Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1816

Jubal Early born

On this day in 1816, Confederate General Jubal Early is born in Franklin County, Virginia. Early had a distinguished career in the Confederate army, and in 1864 he waged a campaign in the Shenandoah Valley that kept Confederate hopes alive by relieving the pressure on General Robert E. Lee’s army around Richmond, Virginia.

Early graduated from West Point in 1837, fought in Florida’s Seminole War in 1838 and was promoted to first lieutenant but resigned later that year. He studied in Virginia and was elected to the State House of Delegates in 1841. When war with Mexico broke out in 1846, Early rejoined the military as a colonel in the Virginia volunteers. He served in General Zachary Taylor’s army but saw no combat. Early left the service in 1848 to resume his political career. In 1861, he was elected to Virginia’s secession convention as a pro-Union delegate, and he strongly opposed secession. Despite his opposition, Early offered his service to the Confederacy when Virginia left the Union on April 17, 1861.

Commissioned as a colonel in the 24th Virginia Infantry, Early played a key role at the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia,in July 1861, when he led a crucial counterattack against the Union’s right flank. He was promoted to brigadier general andsoon earned a reputation as a highly effective commander. In 1863, his force played important roles in the battles of Chancellorsville, Virginia, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. By 1864, he was considered one of the best division commanders in the Army of Northern Virginia. In the spring campaigns of 1864, Early took over command of a corps when Richard Ewell was wounded, andearned high marks from his commander, General Robert E. Lee. When that campaign turned into a siege at Petersburg, Lee tapped Early to lead a force of 14,000 to the Shenandoah Valley.

Early’s campaign that summer was initially successful. He drove a Union force from the valley, then turned down the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. In early July, he reached the outskirts of the capital, and the Union commander, General Ulysses S. Grant, had to divert two corps from his army at Petersburg to defend Washington. Early did not intend to attack the formidable defenses there, so he withdrew back to the Shenandoah by the end of July. Early’s activities boosted Southern morale and showed Northerners how difficult it would be to defeat the Confederacy. Grant dispatched General Philip Sheridan and 40,000 troops to neutralize Early’s army. Sheridan dealt two serious defeats to Early in September at Winchester and Fischer’s Hill, but Early struck back at Cedar Creek in October. Early’s men drove the surprised Federals back several miles before Sheridan personally rallied them and routed the Confederates. Early waged a fine campaign, but by the end of October his force was defeated and badly outnumbered. When Sheridan took control of the Shenandoah Valley, an important Confederate resource was lost.

Early was relieved of command just before the Confederate surrender in April 1865, an unfortunate blemish on an otherwisestellar career. He fled to Mexico after the war, and,after a stint in Canada, returned to the United Statesunder a general amnesty granted to former Confederates. He practiced law, ran the Louisiana state lottery, and was an architect of the”Lost Cause” movement,with much of his work aimed at protecting the reputation of Robert E. Lee. Early died in 1894 in Virginia at age 77.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Panama declares independence

With the support of the U.S. government, Panama issues a declaration of independence from Colombia. The revolution was engineered by a Panamanian faction backed by the Panama Canal Company, a French-U.S. corporation that hoped to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with a ...read more

The Soviet space dog

The Soviet Union launches the first animal into space—a dog name Laika—aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika, part Siberian husky, lived as a stray on the Moscow streets before being enlisted into the Soviet space program. Laika survived for several days as a passenger in the ...read more

Iran arms sales revealed

The Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa reports that the United States has been secretly selling arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. The revelation, confirmed by U.S. intelligence sources on November 6, came ...read more

Communists and Klansmen clash in Greensboro

Five members of the Communist Workers Party, participating in a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, are shot to death by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis. Seven others were wounded. Members of the Communist Workers Party had organized the anti-Ku Klux Klan ...read more

The order is given: Bomb Pearl Harbor

On this day in 1941, the Combine Japanese Fleet receive Top-Secret Order No. 1: In 34 days time, Pearl Harbor is to be bombed, along with Mayala, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. Relations between the United States and Japan had been deteriorating quickly since Japan’s ...read more

Nixon calls on the “silent majority”

President Richard Nixon goes on television and radio to call for national solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to gather support for his policies; his call for support is an attempt to blunt the renewed strength of the antiwar movement. Pledging that the United States was ...read more

Battle of Dak To begins

In some of the heaviest fighting seen in the Central Highlands area, heavy casualties are sustained by both sides in bloody battles around Dak To, about 280 miles north of Saigon near the Cambodian border. The 1,000 U.S. troops there were reinforced with 3,500 additional troops ...read more

The Body is elected governor of Minnesota

On November 3, 1998, former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura is elected governor of Minnesota with 37 percent of the vote. His opponents, seasoned politicians Hubert Humphrey III (son of Lyndon Johnson’s vice-president and the attorney general of Minnesota) and St. ...read more

Johnson defeats Goldwater for presidency

In one of the most crushing victories in the history of U.S. presidential elections, incumbent Lyndon Baines Johnson defeats Republican challenger Barry Goldwater, Sr. With over 60 percent of the popular vote, Johnson turned back the conservative senator from Arizona to secure ...read more