Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Funeral of Stonewall Jackson - The Lexington Gazette, May 20, 1863

All that was mortal of our great and good chief, Lieut. Gen. T.J. Jackson was consigned to the tomb on Friday last.

The body having reached Lexington by the Packet boat on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by his personal staff, Maj. A.S. Pendleton, Surgeon H. McGuire, Lieut. Morrison, and Lieut. Smith, by his Excellency Gov. Letcher, and a delegation of the citizens of Lynchburg, it was received by the Corps of Cadets and escorted to the Institute, and deposited in his late Lecture Room, which had been appropriately draped in mourning.

There was the table used by the late Professor--the same chair in which he sat--the cases with the Philosophical apparatus he had used--all told of his quiet and unobtrusive labors in his Professional life--and placed just as he left them, when he received the order of the Governor of Virginia to march the Corps of Cadets to Richmond, on the 21st of April 1861. He left the Va. Military Institute in command of the Cadets. He has been brought back to sleep among us--a world renowned Christian Hero.

The procession moved from the Institute on Friday morning at 10 A.M. The Funeral escort was commanded by Maj. S. Ship, Commandant of Cadets, a former pupil of Gen. Jackson and a gallant officer who had served with him in his Valley Campaign, as Major of the 21st Va. Regt.
The Escort was composed as follows:
1. Cadet Battalion
2. Battery of Artillery of 4 pieces, the same battery he had for ten years commanded as Instructor of Artillery and which had also served with him at 1st Manassas, in [the] Stonewall Brigade.
3. A company of the original Stonewall Brigade, composed of members of different companies of the Brigade, and commanded by Capt. A. Hamilton, bearing the flag of the "Liberty Hall Volunteers."
4. A company of convalescent officers and soldiers of the army.
5. A Squadron of cavalry was all that was needed to complete the escort prescribed by the Army Regulations. This squadron opportunely made its appearance before the procession moved from the church. The Squadron was a part of Sweeny's battalion of Jenkin's command, and many of its members were from the General's native North-western Virginia.
6. The Clergy.
7. The Body enveloped in the Confederate Flag and covered with flowers, was borne on a caisson of the Cadet Battery, draped in mourning.The pall bearers were as follows:Wm. White ; Professor J.L. Campbell--representing the Elders of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.Wm. C. Lewis; Col. S. McD. Reid--County Magistrates.Prof. J.J. White; Prof. C.J. Harris--Washington College.S. McD. Moore; John W. Fuller--Franklin Society.George W. Adams; Robt. I. White--Town Council.Judge J. W. Brockenbrough; Joseph G. Steel--Confederate District CourtDr. H.H. McGuire; Capt. F.W. Henderson--C.S. Army.Rev. W. McElwee; John Hamilton--Bible Society of Rockbridge
8. The Family and Personal Staff of the deceased.
9. The Governor of Va., Confederate States Senator Henry of Tenn. The Sergeant-at-Arms of C.S. Senate, and a member of the City of Richmond Council.
10. Faculty and Officers of Va. Mil. Institute.
11. Elders and Deacons of Lexington Presbyterian Church of which church Gen. Jackson was a Deacon.
12. Professors and Students of Washington College.
13. Franklin Society.
14. Citizens.

Article Regarding Auction of Flora's handmade Battle Flag

“My darling One--My battlefield flag, the beautiful one you made fell from the tent-front the other day into the fire,” said Jeb Stuart, Confederate Civil War General, in a note to his wife Flora. “It has proudly waved over many battlefields and if ever I need a motive for braving danger and trials I found it by looking upon that symbol placed in my hands by my cherished wife,” Stuart added.

The same red-wool bunting flag, showing the Confederate “Southern Cross” with its 13 stars and burn marks was retuned to Stuart’s wife in 1862. Most likely, it was the same flag at Stuart’s side during his battles. Little could Flora know, in two years, her husband, one of the most famous and colorful cavaliers in the Army of Northern Virginia, would also be snuffed out.

The flags soldiers carried in battle were fragile. Some were silk, others wool. Subjected to sun, rain, snow, bullets and bayonets, they were lovingly birthed from wedding dresses and Sunday best garments. Soldiers died for them. Prized trophies, flags were the most sought after objects on the battlefield. Waving proudly in front of regiments, at wars end all that remained of some flags were shreds of cloth nailed to a staff. Faced with ultimate surrender, hundreds were buried, burned and otherwise destroyed by Johnny Rebs themselves. Still others were cut up into dozens of tiny pieces. Each surviving warrior would carry one home as a souvenir.

After Gen. Jeb Stuart’s death, a number of items were found in his pockets: a letter to his wife, a poem about the death of a child, a copy of the New Testament, a handkerchief, a lock of his daughter’s hair, a commendation congratulating the infantry he commanded, and a thin round pin cushion embroidered with a Confederate flag. When Gen. Robert E. Lee learned Stuart was dying at the age of 31, he said in a shaken voice, “I can scarcely think about him without weeping.”

Because of the fighting, a disruption in railroad service and a rainstorm, Stuart’s wife was late in reaching her husband’s bedside. After a 10 hour journey, she entered the house where he lay. A certain quiet all around her revealed the inevitable. Words were unnecessary. Flora went and sat alone in a candlelit room beside her dead husband. Stuart’s funeral was held at St. James Church in Richmond, Va. Battles were raging nearby so his troops were absent. Because of the fighting, there was no military escort. As the choir sang, Flora sat in the front of the church weeping. Afterwards, a hearse drawn by four white horses escorted Stuart to Hollywood Cemetery. For the rest of her life, Flora wore black to mourn Stuart’s death and displayed the bullet-riddled, burnt battle flag on her wall. She died on May 10, 1923.

On Dec. 1 and 2, Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers, Dallas, Texas, featured a selection of items belonging to Gen. Jeb Stuart in its Civil War History auction. Among them was the flag discussed. Here are some current values for Stuart’s personal belongings.

Gen Jeb Stuart Portrait and Autograph; matted and framed; 10 inches by 15 inches; $3,884.

Gold Mechanical Pencil and Cuff Links; $19,120.

Field Compass and Lock of Hair; hair removed by wife on night of his death; $44,813.

West Point Class Ring; gold with green stone; given to Stuart by his parents when he graduated in 1854; $113,525.

Gold Pocket Watch; key-wind; 52mm pocket watch; inscribed with his initials; case by E. Maurice and Co., movement by John Cragg of London; $131,450.

Personal Battle Flag; most recognized banner of the Confederacy; 13-star design; $956,000.


It is while I read articles like this I wish I were rich enough to buy some of these items.


Civil War Minute - The Death of J.E.B. Stuart

I am posting a link to a youtube video about the death of Jeb Stuart. The narrative is from Private McCormack.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lee's Reflections on the Death of Stuart

These reflections come from Rob Lee's book on his father.

Captain W. Gordon McCabe writes me:"I was sitting on my horse very near to General Lee, who was talking to my colonel, William Johnson Pegram, when a courier galloped upwith the despatch announcing that Stuart had been mortally wounded and was dying. General Lee was evidently greatly affected, and saidslowly, as he folded up the despatch, 'General Stuart has been mortallywounded: a most valuable and able officer.' Then, after a moment, he added in a voice of deep feeling 'HE NEVER BROUGHT ME A PIECE OF FALSE INFORMATION'--turned and looked away.

What praise dearer to asoldier's heart could fall from the lips of the commanding generaltouching his Chief of Cavalry! These simple words of Lee constitute,I think, the fittest inscription for the monument that is soon to be erected to the memory of the great cavalry leader of the 'Army of Northern Virginia.'

"In a letter from my father to my mother, dated Spottsylvania CourtHouse, May 16th, he says:"...As I write I am expecting the sound of the guns every moment. I grieve over the loss of our gallant officers and men, and miss their aid and sympathy. A more zealous, ardent, brave, and devoted soldiert han Stuart the Confederacy cannot have. Praise be to God for having sustained us so far. I have thought of you very often in these eventful days. God bless and preserve you.

"General Lee, in his order announcing the death of Stuart, thus speaks of him:"...Among the gallant soldiers who have fallen in this war, General Stuart was second to none in valour, in zeal, and in unflinching devotion to his country. His achievements form a conspicuous part of the history of this army, with which his name and services will beforever associated. To military capacity of a high order and to thenoble virtues of the soldier he added the brighter graces of a purelife, guided and sustained by the Christian's faith and hope. The mysterious hand of an all-wise God has removed him from the scene of his usefulness and fame. His grateful countrymen will mourn his loss and cherish his memory. To his comrades in arms he has left the proud recollections of his deeds and the inspiring influence of his example."

General Lee Talks About Traveller and His Other Mounts

If I were an artist like you I would draw a true picture of Traveller--representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest andshort back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead,delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Sucha picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict hisworth and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat, cold,and the dangers and sufferings through which he passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable responseto every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts, throughthe long night marches and days of battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist; I can only say he is a Confederate gray. I purchased him in the mountains of Virginia in the autumn of 1861, and he has been my patient follower ever since--to Georgia, the Carolinas,and back to Virginia. He carried me through the Seven Days battlea round Richmond, the second Manassas, at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg,the last day at Chancellorsville, to Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg, and back to the Rappahannock.

From the commencement of the campaign in 1864 at Orange, till its close around Petersburg, the saddle was scarcely off his back, as he passed through the fire of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbour, and across the James River. He was almost in daily requisition in the winter of 1864-65 on the long line of defenses from Chickahominy, north of Richmond, to Hatcher's Run, south of the Appomattox.

In the campaign of 1865, he bore me from Petersburg to the final days at Appomattox Court House. You must know the comfort he is to me in my present retirement. He is well supplied with equipments. Two sets have been sent to him from England, one from the ladies of Baltimore, and one was made for him in Richmond; but I think his favourite is the American saddle from St. Louis.

Of all his companions in toil, 'Richmond,' 'Brown Roan,' 'Ajax,' and quiet 'Lucy Long,' he is the only one that retained his vigour. The first two expired under their onerous burden, and the last two failed. You can, I am sure, from what I have said, paint his portrait."

