The Incontinent Stonewall Jackson

Military historians consider Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in United State history – but despite his battlefield competence, he never shook his incontinence.

Stonewall Jackson uncomfortably surveying the battleground.

The general’s poor bladder control was never well documented as it was often overshadowed by his undeniable battlefield heroics. At the First Battle of Bull Run, Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr. pleaded with his troops to reform by shouting, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me.” Jackson and the Confederates went on to win the day.

His battlefield performance came into question while serving under General Robert E. Lee at the battles known as the Seven Days Battles. While it is not a complete excuse for his performance, Stonewall Jackson suffered severely from poor bladder control during those battles. A positive point did emerge during the battles at Gaines’ Mill. During the battle he rode his horse in front of his troops to bolster their morale. However, the Union army gained courage and moved forward toward Jackson, who was quickly hit with an urge that would not wait. Jackson turned his horse around and galloped behind the lines. While galloping behind the lines eventually relieved Jackson, his troops thought he was fleeing the battle. When Stonewall realized what had happened, he got back onto his horse and led a victorious charge.

A painting of Jackson and Lee entitled, “May I be Dismissed, Sir?”

Because of Jackson’s condition, few photographs can be found of him as he was not able to sit for long periods of time for photo sessions.

On May 10, 1863, Stonewall Jackson was shot by friendly fire as he was returning to camp from an appointment with a urologist. He died eight days later.

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3 Responses to “The Incontinent Stonewall Jackson”


  1. 1 Matt June 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Fascinating. This should encourage all men out there who have this problem to continue striving for greatness. Inspiring.

  2. 2 B. Martinez June 12, 2008 at 2:07 am

    This is one of the best articles yet I think -HILARIOUS!! It really made me laugh!

  3. 3 Nathan Gallion June 24, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants!


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