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John Paul Strain

To Fairfax for Christmas

Price:  $379.95
Item#:  8508

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23.25 x 19 in.
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Numbered Limited Edition
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about this piece
By the winter of 1861, Brigadier General James Ewell Brown Stuart was well on his way to building a reputation as a fine leader of light cavalry. Before the close of the war Stuart, known to his troops as JEB, had cemented his place in American History as our most famous cavalryman. His career in the Confederate Army seemed to resemble the lavish writings of a romance novel rather than the story of an actual soldier. There was a sense of chivalry and adventure that JEB Stuart personified. A single glance as he rode by with his gold braided uniform, plumed hat and red-lined cape, convinced everyone that here was a man with confidence unbounded, daring and bold. He had a magnetic quality of leadership that earned him loyalty and devotion by those who followed him, and the respect and admiration of the Confederate High Command. During the winter of 1861, Stuart's responsibility was that of advanced guard, patrolling the Confederate border outside Washington. He had set up his headquarters near Fairfax Courthouse, in a camp he named, Qui Vive, which is the French phrase for the military challenge of Who goes there? JEB always seemed to be of good cheer whatever the task. Even as the air was full of hissing minie balls and exploding shells, his men would hear him humming a happy tune. Having recently been engaged in the battle of Dranesville, on December 20th, JEB was ready to see his wife again and take part in the season's festivities. When the duties of war subsided, JEB always enjoyed good music and the chance to gather with friends and family. Such was the case during the Christmas week of 1861. At a time of exciting new challenges, coupled with the uncertainties of a nation at war, this would be a special Christmas for JEB Stuart, one he would be spending with his loving wife Flora and their two children. Artist's Comments: One of my favorite personalities to paint is General JEB Stuart. He was one of those charismatic leaders that everyone was drawn to. Even stoical General Stonewall Jackson's mood seemed to lighten in his presence. But Stuart was much more than his cavalier persona, he was a family man who loved to be with his wife and children. - John Paul Strain

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