Longstreet and Lee

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MikeyB

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Was Longstreet's relationship with Lee as close and trusted as Lee and Jackson's? Or was it always a little "different"? Longstreet was Lee's most trusted "old warhorse", but was this only by default, with Jackson having passed away?

Also, did any disagreement in strategy at Gettysburg and the defeat damage or inflame their relationship in the months to follow the campaign? Or are there no indications any trust or ill feelings between the two?

Did Lee ever have anything close to his Longstreet relationship with AP Hill, Ewell or Stuart?

mike
 

Eleanor Rose

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Great questions @MikeyB! Are you a fan of my favorite general or still a tad skeptical about his service? All are welcome here!

Was Longstreet's relationship with Lee as close and trusted as Lee and Jackson's? Or was it always a little "different"?
It definitely was. And yes it was "different." General Lee enjoyed socializing with General Longstreet in camp because of his gregarious personality. And General Longstreet saw General Lee as a father figure in many ways. Longstreet named one of his children after him.

Also, did any disagreement in strategy at Gettysburg and the defeat damage or inflame their relationship in the months to follow the campaign?
Or are there no indications any trust or ill feelings between the two?
No. Check out this wonderful thread by @lelliott19:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/interview-longstreet-on-his-post-gettysburg-relationship-with-lee.151524/

Or a thread I started:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/general-lee-did-say-it-wasn’t-general-longstreet’s-fault.152478/
 

Southern Unionist

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Lee liked Jackson because the two were somewhat alike; very aggressive. Lee liked sending Jackson off on his own because Lee trusted that he would react in similar ways to any situation that might come up.

Lee's relationship with Longstreet was quite different. As an exceptional leader, Lee knew that it's wise to bounce ideas off some trusted person who is quite opposite from yourself in significant ways, so that problems can be uncovered before it's too late. Only a highly self-confident and mature leader wants to subject himself to that process (or herself). Such collaborations can lead to outstanding results. Bouncing ideas off Jackson would have been pointless, because the two would have agreed on almost everything. A leader who surrounds himself only with "yes men" often fail spectacularly.

After Gettysburg, Longstreet jumped at the chance to go to Tennessee for a while. Two years of sparring with Lee, he was sick of it and needed a break.
 
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jackt62

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Lee may not always have agreed with Longstreet's advice (flanking the federal left at Gettysburg), but IMO Lee was best served by Longstreet's often cautious advice based on his understanding of terrain and the enemy's situation (waiting for a suitable opportunity to strike the federal left at 2nd Manassas).
 

luinrina

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Lee's relationship with Longstreet was quite different. As an exceptional leader, Lee knew that it's wise to bounce ideas off some trusted person who is quite opposite from yourself in significant ways, so that problems can be uncovered before it's too late. Only a highly self-confident and mature leader wants to subject himself to that process (or herself). Such collaborations can lead to outstanding results. Bouncing ideas off Jackson would have been pointless, because the two would have agreed on almost everything. A leader who surrounds himself only with "yes men" often fail spectacularly.
Thanks for that explanation! I just had an "ah-ha!" moment as I never saw the relationship between the three men like this but it totally makes sense now and explains everything in my mind. Thank you! :smile:
 
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