Robert E. Lee's Letter to Anna Jackson

I found this letter on line and thought I would share it. It concerns Joseph Morrison, Anna's younger brother, who was with Jackson when he was wounded. I believe the wound is the one that would cause the amputation of Joe's foot.

Petersburg 8 Sept 64

Mrs T. J. Jackson

I have recd your letter of the 2nd ulto: in reference to your brother Capt J. G. Morrison. It will give me great pleasure to aid him in obtaining any position he desires, but at present it is difficult to say upon what kind of duty he will be capable of entering. I am glad to say that he is doing well from his last wound, but it will be some time I think before he is able to perform field duty of any kind. I should think it better for him when recovered to obtain Bureau duty, or duty within his State, at least until he finds by experience what labour & exposure he can undergo. I was much distressed at the reception of his last wound, which though very serious I trust will not inflict upon him permanent disability. His youth & temperament will in time overcome everything. He is now a Captain in the line. A very honourable position, & from which but for his late wound, his merits would soon have advanced him.

Wishing you & yours every blessing, I am with great respect most truly yours

R E Lee

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

General Orders Twenty Eight

Yikes! October is nearly over, and I have done very little blogging this month. Not because I don't want to, but working, school, and writing papers for my masters has swallowed up a great portion of my time.

Now, I do have to admit, I would rather be studying the life of Jackson or Stuart than delving into the mind of Osama bin Laden or Lawrence of Arabia, but unfortunately, my degree is not in American History. Too bad!

I have also finished the eleventh draft (at least) of my novel. I have a very special person reading it now. If all goes well and she doesn't point out a major flaw, then, hopefully the manuscript will begin its quest for an agent. I have a new query letter to entice agents into representing me.

When people ask me about my novel and what I hope to accomplish with it, I think they find my answer disappointing. I don't think I've written the next Da Vinci Code or anything like that. My subject matter (an alternative history about the Civil War) is too limiting, I think. It's a book for a profitable market, but, that market is very small. But that's okay with me.

So, what do I hope to accomplish? Well, I think I can best describe that by telling you about my reaction to the mini-series, Lonesome Dove. I first saw it on T.V. way back in the 1980's and purchased the videos. I haven't seen it for a while, so I was at the library and saw the DVD's. I checked it out. I only have one more episode to watch and, you know what, I'm sad. I love these characters, and I don't want the story to end. Have you ever read a book like that? You start to panic when you near the end of the book because you know the story is coming to an end? Lord of the Rings is like that for me. When I finished Return of the King, I was sad. No more adventures for Merry and Pippin, Aragorn, or Sam and Frodo. That's what I really want to accomplish. To create characters that a reader can't get enough of. To have the reader sigh a little sigh of regret when they close the back cover. Have I done that? I don't know. I do know when I finished the first draft and there was no more story to tell, I felt like I had lost my best friends for a day or two.

So, in the future, I will try to make time for some more blogging! I miss reading and writing about the menof the Army of Northern Virginia. Now, it's back to Osama bin Laden.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

JEB Stuart's Letter to Flora Upon Learning of the Death of His Daughter

Four days later, word reached Stuart that La Pet was gone. Stuart was at Waterloo Bridge, near Warrenton, Virginia

My Dear, Dear Wife,

The affliction fell at last and its intelligence reached me this morning. I was sometime expecting it and yet it grieves me more, the more I think of it. When I remember her sweet voice, her gentle ways and strong affection for her Pa, and then think she is gone, my heart is ready to burst. I want to see you so much and to know what her last words were. She is better off, I know, but it is a hard blow to us. She is up in Heaven where she will still pray for her Pa and look down upon him in the day of battle. Oh, if I could see her again. No child can ever have such a hold on my affection as she had. She was not of earth however. If you could get to Culpepper Court House or Brandy Station I might be able to see you for a short while but do not go to too much trouble.

I have been in battle every day since I heard of Flora's sickness and that was November 2nd. She died November 3rd and I heard of it November 6th. I have been harassing and checking a heavey force believed to be McClellan's and it will today no doubt reached Warrenton.

Rosser is in command of Lee's Brigade and is my right hand man now. Wickham behaved most gallantly and received a wound which compelled him to visit hom.

God has shielded me thus far from bodily harm, but I feel perfect resignation to go at his bidding and join my little Flora.

I cannot write more.

Your loving husband,
J.E.B. Stuart

Letter from JEB Stuart to Flora Concerning the Illness of Daughter Flora

Last week, I published Stuart's letter to his cousin regarding his grief at the loss of his daughter. I thought I would publish the letters he wrote when he first found out that Flora was ill and then Flora had died. The first was written November 2, 1862, while Stuart was in Upperville, Virginia. There is much in the letter that reveals the personality of Stuart... Like I said, it was when I read this book of letters that I came to love Stuart.

My Darling Wife:

Your last letter received was dated October 16th. Then all was well and I was lithe and merry. On the 9th I moved to this flank to take charge of the very delicate operations entrusted to Lee's Brigade in Loudoun County, since which time we have been fighting all the time and yesterday and the day before were brilliantly successful against Pleasanton and Bayard.

Today, attacked by a heavy force of Infantry and Artillery, we have kept them all day advancing three miles and fought from position to position till dark.

It is McClellan's advance and there is no rest for me. Dr Brewer's (Stuart's brother in-law) first dispatch came yesterday and I answered it at once. The second came today, saying my darling Pet's case was doubtful, and urges me in your name to come. I received it on the field of battle. I was at a loss to decide that it was my duty to you and to Flora to remain. I am entrusted with the conduct of affairs and the issue of which will affect you, her, and the mothers and children of our country much more seriously than we can believe. I wonder if Dr. Brewer really thinks with you that I ought to leave my post under existing circumstances.

If my darling daughter's case if hopeless there are ten chances to one that I would get to Lynchburg too late. If she be convalscent why should my presence be necessary? She was sick nine days before I knew it.

My darling, let us trust in the Good God, who has blessed us so much, to spare our child to us, but if it should please Him to take her from us let us bear it with Christian fortitude and resignation. It is said that woman is better at bearing misfortune than man--I hope you will exemplify it. At all events, remember that Flora was not of this world, she belonged to another, and will be better off by far in her heavenly habitation. My staff are well.

Your devoted husband,
J.E.B. Stuart

General Orders Twenty-Seven

Yesterday, I went to an antique bookstore in a small village not far from where I live and stepped into Aladdin's cave. Wow! The books! The prices! If I had alot of money, I could have walked out of there with an armload of books, and it took all my self-control only to buy three. I found Fitzhugh Lee's biography on his uncle for $1.50. That's right! $1.50. It wasn't a first edition or anything, but still.

I bought a biography on Stonewall Jackson that I had checked out from the library. It was only $4.50. There were books on battles, on Hunt's raid through Ohio, and other goodies. I will have to make a return trip.

Besides books, the other thing I would love to be able to purchase are the wonderful paintings of Civil War scenes that I have seen, mostly at shops in Gettysburg. I dream of filling my house with them. I own calendar prints that I have framed. Mostly all of Stonewall Jackson. My favorite it Kuntsler's "Let Us Cross Over the River." But, the talent these artists have absolutely amazes me.

Anyway, I thought I would just share my good fortune at finding those extraordinary treasures. I do plan to make a return trip though. LOL!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jeb Stuart Writes About the Death of His Daughter

Those who have read the blog from the beginning know that I bought a book of Jeb Stuart's letter. I printed a rather funny one written to his father about a fight he had at West Point. This letter, about the death of Little Flora, or LaPet as Stuart called her, is another letter that grabbed my heart. He is writing to his cousin, Nannie Price and the things he says to her reveals much about Stuart and his relationship with his wife, Flora.

Camp Boteler
September 11th, 1863

My Dearest Nannie,

Your charming letter, though long expected gave me much happiness, and I tender you my grateful acknowledgements with the entreaty to do so again. I have been upon the point of answering it several times but I did not feel inclined to submit to the interruptions in such pleasant converse to which I am every day subject, I have waited consequently for this midnight hour to talk when none is near. Ah, if I could with soft music steal to that window and pour the strains, which like the Irishman's fiddle I have in men if I could only get utterance, "I would a tale unfold, etc." If you knew how much and how often my thoughts wander back to "Dundee" and go tripping with you through the garden, here clipping a tea rose bud, there a giant of bottles, there a sprig of arbor-vitae, while you add with that bewitching look a leaf of geranium. Ah, Nannie, don't you recognize the picture? I wish it were once more reality, but the time seems far in the dim future when I have business in Fredericksburg.

Wade Hampton and Fitz Lee are Major Generals Commanding Divisions in my Calvary Corps, but I am not yet Lieutenant General. I command the Corps as a Major General. General Ewell had a review of his entire Corps. I never saw the like of ladies on horseback. How I wished you had been there, and yet I am too selfish to desire so many eyes to behold you. You don't know how proud it makes me feel to hear you say you thought of me often during my long and eventful absence. I am much gratified that the trifles I sent you pleased you. The mantle I brought at a Miller's in Hagerstown Maryland (a Secesh Milliner at that, and I think it was the work of her own hands. I immediately thought how sweet and becoming it would look on Cousin Nannie. You must wear it these cool evenings, and not wait till I come, it might be too long. Did Cousin Lizzie ever get the package Dr. Fontaine sent by Major Ball?

Have no apprehensions, Nannie, of my losing the affection I feel for "Dundee" and its precious inmates. I can never feel otherwise, than I do toward you, and your welfare and happiness, Nannie, are matters of chief concern to me. I will leave nothing undone to promote them. Bless your precious little "self," I wish I could have an old fashion talk with you. You would soon be convinced that there is no change, and how undisputed is the sway you hold over my heart.

Flora is still in Lynchburg and rather indisposed. She was hoping that in passing through she would get to see you. I think Major Langhorne said he could not take the doctor's family.

I have been thinking much of late of my parting with you and my all at "Dundee" a little over a year ago.

