Discussion Death of Jackson vs. Death of Stuart. Which loss was more detrimental to the Confederacy?

Pete Longstreet

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Like the title states, which loss was a bigger blow to the Confederacy. Obviously one was an infantry commander and the other calvary, but based on what they accomplished in their respected positions, which general was more vital to the South....

What do you CWT members think? And what did any soldiers of that time period think?

Longstreet thought that the loss of Jackson was a "great misfortune" and that they "faced a future bereft of much of it's hopefulness." But said of the death of Stuart "his loss was possibly a greater loss to the Confederate army than that of the swift moving Jackson"
 

frontrank2

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Location
Mt. Jackson, Va
I'm thinking that Jackson's death was more costly. When Stuart was killed at Yellow Tavern, the handwriting for the South was already on the wall. The ANV was on the defensive only, so it was only a matter of time before it would be eliminated. Jackson was killed at the zenith of Confederate power. The ANV was basically undefeated and on a roll. Who knows what would've happened if Jackson still had been in command of his corps at Gettysburg?
 
Last edited:

Cavalier

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Well I was thinking more along the lines of whose life was of more importance to the cause of Southern victory in the east, which was probably not what the original post intended. Just proves the old saying army saying "10% never get the word", and that's usually me.

John
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The key difference between Jackson and Stuart was that Jackson's death occurred at a more critical stage of the war for the Confederacy. There is endless speculation about what Jackson could have accomplished had he been commanding at Gettysburg. Whereas Stuart's loss happened at a time when the fate of the Confederacy was beginning to totter. Moreover, Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee, who took over after Stuart were highly competent replacements unlike Ewell and AP Hill, who took over the revised corps structure after Jackson.
 

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
The key difference between Jackson and Stuart was that Jackson's death occurred at a more critical stage of the war for the Confederacy. There is endless speculation about what Jackson could have accomplished had he been commanding at Gettysburg. Whereas Stuart's loss happened at a time when the fate of the Confederacy was beginning to totter. Moreover, Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee, who took over after Stuart were highly competent replacements unlike Ewell and AP Hill, who took over the revised corps structure after Jackson.
Jackson. I completely agree with jackt62 on this.
 

Pete Longstreet

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Well I was thinking more along the lines of whose life was of more importance to the cause of Southern victory in the east, which was probably not what the original post intended. Just proves the old saying army saying "10% never get the word", and that's usually me.

John
Although important as well, I was referring to how their death and the loss of their generalship impacted the armies of the Confederacy, and which impact was greater.
 

Scott1967

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Location
England
Jackson without a doubt his death was a game changer in the east , Lee not only lost his most aggressive commander but had to restructure his army and yes we know Lee was thinking of doing this regardless but i think the Death of Jackson brought forward his plans with dire results at Gettysburg.

Lee at Gettysburg with Jackson still alive is one of the best what if scenario's out their , One thing is for certain i doubt Culps Hill would have been in federal hands on the first day.

Jackson was the biggest loss to the Confederacy its my firm view the tide of war changed with his death.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The question posed in this thread raises an interesting issue. Had he lived, would Jackson have continued to enhance his reputation or would it remain stable or even diminished as a result of the falling prospects of the Confederacy? Jackson's passing occurred at the height of his fame, and his renown was enshrined forevermore, even to the extent that serious flaws in his leadership (such as his role during the Seven Days Battles) have been glossed over in public perception. In a similar manner, Lee's mighty reputation was heavily based on his victorious one year period from June 1862 until Gettysburg. What came after did not necessarily enhance that reputation to any great extent.
 

nc native

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Location
NC Piedmont
I think both men were able commanders and their deaths hurt the Confederate cause which needed all of the fortune it could find. I do believe Jackson's death was more detrimental to the Southern cause for three reasons:

Replacement Value: When Jackson was killed, there was no one who was as capable of independent command in operations such as the Valley campaign of 1862. Early did well with the force he had at times but he couldn't provide the needed victories to stop Sheridan from ravaging the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson also worked better with R.E. Lee probably better than any other commander in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Timing: Jackson's death occurred when the Army of Northern Virginia was at its peak as far as ability and confidence. His loss was keenly felt at Gettysburg and the battles to follow. Who knows what would have happened if the Confederacy had Jackson at Gettysburg on day one to push more aggressively against the Union forces that were deployed that day. Stuart arrived late and without fulfilling his primary mission - the gathering of intelligence on the movements and size of Union forces that Lee was about to face.

Morale: Jackson's fame had spread in both the North and South. Indeed, he was one of the most respected and feared commanders that the South had and the South probably mourned his loss more than any figure in Confederate arms. While Stuart's death was felt in 1864, it just didn't have the impact in both the North and South that Jackson's did.
 

Jonl51

Corporal
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Location
Northern Illinois
My vote is for Stonewall in terms of the significance his death had on the Confederacy. He was an aggressive strategic leader who the Union at the time had no answer for. He had proved his military prowess on numerous occasions even against superior numbers of enemy forces. Lee knew Jackson could always be relied upon and he was highly respected for
the type of man he was in addition to his accomplishments on the battlefield. Stuart’s critical and ill conceived absence at Gettysburg cost Lee and the ANV dearly.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Jackson had a better record. But when Stuart died, Jackson was already gone, and Longstreet was severely wounded. Hood and Johnston were in the west. Lee was relying on Stuart much more when Stuart was wounded at Yellow Tavern. After that, the burden of command fell heavily on Lee from that point on.
 
Last edited:

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
I'm thinking that Jackson's death was more costly. When Stuart was killed at Yellow Tavern, the handwriting for the South was already on the wall. The ANV was on the defensive only, so it was only a matter of time before it would be eliminated. Jackson was killed at the zenith of Confederate power. The ANV was basically undefeated and on a roll. Who knows what would've happened if Jackson still had been in command of his corps at Gettysburg?
The question is ; Which of these two did Lee miss the most? Lee and Jackson had a understanding that Lee and Stuart lacked.Lee could understand what Lee wanted him to do,I have not read where Lee and Stuart had that relation .Stuart was a Cavalier with a plum feather in his hat,Jackson studied the battles of Joshua and used his tactics against the Union forces. Jackson would not have been successful as a cavalry commander but then I do not see him being caught off guard as Stuart was and I think that Jackson would not have allowed a train of booty to take president over arriving in time to aid Lee to provide him with intelligence on Union forces movements/Gettysburg,
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Lee and Jackson had a understanding that Lee and Stuart lacked.Lee could understand what Lee wanted him to do,I have not read where Lee and Stuart had that relation
That was precisely Lee's strength and weakness. Dealing with a Jackson, who could effectively run with the ball given only broad directions, meshed with Lee's preference for giving his subordinate commanders much leeway. But at the same time, this did not necessarily work with Stuart. Lee's somewhat confused order to Stuart at the start of the Gettysburg campaign was interpreted by Stuart in a manner that was probably at odds with Lee's thinking. But that was not the fault of Stuart, who understood his instructions as giving him the flexibility of selecting a route to link up with Ewell's right flank that was not necessarily consistent with Lee's thinking. In that case, Lee would have been better served if he had spelled out his intentions more definitvely.
 

Similar threads

Top