General James Longstreet
General James Longstreet
Compiled Military Service
|General James Longstreet
|(Library of Congress)
Biographical data and notes:
- Born Jan. 8, 1821, in Edgefield District
- James Longstreet
died on Jan. 2, 1904
- Enlisted on Oct. 9, 1862 as a General Officer
Promoted to Lt Colonel (Full, Army)
- Promoted to Brig-Gen (Full, Vol)
- Promoted to Major-Gen (Full,
- Promoted to Lt-Gen (Full, Vol)
Lieutenant colonel, infantry,
C. S. A., March 16, 1861.
Brigadier general, P. A. C. S., June 17, 1861.
Major general, P. A. C. S., October 7, 1861.
general, P. A. C. S., October 9, 1862.
U.S. Army Commands:
James, born in South Carolina, appointed from
cadet United States Military
Academy, July 1, 1838;
graduated fifty-fourth in a class of fifty-six.
second lieutenant, Fourth Infantry, July 1, 1842.
Second lieutenant, Eighth Infantry, March 4,1845.
February 23, 1847.
Regimental adjutant, June 8, 1847, to July 1, 1849.
Brevet captain, August 20, 1847,
for gallant and
meritorious services in the battles of Contreras and
Mexico, and Brevet Major, September 8,1847, for
and meritorious conduct in the battle of Molino del
Captain, December 7, 1852.
Major and paymaster,
July 19, 1858.
Resigned June 1, 1861.
Confederate Army Commands:
Brigade composed of the First,
Seventh, Eleventh and
Seventeenth Virginia Regiments Infantry, being the Fourth
Brigade, First Corps, Army of the
Division composed of the brigades of Kemper, Pickett,
Pryor and Featherston, Army of Northern
Commanding First Corps, Army of Northern
August 13, 1862, to August 15, 1863.
At battle of Fredericksburg,
November 19, 1862, corps
composed of the divisions of Anderson, Pickett, Ransom, Hood
and McLaws, and the artillery
battalions of Colonels Alexander
In October, 1863, commanding corps in the Army of
of the divisions of McLaws, Preston,
Walker, Hood and Bushrod R. Johnson, and the artillery
battalions of Alexander, Williams, Leyden and Robertson.
Pickett's Division also
constituted a part of this corps.
Commanding, from December 5, 1863, until April 12, 1864,
the Department of East
Commanding First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, January
General James Longstreet Biography
Lieutenant-General JAMES Longstreet
(U.S.M.A. 1842) was born
in dgefield District, South Carolina, January 8, 1821, and
in the Mexican War, where he was severely wounded.
In June, 1861, he resigned as major in the army and was
appointed brigadier-general in the Confederate service. As
major-general, he had a division, and, later, as lieutenant-
the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. In
September, 1863, he was sent with part of his corps to
Tennessee and took command of the left wing at the battle of
He was then placed at the head of the Department
of East Tennessee and returned to Virginia
in April, 1864. He
was severely wounded at the battle of the Wilderness, May 6,
1864, but resumed command of the corps
in October. After the
war, he engaged in business in New Orleans
and held several
political offices. In 1880-81, he was American minister to
and in 1898, he was appointed United States
commissioner. James Longstreet died at Gainesville, Georgia,
January 2, 1904.
General James Longstreet
James Longstreet Biography
Biography and History:
Lieutenant-General James Longstreet was born in Edgefield
district, South Carolina, January 8, 1821, the son
Longstreet, a native of New Jersey. His maternal
Marshall Dent, was a first cousin of Chief Justice John Marshall.
His grandfather, William Longstreet,
was the first to apply steam
as a motive power, in 1787, to a small boat on the Savannah river
General Longstreet was reared to the age of twelve years at
Augusta, Ga., whence after the death of his father he accompanied
mother to North Alabama. From that State he was appointed to
the United States military academy in 1838. He was graduated in
1842, and with the brevet of second-lieutenant went on duty at
Jefferson Barracks, Mo., with the Fourth infantry.
The command was joined next year by Lieutenant U.
