Friday, June 27, 2008

General Orders Twenty

Upon arriving back in the States after two years overseas earning a master's degree (pending thesis) in history (Middle East), I was happily reunited with all the books on Jeb Stuart that I had ordered in preparation for my biography on the good and gallant cavalry leader.

This announcement that I was commencing on Stuart's biography was greeted by the same question: Does the world really need another biography on Stuart? I asked one of my professors that question. His answer was encouraging. Yes it does. Why? Because new eyes means a fresh perspective and a new analysis on the life of the South's Beau Saber.

Now, many may disagree with me (but historians are not supposed to care if people disagree with them), but I think two Stuarts exist in the war's literature. Those biographies written by those who knew and fought with him present a different Stuart than those later biographers, who seem to present rather a shallow man, vain, easily offended, seeking glory, unfaithful to his wife, etc. A caricature really. A stereotype that has passed through the historiography until the real Stuart has been lost and only the vain, shallow, glory-hound remains.

So, I am after the real Stuart. Now, that is not to say that all those who have written about Stuart were not after the real Stuart too, but the modus operandi of history has changed in recent years. No longer are we to have heroes. Now, historians are to deconstruct their "subject" and expose the dark underbelly of the man, so we will know that he was less than those who wrote glowingly about him. (Meaning those who knew and fought with him) Those who penned early biographies are revealed to be the ones with the agenda: to cover-up, to protect, to distort. It is later historians who have come with the light of truth to expose and reveal.

In his book, Wearing of the Gray, John Esten Cooke, staff officer and cousin-in-law to Stuart, writes this warning... "The august muse of history will make her partial and passionate, or fair and dignified, summary of the events of the late war; will discuss the causas resum with learned philosophy; and mete out in rounded periods what she thinks the due amount of glory and shame to the actors, in gray and blue. But meanwhile the real personages disappear, and the colours fade, figures become historical personages, not men. And events, too, "suffer change." They are fused in the mass; generalization replaces the particular incident as it does the impressive trait; - the terrible dust of "official documents" obscures personages, characters and events... the real men, with faults and virtues, grand traits and foibles, become mere lay figures to hang uniforms upon."

My introduction to Stuart was in the movie Gettysburg, where he is taken to task by Lee for "joy-riding" around the Yankees. As I read biographies about Jackson (mostly) and the battles Jackson fought (mostly), a different Stuart emerged. One that both Lee and Jackson trusted implicitly. One, who would be the last person to go "joy-riding" around the Yankees because his pride was hurt. In the historiography, I found both portraits of Stuart, but the vain cavalier was the pre-dominant one. I could not reconcile the two. I became convinced that the caricature of Stuart had won out in history. I want to correct this with a biography that will reveal the man in both virtue and fault. That is why I want to write this biography. I know it is a grand plan... but it is the plan that I have, so I will pursue it.

It is not something that I will finish within a year, or even within a decade. I have much work to do. But, I have taken the first tentative steps in discovering Stuart. I can't wait to find out more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the Statue of General J.E.B Stuart - Conclusion

The Stuart Horse Artillery

Attached to the cavalry corps was one of the bravest and most efficient organizations that any army ever possessed. The Stuart Horse Artillery, from a single company commanded by the Gallant Pelham, grew into several battalions under Beckham, Breathed, Hart, McGregor, Chew, and Thompson, whose distinguished services are worthy of the most brilliant pages of our history. Would that time permitted me to render to the officers and men of those splendid horse-batteries the tribute they so well deserve!

The honor of firing the first gun of Fort Sumter is no longer in doubt. The proud distinction of firing the last gun at Appomattox is claimed by many, but the command that fired the most shot and shell, first, last and all the time, is perhaps, without doubt, the ever-glorious and gallant Stuart Horse Artillery.

Welcome, also, my comrades of Mosby's Battalion! In close affiliation with Stuart, nurtured and encouraged by him, valued and praised by him beyond measure, was the Forty-third Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, under the brave, skillful, and distinguished commander, Colonel John S. Mosby. Their heroic deeds form part of the glory achieved by the army, and we link their names with the cavalry corps in loving fellowship and everlasting honor.

And now, my Comrades, our task is done. This day, so long expected, has come at last to bless our vision and rejoice our hearts. Again Stuart rides with his great Commander who himself wrote the epitaph of his Chief of Cavalry. In official orders announcing his death to the army, May 20, 1864, General Lee said: Among the gallant soldiers who have fallen in this war General Stuart was second to none in valor, 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 be forever associated. To military capacity of a high order and to the nobler virtues of the soldier he added the brighter graces of a pure life, 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.

And he added these words, carved upon this monument and graven in our hearts: His grateful countrymen will mourn his loss and cherish his memory. To his comrades in arms he has left the proud recollection of his deeds and the inspiring influence of his example.

Once more Stuart rides with Lee, and again, I see him, as on the plains of Brandy, the phantom horsemen pass him in review -- their survivors, on the eve of life's last battle, exclaiming now as then, "Te morituri salutamus!"

Some of Stuart's pupils in the art of war have grown wiser, they think, than their master, and some have made bold to write themselves down as critics after the event. General Lee once wrote that even a poor general as he himself could see what might have been done after the battle was over. It has been truly said that the general who never made a mistake never fought a battle.

But now, waving all controversy and comparison, Stuart stands upon the record inscribed upon this monument. The testimony of two witnesses is true: the witnesses are Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

To the city of Richmond as its faithful guardian we commit this monument, in whose care and keeping it will henceforth stand, in token of a people's gratitude and in perpetual memory of his heroic name.

