“I am always interested in an event, famous or unimportant, that has never been painted. Of course, it must have excellent pictorial possibilities. Such an event was the cavalry review at Moss Neck Mansion on January 20, 1863.
I discovered a reference to it in Henry Kyd Douglas’ biography of “Stonewall” Jackson, I Rode With Stonewall, where he mentions that Jackson and Lee reviewed Stuart’s troops at Moss Neck. For confirmation, I checked with Virginia Tech Professor James Robertson, who is the foremost living authority on Jackson. Not only did he verify the event but cross referenced it with other primary sources, placing “Rooney” Lee and James Longstreet there as well. With Professor Robertson’s help, I was able to obtain photographs of the Moss Neck Mansion the way it looked at the time. It still exists and has changed little in appearance since the Civil War.
The review was of Rooney Lee’s regiment. We see them lined up on the left with the Confederate battle flag, the Virginia flag, and the first National flag of the Confederate States. The troopers sport a variety of firearms from carbines to sawed-off shotguns.
The inspection party riding towards us shows Robert E. Lee in his blue cape, flanked on the left by Jackson, directly under the battle flag, on the far left of the group, “Rooney” Lee, closest to his troops. On the right, in the red-lined cape, with a plume in his hat, and riding his favored black charger, is “Jeb” Stuart. Directly behind him is Longstreet, Lee’s “Old War Horse.”
Jackson’s headquarters, his “office,” was a wood frame building that was located behind the cavalry. Jackson’s headquarters’ tents can be seen in the right background. Naturally, any civilians around, including the Richard Corbin family, who owned the plantation, would have taken up a good vantage point on the upper porch to enjoy the exciting event.” —Mort Kunstler
To me, this was a memorable moment of pageantry and peace, when you remember that Jackson would be mortally wounded at Chancellorsville in a few months.