previous next
[337] but had only three brigades available for that purpose, one of which, a small North Carolina brigade, was directed to follow Sheridan's rear, while the other two, riding over the chord of the arc traveled by Sheridan, reached Yellow Tavern, six miles from Richmond, on the 11th, before Sheridan, and were thrown directly across his route. Here a fierce though most unequal cavalry combat ensued, the numbers of the contestants being as ten thousand to three thousand. Nearly all day these two cavalry brigades held their ground in Sheridan's front, while General James B. Gordon's small force attacked his rear, losing their gallant commander, giving General Bragg, commanding the Richmond defenses, ample time to get some troops from below Richmond, so that when Sheridan finally broke through them and arrived in front of the defenses his valor was replaced by prudence, and he marched around them, making a long circuit, and rejoined his army after an absence of over two weeks. It would have been the usual record of nothing accomplished and a brokendown command, except that at Yellow Tavern the Confederate cavalry chieftain was mortally wounded, and died the following day in Richmond. This sad occurrence was more valuable to the Union cause than anything that could have happened, and his loss to Lee irreparable. Stuart was the “best cavalry officer,” said General Sedgwick, the late Sixth Corps commander, who had been an officer in that arm of service, “ever foaled in America.” He was the army's eyes and earsvigilant always, bold to a fault; of great vigor and ceaseless activity, he was the best type of a beau sabreur. He had a heart ever loyal to his superiors, and “duty” was “the sublimest word in the language” to him.

In a letter from Spottsylvania Court House, May 16, 1864, General Lee said to his wife: “As I write I am expecting the sound of the guns every moment. I grieve the loss of our gallant officers and men, and miss their aid and sympathy. A more zealous, ardent, brave, and devoted soldier than Stuart the Confederacy can not have. Praise be to God for having sustained us so far. I have thought of you very often in these eventful days. God bless and preserve you.” And in his order, May

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Yellow Tavern (Virginia, United States) (2)
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sheridan (5)
James Ewell Brown Stuart (2)
G. W. Custis Lee (2)
John Sedgwick (1)
James B. Gordon (1)
Braxton Bragg (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 16th, 1864 AD (1)
11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: