Deeper into Jeopardy! XXIX: A Confederacy of Dunces – $2000

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

$2000 clue: This general’s defeat during the 1864 Valley Campaigns led to the final collapse of the South

Correct response

The gist: He may have been General Lee’s greatest hope, but he didn’t work out in the end. 

Lieutenant General Jubal Early was born in Virginia in 1816, and studied at West Point and served in the U.S. Army. Like Jeb Stuart and other Confederate officers, Early felt the call of duty pull him back to his home state after it split from the U.S. in 1861, although as a Whig he had been a strong opponent of secession. He served in the Virginia Militia and then the Confederate Army, where he quickly impressed his superior General Beauregard at the First Battle of Bull Run. Promoted to brigadier general, he served all over the Eastern Theater, including the notable battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. During Gettysburg, Early’s army occupied York, Pennsylvania, the largest Northern town held by the South at any point during the Civil War.

In the summer of 1864, Lee gave him the command of the Southern forces throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Early shined *ahem* early on, driving General Hunter‘s forces out of Virginia and essentially clearing the Valley of Northerners. He seized the opportunity to cross the Potomac and raid directly in Northern territory, even nearing Washington, D.C. and raiding its surroundings, although delays prevented him from attacking the under-defended capital before Grant was able to reinforce it with a force under the command of General Sheridan. The newly-arrived Union forces vastly outnumbered Early’s, and he was defeated over and over until a surprise attack at the Battle of Cedar Creek gave him a respite – but his army’s dangerously low health and morale and the resulting decline in discipline let Sheridan regroup and win the day in the end. In March 1865 Early’s remaining forces were nearly destroyed, and he managed to escape to Texas, from whence he journeyed through Mexico and Cuba, eventually settling in Toronto, Canada to write his memoirs. In 1869 he returned the Virginia and resumed the law practice he’d abandoned to fight in the War, and became a historian and leader of the Lost Cause literary and historical movement.

Jubal Early disguised as a Mexican farmer, during his escape

Jubal Early disguised as a Mexican farmer, during his escape

The clue: No real hints in this one – either you know your Civil War history or you don’t. I didn’t, but now I do. Exactly what’s expected from a $2000 clue in an American history category.

In Jeopardy!: General Early appears in 13 clues in the J!Archive, including a full category dedicated to him in a 2002 episode. There aren’t really any common patterns within the clues, however. His approach to Washington is in three clues, and both his idol Robert E. Lee and his nickname “Old Jube” are in two each. He’s also in two categories where the responses start with “J.” Surprisingly, only two clues make lame puns on his last name like I did earlier.

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