Deeper into Jeopardy! XXIX: A Confederacy of Dunces – $1600

Jeopardy! category: A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES (13-10-2014)

$1600 clue: He was known as the Eyes of the Army; before Gettysburg, his cavalry raid left the South deprived of intelligence


Correct response

The gist: Not his real name, by the way. 

In the days before his home state of Virginia seceded (in 1861), Major General James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stewart trained to be a soldier at West Point and served in the U.S. Army, but eventually felt the call of duty pull him back to his state. He distinguished himself as a cavalry commander at the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, and was given the command of a cavalry regiment of the Army of Northern Virginia. In the summer of 1862 he began the exploits that would earn him the reputation alluded to in the clue. He reconnoitered the location of George McClellan’s army prior to the Seven Days Battles of the Virginia Peninsula Campaign. Later, he intercepted written orders concerning Union General John Pope‘s planned maneuvers and reinforcements, after overrunning Pope’s command tend in a raid. These audacious, cavalier exploits, along with his eminently marketable image – replete with sash, cape, and ostrich-feathered cap – made him a hero in Virginia and throughout the Rebel states.

But he didn’t stop there. His encircling maneuvers at the Second Battle of Bull Run allowed him to capture 1200 Union horses. At the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, he aided Stonewall Jackson’s troops by shelling the advancing Union forces, and he would take Jackson’s command the following May after Jackson sustained the gunshot wound that would eventually kill him. As the clue suggests, however, his daring-do eventually caught up with him, as he may have disobeyed commands in order to undertake a raid before the Battle of Gettysburg. His attempt to gather intelligence caused him to arrive late at the battle, which likely contributed to the eventual Union victory there, and the turning of the overall tide of the war. In any case, he continued to command and supply the Confederacy with valuable information until May 12, 1864, when a confrontation with Union General Philip Sheridan‘s cavalry saw him mortally wounded. He died the same day. His legacy lives on, though, as the namesake of the American M3 Stuart tanks that became mainstays of the Allied armour divisions during World War II.

Portrait of Jeb Stuart, showing his magnificent whiskers, but sadly not his costume

The clue: Several bits of this clue let you know it’s looking for Stuart. The most striking, of course, is the nickname “the Eyes of the Confederacy,” but maybe equally important is the mention of his cavalry, since he is best known by far as a cavalry commander. It also mentions his unfortunate decision prior to Gettysburg, which may ring a bell for Civil War buffs, but seems more obscure than the other two bits. In any case, certainly getting into high-value Double Jeopardy! territory in terms of difficulty.

In Jeopardy!: Taken together, as we will, “Jeb Stuart” and “J.E.B. Stuart” appear in nine clues. Six of them mention his relationship with Confederate cavalry, for which he’s best known. Three, including this one, mention his “Eyes” nickname, for which he’s probably second-best known. Two of the clues that don’t mention either of the above give his non-initialed full name and ask for his surname, while the last one is about the Stuart tanks. Best to remember that he was a cavalryman who specialized in intelligence, if you’re going to be selective.

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