Richard Stoddert Ewell

Lieutenant General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Richard Stoddert Ewell was born in Georgetown, D.C., February 8, 1817, and was graduated from West Point in 1840. He spent his entire ante-bellum career in the Southwest, winning a brevet for gallantry in the Mexican War prior to his resignation on May 7, 1861. He was commissioned brigadier general in the Provisional Army on June 17, 1861; major general on January 24, 1862; and lieutenant general, to succeed Stonewall Jackson in command of the 2nd Corps, on May 23, 1863. He fought with distinction at First Manassas, in the Valley campaign of 1862, the Seven Days, and the Second Manassas campaign, where he lost a leg at the battle of Groveton. Equipped with a wooden replacement, he commanded the 2nd Corps from Gettysburg to Spotsylvania, after which his health compelled his temporary retirement from active field duty. He subsequently was in charge of the Richmond defenses, and was captured at Sayler's Creek on April 6, 1865. After his release from Fort Warren, General Ewell resided on a farm near Spring Hill, Tennessee, where he died January 25, 1872. He was a bold and canny fighter as brigade and division commander, but the responsibility of directing a corps seemed to weigh too heavily on him. His performance at the grade of lieutenant general left something to be desired, particularly at Gettysburg, where his hesitation to exceed orders on the first day cost the Confederates Cemetery Hill, possession of which might have turned the Union withdrawal toward that position into a rout. He is buried in the Old City Cemetery, Nashville.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.