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'Stonewall' theory: He could have lived page 3
Residents can enjoy special candlelight tour of Jackson Shrine this week and also learn more about the Confederate general's death.

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Date published: 5/6/2002


To find the answer, O'Reilly pored over records left behind by Jackson's staff physician, Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire.

But even those proved useless.

"It bothered me when I read accounts of Jackson's death that the doctors weren't telling me more," he said. "That's when I started to look at his symptoms, taking them step by step."

But it was only when O'Reilly re-examined some battle maps that he found the smoking gun.

"I started looking at the march, looking at people who were with him," O'Reilly said. "I kept looking for McGuire, but I couldn't find him."

That's when O'Reilly discovered that the doctor was actually in a different column than Jackson's ambulance train, and ended up taking another road than Jackson did.

"Since he's not with his column, he has no way of observing the general."

As a result, O'Reilly believes, historians, Civil War buffs and legions of Old Jack's followers have missed an important fact about his death.

"History's take on it is that Jackson was shot and then got sick," he said. "But actually, it was the reverse that happened. They're coming in on the story at the middle, not the beginning."

Want to go?

Friday's candlelight tours at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine--off State Route 606 in Caroline County--will last for an hour and begin at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Visitors are asked to bring flashlights to find their way back to their cars following the tour.

For more information, call the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center at 540/373-6122.

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