"I've called his name, a statue stern and vast,
It rests enthroned upon the mighty past,
Fit plinth for him whose image in the mind
Looms up as that of one by God designed.
Fit plinth, in sooth! the mighty past for him,
Whose simple name is Glory's synonym.
E'en Fancy's self in her enchanted sleep
Can dream no future which may cease to keep
His name in guard, like sentinel, and cry
From Time's great bastions: "It shall never die!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the Statue of General J.E.B. Stuart - Part 5

Time does not permit, nor will your patience allow, even a brief outline of Stuart's further service in the last year of his life. Twice more on the field of Brandy Station he encountered the enemy's cavalry, and each time he drove him back across the Rappahannock. And in the Bristoe campaign he scattered the command and well-nigh ruined the reputation of General Kilpatrick at the "Buckland races." The Mine Run campaign with its intense cold and suffering soon followed, and after Meade's retreat from Mine Run with an army more than double that of General Lee, we settled down in winter quarters at Orange, awaiting the final struggle in northern Virginia.

The official records give no sign of the tremendous effort put forth by Stuart to overcome the disparity of force then existing and daily increasing between Stuart and Sheridan. With less than half his cavalry mounted, General Stuart moved against the twelve thousand cavalry of Sheridan, and in the Wilderness, at Todd's Tavern, and Spottsylvania Court House he neutralized the vast body of cavalry attending Grant's army.

On Monday, May 9, 1864, Sheridan with 10,000 well mounted and equipped cavalry and several batteries of artillery, flanking our extreme right at Spottsylvania Court House, marched rapidly south to capture and destroy the city of Richmond. Promptly Stuart moved with two brigades of Fitz Lee's division, Wickham and Lomax, leaving orders for Gordon with his North Carolina brigade to follow fast. A severe fight with Sheridan's rearguard took place that evening, and next day we pressed the rapidly moving enemy until Stuart succeeded in placing his two brigades in close contact with Sheridan's immense force, and boldly gave him battle at Yellow Tavern.

For several hours Sheridan's whole column was checked. Gordon's brigade had attacked his rear many miles distant on the Mountain road, and so was separated from Stuart in the hour of his greatest need. Toward evening, after much fighting, with nearly our whole force dismounted, Sheridan, confident in the overwhelming numbers of his mounted troops, threw his heavy regiments, squadron after squadron, in a mounted charge upon our exposed left flank and broke through our artillery with resistless force.

Capturing three of our guns, the head of the enemy's column became engaged with our dismounted men and were suddenly checked in their advance. They had passed by General Stuart, who had emptied his pistol at them and was sitting quietly on his horse as they hastened back by him on their return. Man after man fired upon him without hitting him, until nearly the last one of them dashed past, and putting his pistol close up to his side fired the fatal bullet and hastened away. The General was taken from his horse by Captain Gus Dorsey, of Maryland, Company K, First Virginia Cavalry, Stuart's old regiment, and then reviving a little from the shock, he was placed on the horse of Private Fred L. Pitts of that company, and led to an ambulance in the rear of the line. In this connection the names of Corporal Robert Bruce and Private Charles Wheatley are mentioned by Captain Dorsey as having rendered gallant service in removing the General to the ambulance, thus saving him from capture by the enemy. Thus safely brought off the field by the assistance of some of his staff, among them Major A.R. Venable, his gallant and devoted Inspector-General, he reached Richmond by way of Mechanicsville about eleven o'clock that night. He died there on the evening of May 12, 1864. Death never claimed a nobler victim.

Thus fell the matchless leader of the Veteran Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia.

We come not now to mourn his loss. This had been one long lamentation throughout the years which have crowded out the recollection of his brave deeds. But we, his brothers-in-arms, partakers of his glory, assemble here in loving fellowship to commemorate his services in this enduring and fitting monument.

The sculptor, Moynihan, has shared with us the inspiration of Stuart's career, and has fashioned both horse and rider with the spirit that animated his great soul. Idealized, it may be, to a degree that speaks eloquently of the superb horseman, the alert active, dashing leader of brave men, it is at the same time a likeness of the man just as he was when General Sedgwick, his old commander, in rude appraisement, exclaimed: "Stuart is the best cavalry officer ever foaled in North America!"

The military student of Great Britain and the Continent is never weary of studying the campaigns of Stuart. One of them has recently written: To Stuart belongs the credit of having brought to perfection a use of the cavalry arm which had been foreshadowed by the dragoons of Marlborough's epoch, but which has not been seen during the intervening great wars of Europe, nor has it ever yet been imitated.

In the bold combination of fire and shock at the right moment, Stuart's cavalry stands pre-eminent among the nations of the world. What loftier tribute can be paid to the heroes of our corps, living and dead, whose proudest boast, in either the triumphs of life or in the agonies of death, is Stuart's great name! Drilled and disciplined by him, they learned the severe lessons of outpost duty, sleepless vigilance, patient endurance and skill in battle, until they became the steady reliance of General Lee in all his campaigns -- the eyes and ears of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Day after day the bravest and best were slain in battle. Innumerable skirmishes diminished our numbers as sorely as the losses of our infantry in many pitched battles, until our weary men with starving horses could scarce disguise the fact that we were fighting against hope.

The late Colonel Henderson, of the British Army, the brilliant author of "The Life of Stonewall Jackson," has left this tribute to the veteran cavalry of both armies: It may, however, be unhesitatingly admitted that no cavalry of the nineteenth century, except the American, could have achieved the same results... And it may be just as unhesitatingly declared that the horseman of the American war is the model of the efficient cavalryman.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the Statue of General J.E.B. Stuart - Part 4

The campaign of Gettysburg commenced with a series of cavalry fights in Loudoun and Faquier. For five days Stuart was a constantly engaged with Pleasanton's whole corps, who, supported by the infantry, assumed the offensive and displayed an energy and audacity which would otherwise never have been exhibited. The resulting losses were severe, and when we commenced the long march to the enemy's rear, threatening Washington City, our men and horses were already worn and jaded.

The fact that it took Stuart one day longer than he expected to fight his way to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, arriving on the field of Gettysburg on the second day of the battle, has been used to account for the failure of the Army of Northern Virginia to keep up its unbroken score of victories.

