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George Hume Steuart
August 24, 1828(1828-08-24) – November 22, 1903 (aged 75)
GHSteuart.jpg
Brigadier General George H. Steuart in Confederate uniform
Nickname "Maryland Steuart"
Place of birth Baltimore, Maryland
Place of death South River, Maryland
Place of burial Green Mount Cemetery Baltimore, Maryland
Allegiance United States of America
Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service 1848–61 (USA), 1861–65 (CSA)
Rank Captain USA;
Brigadier General CSA
Commands held Maryland Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia
Battles/wars Utah War

American Civil War

Relations George H. Steuart (great-grandfather)
George H. Steuart (father)
Richard Sprigg Steuart (uncle)

George Hume Steuart (August 24, 1828 – November 22, 1903) was an American military officer who served thirteen years in the United States Army, then resigned during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of brigadier general in the Army of Northern Virginia. Nicknamed "Maryland" to avoid verbal confusion with Virginia cavalryman J.E.B. Stuart, Steuart zealously promoted the secession of Maryland before and during the conflict. Wounded at Cross Keys and then captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Steuart was exchanged in the summer of 1864, returning to a command in the Army of Northern Virginia for the remainder of the war. Steuart was one of the officers who with Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, and after laying down his arms, spent the rest of a long life peacefully farming in his beloved Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Contents

Early life and family

Old Steuart Hall, c1868

George Hume Steuart was born on August 24, 1828 into a family of Scots ancestry in Baltimore. The eldest of nine children,[1] he was raised at Old Steuart Hall, located near the present-day intersection of Baltimore and Monroe Streets in Baltimore. The Steuart family were wealthy plantation owners, strong supporters of the South's "peculiar institution"; the Steuarts shared a long tradition of military service. He was the son of Major General George H. Steuart, of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, who led a company of Maryland Militia during the War of 1812; local Baltimore residents would come to know them as "The Old General" and "The Young General."[2] Steuart's father inherited approximately 2000 acres of land in around 1842, including a farm at Mount Steuart, and around 150 slaves.[3] Steuart was the grandson of Dr. James Steuart, a physician who served in the American Revolutionary War, and the great-grandson of Dr. George H. Steuart a physician who emigrated to Maryland from Perthshire, Scotland, in 1721, and was lieutenant colonel of the Horse Militia under Governor Horatio Sharpe. His uncle Richard Sprigg Steuart was a physician who owned a substantial plantation at Dodon on the South River near Annapolis.[3]

Early Military Career

Steuart attended the United States Military Academy between July 1, 1844 and July 1, 1848 [4], graduating 37th in the class of 1848, aged nineteen. Steuart was assigned as 2nd lieutenant to the 2nd Dragoons, a regiment of cavalry that served in the frontier fighting Indians. He served in the Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in 1848, carried out frontier duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1849, and participated in an expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1849.[4] He actively participated in the US Army's Cheyenne expedition of 1856, the Utah War against the Mormons in 1857-1858, and the Comanche expedition of 1860.[5]

He married Maria H. Kinzie on January 14, 1858. The couple had met in Kansas and, once married, lived at Fort Leavenworth, although they were separated for long periods while Steuart was on campaign duty and stationed at distant frontier posts [6]. They had two daughters, Marie (born 1860) and Ann (born 1864).[7]

Civil War

Even though Maryland did not secede from the Union, Steuart's loyalty lay with the South, as did that of his father. He commanded one of the Baltimore city militias during the disturbances of April 1861, following which Federal troops occupied the city. In a letter to his father, Steuart wrote:

"I found nothing but disgust in my observations along the route and in the place I came to - a large majority of the population are insane on the one idea of loyalty to the Union and the legislature is so diminished and unreliable that I rejoiced to hear that they intended to adjourn...it seems that we are doomed to be trodden on by these troops who have taken military possession of our State, and seem determined to commit all the outrages of an invading army." [8]

