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RICHARD STODDERT EWELL, CSA - History

RICHARD STODDERT EWELL, CSA - History


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GENERAL RICHARD STODDERT EWELL, CSA
VITAL STATISTICS
BORN: 1817 in the District of Columbia.
DIED: 1872 in Spring Hill, TN.
CAMPAIGNS: First Bull Run, Cedar Mountain, Shenandoah Valley, Seven Days, Groveton, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania and Sayler's Creek .
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Lieutenant General.
BIOGRAPHY
Richard Stoddert Ewell was born in the District of Columbia, on February 8, 1817. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Prince William County, Virginia. Like his brother Benjamin, he attended the US Military Academy, and graduated in 1940. Richard Ewell was commissioned in the 1st US Dragoons, and was brevetted a captain for his service in the Mexican War. He served in Baltimore, then in the Southwest. At the beginning of the Civil War, he was in Virginia on sick leave. He resigned his commission in the US Army in May of 1861, then became a colonel in the Confederate army. After working as commander of a camp of cavalry instruction, he was appointed a brigadier general on June 17, 1861. On January 24, 1862, he was promoted to major general, and led troops at the Battles of Bull Run (First) and Cedar Mountain, and in the Shenandoah Valley and Seven Days' Campaigns. Ewell lost a leg in the Battle of Groveton in 1862, but obtained a wooden one, with which he returned to duty in 1863. A lieutenant general, he was sent to replace Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was commander of the II Corps. Ewell found riding difficult and was wounded twice, but remained active in the campaigns from Gettysburg to Spotsylvania Court House. Ewell, affectionately called "Old Bald Head" by his troops, fell from a horse at "Bloody Angle," and was unable to continue field command. He was given command of the Department of Henrico, then the defenses of Richmond. In April of 1865, he was captured at Sayler's Creek, and held prisoner at Fort Warren, Massachusetts, until August. After the Civil War, Ewell spent his retirement on a farm near Spring Hill, Tennessee. Some blamed him for the defeat of the Confederates at Gettysburg, because of his failure to capture Cemetery Hill. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that his securing of the position could have, in itself, brought about a Confederate victory. Ewell died in Spring Hill on January 25, 1872.

Early life and career [ edit | edit source ]

Ewell was born in Georgetown, District of Columbia. He was raised in Prince William County, Virginia, from the age of 3, at an estate near Manassas known as "Stony Lonesome." Ώ] He was the third son of Dr. Thomas and Elizabeth Stoddert Ewell, and was the grandson of Benjamin Stoddert, the first U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and the brother of Benjamin Stoddert Ewell. ΐ] He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1840, thirteenth in his class of 42 cadets. He was known to his friends as "Old Bald Head" or "Baldy." He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1845. From 1843 to 1845 he served with Philip St. George Cooke and Stephen Watts Kearny on escort duty along the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. Α] In the Mexican-American War, serving under Winfield Scott, he was recognized and promoted to captain for his courage at Contreras and Churubusco. At Contreras, he conducted a nighttime reconnaissance with engineer Captain Robert E. Lee, his future commander.

Ewell served in the New Mexico Territory for some time, exploring the newly acquired Gadsden Purchase with Colonel Benjamin Bonneville. He was wounded in a skirmish with Apaches under Cochise in 1859. ΐ] In 1860, while in command of Fort Buchanan, Arizona, illness compelled him to leave the West for Virginia to recuperate. Α] He described his condition as "very ill with vertigo, nausea, etc., and now am excessively debilitated[,] having occasional attacks of the ague." Β] Illnesses and injuries would cause difficulties for him throughout the upcoming Civil War.


The CSA Clan Forums


As Stonewall Jackson's successor, the gallant Richard S. Ewell proved to be a disappointment and the argument as to why is still around today. Some claim it was the loss of a leg, others that it was the influence of the "Widow Brown" who he married during his recovery. But the fact of the matter is that he was ill-prepared by Jackson for the loose style of command practiced by Lee.

A West Pointer (1840) and veteran of two decades as a company officer, he never quite made the adjustment to commanding large-scale units. He once went out foraging for his division and returned-with a single steer-as if he was still commanding a company of dragoons.

