Friday, September 7, 2012

When General J.E.B Stuart rode to Capitol Square on June 16, 1862 to observe a military drill, he was already a hero to the citizens of Virginia. Arriving at the Governor's Mansion, members of the military and passersby instantly recognized him. According to a witness "the people, citizens and soldiers were pretty near crazy to see and hear him speak." Thanking the cheering crowds for their gracious welcome he spoke of the grand struggle of the Southern people and the heroic army he would help lead to victory. Stuart had just returned from an amazing feat that had captured the imagination of the South, his ride around McClellan.

The story made the headlines in newspapers north and south. On June 16, 1862 the Richmond Daily Dispatch said, "History cannot show such another exploit as this of Stuart's! The whole country is astonished and applauds. McClellan is disgraced. Stuart and his troopers are now forever in history."

General Stuart's ride around McClellan accomplished several goals. First it gathered for General Lee valuable knowledge of detailed positions and size of the Federal Army. Second, Stuart and his cavalrymen were able to disrupt Federal communications and supply lines. And finally, the ride dealt a psychological blow to McClellan and his army. General J.E.B. Stuart was well on his way in becoming one of the south's favorite sons.
Photo: The historic art of John Paul Strain...

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