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James Ewell Brown Stuart ( 1833 - 1864 )  Category ( Military_Persons ) [suggest a correction]
 

Jeb StuartJames Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was an American soldier from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. His flamboyant image of a Virginia cavalier (red-lined gray cape, yellow sash, hat cocked to the side with a peacock feather, red flower in his lapel, often sported cologne) made him a popular figure during the war, but his skill on the battlefield made him the eyes and ears of Robert E. Lee's army. Both character traits helped inspire Southern morale.

Stuart was born in Patrick County, Virginia, the eighth of eleven children. He was educated at home by his mother and tutors until age fourteen, when he enrolled in school, and later attended Emory and Henry College. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1850. Though he was not a handsome teenager, his classmates nicknamed him "Beauty," due to his "personal comeliness in inverse ratio to the term employed." While Stuart was at West Point, Robert E. Lee was serving as superintendent. Stuart became friends with the Lee family, seeing them socially on frequent occasions. Stuart graduated thirteenth in his class of forty-six. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant assigned to the U.S. Mounted Rifles in Texas and was later promoted to first lieutenant. In 1855 Stuart met Flora Cooke and quickly became engaged and married. In 1861 he was promoted to the rank of captain, but resigned from the U.S. Army in May of that year to join the Confederate States Army, following the secession of Virginia.

In the war, Stuart was a cavalry commander who was renowned for his mastery of reconnaissance and use of cavalry in support of offensive operations. He established his reputation during the Peninsula and Maryland Campaigns. His most famous campaign, Gettysburg, ironically contributed to Lee's defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg, though historians continue to debate whether Lee's loss lay with Stuart or just bad luck.

During the Overland Campaign in 1864, Stuart intercepted Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan's cavalry at Yellow Tavern on the outskirts of Richmond on May 11. A dismounted Union cavalryman shot him from a distance of thirty feet with a pistol; Stuart died the next day in the Confederate capital. The last words he spoke were in a whisper, "I am resigned, God's will be done." He was thirty-one years old. He was buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery and was survived by his wife and two children.

Photograph: James Ewell Brown Stuart, photographed by George S. Cook.


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