Its not very often I read through my local newspaper. Aside from my news sources being mainly online, I only access a physical newspaper at work. Nevertheless, I skimmed through the “History” section of The News Star recently and came across a snippet about ole’ Jeb Stuart (or General James Ewell Brown Stuart of the Confederate States Army to be precise).
1862: During the Civil War, Confederate forces led by Gen. J.E.B. Stuart loot the town of Chambersburg, Pa. (Source: (2013, October 11). History. The News Star, p. 5A.)
After doing some followup to see if there was anything else significant about this recorded event, I decided to familiarize myself with Stuart’s story. I just had to, since the only other thing mentioned about this looting incident was that it was during a raid to the north following the Battle of Antietam.
Jeb Stuart was a prominent figure in the American Civil War. Regardless of his looking like Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music when he was younger (assessed upon their bold faces and square jawlines), Stuart proved an excellent reconnaissance cavalry leader who served with the likes of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, even rocking the gnarliest beard of all three men!
Stuart first reported to Stonewall Jackson to take part in the infamous John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Hitting the ground running, Stuart kept his charge up, participating in famous campaigns such as the Shenandoah Valley, First & Second Battle of Bull Run, Gettysburg, etc.
My favorite story of ole’ Jeb is of him fooling the Union at the Battle of Second Manassas into believing that reinforcements had arrived. In actuality, Stuart had his men drag branches along dirt roads to kick up crazy dust clouds that apparently resembled incoming troops.
General Stuart not only served honorably alongside but also became dear friends with Robert E. Lee (and Stonewall Jackson), whom he first met during their years at West Point. Upon hearing about Stuart’s death, a day after the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 12, 1864, Lee is quoted as saying, “I can scarcely think of him without weeping.” (Source: Gragg, Rod. The Civil War Quiz and Fact Book. Promontory Press, 1993. Print.)
Until next time, keep Riding on…