Major General Jubal A. Early

Old Jube
Jubal "Old Jube" Early commanded the First Division of Richard Ewell's II Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. He was born on 3 November 1816, and was a member of the Class of '37 at West Point, as were Joseph Hooker and John Sedgwick. After destroying the Caledonia Iron Works west of Gettysburg that belonged to the Radical Republican congressman, Thaddeus H. Stevens, Early's troops passed through Gettysburg on 26 June. There John B. Gordon's brigade and E. V. White's 35th Virginia Cavalry Battalion routed, in what could not even be described as a minor skirmish, William W. Jennings' 26th Pennsylvania Militia. At Gettysburg, Early requisitioned from the town "fathers" provisions, 1000 pairs of shoes, and 500 hats, or $10,000 in cash. When the citizens responded that they could not meet his demands, but would request Gettysburg merchants to open their shops to Confederate troops (most of the stock had already been sent to Philadelphia to keep it out of Confederate hands), Early relented and said that would do.

Early's division was among the troops that had driven Oliver O. Howard's XI Corps through Gettysburg on 1 July. During that afternoon, Early, along with Isaac Trimble, was a proponent of pressing the attack on the Union lines. However, responding to reports from William "Extra Billy" Smith that there were Union troops--infantry, cavalry, and artillery--approaching in force along the York Pike, reports that he at the time felt were in error, he posted Smith's brigade to protect the flank. He later sent Gordon's brigade in support of Smith. The stripping of his division to guard against a non-existant threat, ensured that there would be no serious assault on Culp's Hills that afternoon.

On the evening of 2 July, in support of George H. Steuart's brigade's attack on Culp's Hill, Early's division attacked Howard's positions on Cemetery Hill. After a fierce fight, the Union lines held, and Early fell back into Gettysburg.

After the War, Early was an outspoken leader of the believers in "The Lost Cause." As president of the Southern Historical Society, he had a forum from which he "defended Confederate memories." One of these "memories" was his recollection that Lee, on the evening of 1 July, while discussing a co÷rdinated attack on the Federal flanks early the next morning, remarked that James Longstreet had the slows. Early and the other "Lost Causers" later used this purported remark to place the major share of the blame for the defeat at Gettysburg on Longstreet.

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Photo Credit: USMHI
Created 03 OCT 1999; Modified 23 JUL 2014