Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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STUART, Alexander Hugh Holmes, secretary of the interior, born in Staunton, Virginia, 2 April, 1807. His father, Archibald Stuart, saw service in the war of the Revolution, studied law under Thomas Jefferson, was a member of the convention that ratified the United States constitution, and became president of the state senate and judge of the general court of Virginia. The son spent one year at William and Mary college, and then studied law at the University of Virginia, where he was graduated in 1828. The same year he was admitted to practice in Staunton. He began his political career as a member of the Young men's convention held in support of Henry Clay at Washington in 1832. He was elected to the Virginia house of delegates in 1836, and the two succeeding years, but declined re-election in 1839. He was a member of congress from 1841 till 1843, and took an active part in the debates. He was a presidential elector on the Clay ticket in 1844, and on the Taylor ticket in 1848, and was appointed by President Fillmore secretary of the interior, serving from 12 September, 1850, till 3 March, 1853. He was a delegate to the national convention that nominated Millard Fillmore for the presidency in 1856, sat in the Virginia senate from 1857 till 1861, and was a member of the Virginia convention of 1861. As an Old Line Whig he opposed the secession of his state to the last. After the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, he was one of the leaders of the first movement in the south to re-establish peaceful relations with the United States government, and presided at a mass meeting at Staunton with that object on S May, 1865. He was elected to congress in the same year, but was excluded by the oaths that were required. In December, 1868, he began what was known as "the new movement" of the "committee of nine," which, with the co-operation of President Grant, redeemed the state from military rule and secured the removal of objectionable provisions in the Underwood constitution. He was rector of the University of Virginia from 1876 till 1882, and from 1881 till 1886, when he resigned because of advanced age. He is a member of the board of trustees of the George Peabody educational fund, and the sole survivor of the Fillmore cabinet. Mr. Stuart has been for many years president of the Virginia historical society.--His cousin, James Ewell Brown, soldier, born in Patrick county, Virginia, 6 February, 1833; died in Richmond, Virginia, 12 June, 1864, entered the United States military academy after spending two years at Emory and Henry college, was graduated in 1854, joined the regiment of mounted riflemen that was then serving in Texas, and took a creditable part in actions with the Apache Indians. In 1855 he was transferred to the 1st United States cavalry with the rank of 2d lieutenant. He married Flora, a daughter of Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, on 14 November, 1855, and on 20 December was promoted 1st lieutenant. In 1856 his regiment was engaged in quelling the Kansas disturbances, and in 1857 in Indian warfare. He was wounded in an action with the Cheyennes on Solomon's river. In 1859 he went to Washington to negotiate with the war department concerning the sale of a sabre-attachment that he had invented. Going to Harper's Ferry with Robert E. Lee as a volunteer aide, he identified John Brown. He rejoined his regiment at Fort Riley, but in March, 1861, obtained leave of absence, being resolved to direct his course by the action of his state, and sent in his resignation after Virginia seceded. It was accepted on 7 May, just after he had received notification of his promotion to a captaincy, to date from 22 April, 1861. He was commissioned as lieutenant-colonel of infantry in the service of the state of Virginia, and as colonel of cavalry on 16 July. He performed important services in charge of the outposts of General Joseph E. Johnston's army. At Bull Run he contributed to the Confederate victory by efficiently guarding General Thomas J. Jackson's left flank, and driving back the National attacking force. During the long cessation of operations he perfected his system of pickets, was engaged in many cavalry skirmishes, and became brigadier-general on 24 September, 1861. He was defeated by General Edward O. C. Ord at Dranesville. When the Confederates retired from Yorktown to Richmond, his cawdry guarded their rear. In the middle of June, 1862, he conducted a daring raid in the rear of General McClellan's army on the Chickahominy, in order to determine the position of the National right. He was incessantly engaged during the seven-days' fight before Richmond. On 25 July, 1862, he was commissioned as major-general of cavalry. On 22 August he crossed the Rappahannock, penetrated General John Pope's camp at Catlett's station, captured his official correspondence and personal effects, and made prisoners of several officers of his staff. In the following night he made an attack on Manassas Junction, and sent into the town a brigade of infantry, which took many prisoners and carried off stores of great value. His cavalry was engaged in the second battle of Bull Run, and led the advance of Stonewall Jackson's corps in the ensuing invasion of Maryland. He performed important services at Antietam, guarding with artillery an eminence on Jackson's left that was essential to the security of the Confederate position, and leading the movement that resulted in the repulse of General Edwin V. Sumner's corps. A few weeks later he crossed the Potomac near Williamsport at the head of 1,800 picked troopers, gained the rear of the National army, rode as far north as Mercersburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, returned on the other side of McClellan's position, and recrossed the river below Harper's Ferry. At Fredericksburg Stuart's cavalry guarded the extreme right of the Confederate line. In a raid to Dumfries he ascertained the intended movements of the National troops by means of forged telegrams that he sent to Washington. In March, 1863, he encountered the National cavalry at Kelly's Ford. At Chancellorsville the cavalry screened Stonewall Jackson's march to the right of the National army. After General Jackson was mortally wounded, and General Ambrose P. Hill was disabled, the command of Jackson's corps devolved temporarily on Stuart, who took command in the night of 2 May and directed its movements during the severe fighting of the following day. He led two charges in person, and carried the ridge of Hazel Grove, which was the key to the field. He was sent forward to guard the flanks of the advancing columns of Bee's army in the Gettysburg campaign, but was opposed and checked by the National cavalry at Fleetwood Hill and Stevensburg, with heavy losses on both sides. At Aldie he was successful in an encounter with the National cavalry, but at Middleburg and Upperville he was defeated. He was directed to cross the Potomac in advance of the infantry column, and take position on its right. He held the pass in the Blue Ridge for a while, and then made a raid in the rear of the National army, rejoining the main body at the close of the conflict at Gettysburg. The responsibility for this movement and its influence on the event have been the subject of much controversy. In the retreat from Gettysburg Stuart guarded the gaps in the mountains. While the Confederate army was intrenched on the northern bank of the Potomac, he engaged in indecisive conflicts with the cavalry of General Judson Kilpatrick and General John Buford. While the cavalry held the line of the Rappahannock, during the rest of the summer of 1863, he evaded General Kilpatrick at Culpeper Court-House, retired from Gem Buford at Jack's Shop, after a severe conflict, but forced back the National cavalry under General Alfred Pleasonton at Brandy Station, and by a ruse routed the brigade of General Henry E. Davies near Buckland. After General Grant crossed the Rapidan, Stuart led the advance of General Ambrose P. Hill's corps. When General Philip H. Sheridan with his cavalry moved on Richmond, Stuart, by a rapid circuitous march, interposed his cavalry, concentrating his forces at Yellow Tavern, where he was mortally wounded in the obstinate engagement that ended in the defeat of the Confederates. See "Bife and Campaigns of Major-General J. E. B. Stuart," by his chief-of-staff, Major Henry B. McClellan (Boston, 1885).
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