Resigning his captaincy on May 7, 1861, to serve the South, he held the following assignments: colonel, Cavalry (1861) brigadier general, CSA June 17, 1861) commanding brigade (in lst Corps after July 20), Army of the Potomac (June 20 - October 22, 1861) commanding brigade, Longstreet's Division, Potomac District, Department of Northern Virginia (October 22, 1861 -February 21, 1862)

Major general, CSA January 23, 1862) commanding E. K. Smith's (old) Division, same district and department (February 21-May 17, 1862) commanding same division, Valley District, same department (May 17 - June 26, 1862) commanding division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia June 26 - August 28, 1862) commanding the corps (May 30, 1863-May 27, 1864) lieutenant general, CSA (May 23, 1863) and commanding Department of Richmond June 13, 1864 April 6, 1865).


After serving at lst Bull Run he commanded a division under Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign where he complained bitterly about being left in the dark about plans. Jackson's style of leadership was to prove the undoing of Ewell once Jackson was gone.

Ewell fought through the Seven Days and at Cedar Mountain before being severely wounded and losing a leg at Groveton, in the beginning of the battle of 2nd Bull Run.

After a long recovery, he returned to duty in May 1863 and was promoted to command part of Jackson's old corps. At 2nd Winchester he won a stunning victory and for a moment it looked like a second Stonewall had come. However, at Gettysburg he failed to take advantage of the situation on the evening of the first day when given discretionary orders by Lee.


He required exact instructions, unlike his predecessor. After serving through the fall campaigns he fought at the Wilderness where the same problem developed. At Spotsylvania one of his divisions was all but destroyed.

After the actions along the North Anna he was forced to temporarily relinquish command due to illness but Lee made it permanent. He was given command in Richmond and was captured at Sayler's Creek on April 6, 1865, during the retreat to Appomattox.

After his release from Fort Warren in July "Old Baldy" retired to a farm near Spring Hill, Tennessee, where he died on January 25, 1872. He is buried in the Old City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee. (Hamlin, Percy Gatling, "Old Bald Head")
Source: "Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

During the winter of 1861 - 1862, Lizinka Campbell Brown, one of the richest women in America, went to visit her son in the Confederate army in northern Virginia. He was the chief aide to Gen. Richard S. Ewell, a lisping, pop-eyed, beaked-nosed, baldheaded man who also happened to be Lizinka's cousin and love interest. Ewell courted and proposed to Lizinka during her stay, but she coyly refused to commit herself.

Spring found Ewell and his division participating in Gen. Stonewall Jackson's victorious campaign over the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley, and then they served in the Seven Days' campaign. Ewell earned a reputation as an aggressive fighter and a leader who saw to the welfare of his men, an attribute that won him their love and devotion.

In the August 28, 1862 Battle of Groveton, Ewell received a wound that necessitated the amputation of his right leg. He was nursed by Lizinka during his long recovery, and on May 24, 1863, the couple married.

Ewell was promoted to lieutenant general and given charge of the corps Jackson had commanded before receiving his mortal wound at Chancellorsville. Ewell's corps led the army into Pennsylvania and performed superbly at the 2d Battle of Winchester, Va., on June 14, capturing more than 4,000 Yankees, 23 cannon, and 300 full supply wagons -- a victory that caused some initially to call Ewell the "New Jackson."

However, Ewell was by then a less aggressive fighter, caused possibly by the softening influence of his new bride or the trauma of losing a leg. On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., his reputation became tarnished because he did not try to snatch the high ground below the town from the defeated and demoralized Yankees who were busy entrenching there, as many thought Jackson would have. The Rebel's attempts over the next two days to capture that gound resulted in defeat and retreat to Virginia.

Fascinating Fact: Ewell was known for his odd sense of humor. He was worried that he might be killed in Pennsylvania, specifically at Cashtown, where he thought the great battle would be fought. "It isn't that I mind getting killed," he said. "It's the idea that my name will go down in history as being killed at a place called Cashtown."

Brigadier General CSA_A_Clark

Life is short! Break the rules! Forgive quickly! Kiss slowly! Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably! And never regret anything that made you smile!


