STUART, JAMES EWELL BROWN ("JEB"), Major General, C.S.A. Two autograph letters signed ("J.E.B.Stuart") to his wife in Lynchburg, Va.; Camp Von Borcke, 18 August 1863 and Wigwam, 16 April 1864. Together 8 pages, 8vo, the 1863 letter with a thin strip bearing signature neatly removed by a sadistic signature collector, causing loss of a line or two on verso, the second letter with original yellow envelope (one edge torn in opening) addressed in Stuart's hand to "Mrs. J.E.B. Stuart."
"THE CAVALRY HAS NO RECORD BRIGHTER THAN THAT OF JUNE & JULY'S CAMPAIGN. I WILL GLADLY REST MY NAME & REPUTATION ON THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THOSE LAST TWO MONTHS"
A very fine pair of letters from Stuart to his wife, one written in the aftermath of the defeat at Gettysburg, expressing Stuart's pride in the Confederate cavalry's exploits at Brandy Station and other battles, commenting of the rivalry between himself and John Bell Hood, and joking about his growing reputation as the "beau ideal of the Cavalry leader." 18 August 1863: "My Darling one...Nothing had occurred here to change the current of events, the Hood imbroglio seems never to have had origin anywhere except in the busy cravings of some of his eager freinds. I do not believe he ever gave the matter countenance. I am begged to give myself no uneasiness on the subject in a private note by Gen Lee., & I feel very confident that Gen'l Lee had recommended me for Lt. Gen'l of Cavalry and the appointment of some one will probably be made this week. The newspaper talk on the Subject is an effort (which I believe will fail) to manufacture public opinion in favor of Hood. Col. Young writes from Richm[on]d that there is not a waord of truth in the report. Col. Boteler a true friend of mine says (he has just returned) the President [Jefferson Davis] is warmly in favor of me and the Sec[retar]y [of War, James A. Seddon] is a true friend of mine. So in the face of these it must be gammon. As to the growlers, who come back, pay not attention to them. They had hard, long harassing marches but they were necessary indeed indispensable, as my reports will show, and rest assured, the Cavalry has no record brighter than that of June & July's campaign. I will gladly rest my reputation on the acheivements of those last two months. In the [Richmond] Enquirer of the 17th I see from British papers a Capt C.C. Chesney Royal Army has written a book called review of the War in which he mentions me in glowing terms as the model of chivalry & beau ideal of the Cavalry leader. I advise you to buy the book to read when your hubbie gets low in your estimation it will help you out....[missing portion]...I recommended [Heros] Von B[orcke, Stuart's Prussian Chief of Staff] as Brig. Gen'l & to go to Europe. I hope the Pres[iden]t will grant it. Poor fellow I fear he will never get well [Major Von Borcke had been severaly wounded at Middleburg in June]. I expect to move nearer Culpeper tomorrow as the grass is so scarce, here, that we must leave this camp. I think I shall move to Camp Price, where you last saw me. How I wish you would be there with me tomorrow....Love to all friends...."
16 April 1864: "...I am sure there could be no greater inducements than now exist to take me to Beaver-Dam [his home] except the presence there of a large force of the enemy...Fontaine Garnett & I took one little moonlight ride which didn't pay very well....I am delighted to hear my pet [a daughter] is such a belle, she will be a greater one if she lives to reach sweet sixteen, at which time we can establish Our Rules & Regulations for the government of young ladies in search of husbands....Fontaine is waiting so I must conclude. I send you a report, Gen'l Lee's & others which you will find interesting. Do not let it leave your possession, though I do not object to those with you reading it...."
About a month after this letter, full of concern and affection for his family, Stuart was mortally wounded in a confused battle with Sheridan's cavalry at Yellow Tavern, near Richmond. He died the next day, 12 May. It is a well-known irony of the War that Stuart's wife was the daughter of Major General Philip St. George Cooke, a Cavalry commander in the Union Army. Stuart's letters are rare.