Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart was born Feb. 6, 1833, and died May 12, 1864, in the “The Battle of Yellow Tavern,” which was fought between Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s Cavalry and the Confederates Cavalry under Stuart.
Late in the battle on May 11, 1864, Sheridan attacked Stuart on the high ground of this position, shattering the Confederate line. While trying to rally his men, Stuart was mortally wounded at a spot just off Old Telegraph Road.
Stuart is honored with a monument enclosed by an iron fence [slideshow]. A plaque at the site reads:
“This monument, erected in memory of Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart, C.S.A. by his cavalrymen about thirty feet from the spot where he fell mortally wounded on May 11, 1864, was dedicated June 18, 1888, by the Governor of Virginia, Fitzhugh Lee, a former division commander in Stuart’s cavalry.”
It was re-dedicated May 9, 1964, by the Henrico County Civil War Centennial Commission.
* * *
Old Telegraph Road is a historic route from Richmond to Washington. It was replaced by U.S. Route 1, which was later replaced by Interstate 95 as the main road to D.C. The name comes from the fact that it was located along the telegraph line connecting Richmond and Washington.
The unique thing to me about visiting this monument is that Old Telegraph Road is now a little-used, no outlet neighborhood street. The memorial is on a knoll among some older brick ranch houses.
The monument is quite hidden and inconspicuous. This is not in a high-profile location, despite the nearby junction of I-295 and Route 1 with Virginia Center Commons and the rest of the busy strip malls and restaurants in this spot in northern Henrico County.
Stuart is an intriguing figure in the history of the Civil War. He was major general — chief of cavalry — in the Army of Northern Virginia, Confederate States of America.
While he cultivated a cavalier image, his serious work made him the eyes and ears of Robert E. Lee’s army and inspired Southern morale. He is honored in a much more prominent location on Monument Avenue [slideshow] in The Fan District in Richmond — the capitol of his Confederacy at the time of his death. Stuart is buried at Hollywood Cemetery.