Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier's Life


General Richard Stoddert Ewell holds a unique place in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia. For four months Ewell was Stonewall Jackson's most trusted subordinate; when Jackson died, Ewell took command of the Second Corps, leading it at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House.

In this biography, Donald Pfanz presents the most detailed portrait yet of the man sometimes referred to as Stonewall Jackson's right arm. Drawing on a rich array of previously ...

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Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier's Life

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General Richard Stoddert Ewell holds a unique place in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia. For four months Ewell was Stonewall Jackson's most trusted subordinate; when Jackson died, Ewell took command of the Second Corps, leading it at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House.

In this biography, Donald Pfanz presents the most detailed portrait yet of the man sometimes referred to as Stonewall Jackson's right arm. Drawing on a rich array of previously untapped original source materials, Pfanz concludes that Ewell was a highly competent general, whose successes on the battlefield far outweighed his failures.

But Pfanz's book is more than a military biography. It also examines Ewell's life before and after the Civil War, including his years at West Point, his service in the Mexican War, his experiences as a dragoon officer in Arizona and New Mexico, and his postwar career as a planter in Mississippi and Tennessee. In all, Pfanz offers an exceptionally detailed portrait of one of the South's most important leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Covers that lacuna [of scholarship] so thoroughly that it is hard to imagine another serious Ewell biography anytime soon.

Journal of Southern History

By far the best biography of Ewell. The research is impressive.

American Historical Review

Covers [its] topic with magisterial depth and thoroughness.

America's Civil War

Through a combination of tremendous research and excellent writing, Pfanz has produced an outstanding biography of a man and soldier.

Charleston Post & Courier

A shrewd, highly readable, and exhaustively researched account that restores Ewell's reputation as a skilled commander.

Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
Civil War historian Pfanz (The Petersburg Campaign: Abraham Lincoln at City Point, March 20-April 19, 1865) presents a favorable biography of Confederate General Richard S. Ewell. Although covering the full span of Ewell's life, Pfanz focuses most heavily on his Civil War years. He fills the lacunae regarding Ewell, reassessing the command and operations of the man who was Stonewall Jackson's right arm and who was an important, if underrated, military leader, succeeding Jackson to lead the Second Corps at Gettysburg, among other engagements. The author draws upon a number of primary sources and concludes that, overall, Ewell was a capable and successful general. Pfanz successfully conveys the personality, but more social and political contextualization would have been welcomed. Recommended for libraries with large collections of Civil War military history and biographies.Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State College
Kirkus Reviews
The adventurous life of one of Lee's dashing lieutenants, a man who distinguished himself in the Mexican War as a cavalry officer and in the Civil War as Stonewall Jackson's "right arm." Pfanz, a Civil War historian, portrays a man of strong character, brave, generous, and a fighting soldier, albeit seen as eccentric, profane, and testy by his subordinates. He was often feared more than admired. Ewell's brilliant victories at Front Royal and Winchester under Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley brought him early fame and swift promotion to lieutenant general. He succeeded to command of the Second Corps after Jackson's death, becoming the third-highest ranking officer in the Confederate Army, after Lee and Longstreet. Ewell's reputation continued to grow in the Seven Days battles outside Richmond and at Cedar Mountain. After losing a leg in battle, Pfanz notes, Ewell, strongly influenced by the charismatic Jackson's deep religious beliefs, accepted Christianity. He married an old flame, and both events were viewed by some of his fellow officers as having a negative effect on his fighting spirit. Ewell was criticized by Lee after the disastrous defeat at Gettysburg. Pfanz's research finds that Ewell, although failing to attack Cemetery Ridge, did in fact do his best to follow Lee's ambiguous orders. Though removed from high command, Ewell later performed brilliantly in the Battle of the Wilderness, a feat largely ignored by historians. A shrewd, highly readable, and exhaustively researched account that restores Ewell's reputation as a skilled commander and one who stubbornly gave his all for the Lost Cause. (photos, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807858172
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/2007
  • Series: Civil War America Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 680
  • Sales rank: 1,484,886
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald C. Pfanz is a Civil War historian and author of Abraham Lincoln at City Point and War So Terrible: A Popular History of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

