Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11, 1863 (Monday): Stuart Feels Slighted

Fredericks Hall VA (

HEADQUARTERS, Fredericksburg, May 11, 1863.
General J. E. B. STUART,
Commanding Cavalry:
    GENERAL: I received your note of the 9th, and I am glad that the railroad bridge will be so soon completed. When it is done, unless circumstances in your opinion prevent, I request you to move into Culpeper, where you can better observe the enemy. I shall be glad to get your view as to the increase of the cavalry, and I need not assure you that nothing will be wanted on my part to augment it. Do you know how many brigades compose the cavalry divisions of the enemy, and who are the brigade commanders? If you think a visit to Richmond, on your part, will expedite the organization or equipment of your command, I have no objection, but, on the contrary, recommend it. I believe I told you of my wish to place Jenkins' cavalry in the Valley and draw Jones' to you. I thought it would give you a more reliable and larger force, from which you could re-enforce either flank, a necessary. What do you think of it? I have ordered Jenkins to assemble his companies (which have been scattered for forage) at Staunton. Hood is at Fredericksburg Hall. Communicate with him, and keep him advised of movements of enemy. I have directed him, as far as possible, to guard bridges over the North Anna, &c. I hope between you two you may scatter Stoneman. Rhett has been ordered from Gordonsville to Richmond. His troops I think necessary there.
    As regards the closing remarks of your note, I am at a loss to understand their reference or to know what has given rise to them. In the management of the difficult operations at Chancellorsville, which you so promptly undertook and creditably performed, I saw no errors to correct, nor has there been a fitting opportunity to commend your conduct. I prefer your acts to speak for themselves, nor does your character or reputation require bolstering by out-of-place expression of my opinions.
     I regret to inform you that the great and good Jackson is no more. He died yesterday at 3.15 p.m., of pneumonia, calm, serene, and happy May his spirit pervade our whole army; our country will then be secure.
     Very truly, yours,

     R. E. LEE,

P. S.-From indications observed yesterday, it seems probable General Hooker is contemplating some new movement. The late Washington papers seem also to indicate something. They claim a great victory. Keep your scouts on the alert.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, page 792.

This most interesting note cannot be matched to Stuart's letter of the 9th, as it is not in the O.R.  Did Stuart believe he had not received sufficient credit for taking charge of Jackson's Corp after his wounding?  Stuart was anxious to get at the Union troopers, who were being given great credit for their raid behind Confederate lines, while Lee had been counseling patience.  Were the roots of Stuart's misadventure during the Gettysburg campaign sown with his perceived slight after Chancellorsville?  Lee probably rubbed some salt in the wound without meaning by reminding Stuart that Union papers considered the battle a victory because of the success of the Union cavalry.

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