STUART, James Ewell Brown was born on February 6, 1833 in Patrick County, Virginia, United States, United States. Son of Archibald and Elizabeth Letcher (Pannill) Stuart. His father was a prosperous country lawyer and Democratic congressman.
Stuart, the seventh son, was educated in Wytheville, Virginia, and attended Emory and Henry College from 1848 to 1850. He graduated thirteenth in a class of forty-six from the U.S. Military Academy in 1854. Although his mother was Episcopalian, he became a Methodist after a revival experience, but he returned to the Episcopal church in 1859.
He was a temperance advocate, deeply religious, and romantic. He was probably a Democrat. On November 14, 1855, he married Flora Cooke, daughter of U.S. Brigadier General Philip St. George Cooke.
They had one son and one daughter. After accepting his commission in 1854, Stuart served in Texas and New Mexico on the western frontier with the Mounted Rifles. He was wounded at Solomon’s Fork, Kansas, in 1857 and was voluntary aide-de-camp to Robert E. Lee at Harper’s Ferry in 1859.
He was promoted to captain in 1861, and when the Civil War began, he resigned from the U.S. Army to enter the 1st Virginia Cavalry. After serving under General Joseph E. Johnston at the battle of First Manassas, he was promoted to brigadier general on September 24, 1861. Stuart soon acquired a reputation for his boldness and skill as a cavalry officer.
Before the Seven Days during the Virginia Peninsular campaign of 1862, he responded to Lee’s request for information about McClellan's position by riding completely around McClellan’s army. After his promotion to major general on July 25,1862, he commanded all cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia until his death. His battle credits included brilliant performances at Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, and Fredericksburg in 1862.
After General Thomas J. Jackson I was killed during the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Stuart assumed command of the 2nd Army Corps. His cavalry division fought brilliantly at the battle of Brandy Station, Virginia, in June 1863 but, owing to ambiguous instructions from Lee, was late in arriving on the field at the battle of Gettysburg. Stuart was mortally wounded at the Yellow Tavern during the battle of Cold Harbor in the Wilderness campaign in the spring of 1864.
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Elizabeth (Pannill) Stuart
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