Jeb (James Ewell Brown) Stuart is almost as famous as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson among fans and enthusiasts of the Confederacy, or the Lost Cause. Like Stonewall Jackson, Stuart did not live to see the end of the Civil War. This present book by Warren C. Robinson, professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University, examines what is considered Stuartís major mistake in his service to the Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy: where was he before the Battle of Gettysburg and during the first day of the battle?
Several books and articles have been written on this particular question. Since Stuart could not speak for himself after the war, others who knew him spoke in his stead - like John S. Mosby, who served with and was a friend of Stuartís. Stuartís own reports on the Battle of Gettysburg and his raid are not always reliable accounts, according to Robinson; he lied Ė or at least exaggerated - about the raid and his supposed orders. Robinson presents a lengthy examination of the orders from Lee to Stuart. Charles Marshall, Leeís staff officer, copied out most of his orders and is one of the sources which contradicts Stuartís claim of having orders from Lee to do what he did.
What might have been if Stuart had been with Leeís army, screened it and scouted for it? Lee might have had a victory and changed the course of the War. Many Northerners were unhappy with the war; Lincoln was up for re-election feared he may lose. Lincoln worried that if the Union lost a major battle, many in the North would call for negotiations with the South to end the War and let the Confederacy be independent.
Robinsonís book is a fascinating investigation of Stuartís absence and his raid. He presents both sides of the issue and lets the reader come to his or her own conclusion. There are many black-and-white illustrations and maps throughout the book, which closes with endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.
Warren C. Robinson is the author and editor of numerous works in the field of economics and has authored many articles in the field of military history and policy. This present book, which reads somewhat like a mystery, is highly recommended to those interested in Confederate generals, the Battle of Gettysburg, cavalry generals, and the Civil War.