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so close. As the scene of the short mêlée cleared, the ground was seen covered with dead and wounded ; a Federal battery, every horse of which had been killed, stood abandoned ; and far away a confused mass of fugitives hurried towards the river, with the shells of vengeful artillery bursting over their heads. The success of Stuart was four hundred prisoners, and three pieces of artillery. It was, we repeat, the only legitimate combat of cavalry in the war, on the scale of a battle, and in the novel trial Stuart, although much to blame for the surprise he suffered, and the disadvantage at which he was taken, bore off the palm.
We have already stated in the narrative of Gettysburg the serious omission of Gen. Stuart in that campaign, in which in fact his whole magnificent force of cavalry was neutralized by the interposition between it and Gen. Lee of the enemy's main army. When Stuart, unable to impede the enemy's passage of the Potomac, deflected eastward and crossed the river at Seneca, it was to move from his proper place on the enemy's left to watch his movements, and to take a position where it was necessary to make a circuit of the entire Federal army to rejoin Gen. Lee. These circuits had been occasions of great newspaper sen. sations; they were admirable enough as independent move. ments; but in this instance, while Stuart was performning his accustomed feat, Gen. Lee was left without information of the enemy and was surprised by the battle of Gettysburg. The sensation of the circuit was prodigious after the fashion of raids. Great consternation was occasioned; Stuart's troopers were known to have approached within twenty-five miles of Washingington; the Washington and Baltimore Railroad was broken up, and for a few hours the Federal capital was isolated, not only from the army on which it depended for defence, but from communication with the North; stragglers and supply trains were captured ; and thus the march around the Federal army was made, Stuart reaching Carlisle on 2d July, not until the battle of Gettysburg had been opened, and the benefit of his information of the enemy's movements had been wholly lost to Gen. Lee. He had played only a brilliant episode when he should have performed a necessary and constituent part of the drama.
The last of Stuart's peculiar adventures in running the gaunt. det of the enemy occurred in the campaign of manoeuvres which
terminated the third year of the war in Virginia. When in October of that year Gen. Lee made a flank movement, by which he hoped to get a position between the enemy and Washington, and force him to deliver battle, General Stuart took two brigades and several batteries and set out for Catlett's Station, to harass the enemy's flank and rear. Having passed Auburn, he at once discovered that he was between the advancing columns of the enemy. Enormous lines of infantry, cavalry, artillery, and baggage wagons were passing on both sides of him, and to have attacked them would have resulted in heavy loss. Nothing was left for Stuart but to conceal his force in the pine thickets; and orders were accordingly issued that no sound should be uttered throughout the command. He was completely hemmed in; and the heavy tramp of the enemy's infantry and the rumble of his artillery sounded plainly in the ears of the concealed soldiers. The accidental report of a fire-arm would have disclosed their position, and, in view of the overwhelming force of the enemy, nothing awaited them but destruction or surrender. The latter was not to be thought of. Three scouts were disguised in the Federal uniform, and instructed to cross the enemy's line of march, report the situation to Gen. Lee, and request him to attack the enemy's left flank at the next daybreak, when Stuart, breaking cover, would attack in the opposite direction, and complete the confusion. The adventure succeeded. At dawn Rodes opened on the enemy as suggested; and Stuart, hurling the thunders of his artillery from an opposite direction, in the very pitch of the confusion, limbered up his guns, and dashed with cavalry and artillery through the hostile ranks, giving them a complete surprise, and inflicting upon them a loss of several hundred in killed and wounded.
Having proceeded to Manassas and thence to Gainesville, Stuart, with a portion of his command, was falling back from the latter place, when Gen. Kilpatrick came down from Bull Run, determined, as he said, to make short work of “the rebel raid.” The Federal commander was described as “furious as a wild boar.” He declared to a citizen, at whose house he stopped, that “Stuart had been boasting of driving him from Culpeper, and now he was going to drive Stuart.” He was about to sit down to an excellent dinner as he made the observation, when, suddenly, the sound of artillery attracted his attention. Gen, Stuart had played him one of those tricks which are dangerous.
towards Manassas, to come up on the enemy's flank and rear, as he pursued, and when he was ready, Stuart would face about and attack. Everything took place as it was planned. The signal-gun roared, and Gen. Stuart, who, until then, had been retiring before the enemy towards New-Baltimore, faced around and charged. At the same moment Fitzhugh Lee came up on the enemy's flank, and what was called the “Buckland Races” took place, Kilpatrick and his dispersed command flying for their lives. To add to the misery of the fugitive General, he lost his race-horse " Lively,” a thorough-bred mare, which flew the track on this occasion, and became the prize of some of Mosby's men.