S. Grant, whom
Longstreet introduced to his cousin, Miss Julia Dent,
subsequently the wife of the Federal general.
In 1844, Longstreet
joined the army in Louisiana under General Taylor, and in 1845,
lieutenant of the Eighth regiment, was at St. Augustine,
until he was ordered to Taylor's army in Texas.
participated in the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma,
Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, San Antonio, Churubusco, and
del Rey, winning the brevets of captain and major. At
Chapultepec, he was severely wounded.
He was promoted captain in
1852, and in 1858 to major and paymaster, and stationed at
Albuquerque, N. M. Resigning
this office, he reported at Richmond on
1861, and asked an appointment in the pay department,
having resigned "aspirations for military glory." But he
a commission as brigadier-general July 1st, and was
ordered to report to Beauregard at Manassas,
where, in command of
the First, Eleventh and Seventeenth Virginia regiments, he
repulsed the Federal attack at Blackburn's Ford, July 18th, and
during the battle of July 21st threatened the Federal rear.
October 17th, he was promoted to major-general, and with this
rank he commanded a division of the army under Joseph E.
Johnston, and at the battle of Williamsburg was in immediate
command of the field, manifesting here those sturdy qualities
which gave him to such a great degree the confidence of his men,
and won their admiration. He commanded the right
wing of the
army before Richmond during the two days' battle of Seven Pines,
and was in command of his own and A.
P. Hill's division, under
Robert E. Lee, in the successful battles of Gaines' Mill and
Frayser's Farm, and was preparing
to make a flank movement
against the Federals at Malvern Hill when the series of battles
ended by the safe retreat
of McClellan to the James. After
following the retreating enemy to Harrison's Landing, he there
entered upon his command
of the First corps of the army of
Northern Virginia, Stonewall Jackson leading the Second.
Jackson marched at once to confront Pope in northern Virginia,
and Longstreet soon followed. While Jackson flanked the enemy
from their strong position
on the Rappahannock, he engaged them at
various points on the river, and finally forcing
the passage of
Thoroughfare Gap, participated in the crushing defeat of Pope's
army. In the Maryland
campaign, he moved his division from
Frederick to Hagerstown,
with part of his command holding the
passes, while Jackson captured Harper's Ferry, and
he won additional renown for stubborn and heroic
October 9, 1862, he was promoted to lieutenant-general.
Fredericksburg, the fighting of the left wing, including
heroic defense of Marye's Hill, was under his supervision. In
the spring of 1863, he operated with part of his
corps at Suffolk,
Va., but rejoined Lee at Fredericksburg
after the battle of
Chancellorsville and the mortal wounding of Jackson.
was decided at this crisis to make a diversion by a campaign
in Pennsylvania, and in
accordance with the general plan,
Longstreet moved his command to Chambersburg, Pa., and thence to
the field in person on the afternoon of the
first day of the battle. General Lee, having been successful thus
decided to continue the fight on the Federal front.
Longstreet's troops, having arrived, participated in the second
day's battle, and on the third day, under orders from Lee,
Pickett's division, reinforced by Pettigrew and Trimble,
memorable charge against the Federal position on Cemetery Hill.
After the Confederate army had retired to
with Hood and McLaws' divisions, was sent to reinforce Bragg in
north Georgia, and as commander
of the left wing at Chickamauga,
he crushed the Federal right, becoming, as D. H. Hill wrote, "The
organizer of victory
on the Confederate side, as Thomas was the
savior of the army on the other side."
After Rosecrans was shut up in
Chattanooga, Longstreet was
detached for the capture of Knoxville.
Marching to that point in
November, on heavy roads, he had begun assaults upon the works
when apprised of the defeat
of Bragg at Chattanooga. Rejoining
the army of Northern Virginia before the fighting began in the
Wilderness, on May 6 he reached the field opportunely
and led his
men in a successful assault which promised the defeat of Grant's
army, when in the confusion a Confederate
wounded him and killed his favorite brigade commander, the
gallant General Jenkins.
the greater part of the siege at Richmond and Petersburg,
commanded on the north side of the James, and on the movement
he commanded the advance and the main portion of
the army. After hostilities closed, he was told by President
that he was one of three, the others being Mr. Davis and
General Lee, who could never receive amnesty.
