Civil War Journal - Shadows of Lightning: Jeb Stuart & the Cavalry   View more episodes

Aired at 07:00 AM on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 (2/23/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:01exhibited in drilling his 1St virginia cavalry really first showed themselves in the plains of Manassas on July 21, in the Battle of Bull Run.
00:00:10>> narrator: About 2:00 that afternoon, Stuart received orders to join the raging battle.
00:00:15[gunfire] >> "Colonel Stuart, General Beauregard directs that you bring your command to action at once and that you attack where the firing is hottest." [gunfi] >> narrator: The firing was hottest where Stuart found a regiment of colorfully dressed New York Zouaves.
00:00:32Boldly, he led a saber charge and slashed through them, creating panic in their ranks.
00:00:38His action sparked the Confederate rout of the Union army in the first big battle of the Civil War.
00:00:47>> Stuart's men behaved well.
00:00:49They went where he told them.
00:00:50They did what he told them.
00:00:52They charged right through the enemy line and turned around and charged back.
00:00:55They showed the discipline that he had instilled in them.
00:00:59>> Stuart's reward for his visible and acclaimed role at 1st Manassas was promotion to brigadier general.
00:01:06He was given command of more troops.
00:01:08And after a fairly quiet late 1861 and early 1862, he found himself down on the peninsula of Virginia, southeast of Richmond as George McClellan's army moved toward the Confederate capital.
00:01:24>> Stuart was already a hero in the Confederacy by the spring of 1862.
00:01:29What cemented that more than anything else and really cemented the confidence of Robert E. Lee in Stuart was his first ride around McClellan.
00:01:40>> Stuart emerged as Lee's right-hand man, as a cavalry commander, as soon as Lee took over command of the Army of Northern Virginia in June of 1862.
00:01:51One of the first things he did was to order Stuart to carry out this reconnaissance to find out where the Union right flank was north of the Chickahominy that led to Stuart's first Chickahominy raid when he rode clear around McClellan's army and sent back precisely the intelligence that Lee needed to know.
00:02:08>> That one stroke, which was a 100-mile ride around McClellan, did more to unsettle General McClellan, I believe, than any of the other things that took place in that early stage of the Seven Days Battle.
00:02:20>> "It was not indeed so much a military expedition as a raid of romance.
00:02:26A scout of Stuart's with 1,500 horsemen--it was the conception of a bold and brilliant mind, and the execution was as fearless." --John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray.
00:02:40>> Stuart, all of a sudden, is on the headlines of every newspaper.
00:02:43He's a greater hero even than Stonewall Jackson for a time. TO RUN YOUR Businesses more efficiently, so we've brought in a team of experts to help.
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00:07:15>> narrator: After his first ride around McClellan, Jeb Stuart began to cultivate fame.
00:07:20In July 1862, Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general and put him in charge of the army's new Cavalry Corps.
00:07:31As men flocked to his command, Stuart assumed the trappings of glory.
00:07:37>> Stuart was very fond of military show and certainly in his own dress: the plumed hat, the short jacket, the gold sash, high-topped boots with large spurs, a red-lined cape, always magnificently mounted on superb horseflesh.
00:07:59That sort of jingling and jangling and swaggering aspect of the cavalryman is what he presented in his persona.
00:08:11>> What that costume belied was a hard-headed professional soldier who knew exactly what cavalry should do in the Civil War and who was as good at those tasks as anybody on either side.
00:08:24When it came to screening his own army, gathering information about the opposing army, and controlling that middle ground between the two armies, Stuart was unexcelled.
00:08:37>> narrator: The men under Stuart were no less colorful.
00:08:40He attracted soldiers who were as entertaining in camp as they were gallant in the field.
00:08:47>> Stuart hand-selected every one of his staff officers, had tremendous confidence in them, and felt tremendous loyalty for them--men like Channing Price; an eccentric like Heros Von Borcke, a Prussian who stood 6' tall or more who carried arguably the largest saber of the Civil War, colorful characters like William Blackford and Henry McClellan, both of whom later became Stuart biographers; and, of course, Major John Pelham, the "gallant Pelham" as Stuart and others would call him.
