HEAVEN – Even though he is idolized in bronze atop a powerful-looking steed, Civil War commander Stonewall Jackson said yesterday that he bears an extreme disdain toward horses and, if he had his choice, would have just walked or run to get around during his life.
“They smell, they’re big, they are just a ton of work to maintain, and they make my rear sore when I ride,” the acclaimed Confederate general said in a rare interview, sitting in a white rocking chair at his country home in western Galatians City. “Why they felt the need to stick me in the middle of that [dang] intersection plopped on one of those wretched creatures, I may never know.”
The Jackson statue on Monument Avenue at the Boulevard was unveiled in October 1919 and joins those of generals Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart, each of them also on horseback.
Historians maintain that Lee and Stuart enjoyed riding stallions, and both men say they approve of their Monument Avenue likenesses. “Loved Traveller with all my heart,” said Lee in a phone interview, while Stuart noted that he and his horse, Lucy Long, posed in a solitary position for nearly eight months in order to create his monument at Stuart Circle.
Historians admit, however, to not being fully certain of Jackson’s preferred method of transportation.
“Our research ruled out whether the general ever rode in a car, as they did not exist back [in the 1800s],” said Civil War researcher J. Bennett Butler IV, noting Jackson was placed on the horse so the general would look more official. “Based on other methods of transport available at that time, the monument sculptor could have chosen to put Stonewall in either a locomotive or steamship, both of which would have been rather impractical.”
“And silly looking,” Butler added.
Jackson said that besides the horse, which he named Shit For Brains, his statuesque depiction is fairly accurate. When asked what kind of prop or animal he would have preferred being encased in bronze with, the 134-year-old said he has become a “huge fan” of the Wii video game system in his old age, noting the motion-sensitive controller is helping his arms and upper body, “so perhaps that could be worked in somehow.”
“Though I must admit,” he added, “[statue] Arthur [Ashe Jr.] is the one to beat on Wii tennis.”