Postbellum life [ edit | edit source ]

After his parole, Ewell retired to work as a "gentleman farmer" on his wife's farm near Spring Hill, Tennessee, which he helped to become profitable, and also leased a successful cotton plantation in Mississippi. He doted on Lizinka's children and grandchildren. He was president of the Columbia Female Academy's board of trustees, a communicant at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Columbia, and president of the Maury County Agricultural Society. ⎟] He and his wife died of pneumonia within three days of each other. ⎠] They are buried in Old City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the posthumous author of The Making of a Soldier, published in 1935.


Richard S. Ewell : A Soldier's Life

General Richard Stoddert Ewell holds a unique place in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia. For four months Ewell was Stonewall Jackson's most trusted subordinate when Jackson died, Ewell took command of the Second Corps, leading it at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House.

In this biography, Donald Pfanz presents the most detailed portrait yet of the man sometimes referred to as Stonewall Jackson's right arm. Drawing on a rich array of previously untapped original source materials, Pfanz concludes that Ewell was a highly competent general, whose successes on the battlefield far outweighed his failures.

But Pfanz's book is more than a military biography. It also examines Ewell's life before and after the Civil War, including his years at West Point, his service in the Mexican War, his experiences as a dragoon officer in Arizona and New Mexico, and his postwar career as a planter in Mississippi and Tennessee. In all, Pfanz offers an exceptionally detailed portrait of one of the South's most important leaders.

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RICHARD S. EWELL: A Soldier's Life

The adventurous life of one of Lee's dashing lieutenants, a man who distinguished himself in the Mexican War as a cavalry officer and in the Civil War as Stonewall Jackson's "right arm." Pfanz, a . Читать весь отзыв

Richard S. Ewell: a soldier's life

Civil War historian Pfanz (The Petersburg Campaign: Abraham Lincoln at City Point, March 20-April 19, 1865) presents a favorable biography of Confederate General Richard S. Ewell. Although covering . Читать весь отзыв


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About Lt. Gen. (CSA) Richard Stoddert Ewell

Richard Stoddert “Old Baldy” Ewell BIRTH˜ Feb 1817 Georgetown, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA DEATHथ Jan 1872 (aged 54) Spring Hill, Maury County, Tennessee, USA BURIAL Nashville City Cemetery Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee

Richard Stoddert Ewell (February 8, 1817 – January 25, 1872) was a career United States Army officer and a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He achieved fame as a senior commander under Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and fought effectively through much of the war, but his legacy has been clouded by controversies over his actions at the Battle of Gettysburg and at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

Ewell was born in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. He was raised in Prince William County, Virginia, from the age of 3, at an estate near Manassas known as "Stony Lonesome." He was the third son of Dr. Thomas and Elizabeth Stoddert Ewell, and was the grandson of Benjamin Stoddert, the first U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and the brother of Benjamin Stoddert Ewell. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1840, thirteenth in his class of 42 cadets. He was known to his friends as "Old Bald Head" or "Baldy." He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1845. From 1843 to 1845 he served with Philip St. George Cooke and Stephen Watts Kearny on escort duty along the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. In the Mexican-American War, serving under Winfield Scott, he was recognized and promoted to captain for his courage at Contreras and Churubusco. At Contreras, he conducted a nighttime reconnaissance with engineer Captain Robert E. Lee, his future commander.

Ewell served in the New Mexico Territory for some time, exploring the newly acquired Gadsden Purchase with Colonel Benjamin Bonneville. He was wounded in a skirmish with Apaches under Cochise in 1859. In 1860, while in command of Fort Buchanan, Arizona, illness compelled him to leave the West for Virginia to recuperate. He described his condition as "very ill with vertigo, nausea, etc., and now am excessively debilitated[,] having occasional attacks of the ague." Illnesses and injuries would cause difficulties for him throughout the upcoming Civil War.

As the nation moved towards Civil War, Ewell had generally pro-Union sentiments, but when his home state of Virginia seceded, Ewell resigned his U.S. Army commission on May 7, 1861, to join the Virginia Provisional Army. He was appointed a colonel of cavalry on May 9 and was one of the first senior officers wounded in the war, at a May 31 skirmish at Fairfax Court House. He was promoted to brigadier general in the Confederate States Army on June 17 and commanded a brigade in the (Confederate) Army of the Potomac at the First Battle of Bull Run, but saw little action.

