Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet Shot : The Battle of the Wilderness (May 6th, 1864)

Buckeye Bill

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#1
The Cervical Wound of General James Longstreet
By : Robert M. Steckler, MD; Jon D. Blachley, MD

Background : Lieutenant General James Longstreet was arguably the finest corps commander on either side during the Civil War. He was severely wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia on May 6, 1864, after a successful flank attack that nearly routed the Union army.

Design : A thorough review of the firsthand accounts of the events leading up to and following Longstreet's wounding was made. In addition, all articles listed in the medical literature describing Longstreet's care and numerous recent texts and articles about Longstreet have been researched.

Results : After being wounded on May 6, Longstreet received appropriate care by John Syng Dorsey Cullen, MD. Cullen controlled the hemorrhage from Longstreet's wound, helped evacuate him from the battlefield, and diligently cared for him during his convalescence.

Conclusions : Longstreet was wounded by "friendly fire." The bullet's trajectory and the location of the gunshot wound suggest a posterior wound of entry rather than an anterior one as has been previously assumed.

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#3
General Longstreet stated in his memoirs that when hit, “The blow lifted me from the saddle, and my right arm dropped to my side.”

Major Moxley Sorrel, who was near the general when he was struck, wrote: “The Lieutenant-General was struck. He was a heavy man, with a very firm seat in the saddle, but he was actually lifted straight up and came down hard.”

Those descriptions almost give me chills.
 

Buckeye Bill

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General Longstreet stated in his memoirs that when hit, “The blow lifted me from the saddle, and my right arm dropped to my side.”

Major Moxley Sorrel, who was near the general when he was struck, wrote: “The Lieutenant-General was struck. He was a heavy man, with a very firm seat in the saddle, but he was actually lifted straight up and came down hard.”

Those descriptions almost give me chills.
Thanks for sharing!

Before I toured the Wilderness Battlefield in 2007, I always thought Lt. General James Longstreet was shot by his enemy. Our NPS Ranger (guide) gave us a very in-depth tour of the Tapp Farm area, especially the wounding site of Longstreet. Just imagine what went through General Robert E. Lee's head after hearing Longstreet was severely shot. Almost one year to this date, Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was shot by "Friendly Fire" near the Chancellor's house just northeast of Longstreet's wounding area.

Bill
 

Buckeye Bill

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#7
Looking at the Longstreet's Wounding marker, it would appear that gunfire is still being heard in the area.
This photo was taken in 2007. I would like to see a recent photo of this sign.

By the way, State Route 621 is a race track. The local police department would make a killing writing speeding tickets in this area of the Wilderness Battlefield.

Bill
 

lelliott19

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#9
Numbers 279. Report of Brigadier General Joseph B. Kershaw, C. S. Army, commanding division, of operations May 4.-6.

.....The lines being rectified, and Field's division and Wofford's brigade, of my own, having arrived, upon the
suggestion of Brigadier-General Wofford a movement was organized, under the orders of the lieutenant-general commanding, to attack the enemy in flank from the line of the Orange Railroad, on our right, with the brigades of General Anderson, of Field's division, and Brigadier-General Wofford's, of my own, supported by Mahone's brigade, while we continued to hold the enemy in front, who was at intervals bearing down upon our lines, but always without any success. This movement, concealed from view by the dense wood, was eminently successful, and the enemy was routed and driven pell-mell as far as the Brock road, and pursued by General Wofford to some distance across the plank road where, he halted within a few hundred yards of the Germanna road.

Returning with General Wofford up the plank road, and learning the condition of things in front, we met the lieutenant-general commanding coming to the front almost within musket range of the Brock road. Exchanging hasty congratulations upon the success of the morning, the lieutenant-general rapidly planned and directed an attack to be made by Brigadier-General Jenkins and myself upon the position of the enemy upon the Brock road before he could recover from his disaster. The order to me was to break their line and push all to the right of the road toward Fredericksburg. Jenkins' brigade w as put in motion by a flank in the plank road, my division in the woods to the right. I rode with General Jenkins at the head of his command, arranging with him the details of our combined attack. We had not advanced as far as the position still held by Wofford's brigade when two or three shots were fired on the left of the road, and some stragglers came running in from that direction, and immediately a volley was poured into the head of our column from the woods on our right, occupied by Mahone's brigade. By this volley General Longstreet was prostrated by a fearful wound; Brigadier-General Jenkins, Captain Alfred E. Doby, my aide-de-camp, and Orderly Marcus Baum were instantly killed.

As an instance of the promptness and ready presence of mind of our troops I will mention that he leading files of Jenkins' brigade on this occasion instantly faced the firing, and were about to return it; but when I dashed my horse into their ranks, crying, "They are friends," they as instantaneously realized the position of things and fell on their faces where they stood. This fatal casualty arrested the projected movement. The commanding general soon came in person to the front, and ordered me to take position with my right resting on the Orange railroad. Though an advance was made later in the day, my troops became no more engaged, except General Wofford, who moved against the enemy in the afternoon on the left of the plank road, and met with some success in that quarter and suffered some loss.... Captain Doby had served with me as aide-de-camp from the commencement of the war. He distinguished himself upon every battle-field, and always rendered me the most intelligent and valuable assistance in the most trying hour. Orderly Baum was on detached service and was not called to the front by his necessary duties; but during the entire day he head [had] attached himself to the staff, and continued actively discharging the duties of orderly, although remonstrated with for the unnecessary exposure, until he lost his life. It is most pleasing to re call the fact that, going into this action as they did under the most trying circumstances that soldiers could be placed in, every officer and man bore himself with a devoted firmness, steadiness, and gallantry, worthy of all possible commendation.

J. B. KERSHAW,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/067/1061
 
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