When farewells were said and tears had been shed--do you remember how Little Flora ran out after me, climbed up by my stirrup, clung around my neck with her dear little arms, with tearful kisses till forced away. Ah, Nannie, can I ever forget that picture! that parting! that embrace! Can you wonder at the tears that filled my eyes as I write. The thought flashed through my mind at that moment, "we may not meet again." It is now vividly remembered and the gloomy apprehension rose and kindled tears in my eyes. I was just starting on the campaign against Pope and I knew that my life hung by a thread ready to be severed by any one of the thousands of death's missiles which sweep the battle plain. All this flashed through my mind for there are moments which are like a century. I though of the widow (there she stood before me) and the fatherless little sylph in my arms, and breathed a prayer that He who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, would deal tenderly with mine. Ah! little did I think that I was to be spared and she taken!

I feel it is all gain to her but my grief admonishes me that earth has lost its chief attraction, and while it does not make me reckless, I go forth at the summons of duy of danger with that cheerful resignation which the cold world calls rashness.

Excuse me, Nannie dear, for obtruding my grief upon you. You feel so near to me. I talk to you as if communing with myself. I dare not write to Flora as I have written you. I have to restrain my grief, my feelings, my language on the subject and she little dreams what agony in the lone bivouac and even on the march those choking memories have caused me.

Enough of this. Give my best love to all at "Dundee." Write as often as possible and remember how precious your letters are to me. Give my love to Cousin Corneal and other friends. I saw young Starke a few days ago looking very happy. Who made him so? Tell me Nannie, who are your beaux now? I am interested in everything that concerns you.

Give my love to Mrs. General Wickham. I send you something to remind you of an absent friends.

Yours, xxxx

P.S. Did you get the copy of Moore I send by Chiswell Dabney.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

General Orders Twenty Six

Last night I received a passionate and detailed set of answers to the questions I asked yesterday, which alerted me to the fact that I wasn't as precise as I had thought I had been. The questions were rhetorical. They represent, what I believe, the wrong "impressions" (using Dowdy's word) that exist in the war's historiography regarding Stuart. For any confusion, I apologize.

But do take time to read eringobragh's answers in the comment section under General Orders 25. We only differ on one small point. Thank you for your answers and reading this blog.

Monday, September 29, 2008

General Orders Twenty-Five

Questions abound for me about Jeb Stuart. As I have said before, the Stuart I find in recent biographies and literature is far different than the Stuart I have discovered by reading primary sources, his letters, and biographies written by his staff. I realize that I'm just starting the long research process, and my questions will be answered as I plow through the huge pile of research on my desk.

In Lee Takes Command, Clifford Dowdy writes the following regarding A.P. Hill's actions at the Battle of Mechanicsville. "Lee's admirers have view him (Lee) as the complete soldier and have tended to put the blame (for the failure of the Seven Days Battle to destroy the Army of the Potomac) on Jackson and A.P. Hill. In turn, Jackson's admirers have tended to blame Lee and A.P. Hill. As no legend grew around Powell Hill between the charges of the Lee and Jackson camps, the impression has been allowed to stand that the "impulsive Hill" attacked single-handed the Federal stronghold where Lee wished to avoid battle." (page 190)

I think this quote applies to Stuart. Certain impressions abound in the war's, Lee's and Stuart's historiographies that has been repeated and cemented in biographies, magazines, books, and films. They have become the "truth" by which Stuart, in my opinion, has been unfairly portrayed.

Here are just a few of the questions that I have:

1) Is the portrayal of Stuart as the vain-glorious, ego-centric man-child, who was more concerned with flirting and dancing than doing his duty, the correct one?
2) Some historians accuse Stuart's decision to ride around McClellan's army as vanity run wild. These same historians then claim that this decision is the primary reason Lee's plans did not come to fruition since it alerted McClellan of the threat to his supplies and communications.
3) Was the grand review on the plains of Brandy Station proof that Stuart's vanity ruled the cavalry? In fact, he was so vain, that he held a second review.
4) Were these reviews responsible for the "surprise" at Brandy Station?
5) Did Stuart honestly believe he lost the Battle of Brandy Station aka the Battle of Fleetwood Hill?
6) Was Stuart so stung by the criticism in the Richmond papers regarding Brandy Station that he disobeyed his orders during the Gettysburg campaign and left Lee "blind?"
7) What is the truth of Stuart's "playboy" persona?
8) Was Stuart unfaithful to Flora?

Now I may be wrong. My continued research may very well lead me to the conclusion that the current portrayal of Stuart is the correct one. But I don't think so. To tell you the truth, I don't recognize the Stuart I read about as the Stuart I have come to know. I believe the "impression" of the playboy, vain man-child ruled by his ego, more interested in flirting and dancing than performing his duty and responsible for the defeat at Gettysburg has not only been allowed to stand but is constantly reinforced. It is my hope that anything I write about Stuart in the future (if it is good enough to be published) will reveal the true Stuart -- the cavalry leader that both Lee and Jackson loved and trusted.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

General Orders Twenty-Four

There was an argument at work once, and people were taking sides. Everyone had an opinion, and everyone's opinion was the right one. When my boss was asked which side he was taking, he said, "I don't have a dog in the fight." That pretty much stopped the argument dead in its track. None of us really had a dog in the fight. We just had a bunch of opinions.

Not all, but too many historians, have a dog in the fight when it comes to the Civil War. It only takes ten or so pages into the first chapter (and sometimes not even that long) before the dog has been identified. Now, I don't really have a problem with that as long as the author admits that he wants his dog to win, and, therefore, he isn't exactly neutral. I do mind when the author insists he is neutral when he isn't.

In Lee Takes Command, Clifford Dowdey doesn't have a dog and, admittedly, he is a Lee man. He is fair and unbiased in writing about the Seven Days Battle. He doesn't destroy Jackson to protect Lee, nor does he blame Lee for Jackson's performance. He gives detailed analysis that explains Jackson's performance. It is a problem most of us have dealt with. After a month of continual marching and fighting, Jackson had hit the wall. He was past exhausted and even the most simple of commands were almost impossible to carry out. If you have never been that tired, then good for you. But if you have, then you know what handicap Jackson operated under.

Dowdey is very blunt about the abuse that A.P. Hill has received for his actions on the first day of battle. Dowdey explains that in the Jackson/Lee fight during the years, Little Powell has been unfairly scapegoated. He gives a reasonable explanation to why Hill went before he had heard from Jackson.

Of course, for me, books like this rise and fall on Stuart and here I have a problem with Dowdey. Not a big problem... but Dowdey is inconsistent in his dealings with Stuart and his ride around McClellan and whether or not this ride forced McClellan to abandon his White House base in order to set up a new base along the James River. Like I said not a big problem, but I would like to see some more consistency.

Dowdey wins huge accolades for understanding cause and effect. Sometimes, when I read historical accounts, I get the sense that things are happening in a vacuum. Dowdey is consistent in showing that A happened to cause B to cause C to cause D. This way, the reader gets a complete picture of the battles along the Chickahominy that begin with Johnston's retreat from Centreville.

If you have not read Dowdey's book, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

General Orders Twenty-Three

Ike blew through Cincinnati with 75 mph winds downing trees and sending roofs flying. My power was off for 47-1/2 hours. Needless to say, I lost any sense of humor about 7 hours in. After that, I wanted my power on and on now. Reading by flashlight, I finished Woodworth's Davis and Lee at War, started Clifford Dowdey's Lee Takes Command. At the same time, I started Furgurson's Not War But Murder about Cold Harbor.

It is distressing to read Woodworth's and Dowdey's books. For someone who roots for the Army of Northern Virginia, it is maddening to read about the retreat of Joe Johnston from Centreville to Yorktown. The waste of supplies! So needed by the Confederacy. Then at the end of the war, Beauregard's machinations that denied Lee needed troops as he retreated before Grant's massive army in 1864. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! It brings to mind the same frustration I experienced reading Woodworth's Jefferson Davis and His Generals about the western theater. To read about men, who put their pride and ambition before everything... the opportunities these selfish and self-centered generals wasted because they wanted Braxton Bragg's job. I wanted to jump in the pages and slap some sense into them.

I'm mid-way through Woodworth's Nothing But Victory, an account of The Army of the Tennessee. To watch Halleck do what he could to disrupt Grant's career births the same frustration and disgust.

Forget the cause or the nation or the army... what was important to the likes of Johnston, Halleck, the Bishop Polk, Longstreet, Hardee, and D.H. Hill was their own vanity. When Stuart is blasted for his vanity, I just marvel. He, in no way, compares to these men, They were the very definition of vain-glory and ego and self-centeredness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Battle of Dranesville - Conclusion

I will end my discussion on the Battle of Dranesville by saying that I think Thomason is wrong in contributing the defeat at Dranesville as a result of carelessness on the part of Stuart. My analysis is that Stuart's error was in placing trust in men who were not worthy of such. As J.B. Jones writes, Stuart was led into a trap. He had no reason to distrust the men who told him about the supply of forage in the small city. He had no reason to believe they would notify the enemy that he was coming. Adding to this scenario was the fact that his pickets, after being attacked by the on-coming Federal force, did not report this fact to Stuart. They failed in their main responsibility.

Now, about the "coincidence" of both Stuart and Federal forces descending on Dranesville on the same day at the same time for the same reason. Well, as NCIS Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs would say, "there is no such thing as coincidence." It is too much to assume. If Jones is right, and Stuart, in his official report, suggests he was betrayed, then for me this is the more compelling reason than simple carelessness on Stuart's part. Furthermore, McCall writes in his order to Ord that he was in contact with persons unknown who gave him the position and strength of the Confederate pickets. Ord himself writes in his official report that he knew the strength and position of the Confederate pickets. Both Ord and McCall say that they were going to Dranesville for forage.

Underpining this conclusion is Stuart's report, Jones' account, Ord's and McCall's official reports, and the simple fact that I have a hard time believing that both armies headed to Dranesville at the same time to perform the same act. What I believe happened was that Stuart was sent to Dranesville for forage on the word of the men recently released by General Winder. They, in turn, notified McCall that he was coming. The Federals responded and drove in the cavalry pickets, who chose not to notify Stuart of the large Federal force in Dranesville. When Stuart appears to take possession of the roads, he is surprised to find a large Federal force at Dranesville.

Monday, September 8, 2008

General Orders Twenty-Two

I'm sorry for the long delay in posting, but I have had quite a week. Everything I touched fell apart, so I spent the week putting out fires.