00:09:15These people thought like Stuart.
00:09:17They acted like Stuart.
00:09:18They obeyed instantly when Stuart spoke.
00:09:21They formed a very, very effective team.
00:09:27>> "Do you wish to form some conception of the life of that model cavalryman and gentleman?
00:09:32To do so, you have only to 'jine' the cavalry." --John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray.
00:09:38[banjo playing] ♪♪ ♪♪
00:09:44>> He had a gentleman who was with him by the name of "Banjo" Sweeney who served in the cavalry and was a good cavalryman incidentally, but he also was able to play the banjo very well.
00:09:53And he used "Banjo" Sweeney around the campfire to strike up a tune, and the troops would join in.
00:09:58And this again added to the spirit and this camaraderie and the pride in the unit.
00:10:03>> "I have known him to ride with his banjo, playing and singing even on a march which might be changed at any moment into a battle.
00:10:11And Stuart's laughter on such occasions was sure to be heard as an accompaniment as far as the minstrel's voice could reach." --George Cary Eggleston, 1St virginia cavalry.
00:10:23>> Of course the song that everybody has heard about, which is more of a recruiting song for the cavalry than anything else, isIf You Want to Have a Good Time, Jine the Cavalry.
00:10:34And the refrain from that song is haunting, and I think it describes the humor, the dedication, and the mission of the cavalry when it says, "If you want to catch the Devil, if you want to have fun, if you want to smell Hell, jine the cavalry." >> ♪♪ We are the boys ♪♪
00:10:49♪♪ that rode around McClellian, ♪♪
00:10:50♪♪ rode around McClellian, ♪♪
00:10:51♪♪ rode around McClellian. ♪♪
00:10:53♪♪ We are the boys ♪♪
00:10:54♪♪ that rode around McClellian. ♪♪
00:10:56♪♪ Bully, boys, hey! ♪♪ ♪♪
00:11:00>> narrator: Soon after Lee's bloody setback at Antietam Creek, Stuart provided another wonderful boost to the Confederate morale.
00:11:08That October, 1862, while Union general George McClellan visited his wife 100 miles away in Philadelphia, Stuart raided the Pennsylvania town of Chambersburg.
00:11:20The Northern cavalry tried to catch him, but they were no match for the rebel horsemen.
00:11:27Once again, Stuart circled all 100,000 men in McClellan's army, riding 130 miles in three days.
00:11:37>> Jeb Stuart's second ride around McClellan further mortified the Federals and further elated the Confederates.
00:11:47Effect of that ride was to place George McClellan in a very precarious political situation vis-àà-vis his commander, President Abraham Lincoln.
00:11:56>> Lincoln says, well, when he was a boy, there was a game-- little game they played: "twice around, and you're out." So McClellan is out.
00:12:04There were many, many other contributing factors to McClellan being fired, but I think that this was the last straw when Stuart just rode completely around him.
00:12:15And they did nothing.
00:12:18>> narrator: As a result of the Chambersburg raid, Stuart's star rose even higher, gaining international attention.
00:12:28>> "Anything more daring, more gallant, and more successful than the foray of General Stuart, a Highlander by extraction, over the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania, has never been recorded." --The London Times, October 28, 1862.
00:12:49>> narrator: In New York City, the press clamored to know, "Who is Stuart?" James Ewell Brown Stuart was born in Patrick County, Virginia, on Wednesday, February 6, 1833.
00:13:07[water rippling] >> It was a large family.
00:13:11There were ten children that survived.
00:13:13And his mother was a gentlewoman.
00:13:16She loved poetry.
00:13:18She loved nature, loved flowers.
00:13:20And I think that kind of the romantic side of Jeb Stuart came out of the influence of his mother.
00:13:25His mother was also a very religious person, and I believe passed on this sense of a oneness with God to Jeb at a very tender age.
00:13:35And religion was a very important part of his life.
00:13:37His father, Archibald, was a fun-loving, gregarious lawyer who was involved extensively in public service.
00:13:46And I think it was the blending of these two personalities that came together in Jeb Stuart.
00:13:55>> narrator: In 1850, Stuart entered West Point, where he distinguished himself as a good student and cheerful soul.
