The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55326   Message #883250
Posted By: Kim C
05-Feb-03 - 12:56 PM
Thread Name: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
Jeb Stuart is a hero of mine - I have a book of his letters that I bought somewhere in Virginia. The quality of letter writing at that time seems so much greater than it is now. The book begins with letters that Stuart wrote home when he was away at boarding school as a teenager. He laments the fact he hasn't had a letter from home in awhile, and says something to the effect of "surely you must have some pity on a poor insignificant whelp away from his mammy."

Do you know any 13 year-olds now who would even conceive of such?

People were also not so reserved about their feelings for one another, at least in personal writings. Stuart wrote to his close friend, Custis Lee, "come visit me and you can share my blanket." People look at that now and think it's some kind of sexual overture. It isn't. Blankets were scarce and soldiers, including officers, had to share. It was simply an expression of friendship and hospitality.

Then there were the letters he wrote to his cousin - I believe her name was Nannie Dundee or something like that, and if I remember correctly, she was engaged to marry Heros von Borcke at some point. Anyway - to the modern eye, these very sweet, impassioned letters look as if Stuart was pulling one over on his wife. But it wasn't that at all. Jeb and Flora had lost a baby. He wanted someone to talk to, and believed Flora couldn't bear to talk about the dead child. He didn't want to upset her any more than she was, so he turned to his cousin, and shared his grief with her.

Jed - sometimes incidents like the little girl being shot stay local, for whatever reason. There may be something in the state archives there.