Jeb Stuart: Lootin’, Shootin’, & Kickin’ Up Dust

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.

J.E.B. Stuart

Christopher Plummer

Jeb Stuart

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…

Photo Credits:

1: civilwaref.blogspot.com

2: allposters.com

3: biography.com

Story Crumbs

One of my favorite pastimes is reading about the American Civil War.  I also like thinking and writing about what I read.  It helps me to process through it, whether it’s from a book, a Confederate soldier’s diary, or a letter written by a Union soldier to someone back home.

Each small story, every new experience, and the preceding, present, or proceeding scenes of battle amaze me.  I’m getting the opportunity to peak in on a bit of history and hear firsthand how it affected certain individuals.  We’re given many snapshots of what life was like during the war.

They’re the deconstructed pieces of the American Civil War meta-narrative.  Each story is merely a part of the larger overall story that so many people have lived, contributed to, and even died for.  These stories are woven together like a tapestry, interrelated and built upon one another.

When I read about the Civil War, I think of my favorite band, the Decemberists.  They came out with an album in 2009 called “The Hazards of Love.”  I was so impressed by this record, because each individual song told a unique story that connected to the larger overall story, which was the rest of the songs on the CD.

My hope in writing this blog is to piece together different stories I read about the Civil War in order to understand its comprehensive story.  I invite you to enter into the lives of those that have gone before us and to think with me on what that must have been like for them.

I’ll post one entry per week, but I’m always sharing some of what I’m reading throughout the week on Twitter.  Check out the hashtag #civilwartweet to find out more.  Or, to feed your insatiable appetite for all things Civil War, check out one of my favorite sites: Daily Observations from the Civil War.

Teaser: Next week, I’ll be explaining how I picked Hardtack Rat as my website name.  Please check back to find out!

Until next time, keep soldiering on…