Richard Stoddert Ewell

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Ewell, Richard Stoddert (1817–1872), Confederate general.Born in Georgetown, D.C., Ewell was raised in Virginia. In 1840, he graduated from West Point thirteenth in a class of forty‐two and served in the cavalry during and after the Mexican War. He joined the Confederacy in April 1861 and was promoted to brigadier general. As a major general in the Civil War, Ewell commanded a division during “Stonewall” Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign and defeated Union troops at Cross Keys in June 1862. A severe knee wound during the Battle of Groveton in August resulted in the amputation of his right leg, but he returned to duty as a lieutenant general in May 1863. After Jackson's death Ewell took over his II Corps, but his failure to attack the Union position on Cemetery Hill during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg led to accusations of incompetence. “Old Bald Head” subsequently fought during the Wilderness to Petersburg Campaign, but poor health and his wife's increasing Unionist sentiments culminated in his being relieved of field command in May 1864. He commanded Richmond's defenses until captured at Sayler's Creek on 6 April 1865. Paroled in July 1865, Ewell settled at his wife's Spring Hill, Tennessee, estate; both died of pneumonia in January 1872.


Percy Hamlin , Old Bald Head, 1940.
Samuel J. Martin , The Road to Glory: Confederate General Richard S. Ewell, 1991.

Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.

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Richard Stoddert Ewell, 1817–72, Confederate general, b. Georgetown, D.C., grad. West Point, 1840. Ewell rose rapidly in the Confederate army, becoming a major general by Oct., 1861. In 1862 he fought under T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley campaign, playing a decisive role at Winchester, Cross Keys, and Port Republic. He continued in Stonewall's command through the Seven Days battles and Lee's subsequent advance on Pope but lost his leg in the second battle of Bull Run (Aug., 1862). Upon his return to duty, Ewell succeeded the late Stonewall Jackson as commander of the 2d Corps and led Lee's advance in the Gettysburg campaign. During the Wilderness campaign (1864) he sustained further injury and was forced to retire from the field but commanded the defenses of Richmond until the city fell in Apr., 1865.

See D. S. Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants (3 vol., 1942–44).