General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)


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Lee had to give up Longstreet and two of his I Corps divisions. For Old Pete, the second day of Chickamauga, September 20,, proved his most spectacular triumph. He drove home a powerful assault that sent the broken Union Army fleeing helter-skelter into Chattanooga. He found matters very different in Tennessee, where he reported to Braxton Bragg, head of the Army of Tennessee, a general so flawed that he managed to alienate virtually all his chief subordinates. Soon the two were at loggerheads. This venture proved to be, for Longstreet, an inexplicable regression to his blundering at Seven Pines.

Just as he had mishandled that Peninsula battle in , he now mishandled a siege attempt against Knoxville and its garrison. Rather than accept responsibility, Longstreet tried to throw the blame on his subordinates. He was as glad to return to the Army of Northern Virginia as Lee was to have him back. Longstreet was inspirited, and in the Battle of the Wilderness, in May , he thrust forward a tactically brilliant counterstroke that stopped an offensive mounted by his old friend Ulysses S.

Grant in its tracks. A bullet through his neck and right shoulder wounded him so seriously that he needed every ounce of his iron constitution to survive. Five months later, in October , he returned to the command of his I Corps. The two armies had by then settled into the trenches at Petersburg. William N. Old Pete was stern in his refusal. He was there to back up Lee, he snapped, not to pull him down.

The terms were, of course, just. I want you to take good care of him. But it is only today—a century and a third later—that it is mostly or at least often the standard. And to reach this point, history has had to come full circle. For many years, General Longstreet was demonized in the South. The process began as a consequence of his own postwar actions and attitudes. After Appomattox, he made his way to New Orleans and entered business there as a cotton factor, then expanded his reach into railroad investments and the management of an insurance company.

In , the Southern historian Edward A. That verdict changed quickly. The former Confederate states were occupied by Federal troops under the Reconstruction Acts of , and when Longstreet was asked for an opinion on how Southerners should react to this, he recommended cooperation. He was labeled a scalawag. He hoped, as he explained in private letters but not publicly, that white Southerners would gain control of the ruling Republican party in their states and use it to their own local ends, including controlling the votes of the newly enfranchised blacks.

Longstreet, awarded command of the state militia as a political plum, led his mostly black troops against the White Leaguers, mostly former Confederate soldiers. By the time Federal troops finally restored order, 38 were dead. Now Longstreet clearly had no future in New Orleans, and in due course he resettled with his family in Gainesville, Georgia. By now, too, he was embroiled in the controversy that would follow him through the rest of his life. This process required some major rewriting of wartime history, most notably in the matter of the Confederate defeat in the greatest battle of the war.

James Longstreet? Early was not, apparently, acting on any wartime grudge when he selected Longstreet as his victim—they had served together peaceably enough—but was simply choosing a target of opportunity. After all, Longstreet had played a major role in the battle, especially on the crucial second day of the fighting, and finding fault with that performance would seem credible.

Now, by going over to the Republican enemy, Longstreet had revealed his true colors; if he lacked belief in the Lost Cause, his belief in the wartime cause might be suspect as well. Finally, Early himself had been coming in for a share of the blame for Gettysburg, and the more he could shift the focus to Longstreet, the more he would avoid the spotlight. Robert E. Early said that on the night of the first day at Gettysburg—a day of Southern success—General Lee told him and Gens. Dick Ewell and Robert Rodes that the battle would be renewed at dawn on July 2 with an attack on the Federal left by Longstreet.

But that attack was not delivered until late in the afternoon. Had Longstreet made it as Lee intended, at dawn, the battle would have been won—and the Confederacy would have gained its independence. Lee and Rodes were both dead. James Longstreet had no record but that of a scalawag. Early was joined in his crusade by William N. To help them put these charges against Longstreet into print, Early and Pendleton depended on a third Lost Cause disciple, the Reverend J.

Article after article in the widely read Papers pinned the Gettysburg defeat on Longstreet, accusing him of deliberately and repeatedly disobeying orders and widening the indictment against him until it included virtually everything that had gone wrong on July 2 and 3—and all the while letting General Lee gently off the hook. Longstreet fought back with letters and articles of his own, but he was careless and inconsistent with the facts and swung wildly at his tormentors. He quoted after two decades or more private conversations with Lee in which his own arguments were invariably the better ones.