To say that the battle would have been won if Stuart had arrived a day earlier is to tribute to him greater than his most ardent admirers could claim. General Lee believed that if Stonewall Jackson had been there the victory would have been assured. But Stuart was blameless for his march to Carlisle as Jackson was for his absence in another and better world. The charge that Stuart's march from the Potomac to the Susquehanna was not warranted by his orders or by the best military judgment at the time, has been completely refuted by the masterly pens of Colonel John S. Mosby and Major H.B. McClellan, based on the official records.

General Lee's letters to Stuart on the 22nd and 23rd of June, 1863, establish the fact that General Lee authorized Stuart to use his discretion as to crossing the Potomac by the way of the enemy's rear, and General Longstreet, who communicated to him those instructions, distinctly advised General Stuart to choose that route. Two brigades of cavalry were left on the Blue Ridge to watch Hooker's army, while Stuart with his other three brigades moved on through Maryland. A cavalry fight at Hanover took place on June 30th with Kilpatrick's division. It caused a wide detour, in the course of which we cross the trail of Early's division. General Early heard our guns at Hanover and rightly conjectured that they were Stuart's Horse Artillery. Strangely and unhappily he failed to communicate with Stuart or leave any intimation that he was on the march for Cashtown.

Napoleon's guns at Waterloo were heard by Grouchy on the road to Wavre, and if he had crossed over to the Emperor's assistance the story of Waterloo would have been differently told. But no sound of Ewell's battle on the 1st of July at Gettysburg reached Stuart's ears as he pressed on to Carlisle, where he expected to find the right wing of General Lee's army. Therefore if happened that the cavalry attacked Carlisle, and there, near midnight, by the glare of the burning Barracks, Stuart read the dispatch announcing the victory of Ewell and Hill over the Federal forces. Instantly the attack on Carlisle was abandoned, and by a hard night march we pressed south to Gettysburg, arriving just as Ewell was beginning his assault upon Culp's Hill on the evening of the second day's battle.

It is needless to tell you of the severe cavalry fight on July 3rd between Stuart and Gregg on our extreme left--a position which we held as the battle closed, and which was of critical value if the charge of Pickett and Pettigrew had resulted as General Lee expected.

To those who know General Stuart's character as we knew it, the bare suggestion that he was capable of of disobeying any order of General Lee, either in letter or in spirit, is not only incredible, but absolutely untrue. General Lee himself, in his official report, makes not the slightest intimation of such a monstrous impossibility.

Colonel Mosby, in righteous indignation, has exclaimed: How could Stuart join Ewell on the Susquehanna, guard the gaps of the Blue Ridge in Virginia, watch and impede Hooker's crossing of the Potomac; and then place himself on the right of our column, as it advanced into Pennsylvania, unless he was inspired with ubiquity? Even Hercules could not perform all of his twelve labors at the same time.

The last word has not yet been said about Gettysburg. It will be discussed long after Waterloo has been forgotten, but history will not permit the fame of Stuart to be tarnished by the false claim that he disobeyed any order ever received by him from General Lee.

His conduct in reaching the battlefield as soon as he did is as praiseworthy of his invaluable service on the retreat to the Potomac. Of this service the author of the "Crisis of the Confederacy," a trained military critic, says: That Lee brought his forces out of this dilemma, not only without serious loss but with an air of reluctantly relinquishing the theatre, was due to the skill of his dispositions and to the admirable coordination of the movements of his lieutenants; but the march was only possible, thanks to the bold and skillful handling of his cavalry by Stuart, who excelled himself in these dark days of misfortune.

And the same excellent authority says: Stuart's indefatigable horsemen could be counted on to render valuable help in delaying the enemy's advance and guarding the left which was the exposed flank, if the enemy should venture to attack. All day on July 8th, while the cavalry was fighting, the Confederate army rested after the feat of marching which had brought it from Gettysburg to the Potomac.

Bear in mind that in this retreat Stuart was suffering from the loss of many of his best officers, and among the severely wounded was the gallant Hampton, whose services for many days were lost to the cavalry.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the Statue of General J.E.B. Stuart - Part 3

What a splendid panorama was unfolded to your steady gaze as the fog lifted above the snowy canopy of that rolling plain, disclosing in vast array the long blue lines of battle. On the right near Hamilton's crossing, Stuart attacked the enemy, and with impetuous dash he led his horse artillery, under the gallant Pelham, into the jaws of death, hammered the flank of Meade's grand division, and with two guns, far to the front, opposed a multitude of batteries, breaking their lines and aiding most materially the victory won by Jackson and his indomitable veterans.
Chancellorsville followed with the first breath of spring, and in its wonderful story is found the climax of Stuart's glorious career.

History and Art are fond of portraying the last meeting of Lee and Jackson. To those immortal names the great heart of the South instinctively adds, by common and universal consent, the name of Stuart as worthy to ride with them down the ages. In that last meeting the hand of Stuart clasped the hand of Jackson in a long farewell as Stuart moved in front to clear the way for the last great triumph and tragedy of Jackson's life. And when Lee's "right arm" was stricken helpless by that fearful accident, and Jackson lay bleeding on the fatal field, who of all that host could dare to grasp and wield the fallen chieftain's sword? Night had closed in upon the halting lines, and confusion worse confounded threatened to turn back the tide of victory. With the wounding of General A.P. Hill, and the noble self-denial of General Rodes, the command of Jackson's corps devolved upon General Stuart -- the most trying responsibility that was ever forced upon any officer in any battle of the war.

"Send for General Stuart," said Jackson, and with this last order ever uttered by him on the field of his great glory, he added the noble sentence inscribed upon this monument: Tell General Stuart to act upon his own judgment and do what he thinks best -- I have implicit confidence in him.

With that message ringing in his ears, and inspired with superhuman energy, the young cavalryman spent the dark hours of that eventful night in ceaseless activity, restoring order out of chaos; and when the day dawned every man was in his place, the line well drawn, and with a spirit as indomitable as Jackson's own, he hurled his troops in fresh onset upon the bristling ranks of the astonished foe. Crowning Hazel Grove with massed artillery, he swept away Hooker's last refuge, joined his right wing to the advancing troops under the eyes of General Lee, and burst over the plateau of Chancellorsville with shouts of victory louder than the roar of battle.

