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James Ewell Brown Stuart

James Ewell Brown Stuart

James Ewell Brown Stuart (1833-1864), known as Jeb Stuart, ranks among the most effective cavalry officers in American military history for his exploits in the Civil War.

Jeb Stuart was born in Patrick County, Va., on Feb. 6, 1833. Educated at home and at Emory and Henry College, he entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1850 and graduated thirteenth in the class of 1854. On Nov. 14, 1855, he married Flora Cooke; they had three children.

Commissioned brevet second lieutenant in the Mounted Rifles, Stuart was transferred to the 1st U.S. Cavalry in 1855. In October 1859 he served as aide to Col. Robert E. Lee in capturing John Brown at Harpers Ferry, Va. He resigned his commission when Virginia seceded from the Union, and as the Civil War began he accepted appointment as colonel of the 1st Virginia Cavalry.

Assigned to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in the Shenandoah Valley, Stuart quickly distinguished himself for daring. Gallantry at First Manassas (Bull Run) in July 1861 earned him a brigadier general's wreath. In June 1862 Gen. Lee ordered him to reconnoiter Gen. George B. McClellan's rear positions on the Virginia Peninsula. Leading 1,200 men, Stuart won lasting renown with his "Ride around McClellan." Promoted to major general in July 1862, he took command of the cavalry division of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

Stuart became one of the most skilled scouts and intelligence officers in the war. He distinguished himself in the campaign of Second Manassas, and in the invasion of Maryland he and his dismounted troopers proved stubborn fighters. In December 1862 Stuart's horse artillery helped stall the attack on Stonewall Jackson's corps at Fredericksburg. Perhaps his most decisive action came during Jackson's march to intercept Gen. Joseph Hooker in the Virginia Wilderness in April 1863. Assigned the task of discovering enemy plans and screening the Confederate advance, Stuart, plumed hat everywhere in evidence, his banjo-playing companion, "Sweeny," in tow, did superbly. When Jackson was mortally wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, Stuart took temporary command of the II Corps and handled it well in the action of May 3.

At Brandy Station, Va., Stuart's cavalry was surprised and sorely tested for the first time. In the Gettysburg campaign, Stuart's love of adventure led him to his one glaring blunder; when Lee most needed him, Stuart was away on a raid toward Washington, D.C. Rejoining the army on July 2, Stuart's command had no decisive part in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Stuart did not disappoint Lee again. With dwindling manpower and scant forage, he managed Lee's cavalry adroitly through the winter and spring of 1863-1864. On May 11, 1864, Stuart halted Gen. Philip Sheridan's big corps heading for Richmond, but he was wounded at Yellow Tavern and died the next day. His death removed a quality of zeal from Lee's cavalry and left a permanent gap in Southern leadership.

Further Reading

The best biography of Stuart is John W. Thompson, Jr., Jeb Stuart (1930). More recent is Burke Davis, Jeb Stuart: The Last Cavalier (1957). See also W. W. Blackford, War Years with Jeb Stuart (1945). Stuart's relations with Lee are admirably treated in Douglas Southall Freeman, R. E. Lee (4 vols., 1934-1937) and Lee's Lieutenants (3 vols., 1942-1944). □

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Stuart, James Ewell Brown

James Ewell Brown Stuart (Jeb Stuart), 1833–64, Confederate cavalry commander in the American Civil War, b. Patrick co., Va. Most of his U.S. army service was with the 1st Cavalry in Kansas. On Virginia's secession, Stuart resigned (May, 1861) and became a captain of cavalry in the Confederate army. He distinguished himself at the first battle of Bull Run (July, 1861) and in September was made a brigadier general. In June, 1862, he conducted the first of his celebrated cavalry raids, making a complete circuit of General McClellan's army on the Virginia peninsula, noting the Union positions. General Lee used this information to advantage in the Peninsular campaign. Stuart was promoted to major general in July and given command of all the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. After another bold and successful raid (Aug., 1862), this time to John Pope's rear, he covered the last stage of Stonewall Jackson's flanking movement before the second battle of Bull Run (Aug., 1862). He was actively engaged in that battle and in the subsequent Antietam campaign. Again in Oct., 1862, Stuart rode around the Union Army ranging as far as S Pennsylvania and capturing 1,200 horses. He made effective use of his famous horse artillery in the battle of Fredericksburg (Dec., 1862). In the battle of Chancellorsville, he moved with Stonewall Jackson in the brilliant flank attack. When both Jackson and A. P. Hill were wounded, Stuart took command. In June, 1863, he fought his greatest cavalry battle at Brandy Station. For knowledge of the enemy Lee depended on Stuart, who, he said, never brought him a piece of false information. But in the Gettysburg campaign, Stuart was absent from the army on a raid, and Lee was not apprised soon enough of the Union concentration N of the Potomac. On May 11, 1864, his corps, now decreased in size and deficient in equipment, met a force of Union cavalry at Yellow Tavern, and Jeb Stuart was mortally wounded. Not since the death of Stonewall Jackson had the South sustained so great a personal loss. His rollicking, infectious gaiety and hard fighting were sorely missed in the gloomy last days of Lee's army.

See biographies by J. W. Thomason, Jr. (1934, repr. 1971) and E. M. Thomas (1986); W. W. Blackford, War Years with Jeb Stuart (1945); D. F. Riggs, East of Gettysburg: Custer vs. Stuart (1985).

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"Stuart, James Ewell Brown." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Stuart, James Ewell Brown." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stuart-james-ewell-brown

Stuart, James Ewell Brown

Stuart, James Ewell Brown (1833–64) Confederate general in the American Civil War. A graduate of West Point, he was a cavalry commander and one of the most able subordinates of Robert E. Lee. His reputation was damaged at Gettysburg, when he undertook an independent operation that prevented him supporting Lee when needed. He died of wounds sustained at Yellow Tavern, Virginia.

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"Stuart, James Ewell Brown." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stuart-james-ewell-brown