Jeb Stuart

Jeb Stuart

Jeb Stuart

Jeb Stuart

Synopsis

Hardly any biography could contain the robust and romantic Jeb Stuart, but John W. Thomason Jr. goes as far as anyone ever has in pinning down the quality of the Confederate cavalry commander. Virginia-bred, James Ewell Brown Stuart graduated from West Point, where he was called "Beauty", and rode with the Mounted Rifles against the Apaches and Comanches on the western frontier. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Jeb Stuart joined the Confederate army. His lightning-like raids became legendary. From Bull Run to Brandy Station he served as Robert E. Lee's eyes and ears, becoming a major general at the age of twenty-eight. Less than three years later Stuart's meteoric career ended with his death in a cavalry charge.

Excerpt

by Gary W. Gallagher

Few Confederate generals achieved wider renown during the Civil War than Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart. His memorable appearance, bold actions, and participation in virtually all the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia invited the adulation of thousands of Confederate citizens and a grudging admiration from Federal opponents. Further blessed with a famous nickname inspired by his initials, "Jeb" Stuart immediately ascended to an honored place in the Confederate pantheon upon his death after the battle of Yellow Tavern in mid-May 1864. In the century and a third since Appomattox, only a handful of Stuart's peers have received as much attention in the literature devoted to Civil War military operations. He has been the subject of numerous biographies, dominates reminiscences by men who served with him, and figures prominently in many broader studies.

An aura of romanticism continues to surround Stuart and his exploits as chief of Lee's cavalry. One of the great flamboyant figures in either army, he affected a scarlet-lined cape, boots that reached his thighs, a pair of golden spurs, a bright yellow sash, gauntlets of white buckskin, and a hat crowned with a long plume. His retinue, surely one of the noisiest and most picturesque of any general's, included among others banjoist Samuel Sweeney, the immense and convivial Prussian officer Heros Von Borcke, who served as an aide, and John Pelham, whose youthful good looks and hard fighting as chief of the cavalry's artillery won devoted admirers. Daring raids around the Federal army, elaborately staged reviews of his horsemen, and impromptu parties in the midst of campaigning contributed to Stuart's rep-

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