In an article on Stonewall Jackson published in Putnam’s Monthly in December 1868, E. A. Pollard wrote:
Jackson had only the idea of the soldier--to fight, and to fight in the most terrible manner. It is a curious circumstance that he once recommended a night-attack to be made by assailants stripped naked and armed with bowie-knives, suggesting that the novelty and terror of such an apparition would paralyze the enemy. The writer was disposed to doubt an anecdote so remarkable, until it was confirmed to him by the testimony of a well-known and most truthful gentleman; and he must confess that he perceives in it something characteristic of Jackson’s gloom and fierceness. It was not a natural cruelty, a constitutional harshness, but a stern conception of war and its dread realities--the soldier’s disposition for quick, decisive, destructive work.
In July 1870, the magazine published a letter from General J. A. "Jubal" Early, CSA, who took it upon himself to set the record straight:
I can undertake to assert, with the most perfect confidence, that General Jackson could not have made such a proposition as that mentioned by Pollard, because it was a moral impossibility for him to have done it. Gladiators, in ancient times, or the members of the prize-ring, in modern times, might strip for their brutal contests; but there is a sentiment among all civilized, Christian people, which would prevent a decent man from being as brave, when stripped naked, as when his nakedness is concealed by his usual covering. A naked sword is more terrible than a sheathed one; but there is no reason why a naked man should be more terrible than a well- clad one; and, certainly, at the battle of Fred ericksburg, in the middle of December, a body of naked assailants would soon have become so paralyzed by the cold, that the enemy would have had no trouble in dealing with them. General Jackson not only could not have made so foolish, so absurd, a proposition, at Fredericksburg, or anywhere else, for these reasons; but he could not have done it for the simple and conclusive reason that, at no time, were the Bowie-knives to be had. In the very beginning of the War, some men carried with them, into the service, Bowie-knives; but they were never very plenty, and the only military use I ever knew to be made of them, was in aiding to throw up a slight entrenchment, the day after the fight at Blackburn's-ford, on Bull Run. After that time, they were generally abandoned, or, if used at all, used only for chopping beef. I don't think that, in General Jackson's entire Corps, enough could have been found to arm one Company; and there were certainly none in the Ordnance Department.