On May 12,1864, 151 years ago, the dashing cavalier, General “Jeb” Stuart died as a result of wounds in the Battle of Yellow Tavern. Here is an article that appeared in a New York newspaper, quoting from General Stuart’s obituary in the Richmond Examiner. A final salute to General Robert E. Lee’s cavalry commander:
The Late Gen. J.E.B. Stuart--His Last Hours--How He Received His Death Wound.
Published: May 26, 1864
From a long obituary of STUART -- whom the rebels call the "flower of Cavaliers" -- in the Richmond Examiner, we clip as follows: "No incident of mortality, since the fall of the great JACKSON, has occasioned more painful regret than this. Major-Gen. J.E.B. STUART, the model of Virginian cavaliers and dashing chieftain, whose name was a terror to the enemy, and familiar as a household word in two continents, is dead, struck down by a bullet from the dastardly foe, and the whole Confederacy mourns him. He breathed out his gallant spirit resignedly, and in the full possession of all his remarkable faculties of mind and body, at twenty-two minutes to 8 o'clock, Thursday night, at the residence of Dr. BREWER, a relative, on Green-street, in the presence of Drs. BREWER, GARNETT, GIBSON and FONTAINE, of the General's staff, Rev. Messrs. PETERKIN and KEPPLER, and a circle of sorrow-stricken comrades and friends.
We learn from the physicians in attendance upon the General that his condition during the day was very changeable, with occasional delirium and other unmistakable symptoms of speedy dissolution. In the moments of delirium the General's mind wandered, and, like the immortal JACKSON, (whose spirit, we trust, his has joined,) in the lapse of reason, his faculties were busy with the details of his command. He reviewed in broken sentences all his glorious campaigns around MCCLELLAN's rear on the Peninsula, beyond the Potomac, and upon the Rapidan, quoting from his orders, and issuing new ones to his couriers, with a last injunction to "make haste."
JEFF. DAVIS VISITS STUART.
About noon, Thursday, President DAVIS visited his bedside, and spent some fifteen minutes in the dying chamber of his favorite chieftain. The President, taking his hand, said: "General, now do you feel?" He replied, "Easy, put willing to die, if God and my country think I have fulfilled my destiny and done my duty." As evening approached, the General's delirium increased, and his mind again wandered to the battle-fields over which he had fought, then off to wife and children, and off again to the front. A telegraphic message had been sent for his wife, who was in the country, with the injunction to make all haste, as the General was dangerously wounded. Some thoughtless or unauthorized person, thinking, probbably, to spare his wife pain, altered the dispatch to "slightly wounded," and it was thus she received it and did not make that haste which she otherwise would have done to reach his side.
As evening wore on the paroxysms of pain increased, and mortification set in rapidly. Though suffering the greatest agony at times, the General was calm, and applied to the wound, with his own hand, the ice intended to relieve the pain. During the evening he asked Dr. BREWER how long he thought he could live, and whether it was possible for him to survive through the night. The doctor, knowing he did not desire to be buoyed by false hopes, told him frankly that death -- the last enemy -- was rapidly approaching. The General nodded, and said, "I am resigned if it be God's will; but I would like to live to see my wife. But God's will be done." Several times he roused up and asked if she had come.
To the doctor, who sat holding his wrist and counting the fleeting, weakening pulse, he semarked, "Doctor, I suppose I am going fast now. It will soon be over. But God's will be done. I hope I have fulfilled my duty to my country and my duty to my God."
At 7 1/2 oclock it was evident to the physicians that death was setting its clammy seal upon the brave, open brow of the General, and told him so -- asked if he had any last message to give. The General, with mind perfectly clear and possessed, then made dispositions of his staff and personal effects. To Mrs. Gen. R.E. LEE he directed that the golden spurs be given as a dying memento of his love and esteem of her husband. To his staff officers he gave his horses. So particular was he in small things, even in the dying hour, that he emphatically exhibited and illustrated the ruling passion strong in death. To one of his staff, who was a heavy built man, he said, "You had better take the larger horse; he will carry you better." Other mementoes he disposed of in a similar manner. To his young son, he left his glorious sword.
His worldly matters closed, the eternal interests of his soul engaged his mind. Turning to Rev. Mr. PETERKIN, of the Episcopal Church, and of which he was an exemplary member, he asked him to sing the hymn commencing,
"Rock of ages cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee,"
he joining in with all the voice his strength would permit. He then joined in prayer with the ministers. To the doctor he again said: "I am going fast now; I am resigned; God's will be done." Thus died Gen, J.E.B. STUART.
HOW HE RECEIVED HIS DEATH WOUND.
Dr. BREWER, the brother-in-law of Gen. STUART, has furnished us with some particulars, obtained from the General's own lips, of the manner in which he came by his wound. He had formed a line of skirmishers near the Yellow Tavern, when, seeing a brigade preparing to charge on his left. Gen. STUART and his staff dashed down the line to form troops to repel the charge. About this time the Yankees came thundering down upon the General and his small escort. Twelve shots were fired at the General at short range, the Yankees evidently recognizing his well-known person. The General wheeled upon them with the natural bravery which has always characterized him, and discharged six shots at his assailants.
The last of the shots fired at him struck the General in the left side of the stomach. He did not fall, knowing he would be captured if he did, and, nerving himself in his seat, wheeled his horse's head and rode for the protection of his lines. Before he reached them his wound overcame him, and he fell, or was helped, from his saddle, by one of his ever-faithful troopers, and carried to a place of security. Subsequently he was brought to Richmond in an ambulance. The immediate cause of his death was mortification of the stomach, induced by the flow of blood from the kidneys and intestines into the cavity of the stomach.
Gen. STUART was about 35 years of age. His oldest offspring, a sprightly boy, died a year ago while he was battling for his country on the Rappahannock. When telegraphed that the child was dying, he sent the reply, "I must leave my child in the hands of God; my country needs me here; I cannot come.”