"Stuart's Ride" by Mort Kunstler

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print

The Official Lee's Lieutenants Series - Second in a Series of Six Limited Edition Prints

Image size: 11 3/4" x 29"

Edition size: 1750 S/N

Issue price: SOLD OUT (Only available on our secondary market--call for currrent price and availability--800-237-6077)

How do you best depict General J.E.B. Stuart, the South's most famous and flamboyant cavalry commander? That's the question I had to ask myself as I prepared to paint the second limited edition print in our Lee's Lieutenant series. I knew I wanted to paint Stuart - but how? In what setting? After giving the question some thought and doing some research. I decided there was no event that better typified the daring J.E.B Stuart than his famous "Ride Around McClellan" in 1862.

General Lee, who had just taken over command of the army in defense of the Confederate capital, ordered Stuart to "gain intelligence for the guidance of future operations" against General George B. McClellan's gigantic army, which was threatening Richmond from Virginia's Peninsula. So, taking about 1,200 of his finest cavalrymen, Stuart set out on June 12, 1862, heading Westward as if he and force were moving to the Shenandoah Valley to reinforce Southern troops there. A day later, on the morning of June 13, 1862, he changed direction and headed eastward - and then his men knew that Stuart was leading them in a dangerous, risking raid against McClellan's powerful army. It was a dramatic moment, and I like the way Historian Douglas Southall Freeman describes it: "The moment it turned toward the East, a stir went down the files... the men had suspected that McClellan's flank was their objective, and now they knew it. The day for which they had waited long had come at last. They were to measure swords with the enemy."

In Stuart's Ride, I tried to capture the drama of that moment. Stuart rides at the head of his troops, his ostrich plume is in place and his red-lined cape is flapping behind him. As the column cuts across a grassy pasture heading for roads eastward, the early morning sun highlights Stuart's face and the unfurled battle standard behind him.

Riding closely behind Stuart is Major Heros Von Borcke, Stuart's towering German aide. directly behind the flag bearing corporal is none other than John Mosby, half aide, half courier, already showing the qualities that would bring him future fame. Leading the second group of riders, under the first national flag, is General lee's son, Colonel "Rooney" Lee of the 9th Virginia Cavalry. I have tried to capture the determination of these young soldiers as they set out on a daring raid against a vastly stronger enemy.

It wasn't until June 15th that Stuart returned to headquarters, bedraggled but triumphant and full of information. "Stuart's Ride" made General J.E.B. Stuart the most famous cavalry officer of the Civil War. But more importantly, Lee gained the confidence in Stuart to where he truly became the eyes of Lee's army.

 

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