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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 07/18/2009 21:44:46 EDT
Subject: RE: Telegraph insecurity during CW

Message Detail:
This is an aspect I've never delved into -- although I have wondered (considering the nearness of columns at various times on the ride north) why there was no contact by rockets or outriders. (Was this again evidence of concentration on internal use of sigs and sig observation, without the guiding and coordinating hand of an ANV chief signal officer on Lee's staff? I have never picked up a hint of signal plans prior to the launching of the campaign.)

I wonder if we are not victims of selective retention (or selective revelation) of Stuart's intimate letters to his wife, letters in which he might have disclosed uncertainty, dissatisfaction with the reorganization, and other aspects that could reveal weakness on his part or otherwise go against the mask he wore and the image he sought to project (vide. Emory Thomas, "Bold Dragoon," last summary chapter)? Next of kin often have the choice of what is kept and what is shared (e.g., Robert Lincoln on his father). They may be tempted to become co-conspirators in maintaining the image. Others caught up in maintaining the hero-image can perpetuate what is, in effect, deception, convinced that they alone are qualified to be judges. Burke Davis's bio of Jeb, "The Last Cavalier" has several pages in which he expressed appreciation for those who shared and guided -- most have passed over the river now, but he was able to deal with second, if not first-hand sources for both information and impressions, now almost lost to us. IMHO, Stuart's suppressed report of his role in the campaign might have been amplified in personal correspondence either destroyed or yet to surface. I have to confess that I grew up with John Esten Cooke and, later, John W. Thomason forming my view. You bring me back to reality.

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