00:14:04Nicknamed "Beauty," he made quick friends--among them, Custis Lee, Robert E. Lee's oldest son.
00:14:12When Colonel Lee became superintendent of the academy in 1853, Stuart became a regular at the Lee home.
00:14:23>> On occasions, he invited Jeb with other cadets to his house.
00:14:26And, of course, Jeb had the opportunity to meet some of Robert E. Lee's daughters.
00:14:31And there was a very--almost a father/son relationship that started to develop at that period of time.
00:14:40>> narrator: After graduation in 1854, Stuart was commissioned a second lieutenant and sent out West.
00:14:46There, he grew his whiskers.
00:14:50>> His first duty assignment was at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
00:14:53And the post commander at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, who was a Union cavalry officer.
00:14:59Stuart met one of Colonel Cooke's daughters, Flora, courted her, and, very soon thereafter, married her.
00:15:08>> narrator: Right away, Jeb and Flora started their family.
00:15:12First came a daughter, little Flora, then their son Jimmy, and later a third ild named Virginia.
00:15:20>> Jeb was gone frequently on patrols against marauding Indians or trying to break up the vicious outbreaks of murder and arson that were taking place between the pro-slavery and the anti-slavery forces who were in that Kansas territory.
00:15:34>> narrator: In June 1856, Stuart helped put down a riot staged by the abolitionist John Brown.
00:15:40Three years later, that chance meeting became historically significant.
00:15:48>> History is full of coincidences and sometimes coincidences piled on top of coincidences.
00:15:54And you have a situati such as that when Jeb Stuart ends up at Harper's Ferry outside the engine house holding John Brown in October 1859.
00:16:05It just happened that Stuart was in Washington trying to peddle his ideas for a couple of improvements in cavalry gear.
00:16:13It just happened that he was asked to accompany R.E. Lee to Harper's Ferry to suppress John Brown and his raiders.
00:16:21All of these things came together to place Stuart in a position where only he could identify John Brown at Harper's Ferry, to put Jeb Stuart in a position where he once again was with R.E. Lee, his old superintendent from West Point and the man under whom he would gain great fame during the Civil War.
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00:21:26>> In 1862, Stuart actually rode around the whole Union army on three separate occasions, which showed up the ineptitude of the enemy cavalry and injected a lot of esprit de corps not only in his own cavalry but in Confederate civilians who saw this as a spectacular exploit.
00:21:45[men yelling] >> There was a good deal of truth in the notion that the Confederate cavalry was better early in the war than their Northern counterparts.
00:21:52They were better mounted.
00:21:54They were better horsemen.
00:21:55And Stuart knew that was the case, and he exploited that.
00:21:58There was great terror of what was called the Black Horse Cavalry in Virginia among many of the Union soldiers.
00:22:07>> narrator: Knowing that his men were generally better than the Yankees, Stuart set to embarrassing his enemy.
00:22:14>> "His audacity was due to his sense of humor.
00:22:18He would laugh uproariously over the aonishment he imagined the Federal officers must feel after one of his peculiarly daring or sublimely impudent performances." --George Cary Eggleston, 1St virginia cavalry.
00:22:32>> Jeb Stuart had an innate sense of fun.
00:22:35That's part of the reason that he enjoyed his rides behind enemy lines.
00:22:38He liked being in dangerous spots, discombobulating the foe, confusing them.
00:22:43Before 2nd Manassas, he did the same thing by having his horsemen haul a bunch of logs behind them to create a huge dust cloud, thus fooling the Federals into thinking that there was a large body of infantry moving there instead of a few horsemen dragging some trees.
00:22:56Deception, after all, is a part of a cavalryman's art, and Stuart played this up to the hilt and not just because it was good military policy but because the boy in him really got a kick out of pulling the wool over the Federals' eyes.
00:23:11>> narrator: Just before 2Nd manassas, stuart suffered an embarrassment of his own.
00:23:16He was with his close friend and trusted scout, John S. Mosby, when a column of Union troopers caught them napping.
00:23:27>> "Two cavalrymen saw us and rode forward.
00:23:30When they got in pistol range, they opened fire.