He resigned his captain's commission on April 16, 1861[9] and entered the Confederate army as a cavalry captain, a decision that would prove costly. Old Steuart Hall was confiscated by the Union Army and Jarvis Hospital was erected on the estate, to care for Federal wounded.[7] Steuart was welcomed by the Confederacy as "one of Maryland's most gifted sons", and it was hoped by Southerners that other Marylanders would follow his example.[10]

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First Bull Run

Steuart soon became lieutenant colonel of the newly formed 1st Maryland Infantry[11] and fought with distinction at the First Battle of Bull Run, taking part in the charge that routed the Union army. Very soon after he was promoted to colonel, and assumed command of the regiment,[10] succeeding Arnold Elzey,[11] who was promoted to brigadier general. He soon began to acquire a reputation as a strict disciplinarian and gained the admiration of his men,[12] though he was initially unpopular as a result. Steuart was said to have ordered his men to sweep the bare dirt inside their bivouacs and, rather more eccentrically, was prone to sneaking through the lines past unwitting sentries, in order to test their vigilance.[10] On one occasion this plan backfired, as Steuart was pummeled and beaten by a sentry who later claimed not to have recognized the general.[13] Eventually however, Steuart's "rigid system of discipline quietly and quickly conduced to the health and morale of this splendid command."[5] According to Major W W Goldsborough, who served in Steuart's Maryland Infantry at Gettysburg: "...it was not only his love for a clean camp, but a desire to promote the health and comfort of his men that made him unyielding in the enforcement of sanitary rules. You might influence him in some things, but never in this".[14] George Wilson Booth, a young officer in Steuart's command at Harper's Ferry in 1861, recalled in his memoirs: "The Regiment, under his master hand, soon gave evidence of the soldierly qualities which made it the pride of the army and placed the fame of Maryland in the very foreground of the Southern States".[15]

Shenandoah Campaign, First Battle of Winchester and Cross Keys

Steuart was promoted to brigadier general on March 6, 1862,[11] commanding a brigade in Major General Richard S. Ewell's division during Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign. On May 24 Jackson gave Steuart command of two cavalry regiments, the 2nd and 6th Virginia regiments.[10] At the First Battle of Winchester, on May 25, 1862, Jackson's army was victorious, and the defeated Federal infantry retreated in confusion. Steuart was ordered by Lieutenant Pendleton, of Jackson's staff, to give pursuit, but he delayed, wasting valuable time on a point of military etiquette, and declined to obey the order until it came through General Ewell, his immediate commander.[10][16] He eventually gave chase and overtook the advance of the Confederate infantry, picking up many prisoners, but, as a result of the delay, the Confederate cavalry did not overtake the Federal army until it was, in the words of Jackson's report, "beyond the reach of successful pursuit". Jackson continued: "There is good reason for believing that had the cavalry played its part in this pursuit, but a small portion of Banks' army would have made its escape to the Potomac".[17] For the remainder of the war Steuart would serve as an infantry commander.

At the Battle of Cross Keys (June 8, 1862), Steuart commanded the 1st Maryland Infantry, which was attacked by, and successfully fought off, a much larger Federal force. However, Steuart was severely injured in the shoulder by grape shot, and had to be carried from the battlefield.[18] A ball from a canister shot had struck him in the shoulder and broken his collarbone, causing a "ghastly wound".[18] The injury did not heal well, and did not begin to improve at all until the ball was removed under surgery in August. It would prevent him from returning to the field for almost an entire year, until May 1863.[10]

Gettysburg Campaign and the advance into Maryland

Charge of the Maryland Infantry into the "slaughterpen" at Culp's Hill, Battle of Gettysburg, July 3rd 1863. So severe were the casualties among the Marylanders that Steuart is said to have broken down and wept, wringing his hands and crying "my poor boys".[19]

Upon his recuperation and return to the army, Steuart was assigned by Gen. Robert E. Lee to command the Third Brigade, a force of around 2,200 men,[20] in Major General Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's division, in the Army of Northern Virginia. The brigade's former commander, Brigadier General Raleigh Colston, had been relieved of his command by Lee, who was disappointed by his performance at the Battle of Chancellorsville.[10] The brigade consisted of the following regiments: the 2nd Maryland, the 1st and 3rd North Carolina, and the 10th, 23rd, and 37th Virginia. Rivalries between the various state regiments had been a recurring problem in the brigade and Lee hoped that Steuart would be able to knit them together effectively. However, he had only been in command for a month when the Gettysburg Campaign got under way.[10]

