Astronomers solve 'Stonewall' Jackson mystery

tags: Civil War, Stonewall Jackson, Chancellorsville, astronomy



...[A]stronomers say they know why [Confederate troops] couldn't identify [Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville] — it's all because of the moon. Astronomer Don Olson of Texas State University and Laurie E. Jasinski, a researcher and editor at the Texas State Historical Association, report their findings in the May 2013 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine.

Space sleuths

"I remembered reading long ago that Stonewall Jackson was wounded by 'friendly fire' and that it happened at night," Olson told SPACE.com in an email. Olson decided to pursue the mystery on the occasion of the battle's 150th anniversary.

Olson and Jasinski calculated the moon's position and the lunar phase using astronomical software, and figured out exactly where Jackson's party, as well as the 18th North Carolina regiment, would have been at the time of the shooting, around 9 p.m. that night. They used Confederate almanacs in Richmond at the Virginia Historical Society, as well as battle maps by Robert Krick, a military historian who is an expert on the Battle of Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson and the Civil War in Virginia....



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