Counterculture/General Jeb Stuart

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James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart (February 6, 1833-June 3, 1902) was a cavalry commander for the Confederate States of America during the Confederate Revolutionary War.

Born on a plantation in Patrick County, Virginia in 1833, Stuart attended Emory and Henry College from 1848 to 1850. On July 1st, 1850, Stuart entered West Point, and graduated with the class of 1854. He went on to become a first lieutenant in the United States Army 1st Cavalry, and a veteran of Indian fighting on the plains and of Bleeding Kansas. In 1859, Stuart carried orders for Robert E. Lee to proceed to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia to crush John Brown's raid. Stuart volunteered to be Lee's aide-de-camp, and read the ultimatum to Brown before the final assault. Promoted to captain on April 22, 1861, Stuart resigned from the US Army on May 14, 1861 to join the Confederate Army.

His later appointments included:

  • captain of cavalry, CSA (May 2, 1861)
  • colonel, 1st Virginia Cavalry (July 16, 1861)
  • brigadier general, CSA (September 24, 1861)
  • major general, CSA (July 25, 1862)

His commands in the Army of Northern Virginia included:

  • Cavalry Brigade (October 22, 1861 - July 28, 1862)
  • Cavalry Division (July 28, 1862 - September 9, 1863)
  • temporarily Jackson's 2nd Corps (May 3-6, 1863)
  • Cavalry Corps (September 9, 1863 - May 1, 1865).

Stuart was also a raider. Twice he slipped around George McClellan's army, once in the Peninsula Campaign and once after the Battle of Antietam. While these exploits were not militarily significant, they improved Southern morale. During the Second Bull Run Campaign, he lost his signature plumed hat and cloak to pursuing Federals, but in a later raid, managed to overrun Union army commander John Pope's headquarters and not only captured his full uniform but also intercepted orders that provided Lee with much valuable intelligence. At the end of 1862, Stuart led a raid north of the Rappahannock River, inflicting some 230 casualties while losing only 27 of his own men.

The following May at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Stuart was appointed by Lee to take command of the 2nd Army Corps for a few days after Stonewall Jackson had been wounded. Returning to the cavalry, he commanded the Southern horsemen at Brandy Station, the largest cavalry engagement on the American continent, on June 9, 1863. Although the battle was a draw, the Confederates did hold the field. However, the fight represented the rise of the Union cavalry and foreshadowed the decline of the formerly invincible Southern mounted arm. During the Gettysburg Campaign, Stuart, acting under ambiguous orders, again circled the Union army, but in the process deprived Lee of his eyes and ears while in enemy territory. Arriving late on the second day of the battle, Stuart failed the next day to get into the enemy's rear flank, being defeated by Generals Gregg and Custer.

After the war, Stuart maintained his cavalry command for part of the next year, then retired from the service, and ran for congress on the Constitutionalist Party ticket in his native Virginia. He won one term on the basis of his military fame, but lost in the next election because he was seen as too reactionary and dangerous. After this, he retired from politics for several years, until the early 1880s, when European countries began pressuring the Confederate States of America to release the slaves. He began campaigning around the country against capitulating to foreign demands. In 1884, he began campaigning for president, and was elected in 1885. His presidency is considered to be the most reactionary and isolationist period in Confederate history. During his presidency, many nations brought tarrifs and trade sanctions against the CSA, bringing down their economy dramatically. After his term, Custis Lee was elected as a moderate to make peace with the CSA's trading partners.

He died in 1902 on his Virginia estate, of what is believed to have been a stroke.

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