It was subsequently
bestowed, however, and he engaged in business
at New Orleans.
During Grant's presidency, he was appointed
surveyor of the port of that city, and afterward supervisor of
revenue and postmaster. In 1880, he was appointed United
States minister to Turkey, and,
under President Garfield, he was
United States marshal for the district
of Georgia, in which State
he has made his residence of recent years, at the town of
Gainesville. In October, 1897, he was appointed United States
railroad commissioner to succeed General Wade Hampton who had
Sources: Miller, vol. 10, p. 246; Confederate Military History, (1987);
General Officers of the
Confederate States of America; Confederate
Military History, vol. 1,
General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier (Simon
& Schuster). Description: This isn't the first biography to be written on Confederate General James Longstreet,
but it's the best--and certainly the one that pays the most attention to Longstreet's performance as a military leader. Historian
Jeffry D. Wert aims to rehabilitate Longstreet's reputation, which traditionally has suffered in comparison to those of Robert
E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Some Southern partisans have blamed Longstreet unfairly for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg; Wert corrects the record. He is not “uncritical”
of Longstreet's record, but he rightly suggests that if Lee had followed Longstreet's advice, the battle's outcome might have
been different. Continued below...
facts of history cannot be changed, however, and Wert musters them on these pages to advance a bold claim: "Longstreet, not
was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the
conflict on either side." Wert describes his subject as strategically aggressive, but tactically reserved. The bulk of the
book appropriately focuses on the Civil War, but Wert also briefly delves into Longstreet's life before and after it. Most
interestingly, it was framed by a friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, formed at West Point
and continuing into old age. Longstreet even served in the Grant administration--an act that called into question his loyalty
to the Lost Cause, and explains in part why Wert's biography is a welcome antidote to much of what has been written about
this controversial figure.
James Longstreet: The Man, The Soldier, The Controversy (Hardcover). Description: Few figures from the American Civil
War have generated more controversy than Confederate general James Longstreet. As the senior officer present at Pickett's
Charge, he has been blamed by many, particularly in the South, for the decisive Confederate defeat at Gettysburg. Other scholars have cited his exemplary combat record during the Civil War and
looked to rivals within the Confederate hierarchy or his post-war support for the Northern-based Republican Party as sources
for the criticism leveled at him. Richard L. DiNardo and Albert A. Nofi have assembled some of the top Civil War and Longstreet
scholars to fully examine this still-controversial topic. Continued below...
About the Author: Albert A. Nofi has a
Ph.D. in Military History from the City University of New York and was associate editor for many years of the ground-breaking
military journal Strategy and Tactics. He was a founder of wargaming, the conflict simulation system used both by hobbyists
and military planners. Dr. Nofi has written numerous books and articles on military history and was a news media military
commentator during the Persian Gulf War. He is also the author of The Gettysburg Campaign and The Waterloo Campaign.
General James Longstreet: the Confederacy's Most Modern General. Description: While many books and writings are available
on the history of Lieutenant General James Longstreet of the Confederate States Army, nearly the entire body of this historiography
marginalizes his accomplishments and is devoted to his falling from grace with the postwar Southern elites. This piece of
historiography aims to look at Longstreet with twenty-first century objectivity, and completely abandons the Lost Cause linked
hatred that many postwar Southern elites had for him and his post war politics. While Longstreet s political incorrectness
was the reason he became ignored, politics is completely irrelevant to the student of warfare looking to garner lessons from
Longstreet s battles and campaigns. This work will compare the similarities of Longstreet s innovations and operations to
certain aspects of war that became standard in the First and Second World Wars. Continued below...
Longstreet through the comparison of his methods to twentieth century methods shows Longstreet was a very modern general.
