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General James Longstreet, CSA This part of my site is dedicated to Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Confederate States Army, Commanding I Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.. of which the 18th Georgia Regiment of Volunteer Infantry was a part. I will try to pay homage to the man, the soldier, and the Gentleman. He was loved by General Robert E. Lee, envied by those who served with him and maliciously maligned by those who could not better him.



General James Longstreet, CSA; I Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, Commanding
General James Longstreet, CSA; I Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, Commanding
Lieutenant General james Longstreet was born to James and Mary Longstreet, on January 8, 1821, while his Mother was visiting her Mother-in-Law in the Edgefield District of South Carolina. However, he was raised in northern Georgia, where his parents owned and operated a sprawling cotton plantation in the Piedmont section of the state.

The elder James Longstreet liked to refer to his son as "Pete", as he regarded him as a rock to build upon, steady and secure. James's Uncle Augustus, with whom James had lived most of his formative years, was successful in obtaining an appointment for James to the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1838, James Longstreet entered the academy where he excelled in horsemanship, sword, and sports. Upon graduation in 1842, he ranked 54th in a class of 62.

As a Second-Lieutenant, he served in Missouri, Florida, and Louisiana, until the onset of the Mexican War (1846-1848). During the battle of Chapultepec, Lieutenant James Longstreet was wounded in the thigh while leading the 8th Infantry in an attack. Weakened and staggered by the wound, he handed off the "colors" to another officer to continue the charge. This fellow officer led the 8th Infantry over the wall, beginning another illustrious career... this fellow officers' name: George Pickett.

For his bravery during this battle, James Longstreet was brevetted as a Major. Upon returning, after the war, he married the daughter of Colonel John Garland, Miss Louise Garland of Lynchburg, Virginia. In 1848, while stationed in Pennsylvania, the couple had their first child...James Garland Longstreet, the first of many. The couple would go on to have ten children in all.

From 1849 until 1858, he was assigned at various posts throughout the state of Texas. Culminating in his commanding the U.S. Army post at Fort Bliss. In 1859, he reported to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as Paymaster for a year and then transferred to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here he was assigned under his Father-in-Law, now General John Garland.

On June 21, 1861, after much difficulty in travel, he joined with the Confederate Army in Richmond, Virginia as a Lieutenant Colonel. Soon after, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him to the rank of Brigadier General and he was given command of three Virginia regiments under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard at Manassas, Virginia.


General James Longstreet, CSA General Longstreet commanded his troops at Blackburn's Ford during the battle of First Mannassas. The Confederate victory, though confused, was a rout of the Union forces. General Longstreet and his troops performed well, noted by General Beauregard as, "...being in the right place at the right moment... contributed largely to the success of our arms that day."


Blackburn's Ford, where General Longstreet led his Virginia Regiments during First Manassas
Blackburn's Ford, Battle of First Manassas, Virginia
The three regiment brigade of General Longstreet was increased to four and were encamped outside Centreville, Va., but were moved northward towards Washington to prevent an attack by the Federals. During this time period, General Longstreet organized movements around the Fairfax Courthouse area and later occupied the bluffs around Annandale and Falls Church, Va.

In October of 1861, Brigadier General Longstreet was promoted to Major General and given command of a division. It was during this time that General McClellan started his now famous Peninsula Campaign. The Confederate forces were moved from Centreville and General Longstreet played a very important part in securing the army's rear against attack.


At Williamsburg, Va. General Longstreet held the Union forces at bay while the Confederate army under the command of General Joseph Johnston were able to retreat towards Richmond.


When General McClellan was finally able to organize an attack aginst the Confederates at Seven Pines (also known as Fair Oaks), there was some confusion in orders and General Longstreet was late moving his troops to the field.


General Joseph E. Johnston, CSA General Johnston had planned for the twenty three brigades commanded by Generals Longstreet, D.H. Hill and Benjamin Huger, to advance aginst the Union IV Corps and drive it into the Chickahominy River. General Longstreet's men became snarled in their movements and thereby were late to the battle. This was not not to be the norm for General Longstreet and his army, as throughout the war he and his troops proved themselves over and over again.