You, his old troopers, who knew and loved him so well, need no other reason for your faith and pride in him than the fact that the names of Lee, Jackson, and Stuart are indissolubly linked together in the proud record which history has inscribed for him in the temple of fame.

A distinguished officer of the artillery of Longstreet's corps (General Porter Alexander) has placed on record this tribute to Stuart, as true as it is generous, when he wrote: Altogether, I do not think there was a more brilliant thing done in the war than Stuart's extricating that command from the extremely critical position in which he found it, as promptly and boldly as he did. We knew that Hooker had at least 80,000 infantry at hand... The hard marching and the night fighting had thinned our ranks to less than 20,000. But Stuart never seemed to hesitate or doubt for one moment... He decided to attack at daybreak, and, unlike many planned attacks that I have seen, this one came off promptly on time, and it never stopped to draw its breath until it had crashed through everything, and our forces stood united around Chancellor's burning house.

And General Alexander adds: I always thought it an injustice to Stuart and a loss to the army that he was not from that moment continued in command of Jackson's corps. He had the right to it. I believe he had all of Jackson's genius and dash and originality... Stuart possessed the rare quality of being always equal to himself at his very best.

I have said that Chancellorsville was the climax of Stuart's glory. It convinced the army of Stuart's power to handle large bodies of infantry and artillery in action, under desperate circumstances and against desperate odds.

We come now to the battle of Fleetwood, as he called it, but better known by his men as Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, in which we see him as the victor of the greatest cavalry battle of the nineteenth century.

General Pleasanton's twenty-four regiments of cavalry were supported by ten regiments of Federal infantry, while only fifteen regiments of Stuart's command was actually engaged in the battle, unsupported by any infantry whatever. Pleasanton's plan of battle was admirable. Under the gallant Gregg one division was thrown directly in the rear of our line at Fleetwood Hill, while Buford with two divisions of his cavalry and one brigade of infantry assaulted our whole front at St. James Church. By all the laws of war and chances of battle, Stuart should have been crushed and utterly destroyed. But by a rapid change of front to rear Stuart hastened to Fleetwood with regiment after regiment of Jones' and Hampton's brigades, and by a succession of most gallant and desperate charges wrested victory from the jaws of defeat and drove Gregg and Kilpatrick from the vantage ground of Fleetwood Hill.

No more brilliant spectacle was ever witnessed than the brave Hampton leading his gallant Carolinians, as with flashing sabers they plunged into the masses of Gregg's troopers and scattered them far and wide. Nor will the saber ever play a more glorious part in battle than did that day the shining blades of the Virginians under Harman, Elijah White, Lindsay Lomax, and Flournoy, and of the North Carolinians under Lawrence Baker, the South Carolinians under Black, the Georgians under Young, and the Mississippians under Waring. I mention these glorious names not because they excelled in valor the steady work of W.H.F. Lee's brigade and the Seventh Virginia Cavalry and others, who held back the two division of Buford, but because it was vouchsafed to them to show the world that the saber is, after all, the weapon for grand cavalry battle.

For partisan warfare, or Indian and cowboy skirmishes, let the pistol and carbine hold undisputed sway; but for the fields on which thousands of cavalry strive for mastery in the shock of great battle, may the sabers of Stuart, of Forrest, and of Hampton ever lead the charging squadrons to victory or death.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the Statue of General J.E.B. Stuart - Part Two

To his old comrades here, and to most of those who were in other arms of the service, it is a thrice-told tale to recount his mighty deeds, his prowess in battle, his sleepless vigilance, his unerring judgment in strategy and attack, his faith in our cause, and his devotion to duty. But it is right, on this historic occasion, when his memory rises for the coronation of the hour, to take brief note of the achievements of this great commander of the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Identified with that army from its first skirmish to the day of his death, he knew no other duty nor any loftier ambition than to serve the cause of freedom and the welfare of his country.

With all his soul he loved his country. No patriot in all the tide of time ever worshiped at the pure shrine of Liberty with nobler devotion than he. As we were bringing him mortally wounded off the field at Yellow Tavern, he exclaimed with intense feeling to some who were retreating by him. "Go back, my men, go back! and do your duty as I have done mine, and our country will be free."

Bear with me, then, while I hasten through the thrilling record of his wonderful and brilliant career.

From the day when, with a small force, he captured an entire company of the enemy's infantry near the Potomac, to the hour of that fatal charge in which he received his death wound, there was not a moment of his life which lacked the inspiration of his high ambition or the tireless energy of his zealous soul.

Pressing forward his handful of cavalry, through byways and difficult paths, he passed from rear to front of Johnston's column on the march from the Valley to first Manassas, eager to be in at the death of McDowell's army. There, at the crucial moment, he led a mounted charge into the midst of the Federal infantry, breaking their lines and precipitating the disorder which soon became a panic and a rout more complete that any ever afterward seen on the field of battle. Of this movement General Early, in his official report, says: Stuart did as much toward saving the battle of First Manassas as any subordinate who participated in it.

From Manassas to the Peninsula, now as a brigade commander, he served General Johnston with such indefatigable skill as to merit that great General's heartiest acknowledgement, and wrung from him, afterward, when separated, the deep lament, "How can I eat or sleep in any peace without you on the outpost!"

The crossing of sabers at Williamsburg was the beginning of the long list of cavalry battles in which Stuart's genius for war shone so conspicuously bright, and in which he taught his troopers the lessons from which the cavalry of Europe now seek their inspiration and education.

The engagements along the Chickahominy made manifest the superiority of Stuart's cavalry over McClellan's, and here, for the first time, a feat then unparalleled in war was accomplished, which it is doubtful whether any other man than Stuart would have dared to attempt. The first raid around McClellan's army, not only made him famous as a cavalry leader, but blazed the way for that grand strategy of General Lee which brought Jackson from the Valley and overwhelmed McClellan in the Seven Days' battle.

