Portrait of Jubal A. Early

Jubal Anderson Early was a prominent Confederate general during the American Civil War. His Army of the Valley battled Union General Philip Sheridan’s force for control of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1864 and early 1865. [Wikimedia Commons]

Jubal Anderson Early - Facts

November 3, 1816 - March 2, 1894

Key facts about Confederate General Jubal A. Early.

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Full Name:

  • Jubal Anderson Early

Birth Date:

  • November 3, 1816

Birth Location:

  • Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia

Parents:

  • Joab and Ruth (Hairston) Early

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1837)

Occupation:

  • Military officer, lawyer, politician

Career Summary:

  • Major General (CSA), Lieutenant General (temporary) (CSA), Army of the Valley commander

Spouse:

  • Unmarried

Nickname(s):

  • Old Jube, Old Jubilee

Place of Death:

  • Lynchburg, Virginia

Date of Death:

  • March 2, 1894

Place of Burial:

  • Spring Hill Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia

Significance:

  • Early was the third of 10 children born to Joab and Ruth (Hairston) Early.
  • Early’s father operated a large tobacco plantation.
  • Early attended local schools and private academies in the Lynchburg and Danville, Virginia area.
  • Early received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1833.
  • Early graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837, eighteenth in his class.
  • After graduating from West Point, Early fought in the Second Seminole War in Florida (1835 – 1842).
  • Early resigned from the United States Army on July 31, 1838 to study law.
  • Early practiced law during the 1840s as a prosecutor for Franklin and Floyd counties in Virginia.
  • Early served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1841 to 1842.
  • Early served as a volunteer officer in the Mexican-American War, but did not see combat action.
  • Early was a delegate to the Virginia Convention of 1861 and voted against Virginia seceding from the Union.
  • Early accepted a commission as a brigadier general in the Virginia Militia and quickly was promoted to the rank of colonel in the Confederate Army after his home state seceded from the Union (April 17, 1861).
  • Early became a regimental commander in 1861.
  • Early was promoted to brigadier general after the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861).
  • Early fought in most of the major battles in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, including the Seven Days Battles, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and Cold Harbor.
  • Early was wounded at the Battle of Williamsburg (May 5, 1862).
  • During the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862), Early assumed command of his division when his commander, Alexander Lawton, was wounded.
  • During the Battle of Fredericksburg, Early reversed early Union successes by counterattacking General George G. Meade’s division, which had penetrated General Stonewall Jackson’s lines.
  • Early was promoted to major general on January 17, 1863.
  • In June 1864, General Robert E. Lee promoted Early to the temporary grade of lieutenant general and placed him in charge of the newly created Army of the Valley.
  • On June 28, 1863, Early’s forces entered York County, Pennsylvania and seized York, the largest Northern town to fall to the Confederates during the war.
  • On June 28, 1863 troops under Early’s command reached the Susquehanna River, the farthest east in Pennsylvania that any organized Confederate force would penetrate.
  • Early commanded the last invasion of the North during the American Civil War when the Army of the Valley reached the outskirts of Washington. D.C. on July 11 and 12, 1864.
  • Although Early’s July 1864 offensive caused considerable panic in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, he was forced to withdraw before entering either city, when faced with mounting Union reinforcements,.
  • Early defeated the Union army under Brig. Gen. George H. Crook at the Second Battle of Kernstown on July 24, 1864.
  • Union General Ulysses S. Grant, put an end to Early’s guerrilla attacks by sending an army under the command of General Philip Sheridan into the Shenandoah Valley in August 1864. With an army that outnumbered Early nearly three to one, Sheridan defeated the Army of the Valley at the Third Battle of Winchester (September 19, 1864), the Battle of Fisher’s Hill (September 21 – 22, 1864) and the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864).
  • In Early’s last command as a Confederate general, Union General Philip Sheridan decisively defeated the remnants of the Army of the Valley at the Battle of Waynesboro (March 2, 1865).
  • On March 30, 1865 General Lee relieved Early of his command.
  • Following Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865), Early fled to Texas, hoping to continue resistance against the Union. Unable to find an adequate number of soldiers willing to continue fighting, he eventually traveled to Mexico, Cuba and Canada.
  • While living in Toronto, Early wrote a book entitled, A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence, in the Confederate States of America, which focused on his Valley Campaign. The book was published in 1867.
  • President Andrew Johnson pardoned Early in 1868.
  • Early returned to the United States in 1869 and resumed practicing law in Virginia.
  • Early was the founder and president of the Southern Historical Society from 1873 until his death in 1894.
  • During his last years, Early remained an unreconstructed Rebel who promoted the Lost Cause movement, which glorified the Confederate crusade and was dismissive of Union military accomplishments.
  • Jubal Anderson Early died at age seventy-seven on March 2, 1894, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Jubal Anderson Early - Facts
  • Coverage November 3, 1816 - March 2, 1894
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date November 29, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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