Lieutenant General James Longstreet Monument (Gettysburg)

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Longstreet's most controversial service was at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, where he openly disagreed with General Lee on the tactics to be employed and reluctantly supervised several unsuccessful attacks on Union forces, including the disastrous Pickett's Charge.

MONUMENT PROFILE
  • Battlefield: Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
  • Location: Pitzer's Woods off West Confederate Ave
  • Map Coordinates: +39° 48' 20.52", -77° 15' 23.76"
  • Leader of: 1st Corps, ANV
MONUMENT DETAILS
  • Artist: Casteel, Gary, sculptor
  • NPS Site Approval: February 3, 1993
  • Sculpture Completed: September 1997
  • Dedicated: July 3, 1998
  • Dimensions: About 10' Tall, 1 1/2-tons
  • Cost: $190,000.00 in 1998
  • Funding: Began in 1990. Provided by the General James Longstreet Memorial Fund, established by the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, using the slogan "It's About Time!" to raise funds.
  • Description: Bronze portrait of General Longstreet in his military uniform astride his horse.
  • Remarks: Nicknames that show how some feel about the look of the monument: “The Troll on the Pony” and “Gimli on his horse”.
MONUMENT TEXT
South-western Marker
Lieutenant General James Longstreet
Commanding First Corps Army of Northern Virginia
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★​
Soldiers of Gen. Longstreet's command held and protected the right wing of the army July 2-4 1863. His First Corps attacked and dislodged Union forces at the Devil's Den, the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard, on July 2. As a portion of his infantry secured the Peach Orchard, Gen. Longstreet advanced on horseback with them. The following day, Gen. Longstreet was ordered by Gen. Robert E. Lee to coordinate an attack against the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. On July 3, "Longstreet's Assault" was repulsed with great loss after penetrating the enemy's battle line on Cemetery Ridge. During the march back to Virginia, Gen. Longstreet and his First Corps played a prominent role in protecting the retreating army.

"By the soldiers he is invariably spoken of as 'the best fighter in the whole army.' "
- Lt. Col. Arthur J. Fremantle, Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards (June 27, 1863)


North-western Marker
Lieutenant General James Longstreet
Commanding First Corps Army of Northern Virginia
January 8, 1821 - January 2, 1904
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★​
Born in Edgefield District, S.C. Graduated from West Point 1842. Served as Lieutenant with the 8th U.S. Infantry in the Mexican War and brevetted major for gallantry, Battle of Molino del Rey. Resigned commission as a major, U.S. Army, May 1861. Appointed brigadier general, Confederate States Army, June 1861. Promoted to Major General, CSA, October 1861. Promoted Lieutenant general, CSA, October 1862. Gen Robert E. Lee's second in command and ranking lieutenant general in the Army of Northern Virginia. Gallantly led troops in battles at First Manassas, the Peninsula, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga and Knoxville. Wounded at Battle of the Wilderness, May 1864. Returned to duty during the Union siege of Petersburg, and present with Gen. Lee at surrender of army at Appomattox. Buried at Alta Vista Cemetery, Gainesville, GA.

"Ah! here is Longstreet, here's my 'Old War-Horse.'"
Gen. Robert E. Lee (September 17, 1862)


VIDEO TOUR

LOCATION MAP




MONUMENT DEDICATION
July 3, 1998


The newly installed statue was hidden from early viewing by a great square red-white-and-blue Confederate Battle Flag, 25 foot long on each side. The 2nd South Carolina String Band was on hand to play some period pre-ceremony tunes. The ceremony began at 10:00 am to a crowd of over 4,000 guests that included many local and state dignitaries, as well as several known descendants of James Longstreet.

An invocation was given by Reverend Roy Fauth of Trinity United Church of Christ of Gettysburg. The Keynote Speaker was Dr. William Garret Piston of Southwest Missouri State University, he, being the man who setup the committee that is responsible for the creation of this memorial statue.