00:23:32The firing gave the alarm and saved Stuart.
00:23:35He mounted his horse bareheaded and got away, but he left his hat." --John S. Mosby, scout, 1St virginia cavalry.
00:23:44>> "My dear wife, I had a very narrow escape yesterday morning.
00:23:48I lost my haversack, blanket, cloak, and hat with that palmetto star.
00:23:53I intend to make the Yankees pay for that hat." --Jeb Stuart, August 19, 1862.
00:24:01>> narrator: Pay they did.
00:24:03Several days later, Stuart raided Union general John Pope's headquarters near Catlett's Station, Virginia.
00:24:11>> Jeb Stuart made a great mess of John Pope's headquarters encampment: burning tents, stealing stores and such.
00:24:18But he also retrieved John Pope's uniform, which he felt was partial compensation for the taking of his hat.
00:24:28>> narrator: In addition to his personal agenda, Stuart's men burned a railroad bridge and captured more than a half a million dollars in currency and gold.
00:24:36And once again, the press had a field day with Stuart's high jinks.
00:24:42>> The Dumfries Raid of December 1862 was another interesting exploit that also showed Stuart's sense of humor.
00:24:50This was a raid after the armies had gone into winter quarters that Stuart carried out north toward Washington.
00:24:56And again he completely rode around the Union army.
00:24:59He captured a telegraph office at a depot behind Union lines, and he sent a message by telegram to Washington to Montgomery Meigs, who was the Union quartermaster general, saying to Montgomery Meigs: "Next time I capture some of your mules, supply better mules.
00:25:16These are kind of worn out." And that, of course, made the newspapers, and everybody in the South got a chuckle out of that.
00:25:24>> narrator: The war, however, was not all humor.
00:25:26And by the end of 1862, tragedy touched Stuart both professionally and personally.
00:25:33In November, his little Flora, five years old, died of a fever.
00:25:38Stuart grieved terribly but never in front of his men.
00:25:42>> There was a time when Flora visited Jeb in camp and was wearing black in honor of the daughter who had recently died.
00:25:51And Jeb told her, I think, in a very nice way, "I don't want you coming into the camp in mourning dress.
00:25:57My men are high-spirited.
00:25:59We need to maintain this high spirit.
00:26:01And we don't need sadness in my camp." And I think she understood.
00:26:07>> 1863 brought the reality of the war home to Stuart's immediate circle.
00:26:12One after another, Stuart lost men who were close to him.
00:26:15He lost John Pelham, his gifted artillerist, who commanded the horse artillery, dead at Kelly's Fort in March 1863.
00:26:23He lost his scout Farley.
00:26:25Rooney Lee and others of his key subordinates were wounded.
00:26:28Heros Von Borcke left the scene with a terrible wound.
00:26:31Channing Price was killed.
00:26:33One after another, many of the men closest to Stuart and on whom Stuart had relied both for comradeship away from combat and for success in combat were either killed or disabled, never to return.
00:26:47>> narrator: At the same time, Major General Jeb Stuart's role as a leader in the Army of Northern Virginia continued to grow.
00:26:54This was most evident at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
00:26:59>> One of his best moments, I think, was not actually as a cavalry commander.
00:27:03But after Jackson was wounded at Chancellorsville, Stuart was actually asked by Lee to take over command of Jackson's corps and to direct it during the rest of the Battle of Chancellorsville, which he did on May 3 and 4 and did so with great success.
00:27:16He probably would have been assigned to take command of Jackson's corps after Jackson died, but he was too valuable to Lee as a cavalry commander to be assigned to the infantry.
00:27:26>> "Stuart has never received the credit he deserved for his conduct in the Battle of Chancellorsville.
00:27:31For it was under him that it was mainly fought.
00:27:35To have led the troops to victory in a battle where the odds were more heavily against us than in any battle of the war except Sharpsburg displayed a military genius and heroism surpassed by few characters in history." --W.W. Blackford, Chief Engineer of the Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
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00:33:08>> narrator: Jeb Stuart's role in the Gettysburg campaign was perhaps the most enduring puzzle of the Civil War.
00:33:15History blames Stuart for the rebel loss, but did the absence of cavalry really embarrass Robert E. Lee's army?
