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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 01:53 am
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BloodyBob64
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I realize that almost every individual in history is probably viewed in a better or worse light today than they actually were.

I haven't done too much research on Stuart, much of what I know of him comes from reading about Lee or other caimpaigns. I tend to get the feeling that he was somewhat overrated in comparison with other rebel calvary officers.

I know I would have taken Forrest over him, but part of me says that I would haven taken Hampton, Morgan and Shelby as well. Does anyone feel the same or is there anyone who has done research and would like to refute this?



 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 02:28 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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The question I would have is over-rated compared to whom? There are so many civil war commanders whose mystique overshadows the actual man.

Stuart is roundy crtiticized for his absence at gettysburg, and rightfully so. Other than that, however, his record is outstanding. You mention Forrest as a commander you would have rather had, but remember these men had very different roles they had to play. Forrest was a master of the cavalry raid, and fighting pitched battles. Though Stuart did lead successful and impressive raids, as well as fight in pitched battles (lets not forget, he even commanded an entire infantry corps during part of what is  perhaps the ANV's greatest victory)his scope of responsibility was much greater than Forrests, with more men to command in a vastly different situation. Whereas Forrest was much of the time free to roam as he saw fit, Stuart always was tied to his greater responsibility of screening and gathering information for the ANV.

Over-rated compared to his legend? Perhaps. That having been said, there is only one man whom I believe I would be willing to substitute for him in his role of ANV's cavalry commander, and that is the vastly under-rated Wade Hampton.



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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 04:05 am
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BloodyBob64
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Kentucky, you make some excellent points about Stuart. He does have a pretty flawless track record and his role at Chancelorsville was quite impressive. I suppose one could argue that he had greater responsibilities than Forrest's, but I would say they were just different responsibilties.

Not only was Forrest a master of raids and fighting pitched battles, but in my mind he was the best calvary commander in rear guard situations and his role in Nashville in 1862 showed the kind of control he could take in dire circumstances. He also did not have a successful army from which to feed off of and he was under the command of men that in my opinion were his inferior. There was also more than one occasion when Forrest's command was given to Wheeler and Forrest had to begin again with fresh recruits. This however did not stop his effectiveness.

But ultimately, we will never really no what would have happened had Stuart's and Forrest's places been switched. I agree with you that Stuart was excellent, but I do not think he matched up to his legend. I think that I would have had "the vastly under-rated" Hampton in command over him.



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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 05:29 pm
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David White
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I think today, the erroneous reputation for JEB comes more the bad reputation he gets from Gettysburg versus any inflated reputation for other acts. Sure he was surprised at Brandy Station too but he was always a good to excellent cavalry commander and that should not take away from Forrest or Hampton either.



 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 01:16 am
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toddbramlett
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In the east there was a limit to what a cavalry could do to the fact on the west was mountains and the ocean on the east. The answer is yes he was overrated he rode around McClellan, charged a regiment at first Manassas, lost Lee at Gettysburg raided Chambersburg and more events of questionable importance but his long term effect has little or no consequence on the war. Yet by dying on the field of battle he was made a legend.



 Posted: Wed Jul 30th, 2008 03:00 am
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The Iron Duke
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I don't think Stuart is overrated but I do agree that others like Wade Hampton and Jo Shelby have been unjustly ignored. That being said, Stuart was outstanding at raiding and gathering intelligence. I don't blame him for Gettysburg and he was acting within the limits of his orders. If Lee felt that he couldn't win without Stuart's presence then he should never have allowed himself to be sucked into a major battle. I forget who once said that Stuart was the greatest cavalryman ever produced on the North American continent.

Robert.



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 Posted: Thu Jul 31st, 2008 04:29 am
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ole
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I wasn't aware that Sutart received overly many accolades. He catches too much flak for his flamboyance and errors; and too little honest recognition of his real achievements.

ole



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