The march of General Stuart in June, 1862, with 1200 men and two guns under Lieutenant Breathed of the Stuart Horse Artillery, making the entire circuit of McClellan's army, with the loss of one officer, the gallant Captain William Latane, of the Essex Troop, was an achievement not only unique in war, but the information thus obtained was the moving cause of the defeat of McClellan's entire campaign.

Speedily assembling his command in July of that year, when his well-won commission as major-general was conferred upon him, he hastened to the assistance of Jackson in the campaign against Pope, and again in the rear of the enemy he captured Manassas and played havoc with supplies and communications of Pope's army.

An English military critic has recently recorded this opinion: Without the help which Stuart was able to give, the flank march around Pope's army by Jackson's corps and the concentration of the two Confederate wings on the battlefield of Manassas, would not have been possible. -- "Crisis of the Confederacy," page 392.

Then crossing the Potomac, Stuart occupied the rich pastures of Maryland and protected the cantonments of General Lee as his army rested at Frederick, recuperating its strength for the fierce encounter at Sharpsburg. Here he took position on the left of Jackson's corps and held off the masses which threatened to envelop and destroy our exposed left wing, thus rendering possible the bloody repulse inflicted upon McClellan's preponderant forces.

Returning to Virginia, he conceived and executed a second expedition around McClellan's host, via Chambersburg and the enemy's rear, recrossing the Potomac into Virginia after inflicting great losses, capturing prisoners, horses, and transportation, and putting to flight all McClellan's dreams of conquest. So great, indeed, was the effect of the movement that President Lincoln induldged his sarcastic humor at the expense of McClellan, laughing to scorn the alleged brokendown condition of his cavalry, and placing on record the President's own testimony to the fact that Stuart's cavalry had "outmarched and outfought" its opponents, and was still ready for battle. The fact, so plain to Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton, after the Chambersburg raid, caused the loss of McClellan's offical head, and Burnside supplanted him.

The long march to Fredericksburg soon followed, and great credit must be awarded to Stuart for the masterly handling of his small forces in protecting the exposed flank of the army as it marched eastward to interpose between Richmond and the heavy advancing columns of Burnside. Day after day our cavalry met the enemy's in severe and incessant combat, while the army pursued the even tenor of its way, undisturbed by the distant thunder of our guns and the shock of charging squadrons.

So was it ever with us, my comrades, and our brethern of the infantry and artillery. While the Army of Northern Virginia slept in peace, Stuart on the outpost made their rest secure. If the men composing Stuart's Cavalry Corps were not worthy of the best troops of any army, then it is vain to seek for soldiers in any part of the world.

Brother Cavalrymen! I salute you, survivors of a body of horsemen worthy of King Arthur, Richard Coeur de Leon, Godfrey de Bouillon, Prince Rupert and his Cavaliers, Cromwell and his troopers, or the greatest of all cavalrymen, Robert E. Lee.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the Statue of General J.E.B. Stuart at Richmond, Virginia - Part One

On May 30, 1907, the equestrian statue honoring Jeb Stuart was unveiled in Richmond. The dedication address was given by Theodore Stanford Garnett, who served on Stuart's staff as an aide-de-camp. Fifty thousand people were in attendance.

Comrades of the Veteran Cavalry Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, United Confederate Veterans, Fellow citizens of Richmond, Ladies and Gentlemen:

In response to a call as inspiring as the bugles of Stuart on the field of battle, I am here to attempt the impossible task which has been assigned to me by my old comrades.

Forty-three years, to this same flowery month of May, have passed away since the cannon of his country pealed Stuart's funeral knell, and that same period has elapsed since the city of Richmond registered its high resolve to place a monument here to his undying name.

To the honor of this city, and in proof of her gratitude for his sacrifice of live in her behalf, the city of Richmond, General Randolph, after announcing to the Council the death of General Stuart, submitted the following resolution:

Whereas, the people of Richmond, in common with their fellow-citizens of the Confederate States, have to deplore in the death of Major General J.E.B. Stuart, not only the loss of one of the first military characters of the age, but also of a citizen whose eminent patriotism and pure life gave the best guarantee that his military capacity would never be otherwise employed than in the cause of freedom and for the welfare of his country; and

Whereas, they not only recognize their great misfortune , in common with the rest of their countryman, but bearing in mind that he yielded up his heroic spirit in the immediate defense of their city, and the successful effort to purchase their safety by the sacrifice of his own life, they are profoundly moved with sentiments of gratitude for his great services and of benevolent feeling for his glorious memory, and are desirous to express and to record their sense of peculiar obligation in a permanent and emphatic manner; therefore be it

Resolved, that the Council of the city of Richmond, in behalf of the citizens therefore, tender to the family of General Stuart the deepest and most heartfelt condolence, and earnestly request that remains of their great benefactor may be permitted to rest under the eye and guardianship of the people of Richmond, and they may be allowed to commemorate by a suitable monument their gratitude and his services.

A further resolution was adopted appointing a committee of three, Messrs. Randolph, Denton, and Hill, to report a design for a suitable monument and inscription at some future meeting of the body.

War. with its relentless fury, swept onward over every foot of Virginia soil. The enemy, in ever-increasing hosts, encompassed you about and sat down over against this devoted city -- the Capital of the Confederacy -- and within a twelve-month the bitter fate that had been averted from you by Stuart and his troopers, swiftly and suddenly descended upon you.

The days of our years of destruction and reconstruction have been many and full of sorrow, but today we behold a resurrection and ascension as marvelous as it is glorious. Your city is not only rebuilt, but it has expanded beyond imagination. Where we now stand was then open country. The triumphant march of progress has opened up this magnificent Monument Avenue, crowned as it is by the imposing statute of General Lee and the memorial to Jefferson Davis. Into this goodly company we come now to place the heroic statute of a man who, take him for all in all. We ne'er shall look upon his like again.