And he committed the worst of blunders by daring to criticize Robert E. Lee in print. His tone, furthermore, was neither humble nor self-effacing. Regarding Gettysburg, for example, he left the impression that he had discussed and argued with Lee as his equal rather than as his subordinate. In fact, Old Pete was simply refighting his battles, as old soldiers will, pridefully defending and justifying his actions to what he apparently pictured as an audience of his fellow old soldiers, as became most obvious in his memoir, From Manassas to Appomattox.

This sort of thing was going on all over the North and South in the postwar years, but the older Longstreet became, the less reliable was his memory and the greater his bitterness. What he seemed unable to understand was that when he tried to call General Lee to account for wartime decisions, in order to defend himself, he was challenging something like a deity, the very personification of the purity of the Lost Cause.

In the years left to Longstreet he died in , there is no doubt that the prevailing view of Gettysburg in the states of the old Confederacy was that it was he and he alone who was responsible for defeat on that battlefield. And Gettysburg, as the great turning point of the war, was agreed to have determined the fate of the Confederate States of America.

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It is hard to imagine this happening had James Longstreet followed a more conventional course politically in the postwar years. Until fairly recently, historians probing for the hows and whys of Gettysburg, and taking in all these articles and arguments, listened far more intently to Early and his cohorts than to Longstreet. Most of them followed the lead of Douglas Southall Freeman, who, in his monumental biography R. Lee , clearly labeled Longstreet the villain of Gettysburg. But otherwise, Freeman portrayed Longstreet as sullen, angry, and insubordinate that day—and fatally slow in mounting his attack.

Lee would never have committed. Freeman cited Early as his source—again, the sole witness-for the quotation. He should have obeyed orders, but the orders should not have been given. Hayes he served as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. From to Longstreet served as U. Commissioner of Railroads. For much of his post- Civil War life he lived on a acre farm near Gainesville, where he raised turkeys and planted orchards and vineyards on terraced ground that his neighbors referred to jokingly as "Gettysburg. After the death of his wife in , Longstreet remarried Helen Dortch in She was 34 and outlived him by 58 years, dying in At the outbreak of the Civil War, Forrest volunteered as a private before deciding to raise and equip an entire unit at his own expense.

He was a millionaire by the time the war began making his fortune in cotton and slaves. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel, and issued this call to arms in June, During the war his cavalry was first a part of the Army of Tennessee, but after the Battle of Chickamauga he retained his forces as an independent command and until the war was over his cavalry wreaked havoc on Union forces in the west, earning from William T.

Grant wreaking havoc on communication lines and union supply depots. One of the most controversial figures to emerge from the shadows of the Civil War was Nathan Bedford Forrest. After the Confederate surrender he worked as lumber merchant, planter, and was the President of the Selma, Marion and Memphis Railroad. After the failure of his railroad business in , Forrest sold off many of his possessions and served as the overseer of a prison labor camp outside of Memphis. Forrest died in October and is buried with his wife under an exquisite equestrian statue in his honor in a park on Union Street in downtown Memphis, Tennessee less than a quarter of a mile from Sam Phillips Sun Records Recording Studio.

When Virginia seceded, Johnston was the highest-ranking U. Army officer to resign his commission. Army—but was not pleased that three other men he had outranked in the "old army" now outranked him. Only Beauregard was placed behind Johnston on the list of five new generals, thus creating a tension between Johnston and President Jefferson Davis that would last throughout the war. Johnston was the original commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, then known as Army of the Potomac. From this position he would defend Richmond from invading Union general George B.

McClellan in the Peninsula Campaign. The battle was a draw, but prevented McClellan from advancing on Richmond. Johnston was wounded at the battle, providing Davis with the opportunity to appoint Robert E. After recovering from his wounds, Johnston went on to command in the western theater, and was involved but not fully in control of the conflicts at Vicksburg and Chattanooga.