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Table of Contents


Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1. Stony Lonesome Chapter 2. West Point Chapter 3. Not above His Merit Chapter 4. A Man Much Esteemed Chapter 5. To the Cannon's Mouth Chapter 6. Rayado and Los Lunas Chapter 7. A Belle of the First Water Chapter 8. Fort Buchanan Chapter 9. No Orders, No Orders Chapter 10. Hope and Love and Devotion Chapter 11. The Road to Glory Chapter 12. Attack at Daylight Chapter 13. A Question of Legs Chapter 14. The Men Are Willing to Follow Him Chapter 15. I Think We Have Them Now!
Chapter 16. A Little More Grape Chapter 17. Fallen Warrior Chapter 18. A Funeral and a Promotion Chapter 19. The Idol of His Corps Chapter 20. High Times in Pennsylvania Chapter 21. Gettysburg Chapter 22. The Natural Condition of Man Chapter 23. Autumn of Discontent Chapter 24. Petticoat Government Chapter 25. Strike the Enemy Wherever I Find Him Chapter 26. Struggle for the Muleshoe Chapter 27. I Am Unwilling to Be Idle at This Crisis Chapter 28. The Department of Richmond Chapter 29. The Jig Is Up!
Chapter 30. Fort Warren Chapter 31. Cotton Fever Chapter 32. Peace Epilogue. The Right Arm of Jackson

Appendix A. Ewell Family Genealogy Appendix B. Stoddert Family Genealogy Appendix C. Lizinka's Landholdings Appendix D. Ewell Cemetery Plots at Williamsburg Appendix E. Ewell's Staff Appendix F. The Ewell-at-Manassas Controversy Appendix G. A Chronology of Events on 24 May 1862
Appendix H. Auburn and Dunblane Appendix I. When Was Ewell Shot?
Appendix J. Ewell's Capture at Sailor's Creek Appendix K. Campbell Family Genealogy Notes Bibliography Index

Maps The West Mexican War New Mexico, 1850-1857
Arizona, 1857-1860
Fairfax Court House First Manassas Shenandoah Valley Front Royal and Winchester Cross Keys and Port Republic Gaines's Mill Malvern Hill Second Manassas and Ewell's Ambulance Route Second Winchester Gettysburg Campaign Gettysburg Fall 1863
The Wilderness Spotsylvania Court House Richmond and Petersburg Fort Harrison Richmond to City Point Sailor's Creek

Illustrations Richard S. Ewell Frontispiece Col. Jesse Ewell Ewell's sword Bel Air Halcyon House Four Chimney House Benjamin Stoddert Stoddert children West Point, ca. 184
Stephen W. Kearny Lizinka at age thirteen Lizinka as a young woman Battle of the Gila, 1857
Lizzie Ewell Patagonia Mine William and Mary faculty cemetery William "Extra Billy" Smith Campbell Brown Lizinka as an older woman Arnold Elzey Richard Taylor Isaac R. Trimble Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Prayer in Stonewall Jackson's camp Ewell of the Valley George H. Steuart Jubal A. Early Dunblane Stonewall Jackson preparing for battle James A. Walker Edward Johnson Robert E. Rodes Joseph W. Latimer Robert E. Lee Morton's Hall John M. Jones John B. Gordon Benjamin S. Ewell Ewell's headquarters at the Chaffin farm The surrender of Ewell's corps at Sailor's Creek Mabel Appleton Lizinka's house in Nashville Harriot ("Hattie") Brown Turner Thomas T. Turner Spring Hill Lizinka C. ("Lily") Turner Susan Polk Brown The Ewells' tomb

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    An Engaging Study of a Fascinating Civil War Character

    This is a very enjoyable and educational biography of General Ewell. You will come to love him, with all of his quirks and throughout the ups and downs of his career. This book also provides revealing insights, through General Ewell's viewpoint and experiences, into other major players such as Stonewall Jackson. I feel that my understanding of the Civil War was incomplete before I read this book. The writing is excellent and engaging, and there is the additional bonus of a touching love story threading its way through Gen. Ewell's war experience and in his few postwar years. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Civil War.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Soldier's Life

    The book is well researched and presented well. The author presents General Ewell in a well balanced manner. He shows Ewell's weaknesses as well as his strengths. It was unfortunate for Ewell to have been Stonewall's lieutenant, to have followed in Jackson's footsteps would have been an insurmountable task for anyone. Ewell's devotion to his wife caused problems whenever she was present in camp. He would spend so much time with her that he forgot his primary mission, the preparation of his command to face the enemy. It is a book that should be read by anyone who is seriously researching the military leaders of the Confederacy.

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