JAMES EWELL BROWN STUART was born in Patrick Country, Virginia, on the 6th day of February, 1833.

He was the youngest son of Archibald Stuart and Elizabeth, his wife; and whether or not our democratic simplicity attaches any significance to his alleged descent from the royal line of Scotland's kings, we who knew this true son of Virginia make bold to declare that no prince of the blood ever did more honor to an illustrious ancestry. Strong in mind and body, educated in the three cardinal virtues of Virginia youth, he grew up to manhood a splendid specimen of the hardy young mountaineer, and fresh from the meadows and pinnacles of the Dan, he took his place among the boys at West Point; and there learned the science that teacheth the hands to war and the fingers to fight. Noted in this famous school as the most daring and skillful horseman among his fellows, he sought and obtained active duty as a lieutenant in the Second U.S. Cavalry, then engaged in an arduous expedition against the Indians of the Southwest.

In close encounter with this suitable enemy he received a severe wound -- the only injury he ever suffered until his fatal wounding in the last battle. Soon recovering, he was sent to the plains of Kansas, where his command vainly strove to keep the peace between the warring factions of Northern and Southern settlers -- the first mutterings of the storm which soon broke upon our country in the whirlwind of civil war.

In October, 1859, as aide-de-camp to Colonel Robert E. Lee at Harper's Ferry, he bore the summons to John Brown to surrender himself and his fanatic followers to the authority of the United States and to Virginia, whose peace and dignity they had criminally violated. With grim humor old Ossawattomie Brown told the young man how easily he could have taken his life, as he felt tempted to do, when Lieutenant Stuart approached the engine-house door and demanded his surrender.

Such, in brief, was his preparation for the great career on which he entered in 1861.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jackson is a Roundhead

The following is an excerpt from Captain Charles Minor Blackford's diary. On July 13, 1862, Captain Blackford meets Stonewall Jackson and records his thoughts about the famous general. Included is a description of Jackson and a wonderful story about Jackson's run-in with a farmer that gives the reader a perfect study of ole Stonewall.

I reached camp yesterday, which I found about three miles from Richmond. My company has been up to Jackson's headquarters for a some special duty. I was told he sent to the regiment for a Captain who knew something about the country about Fredericksburg and his company. My company was selected as I was a native of that place. I am comfortably camped on the Mechanicsville Pike about a hundred yards from Jackson's headquarters. I am writing from Mr. Peach R. Grattan's where I came this morning to meet William. (William Blackford was Charles' oldest brother and served on Jeb Stuart's staff as engineer. He also authored War Year with Jeb Stuart) This is Mr. Wyndham Robertson's house now occupied by the Grattans.

My men received me with open arms yesterday and seemed to be so glad to see me back that it touched me greatly. I wish I could in some way recruit the ranks somewhat. It is very hard to keep a cavalry company from a town. All the other companies in the regiment have the advantage of mine in the matter of securing horses. I have as many thus far as many other companies but I know that from this time on it will be hard to keep the ranks full.

All I hear are stories about Stonewall Jackson. There are lots of jokes, too, one of which I heard just now:

As he was crossing the Blue Ridge en route to Richmond, two Irishmen were sitting by the roadside talking during a rest period. When one said to the other:

"I wish all the Yankees was in Hell!"

"And faith," said the other, "and I don't wish anything of the the sort."

"The divvel you don't, and why don't you?"

"Because Old Jack would have us standing picket at the gate before night and in there before morning -- and it's too hot where we is to suit me!"

I am told by one of the staff that in Monday's fight at Port Republic, in the Valley, Jackson was on the opposite side of the river when the enemy's battery commenced playing on the bridge. He rode up to it and said to the commander. "Fire into those woods over there and not at the bridge." As Jackson was in a blue coat, they took him for a Federal officer and obeyed. Upon which he calmly rode over the bridge and at once brought one of his batteries to bear upon the deluded Federal who was still shelling the harmless woods and drove him from his position.

Jackson excites great enthusiasm everywhere, second only to Lee. The regiment is ordered to Gordonsville. I am glad I will not have to march up there with it.

We will move from here tonight or early tomorrow, I think, for I am sure General Jackson got orders or arranged to move tonight when in town. I was invited by Colonel A.S. (Sandie) Pendleton, his adjutant, to go with General Jackson and his staff into town this morning. I was proud to be of such a distinguished party although a very small atom of it. We went first to the Governor's mansion and there, I suppose by appointment, we met General Lee. The two generals and Governor Letcher came out on the front steps and told the generals good-bye. The two then rode around to Jefferson Davis' house where some other generals met them and I suppose they had a council of war -- certainly a lunch. While they were lunching and conferring I rode around to Cousin Mary G. Watkins' and got a very nice lunch which she kindly prepared for me in an hour, the period for which we were dismissed at the President's house. Any kind of hospitality is a strain now when bacon is seventy-five and fresh meat fifty cents a pound, potatoes sixteen dollars a bushel and other things in proportion.

When the lunch was over, I went back to the President's house where I found the staff officers assembling in front. We still had to wait awhile, but soon the different generals, Longstreet and others, came out, but the particular two were kept to the last and then Lee, Jackson and President Davis came out together, a very distinguished trio, and stood talking on the steps. Lee was elegantly dressed in full uniform, sword and sash, spotless boots, beautiful spurs and by far the most magnificent man I ever saw. The highest type of the Cavalier class to which by blood and rearing he belongs. Jackson, on the other hand, was a typical Roundhead. He was poorly dressed, that is, he looked so, though his clothes were made of good material. His cap was very indifferent and pulled down over one eye, much stained by weather and without insignia. His coat was closely buttoned up to his chin and had upon the collar the stars and wreath of a general. His shoulders were stopped and one shoulder was lower than the other, and his coat showed signs of much exposure to the weather.

