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James Ewell Brown Stuart

Stuart, James Ewell Brown (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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies


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