Even more important than identifying Longstreet s originality is identifying how his actions greatly added to the changing
complexion of warfare. Some of his innovations were the early origins of prominent facets in twentieth century warfare, and
he clearly established his legacy as a modern innovator as early as 1862. But only now
are the postwar negative portrayals of Longstreet faded enough for him to emerge as the Confederacy s most modern general.
Recommended Reading: Lee's Tarnished Lieutenant: James Longstreet and His
Place in Southern History. Description: William Piston has written a fine, highly readable, and fair-minded but sympathetic
biography of one of the most controversial leaders of the Civil War. While Lee held Longstreet in the highest regard and made
the dependable Longstreet his senior subordinate and commander of his First Corps in the Army of Northern Virginia, the stubborn
South Carolinian, Longstreet, found his reputation tarnished after the war by jealous military rivals who disliked Longstreet's
politics and resented his criticisms of some of Lee's command decisions. As a military biography, this work offers a comprehensive
and balanced treatment of Longstreet's career that effectively demolishes some of the more unfair criticisms of Longstreet
as a commander, and in particular takes apart the myth (that emerged in post-war controversy) that Jackson, not Longstreet,
had been the senior commander in whom Lee had placed his most reliance and trust. Continued below...
Piston's book will demonstrate why Lee described Longstreet as "my Old War Horse," and why Longstreet was widely regarded
on both sides as one of the very finest -- if not THE finest -- corps commanders of the war. Piston also does a nice job of
disentangling the post-war Gettysburg controversy, which emerged out of polemics over Reconstruction politics and the bickering
among former Confederate generals anxious to rescue their own reputations while putting Robert E. Lee above any criticism.
Lee, of course, was a great commander, but he never pretended to be perfect, and Longstreet, in daring to criticize certain
aspects of Lee's tactical operations, became a threat to a post-war mythology -- the cult of Lee -- that became so important
in building a post-war, solid Democratic South and white supremacist post-Confederate Southern identity. As Piston demonstrates,
the post-war Lost Cause mythology, in deifying the defeated Lee, required a scapegoat, a "Judas", upon whom the blame for
defeat and humiliation could be heaped. As both Jackson and Stuart had been killed during the war, and as most western Confederate
commanders lacked the prominence to serve this function, Longstreet emerged for unreconstructed Confederates as the bete
noir of Southern military history, both for his post-war Republican politics and his criticisms of Lee, his actual war
record and relationship with Lee notwithstanding. And in this post-war Lost Cause narrative, Gettysburg became the critical key or turning point
upon which all else hinged, as though the outcome of a thousand campaigns mobilizing millions of men, fought over five years
across a vast continent, could be reduced to one afternoon on one bloody field in Pennsylvania, or as though (even if that
had been true) Longstreet alone could be blamed for Lee's failure at Gettysburg. It is the politics of Reconstruction and
Longstreet's place in that political struggle that largely shaped what became the dominant Southern narrative about the battle
and the meaning of that defeat in the larger destruction and humiliation of the Confederacy. Piston's treatment of this issue,
and his discussion of the evolution of Lost Cause historiography, is brilliant, and deserves attention not only from those
interested in the Civil War and Reconstruction, but from those interested in the relationship between politics, historical
memory, the historical record, and the writing of history.
Recommended Reading: Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command (912 pages). Description: Hailed as one of the greatest Civil War books, this exhaustive study
is an abridgement of the original three-volume version. It is a history of the Army of Northern Virginia from the first
shot fired to the surrender at Appomattox - but what makes
this book unique is that it incorporates a series of biographies of more than 150 Confederate officers. The book discusses
in depth all the tradeoffs that were being made politically and militarily by the South. Continued below...
The book does an excellent job describing the battles, then
at a critical decision point in the battle, the book focuses on an officer - the book stops and tells the biography of that
person, and then goes back to the battle and tells what information the officer had at that point and the decision he made.
At the end of the battle, the officers decisions are critiqued based on what he "could have known and what he should have
known" given his experience, and that is compared with 20/20 hindsight. "It is an incredibly well written book!"