David Stuart was born on March 12, 1816, in Brooklyn, New York, but as a young man he accompanied his father to Michigan, finally settling in Detroit. He studied law and began his practice. Then, in 1852 he was elected to Congress as a Democrat, but was defeated for reelection in 1854. He moved to Chicago and became solicitor for the Illinois Central Railroad. On July 22, 1861, Stuart was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 42nd Illinois Infantry and on October 31, colonel of the 55th Illinois. During the spring of 1862 he commanded a brigade of W. T. Sherman's division and at Shiloh held the extreme left of the Federal line—his brigade suffered heavily, was driven back, and he himself was wounded. However, he was able to take part in the subsequent capture of Corinth, again in regimental command, and was next stationed in the vicinity of Memphis after its evacuation by the Confederates. On November 29, 1862, Stuart was appointed brigadier general (the Senate was not in session) and took part in the fight at Chickasaw Bluffs, sometimes known as First Vicksburg, commanding a brigade of Morgan L. Smith's division of Sherman's XV Corps. When Smith was wounded, Stuart assumed command of the division and led it in the assault and capture of Arkansas Post in January, 1863. He continued to direct the division until the news reached the army that the Senate had rejected his appointment as brigadier general on March 11, 1863; he was, of necessity, relieved from command by Sherman. Nothing in the records explains the Senate's action: Stuart seems to have done well and had been esteemed by his colleagues, and Sherman issued a laudatory order when relieving him, expressing the hope that he would soon "return to the colors." Stuart resigned from the service on April 3, returned to Detroit, and resumed his legal practice. After the war he practiced law in New Orleans until the spring of 1868 when he once more returned to Detroit. He died on September 11, 1868, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.