I have to admit that it was discouraging week. A new biography on Stuart will be available at the end of this month, and I purchased a DVD lecture by Tom Perry, a noted Stuart expert. I thought to myself, does the Civil War community need another biography on Jeb Stuart. What else is left to be said.

I've mentioned this before, but I asked one of my history professors about this very thing. If the "definitive" volume has been written, should I even attempt to research and write another. He said yes! He was emphatic and said that I would bring my own understanding of the subject and that understanding was just as important as any other book written.

I thought he was being kind... but this weekend, at the library, I picked up the latest biography on Princess Diana. I am a Diana fan. I have read all the books about her (probably own most). So, I have to admit that I expected to find the same stories recounted. But no. This is probably the best book written about Diana, even though I would recommend more if the author wasn't so snarky and mean. I guess when you sit high above your subject and can look down your judgemental nose at her and despise her for her flaws (which we all have but the author) well, let's just say it gets old. But the author had an inside seat, and I've learned a great deal. This is exciting because I didn't think there was anything left to say about the Princess.

So what does that mean. That I am presently researching a biography on Jeb Stuart with aim of publishing my own understanding on Lee's Young Major General. I do see him differently then the Stuart I have come to know in magazines or in recent biographies. So, I do have something to offer to the historiography.

This is not a bold statement or even an arrogant one. I just have something to say about Stuart, so I plan to say it.

General Orders Twenty-One

As I begin the second volume of my great American novel (yes, I have one of them), I had to turn a scholarly eye toward the war out west. I know the battles and the men who fought, but besides Margaret Mitchell's description of the Johnston's long retreat to Atlanta, I really hadn't read about the battles west of the Alleghenies, quite content to stay with Lee, Jackson, and Stuart.

Fortunate for me, I picked up a book by Steven Woodworth. He has written extensively about the war in the west and the Army of the Tennessee. Professor Woodworth is an extraordinary author whose books are well research and entertainingly written. He focuses not only on the battles but on the personalities involved. His books are outstanding. I have read President Davis and His Generals, Six Armies in Tennessee, and Nothing But Victory. I am reading Davis and Lee at War. If you are looking for books on this particular subject, then I highly recommend this author and his books. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Battle of Dranesville - Part Seven

The following is an article about the battle from Harper's Weekly, dated January 11, 1862.

By mid-December 1861, nearly 5 months of relative quiet had passed in northern Virginia since the Union defeat at First Bull Run in July. Except for the Federal disaster at Ball's Bluff in October, no significant engagement had occurred between the opposing armies. The Federals, under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, a superb organizer, drilled daily in their camps on the Virginia Hills opposite Washington, D.C. 25 miles to the west at Centreville, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Confederates also trained.

With the approach of winter, both McClellan and Johnston wrestled with logistical problems. Food and rations for the men and forage for the thousands of horses and mules were a constant need. 5 days before Christmas, both armies sent foraging parties for hay. Both sides selected the same area-the lush farmland west of Dranesville, a town about midway between Alexandria and Leesburg on the Leesburg Turnpike.

At daylight on December 20, the Confederates foraging party, composed of virtually every wagon in Johnston's army rolled out of Centreville, 16 miles south of Dranesville. Brig. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, with 150 cavalryman, 4 infantry regiments, and an artillery battery, accompanied the wagons as an escort. Almost simultaneously Brig. Gen. E.O.C. Ord left Camp Pierpont with 5 Pennsylvania infantry regiments, a battery of four cannon, and a squadron of cavalry. Ord had been ordered to capture Southern marauders and confiscate forage from loyal Confederates. Having only 12 miles to cover, the Federals entered Dranesville first, about noon. Scattering a few Confederate horsemen, the Union troops occupied the town. An hour later the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Rifles spotted Stuart's approaching force to the south. Lt. Col. Thomas L. Kane, commander of the Rifles, knew the terrain and quickly moved his regiment to a hill near the intersection of the Leesburg Pike and the Georgetown road. Kane deployed his soldiers while informing Ord of the oncoming Confederates. Stuart's approaching troopers soon exchanged fire with the Pennsylvanians.

Ord and Stuart, both uncertain about the situation, hurried their trailing regiments forward. The Union brigadier deployed 3 regiments on the right of Kane, south of the turnpike, keeping the 10th Pennsylvania and the cavalry squadron north of the road. The Federal battery unlimbered beside the 10th, soon sending its shells toward the deploying Southerners. Stuart meanwhile, aligned his 4 regiments in the woodlands opposite the 4 Pennsylvania regiments. His artillery unit halted behind the infantry and replied to Ord's gunners.

The infantry action began when the 9th Pennsylvania accidentally stumbled into the 1st Kentucky, who had already mistakenly exchanged volleys with the 6th South Carolina. Stuart then attacked with the 11th Virginia and 10th Alabama. The Confederates cleared the woods and drove toward Kane's soldiers, many of whom occupied a 2-story brick house. A 30-minute fire fight ensued, with the Confederates, suffering more. Stuart then shifted the 11th Virginia to the right, but the regiment passed across the front of a concealed company of the 10th Pennsylvania, whose slicing volley staggered the Virginians, sending them back into the woods.

Stuart, with his attack repulsed and certain the wagons were safe, ordered a withdrawal about 3 o'clock. Masked by the smoke and woods, the Confederates extricated themselves without additional loss. Stuart 194 casualties; Ord lost only 68. The next day both commanders returned to their camps.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Battle of Dranesville - Part Six

Here is General Ord's report of the battle, which is reprinted from the Official Records.

CAMP PEIRPOPOINT, VA., December 21, 1861.
Capt. H. J. BIDDLE, Assistant Adjutant-General, McCall's Division.

SIR: I have to report that, in obedience to the inclosed order, I at 6 a.m. yesterday started towards Dickey's and Henderson's, about 3 miles this side of Dranesville, on the Leesburg pike, with my brigade, the First Rifles, Lieutenant-Colonel Kane; Easton's battery, and two squadrons of cavalry. I likewise heard that it was probable there was a respectable picket of cavalry at Dranesville, and that the picket supposed by you to be near the river behind Dickey's had left. I then determined to send three companies of the Tenth and 20 cavalry with the foraging party to Gunnell's, between the pike and the river, and with the remainder of the force proceed to Dranesville, satisfied that, though I might be exceeding the letter of my instructions, should I find the enemy and pick up a few you would not object. This I did, though Colonel McCalmout, hearing that there was a large force on our left, remained with his part of a regiment, and that detained the two regiments behind him. I had sent for them, but was obliged to enter Dranesville with my artillery and cavalry and a small advance guard only on the road, the First Rifles and Colonel Jackson's regiment flanking this column in the woods on the right and left. The cavalry picket in town fled and scattered and remained in small squads watching.

While waiting in Dranesville for the regiments in the rear to come up, I posted my artillery and cavalry and Jackson's regiment of infantry and a couple of companies of the First Rifles so as to cover the approaches, and sent for Colonel Kane's regiment to occupy the road in our then rear, my front being towards Centreville. This I did because from the occasional appearance of a few mounted men on a slope behind some woods in a hollow to my left and front, and a broad mass of smoke in that neighborhood, I felt pretty sure there was a force there preparing some mischief. As soon as Colonel McCalmont came up with his regiment (the Tenth), followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Penrose (the Sixth), and Colonel Taggart with the Twelfth, and while preparing to resist any attack and to cover my foraging party, I learned that the enemy in force had approached on the south side of the Leesburg pike with field pieces and infantry, and had driven in my pickets, wounding 2 men. Thinking they would attack on both sides of the turnpike as I returned eastward, I ordered (to meet this expected attack) Colonel McCalmont's regiment on the left or river side of the road in the woods, left in front, and if the enemy showed himself on that side to bring his regiment forward into line; Colonel Jackson's regiment (of which and its gallant colonel I cannot speak in too high terms) I ordered to flank the road in the same way on the right of the road in the woods, and do the same if the enemy showed on that side. Between these flanking regiments I ordered the Kane Rifles to meet the enemy behind us in the road, the cavalry to follow, and the artillery I took with me to post them and answer the enemy's artillery, which had opened fire on our then right (the south), directing the rear guard to cover the column of the Sixth and and Twelfth Regiments of Infantry in the road from cavalry.

The artillery went at a run past the station I selected for them, capsizing one of their pieces. I brought them back, told the captain where to post his guns, and then went to remove the cavalry, then exposed in the road swept by the enemy, whose attack was from a thickly-wooded hill on our right flank (the south). Their force I saw was a very bold one, very well posted, and the artillery was only about 500 yards off, with a large force of infantry on both its flanks and in front, covered and surrounded by woods and thickets. Moving east with the cavalry, which was of no use here, I came to a place in the road covered towards the enemy by a high bluff' and dense thicket, which thicket I intended to occupy with infantry. Here I left the cavalry surrounded by dense forests, wherein they could neither fight nor be hurt. The accompanying sketch will show the ground.

As I had at first thought the enemy would attack on both sides the road and moved my infantry to meet such an attack, and as their attack was confined to the right, it became necessary for me to change my front. As neither McCalmont nor Jackson had had time to come into line under first orders when I discovered this, and were moving by the flank, and as before I placed the artillery and cavalry I had seen the Rifles closely engaging the enemy by a flank movement, covering themselves by some houses and fences, my right in meeting the attack thus became the village of Dranesville, my left the gorge and woods occupied by my cavalry on the Leesburg pike.