General Robert E. Lee, upon taking command of the Army of Northern Virginia after the wounding of General Joseph Johnston at Fair Oaks, readily recognized in General Longstreet a strong ability to command, a willingness to take the fight to the enemy and a spirit that would lead men to follow.

In October of 1862, General Lee recommended General Longstreet be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and he was given command of I Corps. Just over two months later, General Longstreet was in command of troops at Mayre Heights, during the Battle of Fredericksburg. It was here that General Ambrose Burnside's troops made futile attacks against entrenched Confederate troops, and lost over 12,000 men doing so. General Longstreet's troops lost 5,309 men, a small number by comparison.

General Ambrose Burnside, USA
General Longstreet was than assigned to obtain supplies for General Lee's army. Along with his Lieutenants, Generals John B. Hood and George Pickett, he moved on Suffolk, Va. While causing the Union troops to remain at bay in and around Suffolk, he was able to collect enough food, for both the army and its animals, to last nearly two months.

As a result of Union troop movements once again near Fredericksburg, General Lee ordered General Longstreet to return with his Corps with all possible haste. However, the Battle of Chancellorsville took place before he could move his army to support General Lee.

Upon his return to the Army of Northern Virginia, General Longstreet learned of General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson being mortally wounded by his own troops. The battle had been won, in his abscence, but at what cost. He and General Lee began to plan the Summer campaign that would culminate in the Battle of Gettysburg. It was during this planning that what today is considered to be a rift between General Lee and his "Old War Horse", General Longstreet.


General George G. Meade, USA As the Army of Northern Virginia moved northward into Pennsylvania, the Union Army of the Potomac, now being commanded by General George Meade, gave chase. The two great armies came together in the small town of Gettysburg. On 01 July 1863, the Confederates were able to gain ground and forced the Union army to dig in and go on the defensive. On 02 July, General Lee ordered General Longstreet to continue the attack on Cemetery Ridge. Here, General Longstreet hesitated...awaiting reinforcements and apprehensive about going on the offensive.


General Longstreet insisted that he be allowed to send General Hoods troops around the enemy's left flank, hopefully to gain a decidedly better position and roll up the Union brigade by brigade. General Lee denied this move and on 03 July 1863, ordered the wholescale frontal attack on Cemetery Ridge, we now know as "Pickett's Charge". Three of the eleven brigades that took part in this futile attack, were of General Longstreet's I Corps.

After retreating back to Virginia, General Longstreet was sent, along with five brigades, to Chattanooga, Tennessee to give support to General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. It took over a week for this movement and he and his troops arrived just in time to take part in the Battle of Chickamauga. Due to General Longstreet's ability to command, General Rosecran's Union army was defeated.

General Braxton Bragg, CSA
He was then ordered to move on Knoxville with just over seventeen thousand men under his command. These troops were made up of 12,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry...who were under command of General Joe Wheeler. Union General Burnside, had under his command nearly twenty three thousand men. The Union positions at Knoxville were strong and nearly impenetrable. After a botched attack against Fort Sanders, the Confederate army was relegated to a seige of Knoxville. General Longstreet shouldering the blame for this failure, was about to resign from service to the Confederacy.


General A.P. Hill, CSA However, the Spring campaigns were about to begin and General Longstreet and his brigades were ordered back to Virginia. General Longstreet's brigades arrived in the morning of the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864). The Union forces under the combined command of Union Generals Meade and Grant, were able to rout the troops of Confederate General A.P. Hill. General Longstreet's men were able to fill this breach in the Confederate line and caused the battle to end in a draw.


