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Comparison of Robert E. Lee and J. E. B. Stuart

The leaders in American history have been a source of inspiration to people all around the world. Robert E. Lee and J. E. B. Stuart are also great leaders in the history of America. They have been linked with the American civil war and were great leaders in US Army. This essay compares the two leaders, especially in terms of their leadership, popularity, and several other aspects. Robert E. Lee served in the Army of United States and was basically an engineer. In fact, he served the Army as an exceptional soldier for more than three decades (Davis). James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart was most popular as a cavalry leader of the American Civil War. As a cavalry officer, he gained fame and respect as a subordinate of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and this confidence gave Stuart the opportunity to command Lee’s mounted units in 1862 (Groundspeak n.pag).

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Lee was one of history’s most celebrated leaders. In fact, his commitment to the military is very clear. He was a leader who based his principles on the biblical laws and was a strong follower of his own set rules, and he focused mainly on introspection. His people liked and followed him because he was a leader who walked the talk first and set a standard based on personal excellence. He set stringent rules and had rigid self-control, and he expected his subordinates to follow them. He always believed in going the extra mile, and over the period of his service, he gained the respect of his peers, particularly for his truthfulness in following orders. Additionally, he was also a great motivator as he never left an opportunity to empower his subordinates. He was a service-oriented person and always worked for the betterment of others. Though his standards were challenging, people who worked with him always praised his leadership. In fact, he knew each and every difficulty faced by his troop because he personally experienced it before them and had been an example before them.

Robert E. Lee initially served during the Mexican war to duty as chief engineer with the rank of captain under General Wool. Very soon, he was recognized for his abilities as an engineer. His conduct as a soldier also won the special respect of General Scott, who credited the fall of Vera Cruz to the skills of Lee. As a result, he was constantly assigned for commendation. Lee was a leader who did not care about the pay hicks but was willing to serve on the higher posts and raise himself to the expectations of his superiors. For instance, three times, he was brevetted during the war (Davis).

Lee served his state with great devotion all his life. His love for his state was clear when the South seceded, and he unwillingly resigned from the army. This was done in an attempt to avoid participation in the war, which he consciously was against. But later, his sense of duty to his state made him accept command of the Virginia forces. It was his victorious tactic, his strategic skill, and the self-reliance of his troops that earned him the admiration of the Confederate leaders (Davis).

James Ewell Brown Stuart was perhaps the most accomplished cavalry leader of the American Civil War. He served as an American soldier from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the Civil War. Though Stuart was also a great leader and had the confidence of his people, he was not as much popular as Lee. As a cavalry commander, he was known for his expertise in surveillance and for his utilization of cavalry in support of storming operations. While he developed his image as a cavalier, his sincerity and dedication made him the trusted eyes and ears of Robert E. Lee’s army.

Stuart was known for their accomplishment as an adventurous cavalry commander, particularly during the Peninsula Campaign and the Maryland Campaign. Stuart was a bold raider, and this quality of his made him led his command around McClellan’s army two times. Even though these raids were not much significant, they were great confidence amplifiers for the Southern army. He served as the commander of the Southern horsemen at Brandy Station. In fact, this is supposed to be the largest cavalry engagement fought on the American continent (Johnson).

It was during the Battle of Gettysburg that there was a great difference between the two leaders and caused great harm and defeat to Lee’s army. Stuart has been greatly criticized for depriving Lee, especially while riding around the Union army during the initial face of the Battle of Gettysburg. In fact, Stuart set out a notorious raid on the Union Army. As a result of this, he arrived after the battle was nearly over (Groundspeak n.pag). This lead to Lee’s defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg. Stuart has be critisised by many for this down fall of Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg (Johnson).

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In conclusion, it can be said that leadership is basically the ability to lead and direct the people by demonstrating or walking the talk rather than talking the talk. Real leaders are those who are more than men who have a commanding presence and have both character and integrity to face challenging situations. They are also people who use their forces tactfully and protect each and ever individual in the team. The men who are true leaders demonstrate this capability to lead, direct and hold up by being the model of what they teach others to do. Both Lee and Stuart were good examples of such leaders. However, when we compare both of them it can be said that Robert E. Lee has a much greater presence in the American history than J.E.B. Stuart.

Work Cited

Davis, B. Gray Fox (1992) Wings Books. ISBN: 0517347725 Pp: 15 – 415.

Groundspeak, James Ewell Brown “JEB” Stuart Posted by: Sneakin Deacon (2009).

Johnson, C. In the Footsteps of J.E.B. Stuart (2003) Published by John F. Blair ISBN 0895872617.

Mac, Y. The Leadership of Robert E. Lee (2009).

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