After securing the cavalry, I found by carefully observing the enemy's fire and battery that their guns were in a road which could be enfiladed. I ordered Captain Easton to right the capsized gun and bring it to the spot from which this road could be raked, removed two other guns to this spot, gave the gunners the distance and elevation, observed the result, and finding after a round or two that the enemy's fire slackened and the gunners were raking the road beautifully without being discomposed by the enemy's fire, I told them "to keep at that," and determined to push the infantry forward. I found them (except the Kane Rifles, the Ninth (Jackson's), and the Tenth (McCal-mont's), Regiments, which were, as above stated), in the ditches, under fences, and covering themselves as best they could. I started them forward, Kane at the head of his regiment leading. His and Jackson's regiments required no urging. McCalmont's regiment was kept in excellent order by its colonel--than whom a better officer is not found in my brigade--and acted as a reserve. I put them in the woods, pushed and exhorted them up the hill, having directed the battery to cease firing, and proceeding with my infantry with the bayonet. About this time, between 3 and 4 o'clock (the action began at 2.30), General McCall, I was informed, arrived on the field. As I was very busy urging the men forward, and they required all my attention to keep them to their work, I did not at once report, but when we reached the ground occupied by the enemy's battery I reported to him. He was so kind as to direct me to continue the pursuit in the same order and to continue my dispositions, which I did. The enemy were pursued fully half a mile farther, but they had left the neighborhood in great haste, leaving their arms, a portion of their dead and wounded, clothing, 10 horses, and a quantity of artillery equipments, with 2 caissons and a limber, scattered along the road towards Centreville and in the woods on both sides.

I beg to mention the coolness and courage of my aides, Captain Painter, assistant quartermaster; First Lieut. S. B. Smith, Tenth Regi-merit Pennsylvania Reserve Corps; First Lieut. S.S. Seward, New York Artillery, and Second Lieut. A. B. Sharpe. They not only carried orders promptly, but in instances requiring it exacted obedience. They deserve a more exalted rank than that they now hold.

The medical officers (especially the brigade surgeon, Dr. Lowman) were prompt and cool, leaving none unattended. The enemy, left 2I of their most desperately wounded on the field, who were taken up, carried to houses, and their wounds dressed by our surgeons; but they will nearly all die. Their dead left on the field is variously estimated from 50 to 75.

Our artillery did terrible havoc, exploding one ammunition wagon, and some of their men whom we brought in say the slaughter was terrible. Several dead lay around the exploded caisson, 3 of whose blackened corpses were headless. The prisoners further state that Colonel Taylor was doubtless killed. Two of their officers were left on the ground, and how many were carried off it is difficult to say. After the affair we built our bivouac fires in Dranesville.

Thus, sir, we, on returning to camp, had marched 24 miles, beaten the enemy, loaded our wagons with forage, bringing in (12 miles) our killed (7) and wounded (60), among whom are 4 captains. Some of our wounded had to be brought the whole distance on stretchers, while I am informed the Pennsylvania ambulances for this division are lying empty at Washington. Lists of killed and wounded and reports of regimental commanders are herewith inclosed.

It is impossible to remember all who were conspicuous, especially as the fighting occurred in thickets and was scattered over much ground. Captain Easton was very efficient and his battery well served.

The wounded officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Kane and Captain Niles, of the Kane Rifles; Captain Bradbury, of the Sixth, and Captains Dick and Galway, of the Ninth, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, were conspicuous, leading their men when wounded. Others there were, as you can well imagine, equally brave, but it would be inviduous to attempt to select them.

The prisoners report that the brigade engaged against us was composed of the Kentucky Rifles, an Alabama, a South Carolina, and a Virginia regiment, with a 6-gun battery, all under the command of General Stuart.

I must not forget the prompt manner in which General Reynolds came up from Difficult Creek, some 4 miles off, as soon as he heard the cannonading. He arrived too late, it is true, to take part in the affair, but the certainty that he would come with his brigade insured a victory, and stimulated our men to earn it.

With respect, sir, your obedient servant,E. O. C. ORD, Brigadier-General Volunteers.

So, both McCall and Ord "heard" that pickets were near. What is not written is that they had advanced warning that Stuart was coming, which Jones implies in his diary. The only evidence to support Jones' claim is the timing of both forces coming to Dranesville on the same day, at the same time, to do the same thing, and Stuart's suspicions that he had been betrayed.

Next I will produce an article written about the Battle from Harper's Ferry. I will also investigate what other Stuart biographers say about the battle as well.

The Battle of Dranesville - Part Five

Here is a reprint of General Ord's orders received on December 19th. They are reprinted from the Original Record.

HEADQUARTERS MCCALL'S DIVISION,Camp Pierpoint, Va., December 19, 1861.
Brig. Gen. E. O. C. ORD, Commanding Third Brigade.

GENERAL: You will please move in command of your brigade at 6 a.m. to-morrow, on the Leesburg pike, in the direction of Dranesville. The First Rifles, Pennsylvania Reserves, Lieutenant-Colonel Kane, have been ordered to form right in front on the pike near Commodore Jones' house and await your arrival, when the commanding officer will report to you for further orders. Captain Easton's battery has been directed to form on the left of the Rifles. The captain will report to you for orders. Two squadrons of cavalry will also be placed under your command. The senior officer will report to you this evening for orders. Sherman, the guide, will likewise report to you for duty.

The object of this expedition is twofold: In the first place, to drive back the enemy's pickets, which have recently advanced within 4 or 5 miles of our lines (leaving a force of about 70 cavalry at Henderson's), and carried off two good Union men, and threatened others; and, secondly, to procure a supply of forage.

It has to-day been reported to me that there is a force of about 100 cavalry lying between Dranesville and the river. This force might be captured or routed by sending a regiment of infantry up the pike beyond their position, to strike their rear by a flank movement to the right, while your disposable cavalry, after picketing the cross-roads near Dickey's, might move near the river, and attack them in front or on the left. Should you not arrive at Dickey's in time to make this movement and leave the ground on you return before nightfall, it must not be undertaken, as I do not wish any part of your command to remain out over night.

The forage will be procured at Gunnell's or at some other rank secessionist's in the neighborhood of Dickey's. Direct your quartermaster to confine the selection of forage to corn and hay. Captain Hall will have charge of the wagon train. The regiment intended to move forward from Dickey's (if you think proper, Jackson's) might ride in the wagons as far as Dickey's, and then be fresh for the forward movement..

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,GEO. A. McCALL, Brigadier-General General, Commanding-Division.

Now coincidences do happen in life. Yet, I find it suspect that both the Union army and Stuart are ordered to Dranesville, at the same time, to collect forage. Now, it could happen, and that possibility must be noted.

But, to me, it strengthens the entries made in J.B. Jones' diary. Stuart was betrayed by Union sympathizers recently released from custody by General Winder.

McCall was in contact with someone (unnamed and implied) who gave him the position and strength of Confederate pickets. These seem to be the same pickets that, once driven in, did not report the presence of Union troops to Stuart.

Now, let's look at General Ord's report of the battle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Battle of Dranesville - Part Four

Here is Stuart's official report of the battle.


Maj. THOMAS A. PITT, Assistant Adjutant-General.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that on the 20th instant I was placed in command of four regiments of infantry, 150 cavalry, and a battery of four pieces of artillery, viz, Eleventh Virginia Volunteers, Col. S. Garland, jr.; Sixth South Carolina Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Secrest; Tenth Alabama Volunteers, Col. J. H. Forney, and First Kentucky Volunteers, Col. Thomas H. Taylor, making an aggregate force of 1,600 infantry; Sumter Flying Artillery (four pieces), Capt. A. S. Catts; One hundred [men of the First] North Carolina Cavalry, Major Gordon, and fifty [men of the] Second Virginia Cavalry, Captain Pitzer, for the purpose of covering an expedition of all the wagons of our army that could be spared (after hay) to the left of Dranesville.

I proceeded at once by the nearest route at daylight towards Dranesville, and the accompanying sketch will show the route as well as the relative situation of other objects of interest in what I am about to narrate.

Knowing the situation of the enemy's advance posts, I sent the cavalry forward far in advance of the infantry, to take possession of the two turnpikes to the right of Dranesville, leading directly to the enemy's advanced posts, so as to prevent any communication of our movements reaching them, and with the main body I followed on to take a position with two regiments and a section of artillery on each turnpike, also to the right of Dranesville, and close enough to their intersection to form a continuous line.

Such a position I knew I could hold against almost any odds, but as my cavalry came in sight of the turnpike, Captain Pitzer discovered the enemy at the point (A) on the ridge and sent me word immediately. I galloped forward at once, and, reconnoitering for myself, found that portion of the enemy was in possession of the ridge, and I could hear distinctly artillery carriages passing up the Georgetown turnpike in considerable numbers, and presently saw the cannons mounted on limber-boxes passing up towards Dranesville, about 200 yards from the intersection (A). I knew, too, that the enemy's infantry were in advance, and I at once suspected that he was either marching upon Leesburg or had received intelligence through a spy of our intended forage expedition and was marching upon it. In either case our wagons would have fallen an easy prey to him, and I saw at once that my only way to save them was to make a vigorous attack upon his rear and left flank and to compel him to desist from such a purpose.

I sent back for the infantry to hurry forward, and sent Captain Pitzer with his detachment of cavalry to gain the roads towards Leesburg, give notice to our wagons to return at once to camp, and keep between them and the enemy, threatening his front and flank; and I will state here, parenthetically, that this duty was performed by Captain Pitzer and his gallant little detachment in the most creditable manner; all our wagons reaching camp safely.

In the mean time the enemy's skirmishers took possession of the dense pine in our front, and as our infantry was met by my messenger three-fourths of a mile back, it was some time coming up. Colonel Garland's regiment, leading, was directed to deploy two companies on each side of the road to clear the ground of the enemy's skirmishers. One of these companies, having mistaken its direction, went too far to the right, and Colonel Garland had to replace it with another. The pines were cleared at doublequick, and the battery was ordered in position at (B), and fired very effectively during the whole of the engagement to the front.

The infantry were placed in position as follows: Garland's regiment on the right of the road, a little in advance of the artillery; Secrest's (South Carolina) on the left of the road. Forney's regiment, arriving later, replaced Garland's, which moved by the flank to the right, and the First Kentucky, Colonel Taylor, at first intended as a reserve, was ordered to take position on the left of the Sixth South Carolina.

As our infantry was well secured from the enemy's view, their artillery fire, which opened about fifteen minutes after ours began, had little effect upon the infantry, but played with telling effect along the road, as from its position (C) and the straightness of the road in our rear it raked the latter with shell and round shot completely. Their caissons and limbers were behind in a brick house completely protected from our shot, while our limbers and caissons were necessarily crowded and exposed. There was no outlet to right or left for a mile back by which the artillery could change its position. When our forces took their position the fire of the artillery caused great commotion in the enemy's lines and a part evidently took to their heels.

