J.E.B. Stuart

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J.E.B. Stuart : biography

February 6, 1833 – May 12, 1864

The Battle of Yellow Tavern occurred May 11, at an abandoned inn located six miles (10 km) north of Richmond. The Confederate troopers tenaciously resisted from the low ridgeline bordering the road to Richmond, fighting for over three hours. A countercharge by the 1st Virginia Cavalry pushed the advancing Union troopers back from the hilltop as Stuart, on horseback, shouted encouragement while firing his revolver at the Union troopers. As the 5th Michigan Cavalry streamed in retreat past Stuart, a dismounted Union private, 48-year-old John A. Huff, turned and shot Stuart with his .44-caliber revolver from a distance of 10–30 yards.Smith, p. 242; Salmon, p. 283; Starr, p. 107; Rhea, pp. 209, 390; Thomas, p. 292; Edward G. Longacre, writing in a June 2004 , claims that Huff’s shot was from away, an arguably impressive feat with a pistol; in his book, Lincoln’s Cavalrymen (p. 268), Longacre states that Huff was able to advance "close enough" to Stuart to shoot him in the abdomen, although he was not aware at the time that his victim was Stuart. Private Huff was killed a month later at the Battle of Haw’s Shop. Wert, pp. 347–58, disputes the possibility that Huff fired the mortal shot, stating that the evidence points to an unnamed trooper in either the 1st or 7th Michigan.

Huff’s bullet struck Stuart in the left side. It then sliced through his stomach and exited his back, 1 inch to the right of his spine.Smith, p. 357. Stuart suffered great pain as an ambulance took him to Richmond to await his wife’s arrival at the home of Dr. Charles Brewer, his brother-in-law. Stuart ordered his sword and spurs be given to his son. His last whispered words were: "I am resigned; God’s will be done." He died at 7:38 p.m. on May 12, the following day, before Flora Stuart reached his side. He was 31 years old. Stuart was buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery. Upon learning of Stuart’s death, General Lee is reported to have said that he could hardly keep from weeping at the mere mention of Stuart’s name and that Stuart had never given him a bad piece of information.Smith, p. 244; Wert, pp. 357–62.

Flora wore the black of mourning for the remainder of her life, and never remarried. She lived in Saltville, Virginia, for 15 years after the war, where she opened and taught at a school in a log cabin. She worked from 1880 to 1898 as principal of the Virginia Female Institute in Staunton, Virginia, a position for which Robert E. Lee had recommended her before his death ten years earlier.Lee had been a member of the board of visitors of the school in 1865–1870 when he was president of Washington College in nearby Lexington, Virginia. He also had sent two daughters to the school for their educations. Wert, p. 368 for recommendation. In 1907, the Institute was renamed Stuart Hall School in her honor. Upon the death of her daughter Virginia, from complications in childbirth in 1898, Flora resigned from the Institute and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where she helped Virginia’s widower, Robert Page Waller, in raising her grandchildren. She died in Norfolk on May 10, 1923, after striking her head in a fall on a city sidewalk. She is buried alongside her husband and their daughter, Little Flora, in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.Wert, pp. 368–69.

In popular media

J.E.B. Stuart is a character in the historical adventure novel Flashman and the Angel of the Lord by George Macdonald Fraser featuring Stuart’s early-career role in the US Army at abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

In the long running comic book G.I. Combat, featuring "The Haunted Tank", published by DC Comics from the 1960s through the late 1980s, the ghost of General Stuart guided a tank crew (the tank being, at first, a Stuart, later a Sherman) commanded by his namesake "Lt. Jeb Stuart."* Golden, Christopher, Bissette, Stephen, Sniegoski, Thomas E., The Monster Book, Simon & Schuster, 2000, ISBN 0-671-04259-9, p. 278.

Joseph Fuqua played Stuart in the films Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.