James Longstreet, Jr. (1821 - 1904) MP

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General James Longstreet (CSA)'s Geni Profile

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Nicknames: "Pete"
Birthplace: Edgefield District, South Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Gainesville, Hall County, Georgia, United States
Occupation: C.S.A., Civil War - Confederate under General Robert E. Lee
Managed by: Jerry Daniel Peardon
Last Updated:

About James Longstreet, Jr.

OBITUARY FOR JAMES G. LONGSTREET:

Lt. General James Longstreet, CSA

1821 - 1904

James Longstreet, one of Robert E. Lee’s most trusted generals during the Civil War, died January 2, 1904. He was 82.

Longstreet was born January 8, 1821 in Edgefield District, South Carolina. A career soldier, Longstreet graduated from West Point in 1842.

His duty stations took him to Texas from 1845-46, and the following year he saw action in the Mexican War. He served at various posts in the west prior to the start of the Civil War.

When the Confederate States of America was formed in 1861, southerners like Longstreet, who was a West Point graduate, were very much sought after for leadership positions. Longstreet was commissioned a major general in the rebel army.

Longstreet became one of Robert E. Lee’s trusted advisors. It is written of Longstreet that he was not a yes-man to Lee. He is reported to have said that Lee at times would become too excitable in battle, sometimes clouding his judgment, so Longstreet would counsel Lee through those tense moments.

According to Longstreet, the Battle of Gettysburg was a mistake. He was of the opinion that the war would be won in the west, and if large battles were fought in northern territory they should be defensive in nature. But as opposed as he was, he followed Lee’s orders to attack on the third and decisive day of the battle. As it turned out, General Pickett’s infantry assault on Cemetery Ridge was almost a suicide mission. Pickett almost reached his goal, but decimated by his losses, he had to withdraw, and with it came a bitter retreat by Lee’s armies.

Note: Gen. Longstreet outlived Gen. Lee by many years and on occasion rewrote history the way he thought it should be, which was constantly being challenged by General Lee's aid de camp, Colonel Walter H. Taylor, Adjutant-General of The Army of Northern Virginia, C. S. A.

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Now the rest of the story

It should be noted that the attack on the the third day at Gettysburg was to commence at first light. The entire Union Line was to be assaulted from Gulp's Hill to Little Round top. Gen. Longstreet saw fit to attack at 2PM. Meanwhile the Second Corps under General Ewell had attacked at dawn was beaten back. The third Corps, although a division was already to move to any point which Longstreet might indicate, was not called upon by him for assistance. Two divisions of his own corps, posted on the right flank, did absolutely nothing; and after a supremely gallant effort, fifteen thousand men who were hurled against the front of the Federal army, and some of whom actually penetrated the position, were repulsed with fearful slaughter.

It was never General Lee's plan to assault the center only, but both center and flank simultaneously, we may note that according to Longstreet's own testimony, the order was given soon after sunrise; and yet the Second Corps engaged the Union Army at daylight, it was not until 1pm, eight hours later that Longstreet opened with his artillery.

General Longstreet had his own version of many of the battles he was involved in. Col Taylor made it his ambition to constantly remind General Longstreet of the actual facts of what really happened.

Col. Walter H. Taylor, Adjutant-General of The Army of Northern Virginia, C. S. A. General Lee His Campaigns in Virginia 1861-1865 page 209

Walter G. Ashworth

------------------------------------------------- ON A PERSONAL SIDE

Tragedy struck the Longstreet family in January 1862. A scarlet fever epidemic in Richmond claimed the lives of his one-year-old daughter Mary Anne, his four-year-old son James, and six-year-old Augustus ("Gus"), all within a week. His 13-year-old son Garland almost succumbed. The losses were devastating for Longstreet and he became withdrawn, both personally and socially. In 1861 his headquarters were noted for parties, drinking, and poker games. After he returned from the funeral the headquarters social life became more somber, he rarely drank, and he became a devout Episcopalian.

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After Gettysburg, Longstreet was ordered to attack Grant’s army at Chicamauga. Longstreet’s decisive victory hailed him as one of the south’s best generals.

After the war, Longstreet located to New Orleans. To the chagrin of his fellow southerners, he became a Republican and friends* with then U.S. President Ulysses Grant. He worked as an insurance agent, a lottery supervisor and was U.S. Minister to Turkey in 1880. He also served as a U.S. Marshal from 1881-84.

Longstreet died in Gainesville, Georgia on January 2, 1904.

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  • Prior to the Civil War Longstreet was US Grant's Best Man at his wedding.

Gen. Longstreet was asked,

"Do you know Grant? [He asked of those who were downplaying Grant's capabilities]. Well, I do. I was in the Corps of Cadets with him at West Point for three years. I was present at his wedding. I served in the same army with him in Mexico. I have observed his methods of warfare in the West, and I believe I know him through and through and I tell you that we cannot afford to underrate him and the army he now commands."

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Longstreet out lived General Robert E. Lee by 34 years and re wrote the history of battles his way. During his life many disagreements arose between his version and Col. Walter H. Taylor, Lee's Trusted Aid throughout the War.