The right wing was ordered forward, and the Tenth Alabama rushed with a shout in a shower of bullets, under the gallant lead of their colonel (Forney) and Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, the latter falling in the charge. A part of this regiment crossed the road and took position along a fence, from which the enemy felt the trueness of their aim at short range. The colonel was here severely wounded and had to retire. In his absence the command devolved upon Major Woodward.

The Eleventh Virginia, holding position on the right of the Tenth Alabama, were not so much exposed to the fire of the enemy, and consequently suffered less. The Sixth South Carolina gradually gained ground also to the front, and being, together with the Tenth Alabama, exposed to the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters from a two-story brick house, suffered most. My orders to Colonel Taylor, First Kentucky, were given through Colonel Forney, and I soon knew by the commotion on my left that it was in place. The thicket where the Sixth South Carolina and First Kentucky operated was so dense that it was impossible to see either [their] exact position or their progress in the fight, and I regret to say that the First Kentucky and the Sixth South Carolina mistook each other for the enemy, and a few casualties occurred in consequence, but with that exception the whole force acted with admirable unison, and advanced upon the enemy with the steadiness of veterans, driving him several times from his position with heavy loss. When the action had lasted about two hours I found that the enemy, being already in force larger than my own, was recovering from his disorder and receiving heavy re-enforcements. I could not, with my small numbers, being beyond the reach of re-enforcements, force his position without fearful sacrifice, and seeing that his artillery, superior to ours in numbers and position only, was pouring a very destructive fire into Cutts' battery, I decided to withdraw the latter at once, preparatory to retiring from the field, judging, too, that I had given our wagons ample time to get out of reach of the enemy.

The battery suffered greatly. Its position was necessarily such that it could fire only to the front, and the caissons and limbers had no cover whatever from such a fire. Three or four cannoneers had been shot at their posts and several wounded, and every shot of the enemy was dealing destruction on either man, limber, or horse.

The conduct of the brave, true, and heroic Cutts attracted my admiration frequently during the action--now acting No. 1, and now as gunner, and still directing and disposing the whole with perfect self-command and a devotion to his duty that was, I believe, scarcely ever equaled. He executed my orders to withdraw his battery under a ricochet fire of great accuracy.

One piece I found it necessary to detail some infantry (Eleventh Virginia) to assist in conducting to the rear, which was done by them under great personal exposure.

Having secured the artillery, I sent orders to the four regimental commanders to disengage themselves from the enemy and retire slowly and in perfect order to the railroad, where a stand would be made. This delicate duty was performed admirably, and our troops marched back leisurely,' bringing with them all the wounded that could be found.

The men gathered up their blankets as they passed the points where they had been deposited before the fight. I regret to say, however, that one of the regiments reached the road this side of their blankets and knapsacks, thus missing them entirely; a circumstance which the enemy will construe into precipitate flight. The enemy was evidently too much crippled to follow in pursuit, and after a short halt at the railroad I proceeded to Fryingpan Church, where the wounded were cared for.

Early next morning, with the two fresh regiments furnished me (the Ninth Georgia and Eighteenth Virginia), and a detachment of cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Baker, I proceeded towards the scene of action of the previous day, the cavalry being sent in advance. Learning that the enemy had evacuated Dranesville and had left some of our wounded there, I pushed on to that place to recover them and to take care of the dead. I found our dead on the field, and proceeded at once to remove them all to Centreville for interment. The wounded (about 10) were left by the enemy at a house at Dranesville, who intended to send for them the next day. They had been cared for with the utmost devotion by several of the ladies of the place. They were also removed to Centreville, except two, who were not able to survive the removal, who at their own desire and at the surgeon's advice were left in charge of the ladies.

As to the strength of the enemy, if the concurrent statements of the citizens residing on his route of march can be credited, he had fifteen regiments of infantry., several batteries, and seven companies of cavalry. The latter had started in the direction of our wagons just before the action began, but were then recalled.

Our wounded, who were for the time prisoners, say that the enemy's loss was acknowledged by them to be very heavy, and among the officers killed or mortally wounded was Colonel Kane, of Utah notoriety; and citizens living below declared that they carried off twenty wagon loads of killed and wounded, besides many dead before them on their horses, and that as soon as their dead and wounded were removed they left the field precipitately, leaving behind much of the material which we left on the field, but which we recovered next day.

I cannot speak in too high terms of Colonel Forney, that gallant son of Alabama, whose conspicuous bravery, leading his men in a galling fire, was the admiration of all; nor of his lieutenant colonel (Martin), who, with the battle-cry of forward on his lips, fell, bravely encouraging his men. Nor can I do more than simple justice to the officers and men of that regiment, who seemed determined to follow their colonel wherever he would lead.

Colonel Garland and Major Langhorne, of the Eleventh Virginia, behaved with great coolness under fire, and the men of that regiment, though deprived by locality from sharing as much of the danger of the engagement as the Tenth Alabama Regiment, yet acquitted themselves to my entire satisfaction.

The Sixth South Carolina and First Kentucky were, I regret to say, too much screened from my view to afford me the privilege of bearing witness, by personal observation, of individual prowess, but that the Sixth South Carolina, under the fearless Secrest, did its whole duty, let the list of killed and wounded and her battle flag, bathed in blood, with its staff shivered in the hand of the bearer, be silent but eloquent witnesses. Their major (Woodward) was painfully wounded, but bore himself heroically notwithstanding; while the telling report I could distinctly hear from the left assured me that the First Kentucky, under the gallant Taylor, the intrepid Major Crossland, and daring Desha, was all right.

Our battery's loss in killed and wounded was great, and the men deserve great credit for their devotion to their pieces under such perilous circumstances.

The detachment of North Carolina cavalry, under Major Gordon, was of great service in watching the approaches to our flanks, though the ground was extremely unfavorable for cavalry.

The attention of the general commanding is respectfully called to the detailed reports of commanders of regiments and corps, and to the special mention made by them of individual prowess.

Colonel Taylor became separated from his regiment in passing from its left to its right and found himself beyond the enemy's lines, but by great coolness and presence of mind he extricated himself and joined his regiment that night.

My thanks are due to my adjutant-general, Captain Brien; my aide, Chiswell Dabney, jr.; Lieutenants Throckmorton and Johnson, of the Fairfax Cavalry, and Lieutenant Jackson (aide to General Jones), volunteers for the occasion, for valuable services on the field. Lieutenant Throckmorton accompanied Captain Pitzer and was conspicuously useful during the day, and Lieutenant Johnson was of great service to me.

Corporal Henry Hagan, of [the] First Virginia Cavalry, was of great service in showing the First Kentucky its position in line, and proved himself on this as on every other occasion worthy of a commission.

Redmond Burke, Chief Bugler Steele, Privates Lewis, Barnes, Harris, Barton, Landstreet, Routh, Brigman, Thompson, and Carroll, of my escort, deserve my thanks for their promptness and accuracy in conveying orders and instructions.

Had we effected the safety of our wagons---constituting the greater part of the available means of transportation of this army---with great loss to ourselves, without inflicting much on the enemy, alone would have been a triumph of which the brave men of the four regiments under my command could be proud; but when it is considered what overwhelming odds were against us, notwithstanding which we saved the transportation, inflicted upon the enemy a loss severer than our own, rendering him unequal to the task of pursuit, retired in perfect order, and bringing with us nearly all our wounded, we may rightly call it a glorious success.

The list of killed has been materially increased by deaths which have occurred since the battle, as the number found dead on the field was only 27.

I have the honor to be, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,J. E. B. STUART, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Source: "Official Records of the War of the Rebellion."

The interesting note is that Stuart contributes the large amount of Union troops at Dranesville either as an advance to Leesburg or that spies had alerted the Federals that Stuart was coming. This cooresponds with what Jones writes in his diary. Jones identifies the "spies" whereas Stuart only suspects.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Battle of Dranesville - Part Three

In Richmond, J.B. Jones worked as a clerk in the War Department. He was put in charge of issuing passports to any citizen desiring to pass between North and South. He believes the system is being abused. He makes many entries correlating how Confederate troop dispositions are mentioned in Northern papers soon after certain "citizens" were granted their passes.

On December 4, 1861, he records in his diary... "We are now tasting the bitter fruits of a too indulgent treatment of our enemies. (This would be the issuing of passports to applicants who desire to return to the North) Yesterday General Stuart's cavalry and the 6th Regiment S.C. volunteers met with a bloody disaster at Dranesville. It appears that several of the traitors arrested and sent hither by General Johnston were subsequently discharged by General Winder, under the instruction of Mr. Benjamin, and sent to the homes, in the vicinity of Dranesville, at the expense of the government. These men, with revenge rankling in their breasts, reported to General Stuart that a large amount of forage might be obtained in the vicinity of Dranesville, and that but a few companies of the enemy were in the neighborhood. The general believed these men to be loyal, since they seemed to have the confidence of the War Department, resolved to get forage; and for that purposed started some 80 wagons early in the morning, escorted by several regiments of infantry and 1000 cavalry, hoping to capture any forces of the enemy in the vicinity. Meantime in Dranesville, traitors had returned to their homes the preceding evening, and sent off intelligence to the headquarters of the enemy of the purpose of General Stuart to send out in the direction, early the next day, a foraging party consisting of so many wagons, and small forces of infantry, artillery, and cavalry.

The enemy hastened away to Dranesville an overwhelming force, and ambuscaded the road, where it entered the woods, with artillery and men of all arms. Their line was the shape of a horseshoe and completely concealed from view.

General Stuart had not entered far into the jaws of the trip, before some of his trusty scouts reported the presence of the enemy. Believing it to be only the pickets of a few companies previously reported, the general advanced still farther; but at the same time ordering the wagons to retire. He was soon undeceived by a simultaneous and concentric fire of artillery and musketry, which brought down many of his men. Nevertheless, he charged through the lines in one or two places, and brought his guns to bear with the effect of such portions of the enemy's line as were not wholly protected by the inequalities of the ground and the dense growth of the woods. He quickly ascertained, however, that he was contending against vastly superior numbers, and drew off his forces in good order, protecting his wagons. The enemy did not pursue for Stuart had rather more men than the informers reported to the enemy. But we lost 200 men, while the enemy sustained but little injury; their killed and wounded not exceeding 30.