Ewell inspired his men in spite of, not because of, his appearance. Historian Larry Tagg described him:

Rather short at 5 feet 8 inches, he had just a fringe of brown hair on an otherwise bald, bomb-shaped head. Bright, bulging eyes protruded above a prominent nose, creating an effect which many likened to a bird𠅊n eagle, some said, or a woodcock𠅎specially when he let his head droop toward one shoulder, as he often did, and uttered strange speeches in his shrill, twittering lisp. He had a habit of muttering odd remarks in the middle of normal conversation, such as "Now why do you suppose President Davis made me a major general anyway?" He could be spectacularly, blisteringly profane. He was so nervous and fidgety he could not sleep in a normal position, and spent nights curled around a camp stool. He had convinced himself that he had some mysterious internal "disease," and so subsisted almost entirely on frumenty, a dish of hulled wheat boiled in milk and sweetened with sugar. A "compound of anomalies" was how one friend summed him up. He was the reigning eccentric of the Army of Northern Virginia, and his men, who knew at first hand his bravery and generosity of spirit, loved him all the more for it.

– Larry Tagg, The Generals of Gettysburg

On January 24, 1862, Ewell was promoted to major general, and began serving under Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson during the Valley Campaign. Although the two generals worked together well, and both were noted for their quixotic personal behavior, there were many stylistic differences between them. Jackson was stern and pious, whereas Ewell was witty and extremely profane. Jackson was flexible and intuitive on the battlefield, while Ewell, although brave and effective, required precise instructions to function effectively. Ewell was initially resentful about Jackson's tendency to keep his subordinates uninformed about his tactical plans, but Ewell eventually adjusted to Jackson's methods.

Ewell superbly commanded a division in Jackson's small army during the Valley Campaign, personally winning quite a few battles against the larger Union armies of Maj. Gens. John C. Frémont, Nathaniel P. Banks, and James Shields. Jackson's army was then recalled to Richmond to join Robert E. Lee in protecting the city against Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac in the Peninsula Campaign. Ewell fought conspicuously at Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill. After Lee repelled the Union army in the Seven Days Battles, Union Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia threatened to attack from the north, so Jackson was sent to intercept him. Ewell defeated Banks again at the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9 and, returning to the old Manassas battlefield, he fought well at the Second Battle of Bull Run, but was wounded during the battle of Groveton (or Brawner's Farm) on August 29, and his left leg was amputated below the knee.

While recovering from his injury, Ewell was nursed by his first cousin, Lizinka Campbell Brown, a wealthy widow from the Nashville area. Ewell had been attracted to Lizinka since his teenage years and they had earlier flirted with romance in 1861 and during the Valley Campaign, but now the close contact resulted in their wedding in Richmond on May 26, 1863.

After his long recovery, Ewell returned to Lee's Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Chancellorsville. After the mortal wounding of Jackson at that battle, on May 23 Ewell was promoted to lieutenant general and command of the Second Corps (now slightly smaller than Jackson's because units were subtracted to create a new Third Corps, under Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill, also one of Jackson's division commanders). Ewell was given a date of rank one day earlier than Hill's, so he became the third-highest-ranking general in the army.

[edit] Gettysburg and controversyIn the opening days of the Gettysburg Campaign, at the Second Battle of Winchester, Ewell performed superbly, capturing the Union garrison of 4,000 men and 23 cannons. He escaped serious injury there when he was hit in the chest with a spent bullet (the second such incident in his career, after Gaines' Mill). His corps took the lead in the invasion of Pennsylvania and almost reached the state capital of Harrisburg before being recalled by Lee to concentrate at Gettysburg. These successes led to favorable comparisons with Jackson.

But at the Battle of Gettysburg, Ewell's military reputation started a long decline. On July 1, 1863, Ewell's corps approached Gettysburg from the north and smashed the Union XI Corps and part of the I Corps, driving them back through the town and forcing them to take up defensive positions on Cemetery Hill south of town. Lee had just arrived on the field and saw the importance of this position. He sent discretionary orders to Ewell that Cemetery Hill be taken "if practicable." Historian James M. McPherson wrote, "Had Jackson still lived, he undoubtedly would have found it practicable. But Ewell was not Jackson." Ewell chose not to attempt the assault.

