In his sculpted image on Monument Avenue in Richmond, a leafy boulevard hemmed by stately residences, J.E.B. Stuart is immortalized on horseback.
The cavalry commander developed a reputation for leading Confederate troops on raids and fruitful intelligence-gathering missions, helping cement Stuart’s legacy as a legendary figure in the minds of white Southerners after the Civil War, according to Paul Quigley, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. But he also became a scapegoat for the Confederate’s most critical loss.
“He was held up as a classic Southern military hero — very dashing, good looking and had this reputation for bravery as well as a little bit of cheekiness,” Quigley said.
Stuart’s legacy, along with other iconic Civil War figures, is commemorated in imagery throughout the South that factor prominently into the romanticism tied to the Confederacy. Many of those public declarations have been reexamined in recent years after a gunman walked into a historic African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., and gunned down nine parishioners in 2015, and, again, when a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville turned deadly …
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)