J.E.B Stuart's Late Arrival At Gettysburg

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

War Horse

Captain
Silver Patron
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
I've been reading material on this subject when it occurred to me. Lee was indeed disappointed that Stuart intelligence and arrival were delayed or abesent all together at Gettysburg. I have never read a word that Lee himself felt Stuart actions were irresponsible. By all accounts Lee's anxiety was caused by his Calvary officers unknown whereabouts. Lee himself never criticized Stuart, nor did he publically reprimand him.

Others felt otherwise but Robert E. Lee did not. Why was this? I believe I know but would love to read what you think.
 

Jimklag

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Location
Chicagoland
I've been reading material on this subject when it occurred to me. Lee was indeed disappointed that Stuart intelligence and arrival were delayed or abesent all together at Gettysburg. I have never read a word that Lee himself felt Stuart actions were irresponsible. By all accounts Lee's anxiety was caused by his Calvary officers unknown whereabouts. Lee himself never criticized Stuart, nor did he publically reprimand him.

Others felt otherwise but Robert E. Lee did not. Why was this? I believe I know but would love to read what you think.
I may be wrong, but I don't remember reading of Lee ever reprimanding an officer publicly.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Here's what Lee said regarding Stuart and the cavalry with Stuart:

"In the exercise of the discretion given him when Longstreet and Hill marched into Maryland. General Stuart determined to pass around the rear of the Federal Army with three brigades and cross the Potomac between it and Washington, believing that he would be able, by that route to place himself on our right flank in time to keep us property advised of the enemy's movements. He marched from Salem on the night of June 24, intending to pass west of Centreville, but found the enemy's forces so distributed as to render that route impracticable. Adhering to his original plan, he was forced to make a wide detour through Buckland and Brentsville, and crossed the Occoquan at Wolf Run Shoals on the morning of the 27th. Continuing his march through Fairfax Court-House and Dranesville, he arrived at the Potomac, below the mouth of Seneca Creek, in the evening. He found the river much swollen by the recent rains, but after great exertion, gained the Maryland shore before midnight with his whole command. He now ascertained that the Federal Army, which he had discovered to be drawing/toward the Potomac, had crossed the day before, and was moving toward Frederick, thus interposing itself between him and our forces. He accordingly marched northward, through Rockville and Westminster, to Hanover, Pa., where he arrived on the 30th; but the enemy advanced with equal rapidity on his left, and continued to obstruct communication with our main body. Supposing, from such information as he could obtain, that part of the army was at Carlisle, he left Hanover that night, and proceeded thither by way of Dover. He reached Carlisle on July 1, where he received orders to proceed to Gettysburg.
He arrived in the afternoon of the following day, and took position on General Ewell's left. His leading brigade, under General Hampton, encountered and repulsed a body of the enemy's cavalry at Hunterstown, endeavoring to reach our rear. General Stuart had several skirmishes during his march, and at Hanover quite a severe engagement took place with a strong force of cavalry, which was finally compelled to withdraw from the town. The prisoners taken by the cavalry and paroled at various places amounted to about 800, and at Rockville a large train of wagons coming from Washington was intercepted and captured. Many of them were destroyed, but 125, with all the animals of the train, were secured. The ranks of the cavalry were much reduced by its long and arduous march, repeated conflicts, and insufficient supplies of food and forage, but the day after its arrival at Gettysburg it engaged the enemy's cavalry with unabated spirit, and effectually protected our left. In this action, Brigadier-General Hampton was seriously wounded, while acting with his accustomed gallantry."
 

Bee

Captain
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Others felt otherwise but Robert E. Lee did not. Why was this? I believe I know but would love to read what you think.
I agree with what @cash posted, but I would also add a couple of thoughts. As much as Lee missed JEB, I think that he was also in a bind over the fact that he had the "B" team in his place: Beverly Robertson. One part frustrated with not having Stuart, one part frustrated by who he DID have, but none of this amounts to "Stuart not doing his job", so that there was no reprimand, only localized frustration. Now, one of the few "what-ifs" that I always contemplated was if Stuart had left Wade Hampton in charge. If Stuart had done this, would this have relieved the frustration of not having Stuart, and painted him in a different light, altogether?
 

