Grave of the Arm of Stonewall Jackson.
Grave of the Arm of Stonewall Jackson.

Arm of Stonewall Jackson

Field review by the editors.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Southerners thought so highly of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson that his chopped off arm was buried in a cemetery and given its own tombstone.

Thomas Jonathan
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson

It happened like this: Stonewall was mistakenly shot by one of his own men during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He was taken to a field hospital tent where his arm was cut off. Like countless other amputated limbs during the Civil War, the arm was tossed on the ground. The next day Stonewall's chaplain took the arm and buried it in the small plantation cemetery of his brother, who lived a mile down the road. A few days after that, the rest of Stonewall died.

On hearing the news, Robert E. Lee said, "I have lost my right arm," although it was the loss of Stonewall's left one that killed him.

The arm lay in obscurity for 40 years. Then James Smith, one of Stonewall's former staff officers and the top living expert on the arm, directed the placement of a tombstone to mark its grave. Now battered and tilting with age (and possibly from souvenir hunters), the stone is inscribed, "Arm of Stonewall Jackson May 3, 1863."

In 1998 the National Park Service wanted to pour a concrete slab over the arm to protect it from looters. Despite its best efforts, and much careful digging, it could find no trace of the arm under or near the tombstone. That was good news for the graveyard, but bad news for anyone wanting closure on Stonewall Jackson's arm.

Drawing of Stonewall Jackson on his death bed.
Drawing of Stonewall Jackson on his death bed.

Where is the arm of Stonewall Jackson? Some say that looters stole it decades ago. The National Park Service, however, believes that James Smith may have been deliberately vague with the placement of his tombstone. They feel that the arm really is somewhere in the tiny cemetery, and that its unknown exact location guarantees that it will always remain there.

Also see: A Hello to Arms

Arm of Stonewall Jackson

Ellwood Manor

Address:
36380 Constitution Hwy, Fredericksburg, VA
Directions:
Ellwood Manor. I-95 exit 130B. Drive west on Hwy 3 for 12 miles. Turn left at the stoplight onto Hwy 20. Drive a half-mile. On the left you'll see a sign for Ellwood. Turn and drive up the gravel road a half-mile to the parking area (During non-business hours, park at the Ellwood Manor gate just off on Hwy 20, then walk the half-mile from the gate to the grounds). When you reach the house, bear right. You'll see a small "Cemetery" sign and a path between some hedges. Follow it, walk down a small flight of stairs, and you'll see the small cemetery straight ahead.
Hours:
Daylight hours (Call to verify)
Phone:
540-786-2880
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant Roller SkateGiant Roller Skate, Bealeton, VA - 15 mi.
Flying Circus AirshowFlying Circus Airshow, Bealeton, VA - 16 mi.
Grave of Washington's MomGrave of Washington's Mom, Fredericksburg, VA - 15 mi.
In the region:
Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, Arlington, VA - 53 mi.

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April 20, 2018

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