Happy Birthday J.E.B.
Today marks the anniversary of General James Ewell Stuart, CSA. Born in 1833, J.E.B. rose to fame during the American Civil War. Because he is one of my favorite generals to serve in the War Between the States, I chose him as a main character in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.
J.E.B. was born in Patrick County, Virginia. After graduating from West Point, where he acquired the nickname “Beauty,” he served for the U.S. Army in Texas and Kansas, participating in the conflict of “Bleeding Kansas.” He went to Harpers Ferry, where he assisted his fellow army personnel in accosting John Brown. When the war broke out, he resigned to become an officer with the Confederacy. He immediately proved himself a worthy foe by riding around Union General George McClellan … twice.
Under the command of General Robert E. Lee, who was like a father to him, J.E.B. and his valiant cavalry fought in many battles, including the largest cavalry battle to ever take place on North American soil: the Battle of Brandy Station. He faced ridicule at Gettysburg after his cavalry showed up two days late for the battle. Still, he fought gallantly to the end, losing his life at the Battle of Yellow Tavern during the Overland Campaign in 1864.
Considered to be one of the last true cavaliers, J.E.B. was every bit a flamboyant showman, ladies’ man, and music lover, adorning himself with a red cape and ostrich plumed hat, and accompanying his cavalry with musicians. J.E.B. was truly one of the most colorful characters to participate in the Civil War. He is buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.