Johnston and his ailing wife, Lydia struggled financially in the years following the surrender at Appomattox. Johnston was restless with the position and the company failed due to lack of capital and investment. In he started an insurance company in Savannah, Georgia, acting as an agent for the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company and within four years had a network of more than agents across the Deep South.

This allowed him to accrue enough income so that he could devote the remaining year of his life towards writing reflections on the Civil War.


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In he published his Narrative of Military Operations, an apology of sorts which castigated President Jefferson Davis and many of his fellow generals. In an ironic twist of fate the post-war reminiscences of both Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman portrayed Johnson more positively. Anything that could have prolonged the war a year beyond the time that it finally did close, would probably have exhausted the North to such an extent that they might then have abandoned the contest and agreed to a settlement.

General James Longstreet in the West

From Johnson, a Democrat, served in the 46th Congress as a representative from Georgia. He was not re-nominated to stand for reelection in During the Presidency of Grover Cleveland, Johnson served as a commissioner of railroads. His wife, Lydia, died in ,. Johnson and Sherman maintained, as well, a vibrant correspondence and often dined together, when the opportunity afforded itself. When the Civil War began, Mosby spoke out against secession, but joined the Confederate army as a private, serving in the "Virginia Volunteers," a company of mounted infantry, that fought at the Battle of First Manassas Bull Run.

During this time Mosby's exceptional skill at gathering intelligence came to the attention of J. In early , Mosby was promoted to First Lieutenant and assigned to Stuart's cavalry scouts. In January of , Stuart placed Mosby in command of the 43rd Virginia Cavalry, which operated as a partisan unit. By this time, Mosby had been promoted to the rank of Major. The fame of the unit grew with each success and because of his ability to seemingly appear and disappear at will, Mosby became known as "The Gray Ghost.

Mosby was an active member of the Republican Party after the war, and became the presidential campaign manager for Grant in Virginia. He received numerous death threats for his friendship with Grant and his childhood home was burnt down. He played games with young George when he visited the Patton ranch; Mosby would play himself and George would be Gen. Mosby defended the legacy of J. B Stuart and even went so far as to write a lengthy book in his defense.

Mosby died in Washington D. From to , Lee served as superintendent of West Point, and was therefore responsible for educating many of the men who would later serve under him - and those who would oppose him - on the battlefields of the Civil War. Because of his reputation as one of the finest officers in the United States Army, Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the command of the Federal forces in April Lee declined and tendered his resignation from the army when Virginia seceded on April 17, arguing that he could not fight against his own people.

Johnston's embattled army on the Virginia peninsula.

The Myth of the Kindly General Lee

In late summer Lee won a significant victory at Second Manassas and invaded Union soil for the first time only to be turned back in September at Antietam Sharpsburg. His leadership at Fredericksburg led to one of the most lopsided Confederate victories of the war. After his defeat at Gettysburg he offered his resignation to President Jefferson Davis who refused it. Lee lost his right to vote as well as his property at Arlington, which was turned into a cemetery for Union War dead, and became the nucleus of Arlington National Cemetery.

He signed an Amnesty Oath, but his citizenship was never restored in his lifetime. In surviving members of the Lee Family sued the government of the United States for the loss of their Arlington Estate and in Lee vs. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Lee Family though they never returned to reclaim their property and eventually sold the property to the United States.

Shortly after the war was over he was offered the Presidency of the small liberal arts school, Washington College now Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and served in that capacity from October until his death from a heart attack in Lee Memorial is a national historic site and a unit of the National Park Service. In American memory, Lee has been elevated to mythological status. Lee became the de facto symbol for Lost Cause proponents and when the American Hall of Fame was established in , Lee was one of the first inductees, venerated as an American hero rather than a regional one.

In the post war era of erecting public monuments to heroes the North took the lead in the immediate post war years. In with the dedication of the Lee Monument in Richmond southern states began to match their Northern counterparts in the arena of monument making and memory. When the Civil War began, Wheeler joined the Confederate Army where his skills as a fine cavalry officer were utilized. His actions as a leader of horse soldiers who waged guerilla like warfare on his opponents are in the same league as those of his contemporaries, JEB Stuart, Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Singleton Mosby.