War Horse

Captain
Silver Patron
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
I agree with what @cash posted, but I would also add a couple of thoughts. As much as Lee missed JEB, I think that he was also in a bind over the fact that he had the "B" team in his place: Beverly Robertson. One part frustrated with not having Stuart, one part frustrated by who he DID have, but none of this amounts to "Stuart not doing his job", so that there was no reprimand, only localized frustration. Now, one of the few "what-ifs" that I always contemplated was if Stuart had left Wade Hampton in charge. If Lee had done this, would this have relieved the frustration of not having Stuart, and painted Stuart in a different light, altogether?
Hamption would have been much more effective than Robertson. But as you say, that is only opinion.
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

War Horse

Captain
Silver Patron
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
Wagons... in the nick of time. And as we'll learn on Eric's tour this fall, did tremendous service on the way back to Virginia.
Not to mention Stuart's intercepted messages were not as damaging as most people think. Thanks to the efforts of a spy named Harrison :smile:
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

War Horse

Captain
Silver Patron
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
Shelby claimed Lee said the wagons were an impediment.

I am skeptical of that claim.
They became very useful in the feed they carried and then transporting the wounded. I would say the wagons slowed JEB down but were very useful to his horses and the army as it turned out.
 

Bee

Captain
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
They became very useful in the feed they carried and then transporting the wounded. I would say the wagons slowed JEB down but were very useful to his horses and the army as it turned out.
As it has been mentioned many times in the past: Part of the incursion North was due to Virginia being forged out. The horses were in need of food, and so was the ANV. Stuart did his part by acquiring the very richly nutritious feed for his horses, which as we have discussed, were on the verge of breaking down by the time the feed was used.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Jimklag

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Location
Chicagoland
As it has been mentioned many times in the past: Part of the incursion North was due to Virginia being forged out. The horses were in need of food, and so was the ANV. Stuart did his part by acquiring the very richly nutritious feed for his horses, which as we have discussed, were on the verge of breaking down by the time the feed was used.
Lee doesn't blame Stuart on the record and Lee is the only one who matters. Why is it that virtually all historians give Stuart such a hard time? Is it the comments Lee made on July 1 to other subordinates about being blind without Stuart? Is there some animus among the other generals against Stuart? Curiouser and curiouser.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
I don't think Lee chewed Stuart out as legend says - for one thing, he well knew if Stuart perceived the slightest hint of disapproval from him that alone would cause him to make corrections. He didn't need to be yelled at. Lee had been anxious for a while - probably more because he thought he might well have lost Stuart permanently somehow. Maybe he'd been captured or killed. That was probably what was really at the bottom of any snappishness he might have directed at Stuart.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Location
Hannover, Germany
I don't think Lee chewed Stuart out as legend says - for one thing, he well knew if Stuart perceived the slightest hint of disapproval from him that alone would cause him to make corrections. He didn't need to be yelled at. Lee had been anxious for a while - probably more because he thought he might well have lost Stuart permanently somehow. Maybe he'd been captured or killed. That was probably what was really at the bottom of any snappishness he might have directed at Stuart.
My thoughts exactly.
I have recently read Jeffry Wert's Stuart biography and I think Stuart himself was anxious to rejoin Lee. He had not expected that his ride would take him so long. @Jimklag I think the other officers maybe were a bit annoyed that Stuart loved to make a show when he appeared, plumed hat and all, but that show is partly owed to the fact that an approaching column of cavalry, tired and worn ad it might be, is a greater sight to civilians than an approaching column of infantrymen and was therefore probably cheered more. Sure, Stuart did nothing to humble his appearance, but he sure was not as vain as some historians, and maybe his fellow generals like to make him. Maybe the grumble and the desire expressed by Longstreet, Marshall and others to have Stuart court-martialled was the result of extreme distress. They maybe thought Stuart was waiting for the moment to reappear that would make the greatest effect.
Lee (to redirect to the OP) knew Stuart from boyhood and most certainly knew that beneath all the glamour and dash sat a gallant and responsible officer who would never deliberatly risk defeat just to enhance his own appearance. If he did not show up, then because something important had hindered him.
 
Last edited:

PeterT

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Location
Melbourne Australia
I wonder if Lee missed Stuart ... the man. Him. Someone else to discuss matters with.

"General Stuart. General Longstreet has suggested we move around to the right. Get between those people and Washington. What do you think General?"

"General Stuart. Please ride over to the left and speak with General Ewell. My orders were .... "

Just wondering.....
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top