American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Gods and Generals" (2003)


Thomas Jonathan ("Stonewall") Jackson Addresses the 33rd Virginia Regiment

Audio mp3 delivered by Stephen Lang


Jackson: Men of the valley, citizen-soldiers:

I am here at the order of General Robert E. Lee, commandin' all Virginia forces. On April 15th of this year of our Lord, 1861, Simon Cameron, the Secretary of War of the United States sent a telegram to our Governor, John Letcher, directing him to raise three regiments of infantry to be sent to assist in suppressin' the southern confederacy. Governor Letcher's answer is well-known to you, but perhaps not his words.

His wire to Washington stated, "You have chosen to inaugurate civil war. And, having done so, we will meet you in a spirit as determined as the Lincoln Administration has exhibited toward the South."

Two days later, the Virginia legislature voted for secession.

Just as we would not send any of our soldiers to march in other states and tyrannize other people, so will we never allow the armies of others to march into our State and tyrannize our people.

Like many of you -- indeed, most of you -- I've always been a Union man. It is not with joy or with a light heart that many of us have welcomed secession. Had our neighbors to the North practiced a less bellicose form of persuasion, perhaps this day might not have come. BUT that day has been thrust upon us like it was THRUST upon our ancestors.

The Lincoln Administration required us to raise three regiments.

Tell them we have done so!

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.