In June 1863 Lee's army advanced north into Maryland, taking the war into Union territory for the second time. Steuart is said to have jumped down from his horse, kissed his native soil and stood on his head in jubilation. According to one of his aides: "We loved Maryland, we felt that she was in bondage against her will, and we burned with desire to have a part in liberating her".[10] Quartermaster John Howard recalled that Steuart performed "seventeen double somersaults" all the while whistling Maryland, My Maryland.[21] Such celebrations would prove short lived, as Steuart's brigade was soon to be severely damaged at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863). At first however, Lee's advance north went well. At the Second Battle of Winchester (June 13–15, 1863) Steuart fought with Johnson's division, helping to bring about a Confederate victory, during which his brigade took around 1,000 prisoners and suffered comparatively small losses of 9 killed, 34 wounded.[22]

Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) was to prove a turning point in the war, and the end of Lee's advance. Steuart's men arrived at Gettysburg "exhausted and footsore...a little before dusk" on the evening of July 1, following a 130 mile march from Sharpsburg, "many of them barefooted".[20] Steuart's men attacked the Union line on the night of July 2, gaining ground between the lower Culp's Hill and the stone wall near Spangler's Spring. But fresh Federal reinforcements blocked his further advance, and no further ground was gained. During the night a large number quantity of Union artillery was wheeled into place, the sound of which caused the optimistic Steuart to hope that the enemy was retreating in its wagons.[10]

The morning of July 3 revealed the full scale of the Union defenses, as enemy artillery opened fire at a distance of 500 yards with a "terrific and galling fire", followed by a ferocious assault on Steuart's position.[20] The result was a "terrible slaughter" of the Third Brigade, which fought for many hours without relief, exhausting their ammunition, but successfully holding their position.[20] Then, late on the morning of July 3, Johnson ordered a bayonet charge against the well-fortified enemy lines. Steuart was appalled, and was strongly critical of the attack, but direct orders could not be disobeyed.[23] The Third Brigade attempted several times to wrest control of Culp's Hill, a vital part of the Union Army defensive line, and the result was a "slaughterpen",[20] as the Second Maryland and the Third North Carolina regiments courageously charged a well-defended position strongly held by three brigades, a few reaching within twenty paces of the enemy lines.[20] So severe were the casualties among his men that Steuart is said to have broken down and wept, wringing his hands and crying "my poor boys".[19] Overall, the failed attack on Culp's Hill cost Johnson's division almost 2,000 men, of which 700 were accounted for by Steuart's brigade alone—far more than any other brigade in the division. At Hagerstown, on the 8th July, out of a pre-battle strength of 2,200, just 1,200 men reported for duty.[20] The casualty rate among the Second Maryland and Third North Carolina was between one half and two-thirds, in the space of just ten hours.[20]

Even though Steuart had fought bravely under extremely difficult conditions, neither he nor any other officer was cited by Johnson in his report.[24] Gettysburg marked the high water mark of the Confederacy; thereafter Lee's army would retreat until its final surrender to General Grant at Appomattox Court House.

Battle of the Wilderness and disaster at Spotsylvania

Sketch map of the Battle of Spotsylvania, showing the "Mule Shoe" salient where Steuart was captured by General Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps

In 1864, Steuart saw severe action during the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5–7, 1864), where his brother, Lieutenant William James Steuart (1832–1864), was killed, dying of wounds inflicted in battle.[7] Steuart led his North Carolina infantry against two New York regiments, causing Union losses of almost 600 men.[5]