This is the first serious wound inflicted on the country by Mr. Benjamin's policy.

December 5 - The account of Dranesville massacre was furnished me by an officer by an officer of the 6th S.C. Regiment, which suffered severely. The newspaper accounts of the occurrence, upon which, perhaps, the history of this war will be founded, give a different version of the matter. And hence, although not so designed at first, this diary will furnish more authentic data of many of th events of the war that the grave histories that will be written...

December 6 - It is rumored today, I know not on what authority, that the President mentioned the matter of the Dranesville disaster to the Secretary of War, and intimated that it was attributed to the machinations of the Union men discharged from prison here. It is said Mr. Benjamin denied it -- denied that any such men had been discharged by General Winder, or had been concerned in the affair at all. Of course the President had no alternative but to credit the solemn assertions of his confidential adviser. But my books, and the register of the prisons, would show that the Dranesville prisoners sent hither by General Joseph E. Johnston were discharged by General Winder, and that their expenses homes were paid by the government; and officers of unimpeachable veracity were ready to testify that General Stuart was misled by these very men.

My first concern with Jones' accounts are the dates. Looking at the Official Records only one battle at Dranesville is listed, but it takes place much later than Jones' entries suggest. But, Jones is speaking of the fight Stuart was engaged in.

Jones introduces an element that was not mentioned by Thomason in his seminal work about Stuart. Whereas Thomason contributes Stuart's loss to mistakes Stuart committed, Jones says the fault lies with 1) the collusion between Secretary Benjamin and General Winder's policy of granting passports to known spies/traitors. 2) These traitors deliberately misled Stuart in hopes of ambushing his troops. 3) It almost worked but Stuart's skill allowed him to withdraw the majority of his troops and wagons but not before he was bloodied.

The only thing as a historian that I will have to confirm is that Stuart did not make two forages to Dranesville. The date discrepancy in Jones' diary needs to be resolved. With the limited literature and records I have so far gathered on Stuart, it would seem that Jones' diary date is wrong. More research would have to be done on this.

If Jones is correct, then Thomason's conclusions become more suspect. It is the job of the historian to analyze and assess... but reading Thomason's biography, I find a tendancy on Thomason's part to brand Stuart as a commander who allows his vanity to affect his judgement. Since Thomason did not leave a bibliography or footnotes in his work, instead telling the reader that "I have not wanted to clutter my pages with footnotes and reference numbers... I will be happy to furnish specific sources to any person who is sufficiently interested to write me about any given point." Since Mr. Thomason is dead, I am unable to do this. Without his sources, it is hard to verify the claims he makes.

Next, we will look at the official records of the battle from both Stuart and his Northern opponent.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Battle of Dranesville - Part Two

Stuart wrote to General D.H. Hill about the battle. Stuart says he wrote in haste… so the paragraph that follows is succinct.

“Dranesville, Virginia
December 21, 1861


We had a hard-fought battle here yesterday. I had four pieces and four regiments, say 1,200 strong. The enemy had from five to ten regiments, six or seven pieces of artillery. They say 3,100. Finding heavy reinforcements arriving, I withdrew my command in perfect order from the field, carrying off nearly all wounded. The enemy’s loss was over 50 killed; our killed 27. They evacuated at dark. I return to Centreville today.

In haste.

J.E.B. Stuart,

He also writes Flora on the 23rd and relates what happened.

“My Dear Darling,

I haven been so intensely occupied in the saddle and on my report since the battle that it has been literally impossible for me to write to you until now. I rec’d the bank acct’s last night and enclose one set signed, have them cashed, the money placed in your dear little pocket; as you are my better half, I send you the better half of a month’s pay (20 days).

On the 20th I was placed in command of 4 Inf’y Regt’s, 1 Battery & some cavalry to protect an expedition after forage over next to Dranesville. I marched over and found the enemy had that day advanced a large force to that point and in order to prevent our wagons falling his hands, I had to attack him vigorously attracting his attention to me until the wagons could escape. This I did, saving all the wagons & came very near whipping the enemy, so near that they left the placed soon after I did, & left several of our wounded having so many of their own that they couldn’t carry them off. I found after a fight of two hours that, I could not force the position, on account of their great superiority of numbers -- & being myself beyond the reach of reinforcements, I determined to withdraw my troops from the field, which was done in perfect order, the men marching leisurely & without confusion, and the enemy being too much crippled to pursue us. The loss on our side was severe 43 killed or since dead, 143 wounded and 8 missing. But strange to say the citizens of the place declare that the enemy’s loss was heavier than ours, that 20 wagon loads of killed and wounded were carried off by them, it seems almost incredible yet vouched for by the people of Dranesville, of which I took peaceable possession next day, bringing off our wounded and killed, to Centreville. The people declared that we engaged 15 Regt’s, several batteries, & 7 Co’s of cavalry. Whether this force was large or not, we can’t tell, but that it was 4 times larger than mine (1600) there could be no doubt. Our side therefore came out first best—I am perfectly satisfied that my conduct was right, and I have the satisfaction to know that it meets the approval of General Johnston, & all others who know the facts, and my reputation has not doubt been the gainer. I was never in greater personal danger & men & horses fell around me like ten-pins, but thanks to God to whom I looked for protection, neither myself nor my horse was touched.

There is a good deal of envy in this army among Ransom, Robertson, & al – but I assure you I let it trouble me precious little. I have had several Brigade drills to show them how I could handle a Brigade of Cavalry, & it went off splendidly, all hands seemed delighted. All the Generals were out to witness them, & expressed themselves highly gratified.

If you telegraph me the morning you start, I will have the conveyance for you. All hands are preparing for winter quarters.

Kisses to the dear ones and kind regards to all hands – write me often – write me long ----

Tell all our friends the correct version of the battle as they will get it mixed up in the paper.

Kisses, Dear ones. Ever yours

J.E.B. Stuart.”

Much has been written about Stuart’s vanity and this weakness will ultimately be responsible for Lee’s loss at Gettysburg. In fact, all that remains about Stuart in modern history is the vainglorious egotist…I think this is wrong. Even when I read this letter where he talks about his reputation and his assurances that his conduct was right, I don’t see a vainglorious egotist.

Am I blind? Can I not see the obvious? Maybe… but my introduction to Stuart came from reading his personal album and many of his letters written from the time he was a young teenager to his death. In them, I see a young man (and he was young – barely 31 when he died) who wanted to be valued and appreciated. He was the youngest son and somewhat lost in a big family.

But Stuart had the love of both Lee and Jackson and these two men trusted him implicitly. If Stuart was the shallow and dangerous egotist that seems to be the modern portrayal… then I don’t think he would have commanded Lee’s or Jackson’s trust and respect. Nor would he have been given the command and responsibility that they freely gave him.

His advancement to the head of the ANV’s cavalry was opposed. Obviously, word of this opposition got back to him. His reaction to such criticism was to be the best he could be. His insecurity is apparent in the lines he writes to the woman who knows him and understands him. What safer place to reveal them.

I like Jeb Stuart. I like the young man in this letter very much.

Next, I will publish excepts from the diary of J.B. Jones, a clerk in the War Department. What he has to say about the battle is very illuminating.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Battle of Dranesville

This week, we are going to look at the Battle of Dranesville, which Stuart fought on December 20, 1861. From Jeb Stuart, by John W. Thomason, Jr., one of the most popular biography’s on Stuart, comes our first account of the battle.

“General Stuart was placed in command of a detachment of four regiments of infantry, 1600 muskets, and 150 cavalry – say, two squadrons, and a battery. His mission was to cover a wagon train, sent up from Centreville to collect forage, reported to be abundantly gathered on the farms west of Dranesville, which is a village on the Leesburg-Washington Pike, 20 miles west of the Capitol, and five miles south of the Potomac at Rowser’s Ford. The same morning, it happened that there marched from the Federal lines west of Arlington a blue column, Ord’s brigade of McCall’s division, and a Pennsylvania rifle regiment, 3950 strong, with two more of McCall’s brigades in support. Their mission was to drive off Confederate patrols, who had been reported around Dranesville, and to gather in the same forage.

The Federals, their advance not burdened with a wagon train, reached Dranesville first, and chased off the Confederate pickets found in the place. These gentlemen-at-arms retired only as far as they had to, and hung around the skirts of the blue columns, not thinking to send back any message to Stuart, who came on serenely. Short of the town, he directed his wagons to the west, and kept on to Dranesville, intending to take position there to cover the foragers from the side of the enemy. Later in the war, he would have examined the region carefully before he passed his wagons from the rear; now he was learning.

His cavalry found Dranesville full of Yankees, provoked by the stubborn gray pickets into battle formation, and already stretching out an arm toward the wagons, which had been seen west of the town. Stuart had to attack at once, to save his foragers. His cavalry detachment rode to the left, to round up and draw off the wagons, and his four regiments were deployed and sent forward, into a zone of effective fire from the United States regular battery with Ord. There followed two hours of fighting, in which the raw Confederate regiments became intermingled, fired into each other, and otherwise did most of the things that green troops do in their first action. Ord stood fast in the village and volleyed mightily. The wagons were collected and escorted back to safety and Stuart drew off his infantry in fair order, the artillery covering its retirement. One regiment left its knapsacks and blankets on the field where it had deployed for action, and these were the Federal trophies of the fight for they remained in position until the Confederates were gone.

An infantry captain wrote a letter about the affair, it which he described Stuart, the last man in the retirement, riding out alone, his saddle draped with a harness cut by him from the fallen horses of his battery, for harness was scarce in the Confederacy. He retired five miles, halted, and sent for reinforcements. That night, Johnston ordered up to him two infantry regiments and some more cavalry, and he marched angrily back to Dranesville in the morning. The enemy had departed, leaving the Confederate dead on the field, and some of the wounded. Stuart’s losses was 194 killed, wounded, and missing, and Ord’s, 68."

Since I am preparing my own biography on Stuart, I am reading my hands on everything I can find on Stuart. My notes on the battle as written by Thomason leaves me with the following impressions.

