Lieutenant General Jubal
Valley District Commander
Jubal Anderson Early was born in Franklin County, Virginia on November 3, 1816. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1837. After one year of service in the artillery, he resigned to become an attorney. He served in the Virginia General Assembly in 1841 and 1842. Employment as commonwealth attorney from 1842 to 1852 was broken by military service in the Mexican War as a major in the Virginia volunteers. As a member of the Virginia Secession Convention, he voted to stay in the Union.
When the Civil War began, Jubal Early became Colonel of the Confederate 24th Virginia Infantry Regiment. He led a brigade at First Manassas or Bull Run. His brigade was moved to defend against Union General McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. Brigadier General Early was wounded while leading a charge at Williamsburg. He returned to action at Malvern Hill. Then he fought at Second Manassas or Bull Run. He led Ewell's division at Antietam. After Fredericksburg, he was promoted to major general. He defended the heights of Fredericksburg while the Battle of Chancellorsville was occurring. He was involved in the Confederate success during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. On the second day, his troops gained important positions, but they could not hold them. In 1863 General Early was given an independent command in the Shenandoah Valley. General Lee called him back to fight at The Wilderness and command the 3rd Corps at Spotsylvania while General A. P. Hill was ill. General Early lead the 2nd Corps at Cold Harbor. He was made a lieutenant general and returned to the Shenandoah Valley. His forces aggressively pushed into Maryland to threaten Washington, D.C. Then Union General Phillip Sheridan brought a substantial army into the Shenandoah Valley to prevent further threats to Washington, D.C. General Early's forces were driven back. Most of his troops were moved to Petersburg, and his remaining forces were defeated at 3rd Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, and Waynesboro.
Jubal Early fled to Mexico at the end of the Civil War. He soon returned to the United States to practice law. As President of the Southern Historical Society, he had an extensive feud with James Longstreet about General Lee's responsibility for the defeat at Gettysburg. Jubal Early died at Lynchburg, Virginia on March 2, 1894.
CLICK TO RETURN TO OTHER SOLDIERS' STORIES