Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Geeking Out


Okay, my latest aquisition is really cool. This is a 3.5-inch pewter miniature of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson from the American Civil War, and it looks JUST LIKE HIM.

All the details are correct. Look at the brown sorrel pony he's riding, which was smaller than most of the officers' horses. And the shape of his beard. And the weird little squashed-up forage cap he always wore.

Stonewall Jackson was very unusual, even for a military genius. There is some modern-day speculation that he had Asperger's Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism.

From what I've read about his pre-Civil War career as an instructor at Virginia Military Institute, I could believe it. He taught physics with a military application and would memorize the textbook and lecture directly from it. If students disturbed his routine with questions, then obviously they weren't grasping the information. To help them, he would repeat the exact same lecture the following day, word for word. There are some cadets' letters that have survived to today in which they whine about him being their least favorite instructor, ha, ha!

He was also deeply devout (maybe even a religious fanatic) and yet he loved battle. He didn't like to fight on Sundays, but he would if he had to. And he was a devoted father and husband. Definitely a person of contradictions.

Some historians think that if he hadn't fallen at Chancellorsville, he would have turned the tide at Gettysburg and perhaps helped the South to win the Civil War. I believe the part about Gettysburg, but I don't think the South could have won the war overall. Not against generals like Grant and Sherman, who had far more men and materials. However, it's fun to speculate.

Even more than the attention to detail in this miniature, I like the energy that the figure holds. You can see this best in General Jackson's hands where he's pulling the reins and pointing. I do a little sculpture (whittling on a very basic level) and I'm fascinated by sculptures that capture energy and look alive.

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4 comments:

  1. That is mind-bogglingly detailed.

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  2. Do you mean the figurine itself, or all that trivia that just poured out of me about Stonewall Jackson? :D

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  3. LOL! Well, I was referring to the figuring, but it could apply to either. ;)

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