James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was born in 1833 in Virginia. One of ten children, he was an outgoing boy who was close to both his gentle, poetry-reading mother and his father, who was a prominent lawyer. Stuart enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1850, where he became one of the school's top students. In 1853, Robert E. Lee (1807-1870; see entry) accepted a position at West Point as the school's su-
"The war is going to be a long and terrible one. . . . We've only just begun it and very few of us will see the end. All I ask of fate is that I may be killed leading a cavalry charge."
Jeb Stuart. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress.)
perintendent. During the next two years, Stuart established a close relationship with Lee and the rest of his family.
After graduating from West Point in 1854, Stuart was made a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and assigned to a military post at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. During his time at Fort Leavenworth he married Flora Cooke, who was the daughter of post commander Colonel Phillip St. George Cooke. Stuart and his wife quickly started a family, producing three children over the next few years.
While stationed in Kansas, Stuart took part in many patrols against Indian raiding parties. He and his fellow soldiers also tried to put a halt to the violence that battered the Kansas Territory in the mid-1850s, when differences between proslav-ery and antislavery settlers erupted into an epidemic of murder and arson. In 1859, Stuart helped Robert E. Lee capture John Brown (1800-1859; see entry) at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, after Brown's violent attempt to start a mass slave uprising failed.
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