Soon afterwards, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8–21, 1864), Steuart was himself captured, along with much of his brigade, during the brutal fighting for the "Mule Shoe" salient. The Mule Shoe salient formed a bulge in the Confederate lines, a strategic portion of vital high ground but one which was vulnerable to attack on three sides. During the night of May 11, Confederate commanders withdrew most of the artillery pieces from the salient, convinced that Grant's next attack would fall elsewhere.[25] But shortly before dawn on May 12, Union forces comprising three full divisions (Major General Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps) attacked the Mule Shoe through heavy fog, taking the Confederate forces by surprise. Exhaustion, inadequate food, lack of artillery support, and wet powder from the night's rain contributed to the collapse of the Confederate position as the Union forces swarmed out of the mist, overwhelming Steuart's men and effectively putting an end to the Virginia Brigade.[26] Confederate muskets would not fire due to damp powder, and apart from two remaining artillery pieces, the Southerners were effectively without firearms.[25] During the thick of the fierce hand-to-hand fighting that followed, Steuart was forced to surrender to Colonel James Beaver of the 148th Pennsylvania. Beaver asked Steuart "Where is your sword, sir?", to which the general replied, with considerable sarcasm, "Well, suh, you all waked us up so early this mawnin' that I didn't have time to get it on."[27] Steuart was brought to General Hancock, who had seen Steuart's wife Maria in Washington before the battle and wished to give her news of her husband. He extended his hand, asking "how are you, Steuart?"[28] But Steuart refused to shake Hancock's hand; although the two men had been friends before the war, they were now enemies. Steuart said: "Considering the circumstance, General, I refuse to take your hand", to which Hancock is said to have replied, "And under any other circumstance, General, I would have refused to offer it."[29] After this episode, an offended Hancock then left Steuart to march to the Union rear with the other prisoners.[30]

After the battle, Steuart was sent as a prisoner of war to Charleston, South Carolina, and was later imprisoned at Hilton Head. The fighting at Spotsylvania was to prove the end of his brigade. Johnson's division, 6,800 strong at the start of the battle, was now so severely reduced in size that barely one brigade could be formed. On May 14 the brigades of Walker, Jones, and Steuart were consolidated into one small brigade under the command of Colonel Terry of the 4th Virginia Infantry.[31]

Appomattox and the end of the war

Gravestone of Brigadier General George H. Steuart and other members of the Steuart family, Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore.

Steuart was exchanged later in the summer of 1864, returning to a command a brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia. By the time of the Siege of Petersburg (June 9, 1864 – March 25, 1865), Confederate supplies had dwindled to the point where Lee's army began to go hungry, and the theft of food became a serious problem. Steuart was forced to send armed guards to the supply depot at Petersburg in order to ensure that his men's packages were not stolen by looters.[32] He led a brigade in Major General George Pickett's division during the Appomattox Campaign (March 29 – April 9, 1865), at the Battle of Five Forks (April 1, 1865), and at Sayler's Creek (April 6, 1865), the last two battles marking the effective end of Confederate resistance. He continued fighting until the end of the war, surrendering with Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. According to one Maryland veteran, "no-one in the war gave more completely and conscientiously every faculty, every energy that was in him to the Southern cause".[33]

