Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use of cavalry in offensive operations. While he cultivated a flamboyant cavalier image (red-lined gray cape, yellow sash, hat cocked to the side with a peacock feather, red flower in his lapel, often sporting cologne), his serious work made him Robert E. Lee's eyes and ears and inspired Confederate morale. He was wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864 and died the next day.
Jeb Stuart in The Guns of the South
Jeb Stuart's cavalry were the first division of the Confederate Army to receive the AK-47s. The famed cavalry commander's force received the new rifles first because Andries Rhoodie knew that Stuart was to be a pivotal Confederate leader in the first eastern engagement of the 1864 campaign.
Stuart's cavalry first used the AK-47s against Union Army General Hugh Kilpatrick's raiders. Kilpatrick attempted to rescue Union prisoners of war held at Belle Isle and in Libby Prison. In that attempt, U.S. General John Sedgwick moved his VI Corps west to draw C.S. General Richard S. Ewell away from Kilpatrick's line of attack. This would have succeeded except for intelligence provided by the Rivington Men. As it was, Stuart with the AK-47s smashed Kilpatrick's force. Kilpatrick's attempted raid ended in disaster, and the surviving Union cavalry quickly withdrew northward.
Stuart was delighted at the performance of the new rifles in battle; he was so impressed with the new weapon that he sold his personal LeMat revolver, which he had carried since the earliest days of the war, and replaced it with an AK-47.
Stuart's cavalry were also in the forefront of the force that took Bealeton, Virginia, which paved the way for the Confederate Army's advance into Washington City, a coup which assured Confederate victory in the Second American Revolution.
Jeb Stuart in Southern Victory
Following the Confederate victory that ended the War of Secession in 1862, Jeb Stuart (1833-1882) remained in the Army, ascending to command of the Trans-Mississippi Department. In this capacity, he commanded troops formally taking possession of the states of Chihuahua and Sonora from Mexico in 1881.
In the Second Mexican War, Stuart led a small army in his district which was allied with Apache warriors led by Geronimo. He won major victories over his US opponents in that war through ingenious tactical maneuvers and improvisations. He also mediated a conflict between his Apache erstwhile allies and the new Confederate citizens of the ex-Mexican states. He offended Geronimo, who led a rebellion against the Confederates immediately following the end of the war. Stuart was mortally wounded in battle with the Apache.
Stuart became a legend in Confederate history, and, like most War of Secession generals, his descendants prospered in the nepotistic Old South. His son, Jeb Stuart Jr., a capable soldier in his own right, would ultimately make general's rank. His grandson, Jeb Stuart III, was on his way to joining the family firm during the Great War, but his interference with Clarence Potter's investigation of the Red Rebellion derailed his career and contributed to his death.
Jake Featherston, who served with Jeb III during the Great War, had run-ins with Stuarts Jr. and III. They were vilified by the Freedom Party, and Jeb Stuart himself had his reputation suffer when the Freedom Party became the Confederacy's dominant political party beginning in 1933.
- The Guns of the South, pg 11.
- Ibid., pg. 78-79.
- Ibid., pg. 142.
- Ibid., pg. 452.