"J.E.B. Stuart at Chancellorsville"
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Summary of Presentation:
Greg Mertz, the Supervisory Historian at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, discusses Confederate cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart’s actions during the Chancellorsville Campaign. Initially, Stuart seemed destined to play a minor and insignificant role. Half of his command was absent from the bulk of the army at the onset of the campaign - some recruiting and others on a raid. Then early in the campaign Stuart found himself cut off from the main body of the army with only a brigade and a half of his division. But after hard riding and a scrape with some of the little cavalry that the Federal army had retained with their army during the campaign, Stuart linked up with the Army of Northern Virginia in time to provide valuable intelligence on the Federal position. The information contributed to the decision resulting in Jackson’s famous flank march. Stuart’s cavalry led the way and screened the march. Just when it looked as if Stuart’s role was complete, he received startling news - he had been summoned to take over for the wounded “Stonewall” Jackson in mid-battle. One of Jackson’s infantry officers who was impressed by Stuart’s leadership declared “`Who would had thought it? Jeb Stuart in command of the 2nd army corps!”
Greg Mertz was born and raised near St. Louis, Missouri. His interest in the Civil War and in parks was sparked by annual hiking and camping trips his Boy Scout troop made to the Shiloh, Tennessee, battlefield every spring. He held several leadership roles in the Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Since Greg already enjoyed learning about history he decided to formally study more about park management and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Park Administration from the University of Missouri. He was able to land his first seasonal position with the National Park Service in the wake of all of the new positions at Gettysburg National Military Park due to adding Eisenhower National Historic Site as new National Park unit. Within a year Greg was a permanent employee at the Eisenhower home.
While stationed in Gettysburg, he went to classes at night and earned a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University. Greg has worked in a variety of positions at Fredericksburg for the past 29 years, and currently selects, trains and evaluated the employees and volunteers who staff the park’s visitor centers and historic buildings and conduct walking tours. Among his other Civil War activities, he has written articles for periodicals, including four features in Blue and Gray Magazine. He was also the initial president of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table and a former Vice President of the Brandy Station Foundation.
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