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Collection Title: Pitts (Jack E.) Account of Stuart's Raid

Collection Number: M279

Dates: ca. 1890s

Volume: 1 Folder (14 pages)

Provenance: Donated through Dr. William D. McCain on January 2, 1991. Previous provenance unknown.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Jack E. Pitts served in Company K, First Regiment, Virginia Cavalry, Confederate Army, under Major General J.E.B. Stuart during the American Civil War. Pitts was a private throughout the war and claimed Maryland as his home state. He died sometime after 1890. No other information is available concerning Mr. Pitts.

Company K, First Regiment, of the Virginia Cavalry, was commonly referred to as the Howard Dragoons and was comprised mostly of Marylanders. After enlisting on May 14, 1861, Captains George R. Gaither, Jr. and Gustavus W. Dorsey led the company throughout the war.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of one fourteen page memoir written by Jack E. Pitts, a private soldier in Company K, First Virginia Cavalry, about his experiences in the American Civil War. Written chronologically, the memoir deals exclusively with Confederate cavalry General J.E.B. Stuart's encircling raid around the Army of the Potomac outside of Richmond, Virginia, between June 12 and 15, 1862. This action is also known as the Chickahominy Raid, named after the Chickahominy River, which was at the center of the action and a factor in the military strategies used.

Pitts focuses on the troop movements of both the Confederate and Union armies, and the incompetency of the generals in the Army of the Potomac. He also elaborates on the pillaging and plundering the cavalry committed against the Federal army. In addition, Pitts criticizes the War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Confederate and Union Armies for inadequately explaining how the Army of the Potomac outnumbered Stuart's forces in infantry, artillery, and cavalry, and yet failed to crush the Confederates when the opportunity arose.

This collection may be beneficial to a researcher seeking information relating specifically to Stuart's raid in the summer of 1862.

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