Abbreviated Stories

Cadet Thomas Munford recalled the day he first met new VMI professor Thomas J. Jackson:

            Munford remembered the morning of Jackson’s arrival, "While engaged in marching in the new Guard, the usual crowd had assembled to hear the music of the band in front of the camp on the parade ground."[1] Jackson had just arrived in Lexington one day before the August 14 review of cadets and was not yet known by them. Jackson slipped in among the spectators unnoticed. Munford was in charge of the encampment that day. A ruckus occurred during the daily morning parade review when a cadet yelled at the unbeknownst substitute commandant, "Come out of them boots, they are not allowed in this camp." Munford heard this and to his horror realized that the remark was aimed at Jackson, who was standing among the spectators. Almost panic-stricken, Munford turned over command to the Officer of the Day, Capt. Thomas R. Thornton, and rushed over to salute Jackson, apologizing for the insolent cadet. Munford couldn't help but notice the enormous size of Jackson's feet in those worn and well-blackened artillery boots. Later he recalled of the contrast between Jackson and Gilham, "one stride of (Jackson's) would equal two of Gilham's; his foot occupied double the space."

            To Munford's great relief, he saw that Jackson had paid no attention to the cadet’s   murmurings. The new professor had not intended to formally review the cadets during the exercise, but preferred just to watch to see how things were done. He stated he was glad matters worked out the way they did, but Munford was left shaken by the experience. Munford had been charged by Gilham to be Jackson's aide and assist him in getting established with the cadet corps, and as far as he was concerned, things were not off to a very good start.


Reference: Unhonored Service: The Life of Lee's Senior Cavalry Commander Colonel Thomas Taylor Munford, CSA.