After the war

After the war's end, Steuart returned to Maryland, and swore an oath of loyalty to the Union. [34] He farmed at Mount Steuart, a farmhouse on a hillside near the South River, south of Edgewater, [35].and served as commander of the Maryland division of the United Confederate Veterans. He died at the age of 75 at South River, Maryland, after a long illness. He is buried in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore with his wife Maria, who died three years later, in 1906. He was survived by his two daughters, Marie and Ann.[7] Perhaps not surprisingly, as Maryland had remained loyal to the Union, there is no monument to Steuart in his home state. However, the Steuart Hill area of Baltimore recalls his family's long association with the city.[36]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Nelker, p.150
  2. ^ White, Roger B, Article in The Maryland Gazette, "Steuart, Only Anne Arundel Rebel General", November 13, 1969.
  3. ^ a b Nelker, p.131, Memoirs of Richard Sprigg Steuart.
  4. ^ a b Cullum, p.225
  5. ^ a b c Article on Steuart at www.stonewall.hut.ru Accessed January 8, 2010
  6. ^ Miller, p.49
  7. ^ a b c d Nelker, p.120.
  8. ^ Mitchell, Charles W., p.102, Maryland Voices of the Civil War. Retrieved February 26 2010
  9. ^ Cullum, George Washington, p.226, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Retrieved Jan 16 2010
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tagg, p.273.
  11. ^ a b c Warner p.290
  12. ^ Goldsborough, p.30.
  13. ^ Green, p.125.
  14. ^ Goldsborough, p.119
  15. ^ Booth, George Wilson, p.12, A Maryland Boy in Lee's Army: Personal Reminiscences of a Maryland Soldier in the War Between the States, Bison Books (2000). Retrieved Jan 16 2010
  16. ^ Allan, p.143.
  17. ^ Goldsborough, p.46.
  18. ^ a b Goldsborough, p.56.
  19. ^ a b Goldsborough, p.109.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h Steuart's brigade at Gettysburg, by his aide-de-camp, Reverend Randolph H. McKim Accessed January 8, 2010
  21. ^ Goldsborough, p.98.
  22. ^ Steuart's reports from the Gettysburg Campaign, June 19, 1863 Accessed January 8, 2010
  23. ^ Goldsborough, p.106.
  24. ^ Tagg, p.275.
  25. ^ a b Robertson, p.223.
  26. ^ Dowdey, p.204.
  27. ^ Robertson, p.225.
  28. ^ Jordan, p.130
  29. ^ Hoptak, John David (August 12, 2009), Happy 181st Birthday. . ., The 48th Pennsylvania Infantry/Civil War Musings, Accessed January 7, 2009
  30. ^ Porter, p.105
  31. ^ Robertson, p.226.
  32. ^ Hess, p.220 Accessed January 8, 2010
  33. ^ Pfantz, p.313
  34. ^ Sjoberg, Leif, p.72, American Swedish (1973) Retrieved March 1 2010
  35. ^ White, Roger B, Article in The Maryland Gazette, "Steuart, Only Anne Arundel Rebel General", November 13, 1969
  36. ^ Steuart, William Calvert, Article in Sunday Sun Magazine, "The Steuart Hill Area's Colorful Past", Baltimore, February 10, 1963

References

  • Allan, William, Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, Smithmark Publishers (1995), ISBN 0-8317-1482-8.
  • Cullum, George Washington, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military, J. Miller (1879), ASIN: B00085668C
  • Dowdey, Clifford, Lee's Last Campaign, University of Nebraska Press (1993), ISBN 0-8032-6595-6.
  • Goldsborough, W. W., The Maryland Line in the Confederate Army, Guggenheimer Weil & Co (1900), ISBN 0-913419-00-1.
  • Green, Ralph, Sidelights and Lighter Sides of the War Between the States, Burd St Press (2007), ISBN 1-57249-394-1.
  • Hess, Earl J, In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat University of North Carolina Press (June 22, 2009).
  • Miller, Edward A, Lincoln's Abolitionist General: The Biography of David Hunter, University of South Carolina Press (1997). ISBN 978-1570031106
  • Jordan, David M, Winfield Scott Hancock: a soldier's life, Indiana University Press (November 1, 1995).
  • Nelker, Gladys P., The Clan Steuart, Genealogical Publishing (1970).
  • Pfanz, Harry W., Gettysburg - Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC (1993).
  • Porter, Horace, and Simpson, Brooks D, Campaigning with Grant, Bison Books, June 1 (2000), ISBN 0803287631
  • Robertson, James I., Jr., The Stonewall Brigade, Louisiana State University Press (1963), ISBN 978-0-8071-0396-8.
  • Steuart, James, Papers, Maryland Historical Society, unpublished.
  • Steuart, William Calvert, Article in Sunday Sun Magazine, "The Steuart Hill Area's Colorful Past", Baltimore, February 10, 1963.
  • Tagg, Larry, The Generals of Gettysburg, Savas Publishing (1998), ISBN 1-882810-30-9.
  • Warner, Ezra, Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Louisiana University Press (1970). ASIN: B000JLGL94
  • White, Roger B, Article in The Maryland Gazette, "Steuart, Only Anne Arundel Rebel General", November 13, 1969.

External links


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