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Military History Word of the Day: "Ambuscade"

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am⋅bus⋅cade

[am-buh-skeyd] noun, verb, -cad⋅ed,

–noun

1. an ambush

–verb (used without object)

2. to lie in ambush.

–verb (used with object)

Jeb Stuart

Jeb Stuart

3. to attack from a concealed position; ambush.

1575–85; < MF embuscade, alter. (under influence of OF embuschier) of MF emboscade < OIt imboscata, fem. ptp. of imboscare, v. deriv. with in-  of bosco wood, forest < Gmc *bosk- bush

Related forms: am⋅bus⋅cad⋅er, noun [1]

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As used by Joseph L. Harsh in Taken at the Flood

On this occasion, Jeb Stuart justified his reputation for alert reconnaissance. Almost instantaneously he perceived and reported to Lee the enemy’s rapid withdrawal.  He also ordered Hampton to pursue and harass the Federal column retiring from Flint Hill toward the Chain Bridge. Into the hours of darkness, Hampton closely pressed the Federal tail under Sedgwick, lobbing shells into the panicky main body until the heavy casualties suffered by the 1st North Carolina Cavalry in an “ambuscade” laid by the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry bought breathing space for the retreating Federals.  Meanwhile, in the center of the line, where Stuart had only Fitz Lee’s tired troopers, the Confederate horsemen pressed more gently and permitted Hooker to withdraw through the county seat virtually unscathed. Heros von Borcke, Stuart’s Prussian chief of staff (see his memoir online here), planted the Confederate colors on the courthouse green, while deliriously happy Southern sympathizers mobbed the troopers, and damsels showered Stuart with kisses. Jeb even found time to visit his friend and “spy” Antonia Ford. [2]

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[1] ambuscade. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ambuscade (accessed: July 25, 2009).

[2]  Joseph L. Harsh, Taken at the Flood : Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 / [book on-line] (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1999, accessed 25 July 2009), 19; available from Questia, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102364729; Internet.

"Texas Jack" Omohundro Round Up

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I’m vacationing this week in Forth Worth, Texas attending the “Texas Jack Round Up,” the bi-annual gathering of the “Texas Jack” Association (see website here). John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro was enormously famous in his era. The best friend of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, he was a famous western scout. And, he’s family, that is to say I married into the extended family.

Texas Jack Omohundro

John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro
Source: http://www.Texasjack.org

The following is a quick snapshot of Jack’s Civil War experience.

When the war between the states broke out, Jack’s older brother Orville (pictured with Jack below) joined the Confederate army as a lieutenant under the command of Col. J.E.B Stuart. Jack, then 14, immediately volunteered his services, and was, to his great disappointment, denied because of his age. After several attempts, he was finally accepted into the army when he was l6, and was assigned to his brother’s regiment.

Jack (left) and Orvile Omohundro

John B. (left) and Orville Omohundro
Source: http://texasjack.org

Jack immediately gained renown as a scout of ability and bravery, working directly under Col. Stuart (pictured below), and was soon to be widely known as the “Boy Scout of the Confederacy”. Many times, he would act as a spy, moving among the Union troops as a chicken peddler or some other kind of tradesman, obtaining information about the enemy. Little was he to know that within the next 10 years, his best friends and saddle-mates would be former Union soldiers.

Colonel J.E.B. Stuart, CSA
Sources: Wikicommons

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