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The Death of Stuart
At about 2 o’clock on May 11th, Sheridan released a savage attack against Stuart’s men at Yellow Tavern. For two hours, the beleaguered Southerners held the Federals at bay. At around 4 o’clock, Custer’s brigade threatened to flank his left and Stuart rode to the front to the men of Company K. Realizing that the battle teetered in the balance, he cried out “Boys, don’t stop to count fours (horses’ hooves). Shoot them! Shoot them!” At that instant, Stuart received his death wound from a Michigan soldier. Pressing his hand to his side and struggling to remain in the saddle, he told J. R. Oliver of Company K, “Yes,” when asked, “General, are you hit?” “Are you wounded badly?” inquired Oliver. “I am afraid I am,” replied the General, “But don’t worry, boys, Fitz will do as well for you as I have done.” To a nearby lieutenant, Stuart said, “Yes, I am done for, but don’t let my men know it. Get me another horse!” Captain Gus Dorsey rode up and attempted to render aid, but Stuart was more interested in the battle. He shouted, “I am shot; Dorsey, save your men!”
Another horse was brought up, but Stuart was unable to mount and his attendants carefully placed him in the saddle and rode alongside holding onto him until they encountered General Fitzhugh Lee. Lee directed that Stuart be transported to Richmond once field surgeons had stabilized him. General Stuart was taken to the Richmond home of his brother-in-law where his condition worsened. From his deathbed he could hear the rumble of artillery in the distance. To his trusted adjutant, Major H. B. McClellan, he said, “Major, Fitz Lee may need you.” Then he sighed and said with resignation, “But I must be preparing for another world.”
Stuart’s Obituary in Harper’s Weekly
THE LATE CONFEDERATE GENERAL J. E. B. STUART. As a sequel to our portraits of General LEE and General LONGSTREET, published in recent numbers of this journal, we give on this page that of the late General J. E. B. STUART, who received his mortal wound in a cavalry skirmish with the detachment under General SHERIDAN at Ashland, in the neighborhood of Richmond, on the 11th May. This distinguished cavalry officer was born in Patrick County, Virginia, in 1835. He was educated at West Point Military Academy, where he graduated in 1854. He first entered the Mounted Rifles as Brevet Second Lieutenant, and was shortly afterward made Second Lieutenant in the First Cavalry; eight months later he was promoted to be First Lieutenant; he distinguished himself in a fight with the Sheerness, June 29, 1857, and received a severe wound; he became a Captain in 1860, and resigned three years ago, when the civil war broke out. He then entered the Virginia State service as a Colonel of cavalry, and had the command of that arm at the first battle of Bull Run. The next month he was made a Brigadier-General in the Confederate service, and was soon promoted to be Major-General. His next performance of consequence was an excursion within the Federal lines on the Pamunky River, during McCLELLAN'S campaign of 1862, at the head of 1000 horse and two guns. His greatest achievement was during the month of October of that year, when, with 1800 cavalry and four cannon, he passed from the south of the Potomac, traversed Maryland, and passing Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, at noon, entered Chambersburg after dark of the same day. The town surrendered without resistance. The troopers remained until next day, took all the spoil they desired, destroyed a great amount of property, and retreated across the Potomac on the left of General McCLELLAN's army without serious loss. General STUART had headed the cavalry of the Confederate army from the outset through all its battles. After the fight at Ashland the wounded General was carried into Richmond, where he died at eight o'clock in the evening of the next day, in the house of his relative, Dr. BREWER.
The following relating to his last hours is from the Richmond Examiner: "At half-past seven it was evident to the physicians that death was setting its clammy seal upon the brave, open brow of the General, and they told him so. asking if he had any last message to give. The General, with a mind perfectly clear and possessed, then made disposition of his staff and personal effects. To Mrs. LEE, the wife of General Lee, he directed that his golden spurs be given, as a dying memento of his love and esteem for her husband. To his staff officers he gave his horses. So particular was he in small things, even in the dying hour. that be said to one of his staff, who was a heavy-built man, `You had better take the larger horse; he will carry you better.' To his young son he left his glorious sword. His worldly matters closed, the eternal interests of his soul engaged his mind. Turning to the Rev. Mr. PETERKIN, a minister of the Episcopal Church, of which General STUART was a member, he asked him to sing a hymn, and joined in it with all the voice his strength would permit. He then joined in prayer with the minister. To the doctor he again said. 'l am going fast now. I am resigned. God's will be done.' Thus died General J. E. B. STUART."