On the occasion of Longstreet's visit to Antietam in 1893, a correspondent of the Washington Post recorded the General's opinions and criticisms on a number of topics. In this part of the interview, General Longstreet opines on George Pickett; laments insufficient troops at Five Forks; maintains that Phil Sheridan "won his spurs without effort" --- and suggests that "the surrender should have taken place certainly four months earlier than it did." Here is today's section of the interview:
"And now it occurs to me," resumed General Longstreet, suddenly, "that General Sheridan was pretty lucky in his two principal opponents -- Early in the Valley and Pickett at Five Forks. He won his spurs without effort. Pickett was a brave division commander, but was lacking in resources for a separate responsible command. Before Five Forks he expressed doubts of his own capacity to hold the extreme right, and urged me to come over and take charge. I was north of the James and could not join him. I doubt if General Lee at first perceived Grant's object and force in the direction of Five Forks. Sheridan should and could have been met at once with half our army and overwhelmed. Pickett, with his small, isolated command, was an easy prey. Our chief fault at Five Forks was in lack of numbers. But the game was already lost. Every man lost after the 1st of January, 1865, was uselessly sacrificed. The surrender should have taken place certainly four months earlier than it did."
Interesting that Longstreet says in this interview that the surrender "should have taken place certainly four months earlier than it did." In his memoirs, didn't Longstreet claim to have said, on April 7, 1865, "Not yet." when Grant sent to Lee an invitation to surrender?
Note: This post is Part 6 of a series on Longstreet's opinions of various Generals, expressed during an interview with a Washington Post corespondent in 1893. Longstreet's opinions on various generals are posted in separate threads so they can be easily located - Bragg, Jackson, A P Hill, Early, Ewell, Pickett, Sheridan, Joe Johnston, Jeff Davis, Lee, McClellan, and more. Here are the links to Parts 1-5, posted previously:
Part 1 - Intro to the article
Part 2 - Longstreet on Bragg
Part 3 - Longstreet on Jackson
Part 4 - Longstreet on AP Hill
Part 5 - Longstreet on Ewell & Early
Source: Reprinted from the Washington Post of June 1893, the article appeared in The Times Dispatch. (Richmond, VA.), November 12, 1911, page 3.
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