JEB Stuart has been called (with much reason) the very essence of the bold cavalier, an image dear to every Southern heart. Although his men rode hard and fought hard, they also played hard when the time was right. And if Stuart was involved, music was sure to be an integral part of the festivities.

As Burke Davis describes it in The Last Cavalier:

Sam Sweeney
Sam Sweeney

[Stuart] coveted a banjo player in the Appomattox County regiment of Colonel T.T. Munford, one Sam Sweeney, a dark, handsome man in his early thirties who made music such as Stuart had never heard. Sam Sweeney was the younger brother of Joe Sweeney, said to be the "inventor" of the banjo, celebrated as one of the finest blackface minstrels, who had once played for Queen Victoria. Joe had died the year before, and now Sam carried on his minstrelcy. Stuart abducted him.

Colonel Munford left a plaint:

"Stuart's feet would shuffle at Sweeney's presence, or naming. He issued an order for him to report at his quarters and 'detained' him. It was a right he enjoyed, but not very pleasing to me or my regiment."

So there was always music. Sweeney on the banjo, Mulatto Bob on the bones, a couple of fiddlers, Negro singers and dancers, the ventriloquist, and others who caught Stuart's eye. Sweeney rode behind Stuart on the outpost day and night. Stuart [who was possessed of a fine baritone voice and sang even on his deathbed] often sang and Sweeney plucked the strings behind him. "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still," "The Corn Top's Ripe," "Lorena" and "Jine the Cavalry."

"Jine the Cavalry," which became Stuart's theme song, recounts some of the General's more famous exploits, including his daring "Ride Around McClellan" in the early summer of 1862, his incursion into Pennsylvania, and his assumption of command during the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 following the woundings of Stonewall Jackson and A.P. Hill.

When Sam died of smallpox in the winter of 1863, some of the joy went out of Stuart's life forever.

This song is dedicated to Dave Smith...because there were no banjo players in Forrest's command.

"Jine the Cavalry"