Dr. John Latschar, Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park accepted an endowment check for the perpetual care of the monument, as well as accepting the monument itself, on behalf of the National Park Service, and the people of the United States. The final address was made by Gary Casteel who addressed the audience about sculpting the monument.

For the unveiling, first, the information tablets were unveiled. Then when the time to unveil the statue came, William & Jamie Paterson and their grandson Shane were given the official honor.

When Mrs. Paterson began pulling the Battle Flag off of the monument, the band began playing the song Bonnie Blue Flag, a favorite tune of James Longstreet. A great cheer arose from the crowd, and the great monument was revealed.

After the unveiling, Bob Underwood, a Scottish bagpiper dressed in full uniform of the Highland Guard, played a medley of Scottish songs. To complete the event, Father Joseph Hildreth of St. Francis Xavier Church gave a benediction.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS

1578528166087.png

The July, 1941 Model of the Longstreet Monument, created by sculptor Paul Manship
at the direction of the Longstreet Memorial Association,
and it's founder, the General's widow, Helen Dortch Longstreet


1578529223986.png

Mary Pickford looks over her shoulder at the Longstreet equestrian concept
during dedication ceremonies at the site on July 2, 1941.
You can see the model below the enlarged photograph.


1578533914846.png

Groundbreaking ceremony for the monument on the battlefield on July 2, 1941
with Hollywood celebrity Mary Pickford holding the shovel and Mrs. Longstreet in the striped dress,
UCV Commander Julius F. Howell on the right, and NPS Dr. J. Walter Coleman at left.
MYTHS AND OPINIONS ABOUT...
The James Longstreet / Hero Sculpture

Opinions written by Michael Kendra...
1578534211951.png

Only known photo of Longstreet on a horse, Gettysburg Reunion, July 1888.
Look at this photo! How big is Longstreet? How big is the horse?
Do you still think the monument is out of proportion?

The Horse is Too Small / Longstreet is Too Large for the Horse
This is a popular commentary among many on the internet. Unfortunately, the facts cannot be satisfactorily answered to everyone's agreement. Some say that the horse is proportioned more like a pony.

The sculptor, Gary Casteel, is insistent that the horse is in fact very well proportioned as a "war horse" rather than a stallion as other monuments on the battlefield are portrayed.

It is my opinion the horse and rider are actually well proportioned, but that the "moment frozen in time" showing the horse preparing to gallop off with great haste, perhaps frightened by a nearby explosion, as Longstreet pulls back the reigns to control the horse, and it gives the impression that the horse is smaller than it actually is. In my opinion, the horse is rearing down as if preparing to take off, and that from some angles, particularly when viewed in a photograph, the horse appears to be too small for the rider.

However, there are reports that Casteel designed the the horse to be 4/5th scale compared to the Longstreet Rider, so that the rider would look better proportioned up on a pedestal.

I would recommend visiting the monument in person, walk up to the memorial and see for yourself how large the horse actually is.

Verdict: It's a matter of personal artistic interpretation.

The Monument is Missing the Pedestal
The monument was never designed with a pedestal in mind. As stated by the sculptor Gary Casteel, "The monument was erected without a pedestal to become not less heroic, but more personal and approachable by those who visit Lee's lieutenant."

There have been many mythic commentaries on this issue, and many to this day believe that a pedestal will some day be built. I must personally take some of the blame, for I once perpetrated an April Fools joke exploiting this very myth.

Link for April Fools 2010: Donation for Stone Base of Longstreet Monument

I don't think there was ever an intent to demean the memory of Longstreet in the monument design, but rather, bring the man on his horse down to a human level, so you can make a personal connection with the art in it. That's what I take from it.

Verdict: False, there have never been plans to build a pedestal.

The Myth about the Raised Horse Hoof
There is a common saying in and around Gettysburg about equestrian monuments, if all four horses hooves are on the ground, then the officer riding the horse survived the battle unharmed. If one hoof is raised, the officer was wounded, and if two are raised the officer was killed. Prior to the James Longstreet Memorial, this "rule of thumb" was happily applied at Gettysburg.

