James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was in command of the Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia on 1 July 1863. James Longstreet described (Wert, General James Longstreet) Stuart as being "endowed by nature with the gifts that go to make a perfect cavalryman." Historians (e.g., McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom) argue that because he was embarassed at being caught napping at Brandy Station on 9 June, by Alfred Pleasonton's Union Cavalry with Strong Vincent's brigade in support, and, to 'regain his honor,' Stuart executed one of his patented rides around the Union lines during the invasion of the North. This extended raid put him out of communication with Robert E. Lee, and is said to have forced the Army of Northern Virginia to move through Pennsylvania without much needed military intelligence. More recently, Daniel Zimmerman has argued that Stuart was following instructions that were murky at best. Quoting Lee's orders to Stuart:
And, while leaving a sufficient cavalry force to monitor the movements of the Army of the Potomac, the officers he left were not skilled enough to do so successfully. Thus while Stuart "was not necessarily blameless, he had a great deal of company."
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Photo Credit: Library of Congerss
Created 26 MAY 1996 , Modified 24 JUL 2014