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Jubal Anderson Early, 1816-1894
Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early C.S.A.: Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War between the States
Philadelphia; London: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1912.


Jubal Anderson Early was born in Franklin County, Virginia in 1816. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1833 and served for a short time in the Seminole War in 1837 and 1838. In 1838, he resigned from the military and became a lawyer in Virginia. After serving one term in the Virginia House beginning in 1841, Early returned to practicing law and served as a volunteer in the Mexican War from 1847 to 1848. Although he voted against secession at the Virginia state convention, Early volunteered for the Confederate army and became a colonel in the 24th Virginia Infantry when the Civil War began in 1861. He participated in such significant campaigns as The First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), Antietam (Sharpsburg), and Gettysburg. General Robert E. Lee promoted Early to lieutenant general in 1864, but he was later relieved of his duties after suffering defeat at the hands of George Custer. After the war, Early refused to swear his allegiance to the United States. Early moved to Canada shortly after the war and while there he began work on his autobiography. In 1869 he returned to Lynchburg, Virginia and resumed practicing law. He served as director of the Louisiana Lottery Company, and helped found and lead the Southern Historical Society beginning in 1869. He died in 1894.

Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War Between the States (1912) begins with Early's account of his attempts to interrupt Virginia's efforts to secede, his failure in that endeavor, and his decision to join the Confederate army. Early then describes his military experiences, the typical lives of soldiers, his responsibilities as colonel, and several military engagements. The final chapter includes a letter from General Robert E. Lee and the editor's summary of Early's life after the war ended in 1865. Early's Autobiographical Sketch and other writings proved to play a very important historical role; in fact in American National Biography, Gary Gallagher asserts, "No person North or South did more to influence nineteenth-century historiography of the Civil War."

Works Consulted: Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999; Spiller, Roger J., ed., Dictionary of American Military Biography, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984.

Harris Henderson

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