He had a plain swordbelt without sash and a sword in no respect different from that of other infantry officers that I could see. His face, in repose, is not handsome or agreeable, and he would be passed by anyone without a second look, though anyone could see determination and will in his face by the most casual glance -- much I would say to fear but not to love. I, of course, speak only from a casual observation and from no acquaintance, but that of a line officer who, in the course of his military duties, has been introduced to the commanding general. A means of observation and acquaintanceship that might be likened to that of a glowworm with the moon.

Davis looks like a statesman. His face is pale and thin but very intellectual, and he had graceful manner and easy bearing. He was dressed in a black suit and left a pleasing impression on anyone looking at him.

After the distinguished gentlemen had talked a few minutes on the steps, they shook hands very cordially in telling each other good-bye, but our observant eyes satisfied us that both Lee and Davis bade Jackson farewell in a manner that indicated they would not see him again for a while, -- or in other words that he had been ordered to move. The opinion was confirmed by the manner in which his rejoined his staff. He got on his old sorrel horse, which his courier was holding for him, and without saying a word to anyone , in a deep brown and abstracted study, started to gallop towards the Mechanicsville Pike, which we soon reached. His orders, published to his corps, very strictly enjoined the preservation of the crops along which the army and its trains moved and forbade all officers and men from riding out into the fields on each side of the road. This day, Jackson was especially anxious to get back to his quarters. Unfortunately for his speed, the pike was filled with long wagon trains, one set coming in, the other going out. It was impossible to make the time under these circumstance and still obey orders. He had not spoken a word since we had gotten underway. He first dodged in and out among the wagons, but his progress was slow, much slower than his needs demanded. He obviously remembered his orders, but determined to violate them.

He told his adjutant to have the cavalcade fall into single file and thereupon dashed into an extensive field of oats, overripe for the harvest, on the left of the pike. Several hundred yards ahead of the place he thusly violated the sacred oat field, there was a very nice brick house sitting back some distance, in a grove of oaks with a lane leading down to the pike. On a porch, a round and fat little gentleman was sitting smoking his pipe, his bald head and red face in his shirtsleeves with an eye on his morning "Examiner" and the other on his field of oats. When he saw the cavalcade ride out of the road, he threw down his paper, rushed down the stops and flew down the land and before we reached the place where the lane and pike united, he was standing like a lion in the pathway. He was puffing and blowing, wiping the perspiration off his forehead and so bursting with rage that all power of articulation seemed for a moment suspended.

The General saw him and for the first time in his career seemed inclined to retreat, but our irate friend had regained his speech and made his attack as Jackson drew rein before him.

"What in hell are you riding over my oats for?" The little mans shouted. "Don't you know it's against orders?"

The General looked confused, fumbled with his bridle rein and was as much abashed as any schoolboy ever caught in a watermelon patch. Before, with his slow speech, he could ever get a word out of explanation, our volcanic friend had another eruption.

"Damnit! Don't you know it's against orders? I intend to have every damned one of you arrested! What's your name anyhow?"

"My name is Jackson," said the General, half as if, for the occasion, he wished it was something else.

"Jackson! Jackson!" in a voice of great contempt. "Jackson, I intend to report every one of you and have you every one arrested. Yes, I'd report you if were old Stonewall himself instead of a set of damned quartermasters and commissaries riding through my oats! Yes, I'll report you to Stonewall Jackson myself, that's what I'll do!"

"They call me that name sometimes," said the General in the same subdued, half-alarmed tone.

"What name?"


"You don't mean to say you are Stonewall Jackson, do you?"

"Yes, sir, I am."

I can give no adequate description of the sudden change. His anger was gone in an instant and in its place came an admiring look that was adoring. His color vanished, his lips parted and tears stood in his eyes. His emotions stilled his tongue an instant, then his speech returned with all the vigor of his vernacular and he shouted as he waved his big bandana around his head:

"Hurrah for Stonewall Jackson! By God, General, please do me the honor to ride all over my damned old oats!"

He would not let the General pass until we had all taken a glass of cold buttermilk with him. He pressed the General to take every variety of strong drink, but buttermilk was all he would accept. So great was our friend's admiration for old Stonewall that even refusing to take something stronger did not lower him in his estimation as I think it might have done if the refusal came from a lesser light. He made no apology for his oaths, on the contrary emphasized his admiration, as he had his anger, with a choice selection.

The interview over, we hurried on to headquarters and, very soon after, I was informed that we were to go up to Gordonsville tomorrow. I shall watch Jackson closely while I am with him and put down what I see and what I think of him. He is , of course, a great military genius and has made such an impression on the men that "Old Jack" is at once a rallying cry and a term of endearment. The army is full of of stories about him and everybody, citizens and soldiers, is tyring to get a glimpse of him. Whenever he is recognized by the soldiers he is cheered. Of course in many brigades which have not served under him he is unknown and tries to go about unrecognized. I have no chance to learn anything about him socially and will have none. Even if I had, I doubt from what his staff tells me, whether I would be any wiser or know him any better by the opportunities for observation I have otherwise. He seems to have no social life. He divides his time between military duties, prayer, sleep, and solitary thought. He holds converse with few.

Friday, June 6, 2008

General Orders Eighteen

Victor Davis Hanson is a splendid historian. I have read his political commentaries for the last four years. Recently, he wrote about the role of the historian and, more specifically, the guidelines a historian should follow when writing their books. In the article, he gives the following three points:

1) All source materials should be presented in an analytical rather than a prejudicial manner.

One would think this should always be the case, but it is not. One of the seminars I took in the quest for my master’s degree was on historiography. The professor’s primary objective was too teach us budding historians just how manipulative scholars can be and usually are. The use of a half a quote here, or of one source over another there, or the overuse of a source period can skew the “story.”

This class made a real impact on me. As I start my own career as a Civil War historian, it is important that I present the material not to shore up or to destroy, but to reveal to the best of my ability, what happened during the event I am writing about.

2) Draw together a lot of sources and provide engaging narration.

