Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

John Brown’s Failure

Who was J. E. B. Stuart, and what did he do with that handkerchief?

James Ewell Brown Stuart (1833–1864) later became the most famous of all Confederate cavalrymen, known for his magnificent reddish hair as well as his gallant cavalry charges and maneuvers. In 1859, however, Stuart was a twenty-six-year-old U.S. Army officer: he volunteered to serve as Robert E. Lee’s aide. The two men knew each other from Stuart’s West Point days, when Lee had been the superintendent of the academy.

J.E.B. Stuart was a U.S. Army lieutenant in 1859, but he soon rose to become the most flamboyant and beloved of Confederate generals. After many successes in reconnaissance and cavalry direction, he was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864.


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