Tuesday, June 12, 2012

150th of J.E.B. Stuart's ride

Today, in 1862, Confederate General James Ewell Brown ("J.E.B.") Stuart, departed with 1,200 troopers to ride around the Union Army of the Potomac.  He was sent by the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, to reconnoiter the Union positions.  Indeed, since the Battle of Seven Pines, the two armies sat literally staring each other at the outskirts of Richmond, the capital of both Virginia and the Southern Confederacy.  Lee was ready to take the initiative and drive US General McClellan back.  To do that, he needed to know what sat before him.

File:Jeb stuart.jpg
CS General J.E.B. Stuart.

Stuart rode out on 12 June 1862, and with his men rode 22 miles north of Richmond, Virginia, before they turned east around the Union host.  While there may have been thought of returning to the Confederate lines directly from whence they came, at Hanover, pursuing Union troops convinced Stuart to simply ride around McClellan's army.

It was a thrilling raid and ride that involved scraps with Union troops, demolishing bridges, and looting supply depots.  Stuart and his troopers would ride safely into Lee's headquarters the morning of 15 June 1862, having ridden 150 miles and gone completely around the Union Army of the Potomac, with its 100,000+ men.

stuartsmap.jpg (83764 bytes)

This site has a good account of the ride:

This ride secured the name of J.E.B. Stuart amongst the list of great horseman, gave Lee the intelligence he needed for the coming offensive, and further demoralized a Union force that had given up the initiative in this Peninsula Campaign.

We shall return to the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia at the end of the month for Lee's attack -- the Seven Days' Battles.

Live well!

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