Ewell had several possible reasons for not attacking. The orders from Lee contained an innate contradiction. He was "to carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army." Lee also refused to provide assistance that Ewell requested from the corps of A.P. Hill. Ewell's men were fatigued from their lengthy marching and strenuous battle in the hot July afternoon and it would be difficult to reassemble them into battle formation and assault the hill through the narrow corridors afforded by the streets of Gettysburg. The fresh division under Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson was just arriving, but Ewell also received intelligence that heavy Union reinforcements were arriving on the York Pike from the east, potentially threatening his flank. Ewell's normally aggressive subordinate, Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, concurred with his decision.

Lee's order has been criticized because it left too much discretion to Ewell. Historians such as McPherson have speculated on how the more aggressive Stonewall Jackson would have acted on this order if he had lived to command this wing of Lee's army, and how differently the second day of battle would have proceeded with Confederate possession of Culp's Hill or Cemetery Hill. Discretionary orders were customary for General Lee because Jackson and James Longstreet, his other principal subordinate, usually reacted to them very well and could use their initiative to respond to conditions and achieve the desired results. This failure of action on Ewell's part, whether justified or not, in all likelihood cost the Confederates the battle.

When Ewell's corps did attack these positions on July 2 and July 3, the Union had had time to fully occupy the heights and build impregnable defenses, resulting in heavy Confederate losses. Post-war proponents of the lost cause movement, particularly Jubal Early, but also Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble, who had been assigned to Ewell's staff during the battle, criticized him bitterly in attempts to deflect any blame for the loss of the battle on Robert E. Lee. Part of their argument was that the Union troops were completely demoralized by their defeat earlier in the day, but Ewell's men were also disorganized, and decisions such as they were propounding are far simpler to make in hindsight than in the heat of battle and fog of war.

On July 3, Ewell was once again wounded, but this time only in his wooden leg. He led his corps on an orderly retreat back to Virginia. His luck continued to be poor and he was wounded at Kelly's Ford, Virginia, in November. He was injured again in January 1864, when his horse fell over in the snow.

Overland Campaign and Richmond

Confederate killed in Ewell's attack May 19, 1864, on the Alsop Farm, located near the Harris FarmEwell led his corps in the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness and performed well, enjoying the rare circumstance of a slight numerical superiority over the Union corps that attacked him. In the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Lee felt compelled to lead the defense of the "Mule Shoe" on May 12 personally because of Ewell's indecision and inaction. At one point Ewell began hysterically berating some of his fleeing soldiers and beating them over the back with his sword. Lee reined in his enraged lieutenant, saying sharply, "General Ewell, you must restrain yourself how can you expect to control these men when you have lost control of yourself? If you cannot repress your excitement, you had better retire." Ewell's behavior on this occasion undoubtedly was the source of a statement made by Lee to his secretary, William Allan, after the war that on May 12 he "found Ewell perfectly prostrated by the misfortune of the morning, and too much overwhelmed to be efficient." In the final combat at Spotsylvania, on May 19, 1864, Ewell ordered an attack on the Union left flank at the Harris Farm, which had little effect beyond delaying Grant for a day, at the cost of 900 casualties, about one-sixth of his remaining force.

Lee reasoned that Ewell's lingering injuries were the cause of his problems and he relieved him from corps command, reassigning him to command the garrison of the Department of Richmond, which was by no means an insignificant assignment, given the extreme pressure Union forces were applying to the Confederate capital. In April 1865, as Ewell and his troops were retreating a great many fires in Richmond were started, although it is unclear by whose orders the fires were started. Ewell blamed the plundering mobs of civilians for burning a tobacco warehouse, which was a significant source of the fire, but Nelson Lankford, author of Richmond Burning, wrote that "Ewell convinced few people that the great fire had nothing to do with his men or their deliberate demolition of the warehouses and bridges through military orders passed down the chain of command." These fires created The Great Conflagration of Richmond, which left a third of the city destroyed, including all of the business district. Ewell and his troops were then surrounded and captured at Sayler's Creek. This was a few days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. He was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor until July 1865.