Suggested reading: "General Lee his campaigns in Virginia 1861 - 1865 by Walter H. Taylor. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, Bison Books

Walter G. Ashworth -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Longstreet

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Longstreet was born in Edgefield District, South Carolina. He was the fifth child and third son of James and Mary Ann Dent Longstreet, originally from New Jersey and Maryland, respectively, who owned a cotton plantation close to where the village of Gainesville would be founded in northeastern Georgia. James's ancestor Dirck Stoffels Langestraet immigrated to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1657, but the surname became Anglicized over the generations. (from Wikipedia)

A biography from the period reads: "The man who was considered the hardest fighter in the Confederate service during the Civil war, and who was known in the army as "Old Pete," is now living quietly on a farm near Gainesville, Ga. Gen. James Longstreet was born in the Edgefield District, Hamburg, S. C., January 8, 1821. He removed with his mother to Alabama in 1831, and was appointed from that state to the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1842. After serving on garrison and frontier duty for several years, his regiment participated in the war with Mexico, where his conspicuous bravery won him respected promotions, culminating in the rank of brevet major. He was severely wounded at the storming of Chapultepec. After the war he served as adjutant, captain and paymaster, chiefly on the Texas frontier, until 1861, when he resigned. In that year he was commissioned brigadier-general in the Confederate army, and after the first battle of Bull Run was promoted to major-general. His brilliant war record is well known. Early in 1864 he was wounded by the fire of his own troops in the battle of the Wilderness, and a year later was included in the surrender at Appomattox. He had the unbounded confidence of his soldiers, who were devoted to him. After the war he engaged in commercial business in New Orleans, and affiliated with the Republican party. He was appointed surveyor of customs of the port of New Orleans by President Grant; supervisor of internal revenue, postmaster at New Orleans and Minister to Turkey by President Hayes, and United States marshal for the district of Georgia by President Garfield. Gainesville, in the latter state, has since been his home."

http://www.civilwarhome.com/longbio.htm

       Born in Edgefield District, South Carolina, January 8, 1821, the son of a farmer, Longstreet spent his early years in Augusta, Georgia.  On the death of his father he went with his mother to Somerville, Alabama.  Corps commander James Longstreet made three mistakes that have denied him his deserved place in Southern posterity: He argued with Lee at Gettysburg, he was right, and he became a Republican. He entered West Point from Alabama, graduated in 1842, and was wounded at Chapultepec in Mexico. With two brevets and the staff rank of major he resigned his commission on June 1, 1861, and joined the Confederacy.
      His assignments included: brigadier general, CSA June 17, 1861); commanding brigade (in 1st Corps after July 20), Army of the Potomac July 2 - October 7, 186 1); major general, CSA (October 7, 1861); commanding division, Ist Corps, Army of the Potomac (October 14-22, 1861); commanding division (in Potomac District until March 1862), Department of Northern Virginia (October 22, 1861 - July 1862); commanding lst Corps, Army of Northern Virginia July 1862 - February 25, 1863; May - September 9, 1863; April 12 - May 6, 1864; and October 19, 1864-April 9, 1865); lieutenant general, CSA (October 9, 1862); commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina (February 25-May 1863); commanding his corps, Army of Tennessee (September 19-November 5, 1863); and commanding Department of East Tennessee (November 5, 1863-April 12, 1864).
      Commanding a brigade, he fought at Blackburn's Ford and lst Bull Run before moving up to divisional leadership for the Peninsula Campaign. There he saw further action at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, and the Seven Days. In the final days of the latter he also directed A.P. Hill's men. Commanding what was variously styled a "wing," "command," or "corps," the latter not being legally recognized until October 1862, he proved to be a capable subordinate to Lee at 2nd Bull Run, where he delivered a crushing attack, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.
      By now promoted to be the Confederacy's senior lieutenant general, he led an independent expedition into southeastern Virginia where he displayed a lack of ability on his own. Rejoining Lee, he opposed attacking at Gettysburg in favor of maneuvering Meade out of his position. Longstreet, who had come to believe in the strategic offense and the tactical defense, was proven right when the Confederate attacks on the second and third days were repulsed. Detached to reinforce Bragg in Georgia, he commanded a wing of the army on the second day at Chickamauga. In the dispute over the follow-up of the victory he was critical of Bragg and was soon detached to operate in East Tennessee. Here again he showed an incapacity for independent operations, especially in the siege of Knoxville. Rejoining Lee at the Wilderness, he was severely wounded, in the confusion, by Confederate troops. He resumed command in October during the Petersburg operations and commanded on the north side of the James. Lee's "Old War Horse" remained with his chief through the surrender at Appomattox.
      After the war he befriended Grant and became a Republican. He served as Grant's minister to Turkey. He also served as commissioner of Pacific Railroads under Mckinley and Roosevelt, from 1897 to 1904. Criticized by many former Confederates, he struck back with his book, From Manassas to Appomattox. He outlived most of his high-ranking postwar detractors. He died at Gainsville, Georgia, on January 2, 1904, the last of the high command of the Confederacy. He is buried in Gainsville.

http://capecodhistory.us/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I25632&tree=Nauset

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General James Longstreet (CSA)'s Timeline

1821
January 8, 1821
Edgefield District, South Carolina, United States
1842
July 1, 1842
Age 21
West Point, New York, United States
1842
Age 20
United States
1848
March 8, 1848
Age 27
Lynchburg, Virginia, United States
1848
Age 26
1850
1850
Age 28
1861
1861
Age 39
United States
1863
1863
Age 41
1865
1865
Age 43
1869
July 1, 1869
Age 48