However, General Lee nearly lost another of his Lieutenants to "friendly fire" as General Longstreet was badly wounded by fire from his own men, while riding through some thick brush. The minnie ball passed through his throat and into his shoulder. General Longstreet was sent to Lynchburg to mend and went home to Georgia to continue his healing. He did not return to the command of his I Corps until October of 1864

By this time the two opposing armies had settled in to a seige warfare in and around Petersburg. The seige took a terrible toll on the Confederate army. General Lee felt he only had one chance for his army to survive, somehow slip out of Petersburg, move into North Carolina, join forces with the Confederate army commanded by General Joseph Johnston, and defeat the advancing Union army of General Sherman. Once this was accomplished, they could then return to Virginia and with combined force, fight General Grant.

However, it was not to be. The Union army was just too powerful and the Confederate army had been decimated by the long hard years of war. Finally, on 09 April 1865, General Lee met with General Grant at Appomattox Court House and tendered the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

As the war ended, General Longstreet who had survived but suffered from his wounds, which had caused him to have a paralyzed arm and a diminished voice, moved his family to Louisiana. Here he would first start in cotton, than insurance and the railroad business.

General James Longstreet, CSA, Insurance and Railroad Man after the War
It was during the later years of his life, that General Longstreet would be ridiculed and maligned by those who had served with him during the war. It was thought that he had committed unforgivable sins against the Confederacy and the memory of General Robert E. Lee. He further ostricized himself from the Confederate Veterans by becoming active in the Republican Party. The same Republican Party that was thought to be responsible for the harsh policies against the South during that period of our history known as the Reconstruction.

General Longstreet was for the unpopular cause of "Negro Suffrage" and was accused of being a "Traitor" to the Old South and to the "Lost Cause". During his years in New Orleans, the accusations became worse and his inept attempts at defending himself against these charges only fueled the controversy.


General James Longstreet, CSA, Upon return to Georgia after serving as Ambassador to Turkey He served as Ambassador to Turkey during the Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant and returned to his beloved state of Georgia in 1881, where he was to serve as the Federal Marshal of Georgia. He had previously made an attempt to transfer his political power base to Georgia and had purchased the Piedmont Hotel in Gainesvill, Ga.


The editor of the Gainesville Southron, had convinced his friend General Longstreet to come to Georgia and purchase the Piedmont Hotel and rebuild his life in his home state of Georgia. He later also purchased a farm near there.

It was hoped that General Longstreet, being back on home ground could overcome his unwanted reputation and regain the respect of his fellow southerners, by casting off the aspersions of his life in Louisianna and abroad.

General James Longstreet's Piedmont Hotel, Gainesville, Ga.
While running for various offices within the state of Georgia, General Longstreet would find himself opposing, politically, one time friend and Comrade-in-arms, General John Gordon. General Gordon had not held to teh beliefs that General Lee's "Old War Horse" had betrayed the memory of the late General nor become a traitor to the "Lost Cause" But, politics makes for strange bedfellows and he found it easy to raise the controversial questions to use against General Longstreet.

General Longstreet's strong character and perserverance not withstanding, he would be defeated politically and would have to step down as Federal Marshal of Georgia. His political life was drawing to a close. He remained active in his social life and though shunned by many Confederate veterans, he tried to maintain a camaraderie with those he both had fought against and with, by attending battle reunions, West Point Military Acadamy class reunions, memorial services and conventions.


General James Longstreet, CSA, the Old War Horse, never gave up the cause. He would continue to suffer embarrassments and ridicule at the hands of his one time comrades, later in life becoming very bitter. He was unable to shake the controversy until his dying day. However, he may have been ridiculed by those few, but he was loved and respected by many of the men who had served under him and those who had fought against him. General James Longstreet, a solid leader, a loyal friend, a brave soldier, and above all a Great Southerner.


General James Longstreet died on 02 January, 1904. He was buried on 06 Jan 1904 in the Altavista Cemetery of Gainesville, Georgia. One of the many veterans who had served under him during the war, said it all as he laid his old uniform and enlistment papers on the General's coffin and said, "Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal"

General James Longstreet, January 08, 1821 to January 02, 1904
General James Longstreet, January 08, 1821 to January 02, 1904