from 2 Timothy 4.