Counterculture/General Jeb Stuart

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James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart (February 6, 1833- May 11, 1864) 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.

He was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, Va in 1848, after being shot in the belly by an Union calvaryman. The general died in pain after refusing alcohol and pain killers because of a promise he had made to his mother to refrain from drinking. His death was the final blow to the Confederacy, and, in addition to the seige at Petersburg, finally brought about the Confederate surrender.

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