Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart

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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.
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About the author

Jeffry D. Wert is the author of eight previous books on Civil War topics, most recently Cavalryman of the Lost Cause and The Sword of Lincoln. His articles and essays on the Civil War have appeared in many publications, including Civil War Times Illustrated, American History Illustrated, and Blue and Gray. A former history teacher at Penns Valley High School, he lives in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, slightly more than one hour from the battlefield at Gettysburg.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Sep 23, 2008
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781416579700
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Sears has finally unraveled the mystique of this complex, brilliant Civil War general . . . A fascinating story” (James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom).
 
“Commander of the Northern army in the Civil War, Gen. George McClellan saw himself as God’s chosen instrument for saving the Union. Self-aggrandizing, with a streak of arrogant stubbornness, he set himself above President Lincoln, whom he privately called ‘the Gorilla.’ To ‘the young Napoleon,’ as McClellan’s troops dubbed him, abolition was an ‘accursed doctrine.’ Fond of conspiracy plots, he insisted that the Lincoln administration had traitorously conspired to set him up for military defeat. Although he constantly anticipated one big, decisive battle that would crush the South, he squandered one military opportunity after another, and, if Sears is correct, he was the worst strategist the Army of the Potomac ever had. Based on primary sources, letters, dispatch books, diaries, newspapers, this masterly biography is an astonishing portrait of an egotistical crank who could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Engagingly written and thoroughly researched, Sears’s persuasive critique is the best and most complete biography of this controversial general.” —Library Journal
 
“The best biography of McClellan ever published. Sears uses intensive research, including new material, to document the tormented, wasted military career of a talented man . . . The enigma of McClellan has never been explained so well . . . Historians should be grateful.” —The Washington Post Book World
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the epic New York Times bestselling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic national hero.

Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon—even Robert E. Lee—he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. In April 1862, however, he was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. But by June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.

In his “magnificent Rebel Yell…S.C. Gwynne brings Jackson ferociously to life” (New York Newsday) in a swiftly vivid narrative that is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict among historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life and traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.
Major-General J.E.B. Stuart (1833-1864) was one of the Confederacy’s greatest horsemen, soldiers, and heroes. As early as First Manassas (Bull Run) he contributed significantly to the Confederate victory, he subsequently displayed his daring and brilliance in the battles of Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Brandy Station—the most significant cavalry battle of the war, and Stuart’s finest moment. General Lee depended on Stuart for knowledge of the enemy for, as he said, Stuart never brought him a piece of false information. But Stuart was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern in May, 1864. Not since the death of Stonewall Jackson had the South sustained so great a personal loss, his rollicking, infectious gaiety and hard fighting were sorely missed in the grim last days of Lee’s army.

By all accounts, I Rode with Jeb Stuart is the most reliable and persuasive portrait of Stuart offered by a contemporary, and is indispensable for any thorough knowledge of the great Confederate cavalryman.

“This book, which is both biography and memoir, is the richest source on the Civil War career of the plumed knight of the Army of Northern Virginia, Major-General James Ewell Brown Stuart. Though it has been out of print for generations, it is still read, and has fairly won its way onto the shelf of ‘classics’ of the war....It is by all odds the most reliable account of Stuart and his horsemen left by Stuart’s intimates....A reader who rides with Stuart through the Gettysburg campaign, until the Confederate infantry is safely south of the swollen Potomac, is not likely to forget the experience. In the light of McClellan’s narrative the ancient, wearying Confederate controversies over Gettysburg seem to lose a great deal of their importance.”—Burke Davis, Introduction, I Rode with Jeb Stuart
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