- Nov 26, 2016
- central NC
The following is an excerpt from “Longstreet's Courier—Memorable Words of Confederate Leaders--A Time when they were Sorely Tried--What Might Have Been--The Part Played by Hood” by William Youngblood, of Alabama:
For many years I have thought of writing out for the public what I know of the battle of Gettysburg; but the political surroundings of myself and of him conspicuously interested have deterred me. To everyone to whom I have ever told this incident of my soldier's life he has said that I ought to reduce it to writing and give it to the world or to the people of this country--that it might go into the archives. I have determined to tell the story in this way, every word of which is the truth, absolute and pure.
After a hard march of a day and night we approached falling water on the Potomac, where the pontoons had been laid to cross into Virginia. The rain had swollen the Potomac, and all had to cross on the pontoons. I had been out doing courier work all day and night, and arrived at the pontoon a little before daylight, where General Longstreet was on the ground directing the men, wagons, artillery, etc., across. I pushed off to one side, out of the way and out of sight, squatted at the root of a tree, tied my bridle reins to my arm, and did not wake until after daylight, when to my horror, I found myself within a few feet of the river, and my horse so close that one step more would have put him over the bank. I made my way to the bridge. General Longstreet told me to go on across. I went over and up the bluff into the main road. Looking to my left I saw General Lee on his horse, accompanied by some of his staff, watching the pontoon and the men coming across. While there a man whom I did not know rode up and said:
"General, there is a rumor throughout the army that General Longstreet failed in his duty is the cause of our disaster at Gettysburg." General Lee, with firmness and fire, replied: "It is unjust. Longstreet did his duty. Our failure is to be charged to me. My shoulders are broad and can bear it."
*****So there you have it folks! General Lee, a man beloved by all the Longstreet detractors, actually said “Longstreet did his duty” at Gettysburg. Maybe this case can finally be put to rest on CWT. Just kidding! I know that isn’t likely. But, you can expect this to become my favorite retort.
What do you think of this @War Horse, @GELongstreet, @lelliott19, @Zella, @Rebforever (yes, I really want to know), @FarawayFriend and all the rest who have debated this over the years?
Source: Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1910. Unwritten History Of The Gettysburg Campaign.