I have just this afternoon finished reading the book Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife by Bill Potter. It's a pretty short book, but has taken me a decent amount of time to read because of the craziness of our household of late. However, it was well worth the wait.
Romance aside, the tone of the letters impacted me greatly in a spiritual sense. He was one of the godliest men I've ever read of! There is an air of intense thankfulness to God for everything...even things I'd find really difficult to thank God for. His main concerns were spiritual, for his men, for his family, for himself. He didn't talk about his successes, he talked about God's blessing and grace to himself. He was a fantastic example for a young man to follow! The final chapter of the book is a listing of maxims that Jackson wrote for himself through life. Reading those made me realize that it took a lot of effort for him to become such a man of God. He worked his whole life on courtesy, devotion, thankfulness, charity, and many other biblical virtues. When my son is old enough, I want him to read about Jackson.
For me, the most poignant portion of the book was Anna's description of Jackson seeing his baby girl for the first and only time. She recorded some tender specifics of his love and affection that really brought tears to my eyes. Shortly after the nine day visit, Jackson was fatally wounded. His wife was there to care for him the last few days of his life, and the description of those days made me think that God must have really been happy to have him in heaven.
This was a fantastic book--not just for women to read, but boys and men as well. Most people think of Stonewall Jackson as the quirky, fierce muscle of the Confederate army. His letters show the side of him that those around him saw every day...lover of God, lover of family, lover of country. I highly recommend this quick read!