However, one glance at the Longstreet Memorial may give you pause because one hoof is in fact raised, and it is a well known fact that Longstreet was not wounded at Gettysburg.

One critic called it "an unnecessary violation of tradition". Another critic tried to explain it this way: "the raised hoof is symbolic of Longstreet's, and his men's wounding (figuratively) at Gettysburg".

If you are going to fault the artist, Gary Casteel for this choice, then you better be prepared to also include artist Paul Manship in your argument. Manship designed the original model for the Longstreet monument in 1941 at the direction of Helen Dortch Longstreet, and that also included model horse with one hoof raised showing a forward movement while riding. Admittedly, there are reports that the "horse-statue code" has been rumored to be one of the reasons the original 1941 version was never constructed.

The reality is that if there is a secret code to the original equestrian statues at Gettysburg, it's so secret, the original artists didn't share it with other artists after their time.

Verdict: True, it does break an unofficial tradition, but this is artwork, and the Longstreet is a contemporary piece of artwork, it was never intended to match every other equestrian monument on the battlefield.

ADDITIONAL READING
RELATED LINKS
 
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James N.

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On the subject of recent monuments honoring - GASP! - Confederate personalities at National Parks, consider the even more recent Lee statue at Antietam pictured above. According to what I was able to find out at the historic house in the background which is owned by the NPS and part of the park there but run as an information station by a Historic Travel association, the NPS in this century wanted the land on which it sits, but NO statue, monument, or memorial dedicated to Lee. The wealthy owner of the land then clandestinely on two separate nights had erected the statue and the ridiculously high base - no doubt to protect it from do-right vandals - before donating the land to the Park Service! It sits rather incongruously near the Middle Bridge and lacks any interpretive signage or even a parking spot apart from that for the Information Center in the house. I imagine if Longstreet's statue was being proposed today it too would likely be refused by the NPS.
 
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edfranksphd

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Good stuff on the "new" Longstreet monument at Gettysburg, which I'm sad to admit I never knew existed, as I've not been back since 1993. Just one comment I'm compelled to make after reading the above intro to this page. It states, in part, that Longstreet "openly disagreed with General Lee on the tactics to be employed." I did study this issue in depth, but it was about 25 yrs ago, so I may be suffering from the same memory degradation that may have affected Longstreet. As I recall, there is zero extemporaneous evidence of such an open disputation, let alone a private one, between Longstreet and Lee. Longstreet, many years later, wrote 3 different versions of what happened on Day 2 (written between 1888 and 1905?), and each recollection had major inconsistencies with the others. And, in each memoir he claims that an open disputation occurred, but of all the people who might've been witnesses, I believe only one actually eventually supported that claim, but even that was written many yrs post-war and is thus possibly suspect. Of course, given Longstreet's defection to the GOP, there were few ex-Rebs who were likely to stick their necks out to defend Longstreet at Lee's expense, but the near absence of any evidence from that day or any day thereafter from anyone except Longstreet should give pause. Thanks to Killer Angels and Longstreet's post-war rehabilitation in the eyes of the North, his recollections may have been imbued with a higher degree of veracity than is perhaps appropriate? (PS: BTW, I like the monument.)
 
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War Horse

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I've always imagined that Longstreet was looking over at Lee's Statue and wondering; "Why did he get a big horse and I didn't".
I’m just happy he was finally honored with a monument at Gettysburg. It was long over due. I do admit and agree with @Eric Wittenberg the monument is embarrassing. I much prefer the 1941 model that was originally proposed.
 

unionblue

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I was there as part of the Confederate Honor Guard when the statue was unveiled.
@CSA Today ,

You should be happy I was there as a CSA reenactor along with the rest, filling out the ranks. I recall one of the National Park Rangers saying that this was the first appearance of armed Confederate troops in the park since 1863 (because all of us reenactors had fixed our bayonets for the unveiling ceremony). :smile:

Sincerely, :wink:
Unionblue
 
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