The perils to his person which Gen. Stuart encountered in a long series of adventures were sufficient to give one of less imagination a certain idea of immunity from danger, and he was heard frequently to say he was afraid of no bullet "aimed at him.” His hairbreadth escapes were numerous and remarkable. His clothing had been frequently cut by bullets in various battles, and one of his staff-officers gives an amusing account of Stuart's extreme distress at the loss of half of his magnificent moustache, which on one occasion, in a spattering fire in the woods, a minié ball had clipped off as neatly as the scissors of a barber. But at last came the fatal bullet, the winged mes
Is was in the early days of the memorable May of 1864, when the two great armies were locked in deadly struggle on the lines of Northern Virginia, that Richmond was thrown into a state of especial and immediate alarm by the rapid advance against it of the Federal cavalry under Gen. Sheridan, who had managed to march around the Confederate lines. The indefatigable Stuart,
people of Richmond momentarily expected that the outer lines of the city fortifications would become the scene of desperate conflict, the sound of light guns was heard, and the following cheerful, characteristic dispatch, told of Stuart's whereabouts and reassured the alarmed capital:
HEADQUARTERS, ASHLAND, May 11, 1864, 6.30 A. M. To Gen. Bragg:
GENERAL,—The enemy reached this point just before us, but were promptly whipped out, after a sharp fight, by Fitz Lee's advance, killing and capturing quite a number. Gen. Gordon is in the rear of the enemy. I intersect the road the enemy is marching on at Yellow Tavern, the head of the turnpike, six
and jaded, but all right.
J. E. B. STUART.
The next day the prostrate, bleeding form of the commander was brought into Richmond, and the glad city subdued to tears as her brave defender died in the midst of the people who loved and honoured him. For six hours he had fought the enemy with 1,100 men, and completed at Yellow Tavern the defeat of Sheridan's eight thousand. In the ardour of pursuit he had become separated from his men, discharging his revolver at some dismounted Federal cavalry who were running away on the opposite side of a high fence; and he had just fired his last shot when one of the fugitives turned upon him, and, steadying his aim by the fence, gave him a ball in the stomach that traversed the whole body. Thinking himself mortally wounded, Gen. Stuart turned his horse, rode back half a mile to the rear, and fell exhausted from the loss of blood. He was taken in an ambulance to Richmond, and died there the next day.
The last moments of the illustrious warriour were of touching and noble interest. Beneath the gay manners of the cavalier, and in the secret chambers of his soul, there was a deep, abiding religious sentiment, which now shone forth, illuminating
life. He repeatedly asked that the hymns of the Church should be repeated to him. He was neither afraid nor loth to die; and when President Davis, approaching his bedside, and taking his hand, asked, “General, how do you feel ?” he replied: “Easy, but willing to die, if God and my country think I have fulfilled my destiny and done my duty." As night approached, he asked his physician if he thought he would live through it; and being told that death was rapidly approaching, he nodded, and said: “I am resigned, if it be God's will; but I should like to see my wife. But God's will be done.” The unfortunate lady was in the country at the time. He then made his last dispositions, and calmly took leave of all around him. He directed that his golden spurs, the gift of some ladies of Baltimore, should be given to Mrs. Gen. R. E. Lee, as a memento of love and esteem for her husband. To his staff-officers he gave his horses and other mementoes. To his young son he left his sword. He finally prayed with the minister and friends around him; and, with the words, “I am going fast now; I am resigned; God's will be done,” yielded his fleeting spirit to Him who gave it.
The still form of the hero was laid in a simple grave on the hill-side in Hollywood cemetery, in the midst of the roaring of the enemy's cannon at Drury's Bluff; and while the sound of battle smote the ears of the funeral cortége, men thought painfully that the voice which had so often startled the enemy with stirring battle-cry, was silent forever. Near the grave a short slight mound of earth told where rested a little daughter that had been the idol of the soldier's heart.*
The military character of Gen. Stuart may be briefly summed
* Heros von Borcke, a Prussian officer on Gen. Stuart's staff, in some interesting memoirs of the commander, thus relates how the strong man was moved by the death of the little daughter by whose grave he now slept, war's fitful fever over, and its glory laid in the dust:
“During the night of the 5th November, 1862, there came a telegram for Gen. Stuart, which, in accordance with his instructions, habitually observed by me, I opened with his other dispatches, and found to contain the most painful intelligence. It announced the death of little Flora, our chief's lovely and dearly-loved daughter, five years of age, the favourite of her father and of his military family. This sweet child had been dangerously ill for some time, and more than once had Mrs. Stuart summoned her husband to Flora's bedside; but she received only the response of the true soldier: 'My duty to the country must be performed before I can give way to the feelings of the father. I went at once to acquaint my General with the terrible tidings, and when I had awakened him, perceiving, from the grave expression of my features, that something had gone wrong, he said, “What is it, Major? Are the Yankees advancing?' I handed him the telegram without a word. He read it, and the tenderness of the father's heart overcoming the firmness of the warriour, he threw his arms around my neck and wept bitter tears upon my breast. My dear General never recovered from this cruel blow. Many a time afterwards, during our rides together, he would speak to me of his lost child. Light-blue flowers recalled her eyes to him; in the glancing sunbeams he caught the golden tinge of her hair; and whenever he saw a child with such eyes and hair, he could not help tenderly embracing it. He thought of her even on his death-bed, when, drawing me towards him, he whispered, 'My dear friend, I shall soon be with little Flora again.''