00:33:27>> "Dear Mary, I reviewed the cavalry in this section yesterday.
00:33:30It was a splendid sight.
00:33:32Stuart was in all his glory." --Robert E. Lee, June 9, 1863.
00:33:38>> "They came by to trot, taking the gallop 100 yards before reaching the reviewing stand, and then the charge at full speed, yelling just as they do in a real charge and brandishing their sabers over their heads.
00:33:51The effect was thrilling." --W.W. Blackford, Chief of the Cavalry Cos.
00:33:58>> "The spectators little imagined that the squadrons which appeared in the grand parade before the commander in chief would be in deadly combat on the same ground the next day." --Major John S. Mosby, 43Rd battalion, Virginia Cavalry.
00:34:12>> narrator: The Gettysburg campaign opened the day after Jeb Stuart held the grandest cavalry review of the war.
00:34:18Robert E. Lee's army was on the move, and Union general Joe Hooker wondered where they were going.
00:34:24[ominous music] On Tuesday, June 9, Hooker ordered 10,000 Federal horsemen to flush Lee out.
00:34:32At a place called Brandy Station, they found Jeb Stuart.
00:34:38>> Stuart is surprised early on the morning of June 9, but he reacts very well, very professionally.
00:34:45He shifts troops to the points of danger.
00:34:47And in the end, through hard fighting, both mounted and dismounted, his troopers win the day.
00:34:54>> General Stuart always fought the hardest when things looked the worst.
00:35:01And indeed, they looked the worst at Brandy Station.
00:35:04He looked dangerous this day, yet perfectly heedless of the danger he was in.
00:35:10He was "here, there, and everywhere," according to one of his troopers.
00:35:15His rich baritone voice ringing out the words of command: "Give them the saber, boys.
00:35:22Give them the saber, boys." >> narrator: Sensational accounts of the battle made newspaper headlines, but the Southern press also criticized Stuart.
00:35:31They reported that he was caught by surprise.
00:35:38>> "Well, papers are in error as usual about the whole transaction.
00:35:41It was no surprise.
00:35:43The enemy's movement was known, and he was defeated.
00:35:46The Richmond Examinerof the 12th lies from beginning to end." --Jeb Stuart, June 12, 1863.
00:35:55>> narrator: What the papers didn't mention was that Yankees were no longer an inferior foe.
00:36:02>> After this terrible battle, the Confederate soldiers in one voice said, "We always knew the Yankees could fight.
00:36:09Now we know they can ride and fight." And for the first time, the Union cavalry came across the line, did battle with the Confederate cavalry, and walked, did not run--walked away from the scene.
00:36:24>> Brandy Station provided the individual Federal cavalry trooper with the opportunity to redeem himself on the field of battle.
00:36:34And redeem himself, he did.
00:36:37>> narrator: During the next two weeks, Union troopers under General Alfred Pleasanton attacked Stuart time and again, trying to penetrate his screen along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
00:36:50>> Stuart's mission was to block two gaps in the mountain: Ashby's and Sniker's Gap.
00:36:56And Pleasanton's mission was to take those gaps to look down into the valley and see Lee's army marching north on them.
00:37:07>> narrator: The tenacious Federal effort climaxed with a five-day battle that stretched between the towns of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville.
00:37:16Stubbornly, Stuart held the mountain gaps, screening Lee's advance from prying Union eyes.
00:37:26>> "The Yankees are advancing rapidly.
00:37:28Stuart's retreat was so near us.
00:37:31We returned in order to see the bear at a nearer review.
00:37:34Little did we imagine our quiet piece of country would be turned into a whirl of excitement and the battleground of two contending cavalry forces.
00:37:43Now and then, a volume of smoke and boom from the cannon gives the Yanks a salute, but they only advance this side of Upperville." --T. Edmonds, June 21, 1863.
00:37:56>> Stuart's cavalry initially functioned as a very effective force to screen the Confederate movement north in the Shenandoah Valley.
00:38:06Once the Confederate army was safely in Maryland and then on its way into Pennsylvania, Lee gave discretionary orders to Stuart to take off on a raid again in the Union rear.