While imprisoned, Ewell organized a group of sixteen former generals also at Fort Warren, including Edward "Allegheny" Johnson and Joseph B. Kershaw, and sent a letter to Ulysses S. Grant about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, for which they said no Southern man could feel anything other than "unqualified abhorrence and indignation" and insisting that the crime should not be connected to the South.

After his parole, Ewell retired to work as a "gentleman farmer" on his wife's farm near Spring Hill, Tennessee, which he helped to become profitable, and also leased a successful cotton plantation in Mississippi. He doted on Lizinka's children and grandchildren. He was president of the Columbia Female Academy's board of trustees, a communicant at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Columbia, and president of the Maury County Agricultural Society. He and his wife died of pneumonia within three days of each other. They are buried in Old City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the posthumous author of The Making of a Soldier, published in 1935.

Ewell was portrayed by Tim Scott in the 1993 film Gettysburg, based on Michael Shaara's novel, The Killer Angels he appears only in the credits and in the Director's Cut release. In that movie, Ewell is criticized for not "taking that hill".

Ewell is the main character in the 1963 gospel film Red Runs the River and is portrayed by Bob Jones, Jr. The film, directed by Katherine Stenholm, details Ewell's relationship with Stonewall Jackson and Ewell's conversion to Christ following his wound at the Second Battle of Bull Run. It is an Unusual Films production, from the Cinema Department of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Red Runs the River was the film selected by the University Film Producers Association to represent the United States at the International Congress of Motion-Picture and Television Schools in Budapest, Hungary.


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UKnowledge

Richard Stoddert Ewell is best known as the Confederate General selected by Robert E. Lee to replace "Stonewall" Jackson as chief of the Second Corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. Ewell is also remembered as the general who failed to drive Federal troops from the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill during the Battle of Gettysburg. Many historians believe that Ewell’s inaction cost the Confederates a victory in this seminal battle and, ultimately, cost the Civil War.

During his long military career, Ewell was never an aggressive warrior. He graduated from West Point and served in the Indian wars in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In 1861 he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and rushed to the Confederate standard. Ewell saw action at First Manassas and took up divisional command under Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign and in the Seven Days’ Battles around Richmond.

A crippling wound and a leg amputation soon compounded the persistent manic-depressive disorder that had hindered his ability to make difficult decisions on the battlefield. When Lee reorganized the Army of Northern Virginia in May of 1863, Ewell was promoted to lieutenant general. At the same time he married a widowed first cousin who came to dominate his life—often to the disgust of his subordinate officers—and he became heavily influenced by the wave of religious fervor that was then sweeping through the Confederate Army.

In Confederate General R.S. Ewell, Paul D. Casdorph offers a fresh portrait of a major—but deeply flawed—figure in the Confederate war effort, examining the pattern of hesitancy and indecisiveness that characterized Ewell’s entire military career. This definitive biography probes the crucial question of why Lee selected such an obviously inconsistent and unreliable commander to lead one-third of his army on the eve of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Casdorph describes Ewell’s intriguing life and career with penetrating insights into his loyalty to the Confederate cause and the Virginia ties that kept him in Lee’s favor for much of the war. Complete with riveting descriptions of key battles, Ewell’s biography is essential reading for Civil War historians.

Honorable Mention for 2005 Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship given by the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War

Paul D. Casdorph is the author of several books, including Lee and Jackson: Confederate Chieftains and Prince John Magruder: His Life and Campaigns.

"Casdorph unveils Ewell's fascinating life in crisp, businesslike prose. . . . Adduces plenty of the rich body of evidence about his subject's gallantry, bravery, and attractive qualities."—America's Civil War

"A challenging and informative biography. . . . Brings to life a key figure in Civil War history. This book will stir the debate on the true nature of Ewell's legacy."—Civil War News

"Deserves the attention of those mighty legions still refighting the battles of the eastern theater."—North & South

"A very thorough and definitive biography about one of the Confederacy's most contrary commanders."—Armor

"A highly readable biography that examines such diverse topics as the effect of the amputation of Ewell's leg on his subsequent command decisions and the role of Ewell's wife in stifling his battlefield initiative."—Army Magazine