His service to the Confederacy was principally in the western theater: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, though he fought at the Battle of Shiloh with the 19th Alabama. His skills as a raider emerged during the subsequent Siege of Corinth and from to the end of the war Wheeler continued to wage aggressive guerilla type tactics on Union forces. Army to command the Cavalry Division. Wheeler was the commander of Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.

Wheeler also co-wrote several more books throughout the rest of his life, the last of which, The New America and the Far East: A Picturesque and Historic Description of These Land and Peoples, , was published posthumously. Prior to the war Waite was a leader of the Cherokee nation of which he was most proud. Watie served as Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation from During the Civil War the Cherokee, many who were slave owners supported the Confederacy.

Struggles within the Cherokee nation also consumed Waite as he labored to heal the division between the Cherokee majority which had supported the Confederacy and a minor faction of the Cherokee which had remained loyal to the Union. With ill feeling Waite wanted to establish a separate Southern Cherokee Nation but failed in doing so.

Robert E. Lee Pictures

Inter-tribal resentment lingered into the 20th century. For a time Waitie lived in exile among the Choctaw Indian Nation. On September 9, , Waite died after returning from his exile. Even his date of birth elicits controversy. The two leased a mansion at Lafayette Square, just across from the White House.

The couple hosted grand dinner parties for the upper crust of Washington society. It was well-known within the Washington social circles that the couple were less than faithful in the marital vows. Future Secretary of War Edwin Stanton represented Sickles in what would be the first successful use of the "temporary insanity" defense in the United States. Sickles began his military career serving as Colonel for the 70th New York Infantry before being appointed brigadier general of volunteers, commanding New York's Excelsior Brigade. In November he was promoted to major general.

While he was extremely brave in battle, he often found himself in conflict with superior officers. In the Army of the Potomac he saw action early in the war during the Peninsula Campaign , Fredericksburg , and Chancellorsville. Sickles orders were to cover the Round Tops on the Union left flank, instead he moved his men to the Peach Orchard. The result was that the Third Corps was overrun and driven from the field. Sickles lost his right leg in the disaster.

Gettysburg General James Longstreet Civil War 1863

Despite this fiasco Sickles was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg. The citation states that he, "displayed most conspicuous gallantry on the field vigorously contesting the advance of the enemy and continuing to encourage his troops after being himself severely wounded.

In , he was appointed colonel of the 42nd U. Infantry Veteran Reserve Corps. In he was retired with the rank of major general. From to he served as US Minister to Spain, and took part in the negotiations growing out of the Virginius Affair an international incident between the United States, Spain, and Great Britain.

His inaccurate and emotional messages to Washington promoted war, until he was overruled by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish and the war scare died out. Always a ladies man until his death, he flirted heavily in the Spanish royal court and was rumored to have had an affair with the deposed Queen Isabella II.

They had two children. Ever loyal to the Democratic Party, Sickles served as a member of the House of Representative in the 53rd Congress from to Sickles had an important role in efforts to preserve the Gettysburg Battlefield, sponsoring legislation to form the Gettysburg National Military Park, buy up private lands, and erect monuments. Where Sickles bust should have been placed, an American eagle sits instead.

The monument can be found today in the Peach Orchard. On October 30, Sickles was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 2, at Gettysburg although, his actions that day disobeyed orders and are highly controversial. Today, visitors can see Sickles leg and a cannon ball, like the one that seriously wounded him, on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

Sickles is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Charles Redmond Douglass, the third and youngest son of abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, served with distinction in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and was involved in the famous frontal assault at Fort Wagner , South Carolina.

From he worked in the Treasury Department. A diplomatic career next followed when he worked for the State Department in as a clerk to the Santo Domingo Commission. His successful work there led to President Ulysses S. Grant appointing him consul to Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo. From Douglass worked as a clerk in the U. With honed diplomatic skills and credentials Douglass relocated to upstate New York and joined the West India commissions business.

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He retired from federal government service in While living and working in Washington, DC in the s he enjoyed a role for the District of Columbia schools as their secretary and treasurer following his appointment as a trustee in A lifelong activist for Civil Rights, Douglass also found success in the newspaper business working for his famous father after he purchased the "New National Era" in , becoming a correspondent.

