The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman

The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman

The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman

The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman

Synopsis

A witness who brings remarkable life and color to the Civil War in the East. Robert Hubard was an enlisted man and officer of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) from 1861 through 1865. He wrote his memoir during an extended convalescence spent at his father's Virginia plantation after being wounded at the battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. Hubard served under such Confederate luminaries as Jeb Stuart, Fitz Lee, Wade Hampton, and Thomas L. Rosser. He and his unit fought at the battles of Antietam, on the Chambersburg Raid, in the Shenandoah Valley, at Fredericksburg, Kelly's Ford, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, and down into Virginia from the Wilderness to nearly the end of the war at Five Forks. Hubard was like many of his class and station a son of privilege and may have felt that his service was an act of noblesse oblige. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, he was a keen observer and a writer of unusual grace, clarity, humor, and intelligence. The editor has fleshed out his memoir by judicious use of Hubard's own wartime letters, which not only fill in gaps but permit the reader to see developments in the writer's thinking after the passage of time. Because he was a participant in events of high drama and endured the quotidian life of a soldier, Hubard's memoir should be of value to both scholars and avocational readers.

Excerpt

[Robert is] a very gallant fellow and a young man of superior parts. I
wish very much that he could get into some favorable position—some
place where he could make his mark. He says that placing implicit trust
in a “Merciful God” he is determined to do boldly and manfully what
ever falls his lot. This sounds like the true metal, and I know full well I
am not deceived.

—William B. Hubard to James L. Hubard, 1 August 1861

Such was the description penned by one brother of another during the American Civil War. Like so many other young Virginians of the era, Robert Thruston Hubard, Jr., was bound to do his duty as he understood the priorities of ancestors: God, family, state, and nation. But adherence to his religious beliefs, his kin, and his Commonwealth of Virginia left no room in Hubard for duty to the Federal government of 1861. As a trooper in a Virginia cavalry regiment, Hubard supported the sovereignty of his state and the dream of a Southern confederacy. Penned in 1865–1866, Hubard's war memoir traces the adventures of this young, well-educated, idealistic Virginian through four years of service as a cavalryman in General J. E. B. Stuart's command.

Robert Hubard was not born to the rugged life of a warrior. His early years were marked by privilege and paternalism. He was born on 9 March 1839, at Rosny, a Hubard plantation in Buckingham County, Virginia, and the roots of his family tree were anchored deep in Virginia's past. His father's family traced their Virginia ancestry through George Washington's Continental army and to the early years of the colony. His mother, Susan Pocahontas Bolling, went the Hubard claim one better as a seventhgeneration descendant of John Rolfe and the Algonquian “princess,” Pocahontas.

Moreover, Hubard was born into one of the commonwealth's most successful nineteenth-century planter families. After marrying in 1834, Robert T. Hubard, Sr., and Susan Bolling raised six sons (James, William, Robert, Jr., Edmund, Francis, and Bolling) and one daughter (Louisa) at the Rosny plantation. Susan delivered their eighth child, Philip, in Oc-

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