1) That the battle happened because Stuart made a large mistake. He did not reconnoitered the area. This is an amateur mistake that Stuart would not repeat in later years.
2) He orders up reinforcements because he is angry.
3) The failure of the pickets who had been driven from the city by Ord did not notify Stuart that Union soldiers occupied the city. While Thomason does fault these pickets for failing to perform their duty, the blame seems to lie with Stuart for not reconnoitering the area.

If my entire knowledge of Stuart came from reading this biography, I would conclude that Stuart made an amateur mistake that resulted from lack of experience and that this amateur mistake was more costly than the pickets’ failure to notify him of Ord’s presence in the city. I would also conclude that Stuart angrily (or recklessly) ordered up reinforcements and returned to Dranesville. It’s the adverb angrily that does the most harm. How does Thomason know Stuart is angry? And why does Thomason choose that adverb, which to me, paints Stuart in a negative light? Of course I don’t know the answer. The text doesn’t tell me why.

With these questions in mind, I will read other accounts from McClellan, Blackford, and the Official Record. I also have Stuart’s letter on the battle. I will print that next so we can see how Stuart viewed the battle.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Major General J.E.B. Stuart by Captain William P. Snow - Conclusion

“But while in the Shenandoah valley the achievements of General Jackson aroused towards him a generous feeling of gratitude for danger averted and prosperity preserved, it is doubtful whether east of the Blue Ridge the twenty-nine years of General Stuart, added to that indefatigable energy which teaches him, after he has ridden fifty miles during the day, to regard it as his highest happiness to ride a dozen more miles at night ‘to tread but one measure’ in a Virginian country house, do not incline the scale, especially if the balance be adjusted by fair hands, in favor of the younger general. There have many English officers, particularly in the East Indian service, whose endurance in the saddle has been regarded as unequalled; but I doubt whether any Englishman ever exhibited such superiority to bodily fatigue as is almost nightly evinced by the gay cavalier who knows every hospitable roof within a dozen miles of his headquarters (and what roof is not hospitable?) and, accompanied by his banjo player, visits them by turns, night after night, returning usually to his hard-earned rest long after the midnight hour has flown.

With the earliest dawn of morning, the first voice, calling gaily for breakfast, is that of the midnight merrymaker, who rises the picture of health, good humor, and strength. I may be noticed en passant that to the circumstance that he has never touched tobacco in any form, or any wine, or other liquor, General Stuart attributes much of his health and vigor. Certainly so jovial and merry a company as is assembled at General Stuart’s headquarters I has never been my fortune to see here.”

Another account speaks of Stuart as being of a “free, sociable, agreeable, and lively turn of mind,” and as “a gentleman of high-toned accomplishments, and rare genius;” “of more than ordinary size, very handsome, fair complexion, with bright beaming eyes, quick perception and deep expression.” He had with him, on his staff, “several odd and fantastic characters. His cook was a Frenchman from on of the CafĂ© houses in Paris, a ventriloquist and comical genius; the principal business man in his office was a Prussian, a man of distinction, education and wit; and in the musical department he had Sweeny, Jr., son of old Joe.”

In the month of April, 1863, General Stuart was in command of the forces, respectively under Fitz Lee, and W. H. F. Lee, that successfully resisted the enemy’s attempt to establish himself on the south side of the Rappahannock. On the 29th he reported to General Lee the movements of Hooker’s army, and this enabled the Confederates to prepare for the coming battle.

Stuart did all he could to impede the enemy, and was ably seconded by the Lees. He crossed the Rapidan, hung upon Hooker’s flanks, attacked his right at the Wilderness tavern, then marched by Todd’s tavern to Spottsylvania Court-house, to put himself in communication with the main army. In the movement of Jackson to the Wilderness, he was effectually covered by Fitz Lee’s cavalry, commanded by General Stuart in person.

At dark, finding nothing else for him, as a cavalry leader, to do, he proposed to Jackson that the road to Ely’s ford, in the rear of the enemy, should be seized. Jackson approving, he went forward to this task, and had gained the heights when a messenger came with news of both Jackson and A. P. Hill being wounded, and urging him to come back and take command. He did so, and next morning vigorously pushed forward the corps now under his orders. The result is known; and we need only add to what we have before said, that he was very highly complimented in General Lee’s official report, for “the energy, promptness, distinguished capacity, and vigor, added to his own personal example of coolness, and daring displayed.”

In the grand movement of the Confederate army towards Pennsylvania, that followed upon the battle of Chancellorsville, General Stuart concentrated his forces at Culpepper, on the 8th of June, and next day was attacked by the enemy’s cavalry and some infantry, at Brandy station. General Fitz Hugh Lee commanded the Confederates, and General Buford and Gregg the Federals. The battle commenced at 5 a.m., and lasted till 3 p. m., both parties fighting almost entirely with sabers. The result was claimed as a victory on both sides, but the enemy had to recross the Rappahannock, and leave several prisoners, with some artillery, and colors in the hands of Stuart’s command.

Of the march to Pennsylvania, and the succeeding campaign with the battle of Gettysburg, we have already given an account. General Stuart had his full share of that peril and adventure for which his temperament was so well adapted. As an eye witness well observes, “He roamed over the country almost at his own discretion, and always giving a good account of himself, turning up at the right moment, and never getting himself into any serious trouble.”

The subsequent operations of General Stuart were now mostly those connected with the main army, as related in our sketch of General Lee. The flank movement of the Confederates, in October, gave Stuart ample work to perform; and, in December another raid was successfully undertaken upon the Orange and Alexandria railroad.

In the month of January, 1864, General Stuart was again at work on the Potomac, about Leesburg, and the Point of Ricks, and with occasional visits to Richmond and his family, thus fully occupied his time.

On the 28th of February, he was encamped at Orange Court-house, and sent to Richmond a highly complimentary report of Colonel Mosby’s daring exploit near Drainesville; and, in the early part of March occurred the affair already mentioned, between the Federals under General Custer, and the Confederate cavalry near Rio Mills.

The spring campaign then followed; the battle of the Wilderness had been fought, and, at last, the day came when the bold cavalry chief—the dashing raider—the kind and genial companion, as well as the skilful soldier—General Stuart—would be no more.

General Sheridan, of the Federal cavalry, had made a bold dash around Lee’s flank, towards Richmond, and a portion of his command, under Generals Custer and Merrill, arrived at Ashland station, on the 10th of May, just before Stuart with his force reached there after them. The next day they were followed to a place called Yellow-tavern, where an engagement took place. Here, in a desperate charge, at the head of a column, the gallant Stuart fell, terribly wounded. He was immediately taken to Richmond, and every effort made to save his life, but in vain. On the 11th he died, and the following account of his last moments, as related by those around him, may be interesting;

“About noon President Davis visited his bedside and spent some time with the dying chief. In reply to the question put by the President, “General, how do you feel?” he replied, “Easy, but willing to die, if God and my country think I have fulfilled my destiny, and done my duty.”

“During the day, occasional delirium attacked him, and, in his moments of mental wandering, his faculties were busy with the past. His campaigns on the Peninsula, his raid into Pennsylvania, his doings on the Rapidan, and his several engagements, were subjects that quickly chased themselves through his brain. Fresh orders were given as if still on the battlefield and in junctions to his couriers to “make haste.” Then he would wander to his wife and children, one of whom, his eldest, had died a year previous, while fighting on the Rappahannock, and in relation to whom he had said, when receiving a telegram that the girl was dying, “I must leave my child in the hands of God; my country needs me here; I cannot come.” Then his mind would again carry him on to the battlefield; and so it continued throughout the day. Occasionally his intellect was clear, and he was then calm and resigned, though at times suffering the most acute agony. He would even, with his own hand, apply the ice that was intended to relieve the pain of his wound.

“As the last moments approached, the dying man, with a mind perfectly clear and possessed, then made a disposition of his effects. To Mrs. Lily Lee, he directed that the golden spurs be given as a dying memento of his love and esteem for her husband. To his staff officers he gave his horses; and other mementoes he disposed of in a similar manner. To his young son, he left his sword. He then turned to the Reverend Dr. Peterkin, of the Episcopal church, of which he was a strict member, and asked him to sing the hymn commencing;

Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.

“In this he joined with all the strength of voice his failing powers permitted. He then prayed with the minister and friends around him; and, with the worked, ‘I am going fast now, I am resigned; God’s will be done,’ yielded his fleeting spirit to Him who gave it.”

“The funeral of this much lamented and brave general took place on the 13th, at five o’clock, from St. James’s church, corner of Marshall and Fifth streets.

“At the appointed hour the cortege appeared in front of the church, and the metallic coffin, containing the remains of the noble soldier, whose now silent voice had so often startled the enemy with his stirring battlecry, was carried down the centre isle and placed before the alter. Wreaths, and a cross of evergreen, interwoven with delicate lilies of the valley, laurel and other flowers of purest white, decked the coffin.

“The pallbearers were General Bragg, Major-general McCown, General Chilton, Brigadier-general Lawton, Commodore Forrest, Captain Lee, of the Navy, and General George W. Randolph, formerly Secretary of War.

“The scene was sad and impressive. President Davis sat near the front, with a look of grief upon his careworn face; his cabinet officers were gathered around, while on either side were the senators and representatives of the Confederate Congress. Scattered through the church were a number of generals and other officers of rank, among the former, General Ransom, commanding the department of Richmond. Hundreds of sad faces witnessed the scene; but the brave Fitz Lee and other war-wearied and war-worn men, whom the dead Stuart had so often led were the red battle was fiercest, and who would have given their lives for his, were away in the fight, doubtless striking with a double courage as they thought of their fallen general.

“The short service was read by Rev. Dr. Peterkin, a funeral anthem sung, and the remains were carried out and placed in the hearse, which proceeded to Hollywood Cemetery, followed by a long train of carriages.

“No military escort accompanied the procession, but the hero was laid in his last resting-place on the hillside, while the earth trembled with the roar of artillery and the noise of the deadly strife of armies—the one bent upon desecrating and devastating his native land, and the other, proudly and defiantly standing in the path and invoking the blessing of Heaven upon their cause, to fight in better cheer for the memory of such as Stonewall Jackson and J. E. B. Stuart.”