Cavalryman of the Lost Cause is the first major biography in decades of the famous Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart. Based on research in manuscript collections, personal memoirs and reminiscences, and regimental histories, this comprehensive volume reflects outstanding Civil War scholarship.
James Ewell Brown Stuart was the premier cavalry commander of the Confederacy. He gained a reputation for daring early in the war when he rode around the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign, providing valuable intelligence to General Robert E. Lee at the expense of Union commander George B. McClellan. Stuart has long been controversial because of his performance in the critical Gettysburg Campaign, where he was out of touch with Lee for several days; this left Lee uncertain about the size and movement of the Union army, information that would prove decisive when the battle began. In an engagement with the cavalry of Union general Philip Sheridan in spring 1864, Stuart was killed. He was only thirty-one.
Jeffry D. Wert provides new details about Stuart's childhood and youth, and he draws on letters between Stuart and his wife, Flora, to show us the man as he was: eager for glory, daring sometimes to the point of recklessness, but a devoted and loving husband and father. Stuart has long been regarded as the finest Confederate cavalryman and one of the best this country has ever produced. Wert shows how Stuart's friendship with Stonewall Jackson and his relationship with Lee were crucial; at the same time Stuart's relationships with his subordinates were complicated and sometimes troubled.
Cavalryman of the Lost Cause is a riveting biography of a towering figure of the Civil War, a fascinating and colorful work by one of our finest Civil War historians.
Wert (The Sword of Lincoln) adds to his status as a top-ranking Civil War scholar in this excellent biography of the Confederacy's best-known cavalry general. Jeb Stuart's reputation has faded somewhat in recent years, particularly for his alleged failures during the Gettysburg campaign. Wert integrates comprehensive archival and printed sources to describe a man shaped by a zest for life, religious faith and devotion to duty, who from his youth sought achievement and recognition. Soldiering promised both. The initial dominance of Confederate cavalry in the east during the Civil War was a product of Stuart's skills as leader and organizer, trainer and tactician. Above all he was a master at reconnaissance and screening. His decision at Gettysburg to ride around the Union army instead of rejoining Robert E. Lee was a mistake. But its serious consequences were in good part due to Lee's dependence on his now-absent source of reconnaissance, and the Union cavalry's ability to learn from repeated defeat at Stuart's hands. Wert's biography goes far in restoring Stuart's claim to be "the greatest cavalry officer ever foaled in America." 8 pages of b&w photos; maps.