00:38:20>> "General, you will be able to judge whether you can pass around their army without hindrance, doing them all the damage you can.
00:38:28After crossing the river, you must move on and field the right of Ewell's troops, collecting information, provisions, et cetera.
00:38:36Be watchful and circumspect in all your movements." --R.E. Lee, June 23, 1863.
00:38:46>> narrator: Stuart left for Pennsylvania on Thursday, June 25.
00:38:50But his plan to cut through the Union army at Thoroughfare Gap was detoured by a large column of passing infantry.
00:39:00The delay cost Stuart two days.
00:39:03He finally crossed the Potomac on June 28, near Rockville, Maryland.
00:39:10There, he discovered a train of Union supply wagons.
00:39:14Because Lee specifically ordered him to collect provisions for the invading army, Stuart seized the wagons.
00:39:21>> He captured that wagon train about noon on Sunday and started moving that along with him.
00:39:29However, when he turned that train north, in less than a half a day, his troopers were saying, "You have cut us down from 40 miles a day to 20." And time was of the essence.
00:39:44>> If I had to fault any aspect of Stuart's ride toward Gettysburg, it would have to be the 120 wagons that he captured, which meant that his pace would be slowed to about two miles per hour.
00:39:58But as Jubal Early said after the war, "It's difficult to turn down 120 wagons when you've got a lot of hungry Confederates who could use that food and supplies." >> narrator: On Tuesday, June 30th, Stuart reached Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he was further delayed by a force of Union horsemen.
00:40:19>> "Kilpatrick's division of cavalry had had a hard affair with them.
00:40:22We were just opposite Gettysburg.
00:40:24And if we could have made our way directly, the 15 miles' distance to that place would have passed that day." --W.W. Blackford, Chief Engineer of the Cavalry Corps.
00:40:35[men yelling] >> narrator: The Union cavalry dogged Stuart's every move, forcing him further to the north.
00:40:42Not until Thursday, July 2nd, did he reach Gettysburg.
00:40:46By then, the battle was in its second day.
00:40:48[musket fire] >> It is said that when Jeb Stuart finally presented himself to R.E. Lee on the 2nd of July, 1863, that Robert E. Lee said to General Stuart, "Well, General Stuart, you are here at last." I can't find that cite in history, and I don't know anyone else that can either.
00:41:13>> I think that Lee dealt with Stuart quite harshly in terms of their relationship.
00:41:19I'm sure he'd never spoken to Stuart the way he spoke to him on July 2nd.
00:41:23We don't know precisely what he said, but we know that the tenor was strong.
00:41:31>> narrator: Before the battle began, Lee had two brigades of cavalry with him: one under William E. "Grumble" Jones, a talented outpost officer, and the other led by Beverly Robertson.
00:41:42But neither man held Lee's trust.
00:41:47>> What Lee lacked at Gettysburg from an intelligence-gathering business was the support and information from his trusted lieutenant, Jeb Stuart, who he had this very special relationship with.
00:41:59He missed the man.
00:42:03>> "Now, the essence of the complaint against Stuart is that the cavalry, the eyes of an army, were improperly absent.
00:42:09It was the personality of Stuart that was needed, not cavalry." --John S. Mosby, 43Rd battalion, virginia Cavalry.
00:42:19>> After General Lee's death, sides formed to try to find someone who lost the Battle of Gettysburg rather than General Lee.
00:42:30A particular Longstreet and then Stuart would be blamed.
00:42:34I don't subscribe to any of them.
00:42:37The one that I would subscribe to is what General Pickens said when they were looking for someone who cost Lee the Battle of Gettysburg.
00:42:45He said, "I thought the Yankees had something to do with it." >> narrator: After Gettysburg, the battered rebel Army of Northern Virginia lived off the wagons that Jeb Stuart had captured.
00:47:42The freight fed the men, and the wheels carried the wounded.
00:47:45During Lee's perilous retreat, Stuart hit the Federals like lightning, protecting the army until it could recross the swollen Potomac River.
00:47:56>> Stuart continued to maintain a very positive spirit.
00:48:00He was obviously, along with many other Southerners, very, very disheartened over the defeat at Gettysburg.