On the second part of the point, just let me say, Amen! During the last two years, I have been forced to read articles from academic journals that made me want to gouge out my eyes. I know that academia has its own style, but please… why can’t the author invest some time in trying to present his material in an engaging manner. Does the author get points for being boring or pedantic?

On the first part, it is important to realize that most sources are eyewitness accounts told years after the event. Human memory is unreliable at best, and most authors have “agendas.” Not all agendas are bad, but an agenda still skews the story. So, I get a little nervous when one source is touted as the final or only authority. I find this happens in the historiography more than it should.

3) Speak in terms of a philosophy beyond just the particular history or period or era.

This one is probably the hardest for me to define. What is my philosophy in writing about these times? What is it that draws me to the men of the Army of Northern Virginia? What could I possibly add to the discourse? Since I have read Hanson’s article, I realize I don’t have a firm handle on my philosophy. I know I want to write on topics that will contribute to the understanding of the war, but just what that contribution is, well, I seem to have some more thinking to do.

As I take the first steps in researching my very first topic and writing my very first "history", I will keep these guidelines in mind, while at the same time, making sure that whatever I produce will add positively to the discourse and historiography.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dr. Hunter McGuire

Here is a brief biography I found on Dr. Hunter McGuire on the USCivilWar.Net website. The information was compiled by Jenny Goellnitz.

Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, M.D., CSA

John W. Schildt in his biography of Hunter McGuire summed up the doctor as such: "When people needed to talk, he listened. Those who knew him said Dr. Hunter McGuire made you feel that you were the most important person in the world." Another quote that describes the Winchester physican is "Make not patients of your friends -but friends of your patients." Such a man was Hunter Holmes McGuire, a native of Winchester, Virginia in the Northern end of the Shenandoah Valley.

Born on October 11, 1835, by age 22 he was already a professor and full doctor. An impressive man, tall -- almost 6'4" -- thin, and handsome with black hair and blue eyes, Dr. McGuire was a believer in State's Rights and Virginia and thus embarked on a career as a Confederate Medical Officer in 1861.

At first, he signed up to fight as a private in the Winchester Rifles (Co. F of the 2nd Virginia which fought in the Stonewall Brigade), but McGuire was too valuable to serve as a foot soldier when the Confederacy needed trained doctors. McGuire served under many different commanders; among them were Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Richard Ewell, and Jubal Early. It is, however, as Jackson's surgeon that Dr. McGuire is remembered. McGuire would later say: "The noblest heritage I shall hand down to my children is the fact that Stonewall Jackson condescended to hold me and treat me as his friend."

McGuire served in all the major battles of the Army of Northern Virginia as the medical director of the famed Second Corps. In May of 1863, Jackson was wounded in the arm by friendly fire at the battle of Chancellorsville. After a week long battle with pneumonia, Jackson died of the pneumonia. A picture of McGuire taken in mid-May shows him looking gaunt and exhausted, both indicative of the tireless efforts he put forth in an attempt to save his friend and patient. In fact, Dr. McGuire attempted to give his patient and friend round the clock care.

McGuire saw many tragedies in his career as a medical officer for the dying Confederacy. His good friend and commander Jackson died. His tent-mate Sandie Pendelton was mortally wounded in the Valley in 1864. McGuire's own brother Hugh was mortally wounded in 1865. His beloved home the Shenandoah Valley was in flames. And McGuire himself was captured at Waynesboro on March 2nd. Paroled by General Sheridan for his policy of not keeping Union Surgeons, McGuire was with the Army of Northern Virginia and tasted the bitter defeat of surrender at Appomattox Court House.

After the war, McGuire went to Richmond where he built a hospital of his own and had a career that was varied and productive, and often included helping one who had worn the gray during the Civil War. Especially at first, but later as well, he would work without pay. He forever remained a staunch supporter of Jackson's reputation and image, writing several biographical sketches and giving speeches about his former commander.

McGuire served also as a professor after the War, was president of numerous medical organizations and societys including the American Medical Assocaiation. In addition, he married and fathered 10 children, some of whom followed in his footsteps in pursuing medical careers. He died of complications of a cerberal embolism on September 19, 1900. He is buried amongst many Confederate notables in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery. A statue stands on the Virginia State House grounds to the Winchester physican.

Hunter McGuire was a truly gifted individual. He was a deft surgeon, a highly gifted and competent doctor, a superb teacher, an outstanding orator, a brilliant administrator, and a prolific writer and author. One person remembered the physican in consulting with his patients was "like a husband pondering the problems of the sick wife; the father looking down on the afflicted child."

His contributions to Virginia, the Confederacy, the United States, and medicine as a whole can not be overlooked. For more information read: "Doctor in Gray" by John Schildt, "Hunter McGuire: Stonewall's Surgeon" by Maurice Shaw, or "Stonewall Jackson" by James Robertson.

Tribute to Dr. McGuire that appeared in the Sept. 19, 1900 Richmond News:

None more striking has been known to this generation of Virginians. Few men have seen in these parts whose opinions, professional or other, carried as much weight. It may be doubted whether anybody has lived in Virginia since Lee and Jackson died who was loved by more people. In character, he was all that men mean by "strong", "decided", "vigorous" or any similar term.
Nevertheless, he was strikingly simple, straight-forward and unaffected, modest, even to reserve; yet throughout his life, a warrior waging sternest battle for reality and truth, of whom a friend could get real help when counsel was needed, because he had not the coward's gift for tempering opinions to suit the changing expression of his auditor's eye. A brave and true man, in whose sincerity and strength great Jackson could entirely confide; whose force General Lee upon occasion markedly acknowledged.

Inscription on Hunter McGuire's Monument in Richmond:

Hunter Holmes McGuire, M.D., L.L.D. President of the American Medical and of the American Surgical Associations; Founder of the University College of Medicine Medical Director, Jackson's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. An Eminent Civil and Military Surgeon and Beloved Physician. An Able Teacher and Vigorous Writer; A Useful Citizen and Broad Humanitarian, Gifted in Mind and Generous in Heart, This Monument is Erected by his Many Friends.