Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Un-repentant Rebel

Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early was born on November 3rd 1816, he established through his writings the Southern view of the Lost Cause.

Jubal Early was born in Franklin County Virginia November 3rd 1816, the son of Joab and Ruth (Hairston) Early. While he was a cadet at West Point he had a disagreement with Lewis Addison Armistead, causing Armistead to break a plate over Early’s head. Early graduated in 1837 from the Military Academy ranking 18th out of a class of 50. He served with the 3rd US Artillery against the Florida Seminoles, before resigning from the military in 1838. He became a lawyer and served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1841 to 1843.

Early politically was a Whig and he opposed secession at the Virginia Convention in April 1861. However, President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops to put down the rebellion angered Early, and he accepted a Confederate commission in the Virginia Militia. He was promoted after First Manassas to Brigadier General. General Robert E Lee valued Early’s aggressive fighting style and his capacity for independent command. Lee called him, his “Bad Old Man”. His soldiers named him “Old Jubilee”.

After being wounded in 1862 at Williamsburg, he returned to servce under the command of Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson. At Fredericksburg Early counterattacked Union General George Gorden Meade troops, plugging a gap in Jackson’s line, for this he was promoted to Major General. At Gettysburg he was in command of a division in Lieutenant General Richard S Ewell’s corp.

Early did not surrender, and he fled to Texas when the Army of Northern Virginia laid down their arms. He was hoping to find a Confederate force holding out there. He excapt to Mexico, and from there sailed to Cuba and finally to Canada. He wrote a memoir about his Valley Campaign while living in Toronto Canada. He was pardoned in 1868 and returned the Virginia where he resumed practicing law. Ever the un-repentant Rebel he strongly promoted the “Lost Cause” movement and was among those who maligned General James Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg. Early died in 1894 after falling down stairs in Lynchburg Virginia, and is buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery.

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