00:48:06But he did not let that interfere with his desire to continue to perform in an exemplary fashion.
00:48:14>> Stuart's behavior in the campaign and subsequent to Gettysburg shows that he is a professional soldier in the best sense of the word.
00:48:21He's able to get beyond disappointments.
00:48:24He's able to put aside criticisms, although they clearly upset him.
00:48:29But he gets on with his job.
00:48:32>> narrator: Through the fall and winter, 1863, Stuart remained vigilant, his cavalry dangerous.
00:48:40But 1864 changed the tide of the war.
00:48:44Grant was in the wilderness, pounding Lee.
00:48:47And a new Union cavalry chief came to face Stuart: Major General Phil Sheridan.
00:48:53>> There was a fiery confrontation between Philip Sheridan and George Gordon Meade, who commanded the Army of the Potomac under Grant's overall direction.
00:49:02Sheridan wanted to be turned loose to hurt Jeb Stuart and hurt Jeb Stuart's cavalry.
00:49:08Meade was reluctant to let him go.
00:49:10In the end, Grant stepped in and let his protégé Sheridan have his way.
00:49:16And with Grant's blessing, Sheridan went off on his raid toward Richmond.
00:49:21>> I think the fact that Sheridan specifically wanted to take on and vanquish Stuart shows the extent to which Stuart had become a symbol to both sides.
00:49:35>> narrator: With 10,000 horsemen, Sheridan took off toward Richmond.
00:49:39Outnumbered three to one, Stuart met the Union charge.
00:49:44>> It's Stuart's job, of course, to stop Sheridan.
00:49:48Now things are desperate.
00:49:49He's simply got to stop a Yankee cavalry that, two years ago, he could simply have brushed aside like dust from his jacket.
00:49:56Inevitably, they meet at Yellow Tavern.
00:50:00It's there finally that Stuart's penchant for being a front line commander brings him up short and that finally his lucky star falls.
00:50:09>> Sheridan never got into the town.
00:50:12Stuart had, for all intents and purposes, had held him up.
00:50:16And there again, he was right at the forefront as he had been in some of the others.
00:50:23Maybe he was a little closer this time.
00:50:26Those Michigan boys were all around him.
00:50:30>> He was shot by a dismounted Michigan cavalryman.
00:50:35[gunshot] His last words, as he left the battlefield, I think are very poignant.
00:50:43As he saw some of his men had disorganized, moving back, he propped himself up and said, "Go back.
00:50:51Go back.
00:50:52Do your duty as I have done, and our country will be ved.
00:50:56Go back.
00:50:57Go back.
00:50:58I'd rather die than be whipped." >> narrator: Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart was mortally wounded on Wednesday, May 11, 1864.
00:51:10He died in Richmond the next evening.
00:51:14On a dismal, raining Friday the 13th, Grant's cannons joined a chorus of heavenly thunder as they laid Jeb to rest.
00:51:23[cannons booming] >> "Commanding General announces to the army with heartfelt sorrow the death of Major General J.E.B. Stuart.
00:51:33A mysterious hand of an all-wise God has removed him from the scene of his usefulness and fame.
00:51:39To his comrades in arms, he has left the proud recollection of his deeds and inspiring influence of his example." --Robert E. Lee, May 20, 1864.
00:51:50>> Jeb Stuart remains and always will remain one of the great romantic figures of the Civil War.
00:51:56When you get beyond that, you also find a man of real substance as a soldier.
00:52:00He's both of those things.
00:52:02He's both a compelling symbol and a very gifted professional soldier.
00:52:09>> It's unfortunate perhaps that Stuart's lasting place in American history is as the romantic hero, the beau ideal.
00:52:16Because there's more to Stuart than that.
00:52:19Stuart's a brave man, but wars are full of brave men.
00:52:22Stuart's a dashing man, but that war particularly was full of dashing men.
00:52:26Most of all, Stuart was an effective man and an innovator.
00:52:30He combined the gathering of intelligence with the masking of his own army's movements with destruction and sabotage behind enemy lines.
00:52:37In some ways, Stuart did far more than cavalry had ever done before.
00:52:41And in some ways, Stuart presaged the role of mechanized and airborne warfare in wars to come.
