1st Lt. David Richard Reynolds Camp #2270, SCV, Mount Pleasant, Texas

 

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Jubal Anderson Early
Lieutenant General
Commander II Corp, Army of Northern Virginia
Confederate States of America

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Jubal Anderson Early (November 3, 1816 – March 2, 1894) was a lawyer and Confederate general in the American Civil War. He served under Stonewall Jackson and then Robert E. Lee for almost the entire war, rising from regimental command to Lieutenant General and the command of an infantry corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. He was the Confederate commander in key battles of the Valley Campaigns of 1864, including a daring raid to the outskirts of Washington, D.C. The articles written by him for the Southern Historical Society in the 1870s established the Lost Cause point of view as a long-lasting literary and cultural phenomenon.

Early was born in the Red Valley section of Franklin County, Virginia, third of ten children of Ruth (née Hairston) and Joab Early. The Early family was a well-connected old Virginia family. Early's father operated an extensive tobacco plantation of more than 4,000 acres at the foot of the Blue Ridge. Early attended local schools as well as private academies in Lynchburg and Danville before entering West Point in 1833.

He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837, ranked 18th of 50. During his tenure at the Academy he was engaged in a dispute with a fellow cadet named Lewis Addison Armistead. Armistead broke a mess plate over Early's head, an incident that prompted Armistead's resignation from the Academy, although he too would have a storied military career. After graduating from the Academy, Early fought against the Seminole in Florida as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery regiment before resigning from the Army for the first time in 1838. He practiced law in the 1840s as a prosecutor for both Franklin and Floyd Counties in Virginia. He was noted for a case in Mississippi, where he beat the top lawyers in the state. His law practice was interrupted by the Mexican-American War, in which he served as a Major with the 1st Virginia Volunteers from 1847–1848. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1841–1843.

Early was a Whig and strongly opposed secession at the April 1861 Virginia convention. However, he was soon roused by the actions of the Federal government when President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. He accepted a commission as a brigadier general in the Virginia Militia. He was sent to Lynchburg, Virginia, to raise three regiments and then commanded one of them, the 24th Virginia Infantry, as a colonel in the Confederate army.

Early was promoted to brigadier general after the First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas) in July 1861. In that battle, he displayed valor at Blackburn's Ford and impressed General P.G.T. Beauregard. He fought in most of the major battles in the Eastern Theater, including the Seven Days Battles, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and numerous battles in the Shenandoah Valley. During the Gettysburg Campaign, Early's Division occupied York, Pennsylvania, the largest Northern town to fall to the Rebels during the war.

Early was trusted and supported by Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee affectionately called Early his "Bad Old Man", because of his short temper. He appreciated Early's aggressive fighting and ability to command units independently. Most of Early's soldiers referred to him as "Old Jube" or "Old Jubilee" with enthusiasm and affection. His subordinate generals often felt little affection. Early was an inveterate fault-finder and offered biting criticism of his subordinates at the least opportunity. He was generally blind to his own mistakes and reacted fiercely to criticism or suggestions from below.

Early was wounded at Williamsburg in 1862, while leading a charge against staggering odds.

While in Maryland, Early demanded $300,000 from the residents of the city of Frederick, Maryland, who were unwelcoming towards the Confederates, threatening to raze their town if they didn't. The city's residents paid the ransom and the city is now home to a Confederate army monument.

He convalesced at his home in Rocky Mount, Virginia. In two months, he returned to the war, under the command of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, in time for the Battle of Malvern Hill. There, Early demonstrated his career-long lack of aptitude for battlefield navigation and his brigade was lost in the woods; it suffered 33 casualties without any significant action. In the Northern Virginia Campaign, Early was noted for his performance at the Battle of Cedar Mountain and arrived in the nick of time to reinforce Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill on Jackson's left on Stony Ridge in the Second Battle of Bull Run.

At Antietam, Early ascended to division command when his commander, Alexander Lawton, was wounded. Lee was impressed with his performance and retained him at that level. At Fredericksburg, Early saved the day by counterattacking the division of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, which penetrated a gap in Jackson's lines. He was promoted to major general on January 17, 1863.

At Chancellorsville, Lee gave him a force of 5,000 men to defend Fredericksburg at Marye's Heights against superior forces (4 divisions) under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick. Early was able to delay the Union forces and pin down Sedgwick while Lee and Jackson attacked the remainder of the Union troops to the west. Sedgwick's eventual attack on Early up Marye's Heights is sometimes known as the Second Battle of Fredericksburg.

During the Gettysburg Campaign, Early commanded a division in the corps of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell. His troops were instrumental in defeating Union defenders at Winchester, capturing a number of prisoners, and opening up the Shenandoah Valley for Lee's oncoming forces. Early's division, augmented with cavalry, eventually marched eastward across the South Mountain range in Pennsylvania, seizing vital supplies and horses along the way. He captured Gettysburg on June 26 and demanded a ransom, which was never paid. Two days later, he entered York County and seized York. Here, his ransom demands were partially met, including a payment of $28,000 in cash. Elements of Early's command on June 28 reached the Susquehanna River, the farthest east in Pennsylvania that any organized Confederate force would penetrate. On June 30, Early was recalled as Lee concentrated his army to meet the oncoming Federals.

Approaching Gettysburg from the northeast on July 1, 1863, Early's division was on the leftmost flank of the Confederate line. He soundly defeated Brig. Gen. Francis Barlow's division (part of the Union XI Corps), inflicting three times the casualties to the defenders as he suffered, and drove the Union troops back through the streets of the town, capturing many of them. In the second day at Gettysburg, he assaulted East Cemetery Hill as part of Ewell's efforts on the Union right flank. Despite initial success, Union reinforcements arrived to repulse Early's two brigades. On the third day, Early detached one brigade to assist Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's division in an unsuccessful assault on Culp's Hill. Elements of Early's division covered the rear of Lee's army during its retreat from Gettysburg on July 4 and July 5.

Early served in the Shenandoah Valley over the winter of 1863–64. During this period, he occasionally filled in as corps commander during Ewell's absences for illness. On May 31, 1864, Lee expressed his confidence in Early's initiative and abilities at higher command levels, promoting him to the temporary rank of lieutenant general.

Upon his return from the Valley, Early fought in the Battle of the Wilderness and assumed command of the ailing A.P. Hill's Third Corps during the march to intercept Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Spotsylvania Court House. At Spotsylvania, Early occupied the relatively quiet right flank of the Mule Shoe. At the Battle of Cold Harbor, Lee replaced the ineffectual Ewell with Early as commander of the Second Corps.

Early's most important service was that summer and fall, in the Valley Campaigns of 1864, when he commanded the Confederacy's last invasion of the North. As Confederate territory was rapidly being captured by the Union armies of Grant and Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, Lee sent Early's corps to sweep Union forces from the Shenandoah Valley and to menace Washington, D.C., hoping to compel Grant to dilute his forces against Lee around Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.

Jubal Anderson Early