"An excellent contribution to Civil War scholarship. Presenting a strong argument for his thesis that Ewell was 'a flawed commander who could not, or would not, act at the critical moment,' Casdorph's work is thoroughly researched and fascinating to read. Exploring the relationship between Ewell and Robert E. Lee, discussing significant topics such as the effects on Ewell of losing a leg, as well as the man's religious concepts, and paying due respect to the whole of the general's life, Casdorph has developed the finest Ewell biography that is likely to be written."—James Lee McDonough, Professor Emeritus, Auburn University

"Casdorph's well-written biography is rich in psychological analysis and operational detail. . . . A dramatic portrait of a career steeped in failure and controversy."—Journal of American History

"Casdorph has produced a very readable narrative of Ewell's life."—Journal of Southern History

"Deserves praise for an impressive research effort and for producing a well-written narrative of Ewell's life and career."—Parameters

"A thoroughly researched biography."—Signal Flag

"Civil War history stays alive because of biographies of its key figures, their fights, and foibles. R.S. Ewell is an intriguing study of command."—Southern Scene

"A fine and much-needed biography of one of the crucial protagonists of the Civil War."—Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"Extensively researched biography. . . . Casdorph pulls no punches in detailing his subject's shortcomings."—Washington Times

"Answers, or attempts to answer, some of the major questions and problems of the Civil War. . . . Casdorph does an excellent job of presenting the factors and people influencing this controversial Civil War officer."—West Virginia History


Pocket Diary of Charles F. Himes

In diary entries from late June and early July, Charles Francis Himes (Class of 1855) describes the Confederate invasion of Carlisle. Himes, who follows the Confederates as they move on to Gettysburg, describes his interactions and movements through several days. Himes also briefly mentions.

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RICHARD STODDERT EWELL, CSA - History

Richard Stoddert Ewell
(1817-1872)

As Stonewall Jackson's successor, the gallant Richard S. Ewell proved to be a disappointment and the argument as to why is still around today. Some claim it was the loss of a leg, others that it was the influence of the "Widow Brown" who he married during his recovery. But the fact of the matter is that he was ill-prepared by Jackson for the loose style of command practiced by Lee.
A West Pointer (1840) and veteran of two decades as a company officer, he never quite made the adjustment to commanding large-scale units. He once went out foraging for his division and returned-with a single steer-as if he was still commanding a company of dragoons. Resigning his captaincy on May 7, 1861, to serve the South, he held the following assignments: colonel, Cavalry (1861) brigadier general, CSA June 17, 1861) commanding brigade (in lst Corps after July 20), Army of the Potomac (June 20 - October 22, 1861) commanding brigade, Longstreet's Division, Potomac District, Department of Northern Virginia (October 22, 1861 -February 21, 1862) major general, CSA January 23, 1862) commanding E. K. Smith's (old) Division, same district and department (February 21-May 17, 1862) commanding same division, Valley District, same department (May 17 - June 26, 1862) commanding division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia June 26 - August 28, 1862) commanding the corps (May 30, 1863-May 27, 1864) lieutenant general, CSA (May 23, 1863) and commanding Department of Richmond June 13, 1864 April 6, 1865).
After serving at lst Bull Run he commanded a division under Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign where he complained bitterly about being left in the dark about plans. Jackson's style of leadership was to prove the undoing of Ewell once Jackson was gone. Ewell fought through the Seven Days and at Cedar Mountain before being severely wounded and losing a leg at Groveton, in the beginning of the battle of 2nd Bull Run. After a long recovery, he returned to duty in May 1863 and was promoted to command part of Jackson's old corps. At 2nd Winchester he won a stunning victory and for a moment it looked like a second Stonewall had come. However, at Gettysburg he failed to take advantage of the situation on the evening of the first day when given discretionary orders by Lee.
He required exact instructions, unlike his predecessor. After serving through the fall campaigns he fought at the Wilderness where the same problem developed. At Spotsylvania one of his divisions was all but destroyed. After the actions along the North Anna he was forced to temporarily relinquish command due to illness but Lee made it permanent. He was given command in Richmond and was captured at Sayler's Creek on April 6, 1865, during the retreat to Appomattox. After his release from Fort Warren in July "Old Baldy" retired to a farm near Spring Hill, Tennessee, where he died on January 25, 1872. He is buried in the Old City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee. (Hamlin, Percy Gatling, "Old Bald Head")
Source: "Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

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