Douglass also dabbled in real estate and became a developer in Maryland establishing a beachfront property on twenty-six acres creating a summer resort, acquiring the property in , calling it Highland Beach. Interested in and promoting the intellectual life of African Americans, Douglass served as president of the Bethel Literary and Historical Association, a cultural and literary institution for African-Americans in Washington, DC.

He died at the age of Losses at Chancellorsville elevated Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain returned to Maine a hero after the Civil War living in pain and sometimes ill health due to the severe wound he sustained at Petersburg. A member of the Republican Party, Chamberlain served as Governor of Maine for four, one year terms then served as President of Bowdoin College, where he had been a professor of rhetoric before the war from He remained active in the affairs of the Grand Army of the Republic until his health, due to his lingering wounds, forced him to stop.

Chamberlain finally succumbed to his wounds and died in at the age of He was at Bull Run and Antietam. He is famously remembered for proposing and then leading a futile assault at the Mule Shoe Salient at Spotsylvania Court House. After the Civil War, Upton continued his military service as an instructor, most notably as the Commandant of West Point from These and other writings, drawn from his experiences in the Civil War—as well as his own personal observations of foreign military practices—advocated dramatic changes in the American Armed Forces including advanced military education and improved promotion protocols.

In the last years of his life, Upton suffered from severe headaches, quite possibly migraines associated with a brain tumor.

James Longstreet

On March 15, , while commanding the 4th Artillery in Presidio, California, he wrote out his resignation from the Army and promptly took his own life. Appointed by the Governor of Iowa as the Commander of the 4th Iowa, Dodge saw service for most of the war in the west. Dodge was shot in the head by a Confederate sharpshooter during the siege of Atlanta. Named Commander of the Department of the Missouri which, at the end of the war included Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah, Grenville Dodge helped bring an end to the American frontier.

In the summer of he organized the Powder River Expedition to put down Indian uprisings along the Bozeman Trail and western mail routes. During the Powder River Expedition he was captured by a war party of Indians and managed to escape. While escaping he discovered a pass through the Black Hills Mountains west of the Platte River for the Union Pacific Railroad to utilize during their construction of the Transcontinental Railroad building from East to West.

In he resigned from the US Army and became the Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad and was a principle character in overseeing the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. He can be seen in the iconic photograph, on the right side, shaking hands with his counterpart Samuel Montague of the Central Pacific Railroad, taken when the Golden Spike was hammered into place in Ogden, thus completing the Transcontinental Railroad. Dodge was rewarded handsomely for his work and received a sizeable monetary windfall from the scandal then fled to Texas in an effort to not testify in any court proceedings related to the scandal.

This particular scandal and subsequent related corruption overshadowed the administration of President Grant. In he was elected as a Republican member of the United States House of representatives in Iowa, representing the 5th Congressional District of Iowa. He served until After leaving Congress Dodge became a prolific businessman in the railroad industry and relocated to New York City to oversee his financial and quasi-railroad empire.

In this capacity he served as either President or Chief Engineer of numerous railroad companies.

During the Spanish American War he served at the head of a commission to investigate the conduct of the Army during the war. Sherman spent most of the war in the Western Theatre and his troops were involved in most of the major campaigns of that theatre from Shiloh , to Vicksburg , Chattanooga , and the Atlanta Campaign. On December 21, Sherman wired Lincoln to offer him an early Christmas present: the city of Savannah. After the war, William T. Sherman remained in the military and eventually rose to the rank of full general, serving as general-in-chief of the army from to Praised for his revolutionary ideas on "total warfare," William T.

Sherman died in Critics have scorned him on counts of being an overzealous warrior and for not believing in the political and social equality of the Negro. From he was the principle American general managing the Plains Indian Wars covering the lands included in the Military Division of the Missouri, essentially the land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains — he had limited resources to protect new settlers and the railroad as the nation moved westward in the years after the Civil War.

As general of the Military District of Missouri he negotiated many treaties for the United States government with various Indian tribes. In he was promoted to General of the Army upon the election of his friend Ulysses S. Grant to the Presidency.

General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)
General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders) General James Longstreet in the West: A Monumental Failure (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders)

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