00:52:47He deserves to be remembered as a very effective and very imaginative soldier and not just as the man with the feather in his hat.
00:53:01>> "I can close my eyes and bring him before me as vividly as though he were there in life.
00:53:07General Stuart had his weaknesses.
00:53:09Who has not?
00:53:11But a braver, truer, or purer man than he never lived." --W.W. Blackford, War Years With Jeb Stuart.
00:53:22>> "To the old soldiers of Stuart, there is a melancholy pleasure in recalling the gay scenes amid which he moved, the exploits which he performed, the hard work he did.
00:53:31He is gone.
00:53:33But even in memory, it is something to again follow his feather." --John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray.
00:53:48Narrator: Nazis.
00:53:52In the minds of many, one and the same.
00:53:55For more than six decades, the German people have been haunted by the ghost of Adolf Hitler and scarred by the horrible crimes committed under Nazi rule.
00:54:06But in the 12 years that saw the rise and fall of the Third Reich, there were those who struggled to oppose oppression, brave men and women who risked their lives, suffered unspeakable torture and shed their blood in the service of conscience.
00:54:24Now a major motion picture sheds new light on a little-known chapter in World War II history.
00:54:31Man: What makes you think you're stronger than the people, the Reich, the very momentum of history?
00:54:36This is going to happen.
00:54:37Narrator: But what were the motives behind the German military plot to kill Adolf Hitler?
00:54:43And why has it taken more than six decades for this incredible story to be told?
00:54:51Captioning sponsored by A&e television networks narrator: Today, Germany is one of the leading nations in a powerful European Union.
00:55:13Thanks to thriving exports, which include everything from automobiles to beer, it boasts the fifth largest economy in the world.
00:55:26In the more than six decades since the end of World War II, there is little evidence of the carnage and devastation that scarred the German people.
00:55:38Berlin is a city more eager to move forward than to look bac And it was here in Berlin that Academy Award-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie was visiting on a business trip.
00:55:50McQUARRIE: I was in Berlin in early 2002.
00:55:54And I'd hired a tour guide to take me around the city, and we spent most of the afternoon, uh, looking at all the monuments and going through the city's history.
00:56:05The tour guide had lived in Berlin all of his life, and he was 14 years old when World War II ended and had this remarkable sense of the city's history over the last 60 years.
00:56:16And the last place that he took me, after having gone all over the city, was to a place called Stauffenbergstrasse.
00:56:25What was inside was this building and a courtyard called the Bendler Block.
00:56:30And if you go inside that courtyard, there's an iron railing in the cobblestones, and not far from the iron railing is a plaque with five names on it, and those five men were the conspirators who were involved in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
00:56:45It's actually where they were executed.
00:56:47And they are the only soldiers who served in World War II who are commemorated here in Berlin.
00:56:59When I was growing up, theyidn't say we were fighting Germany, we were fighting the German Army.
00:57:04It was always phrased as fighting the Nazis.
00:57:07And so the assumption became that anyone wearing that uniform and anyone marching under that flag was a Nazi.
00:57:15Ulrich wickert: Now, when German young people, if they go to other countries, very often they are received with "Heil, here come the Nazis," which is very difficult for a 15- or 16- or 17-year-old boy or girl to accept because they really have nothing to do with it.
00:57:33Their parents probably had nothing to do with it.
00:57:35It still sticks to the Germans.
00:57:43Dr. ekkehard klausa: Understandably, the Germans have been held responsible for the actions of their leader, although most of them really didn't have a chance to do much about it.
00:57:55And those who did ended up in concentration camps or on the scaffold.
00:58:00And I think one ought to understand that what happened in Germany was the failure of the democratic institutions in 1933.
00:58:09And this is the great failure German history.
00:58:12Narrator: The great failure that brought the Nazi regime to power had its beginning on June 28, 1919, when Germany signaled its defeat in World War I by signing the Treaty of Versailles.
00:58:25As part of the terms, the Allies demanded that Germany surrender more than 13% of its territory, and also limit the size of its army.
00:58:37Additionally, the country was burdened with a crippling war debt, at a time when many Germans were starving.