Longstreet was a "defensive" General

Pete Longstreet

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Spot on , Longstreet was a party animal up to the point of losing his children then he became very withdrawn.

Ewell and Hill were a direct response to the influence both Jackson and Longstreet had on Lee , Lee wanted more direct control over the army with dire consequence's.

However I disagree about Lee wanting Longstreet's council he was away for long periods of time either wounded of fighting with Bragg or on his own and their has to be a reason for that because one does not send his best commander away unless its to get him out of your hair imho.

Thomas J. Goree, who served on Longstreet's staff, wrote how he observed a noticeable change in Longstreet after the death of his children. He wrote how the poker games and drinking subsided drastically and somedays Longstreet would be very reserved and that he knew when to give Old Pete his space.

As others have stated, Lee was against sending Longstreet west. And while Longstreet was gone, Lee would write him "My Dear General" telling him to be safe and return to him soon. You make some solid points but I have yet to find any documentation that indicates Lee wanted to rid himself of Longstreet.
 

Pete Longstreet

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Also, when he met Longstreet before he left for the west, he told him to come back as soon as possible. I think Lee valued Longstreet very much, and considered him indispensable as a corps commander
I 100% agree. Everything I have read and studied leaves me to believe this as well. I have yet to find the contrary.
 

Pete Longstreet

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In other words, all you have is speculation to support the claim that Lee wanted Longstreet "out of his hair". The only plausible conclusion from the record is that he didn't want Longstreet gone - a rational view given who he had as of September 1863 - but reluctantly agreed to send him west because of the crisis in Tennessee. Lee showed during the war that he well knew how to get subordinates "out of his hair" - starting with the Seven Days and through the end of the war. But Longstreet rejoined Lee in Spring 1864 and again, after returning from his wound, in October 1864, playing a trusted role right to the end in April 1865. Read the Longstreet-Lee letter of April 2, 1864.
Upon Longstreet's return during Petersburg, he offered to surrender some of his command due to his wound and feeling as though he may be a hindrance. Lee refused and immediately reinstated Longstreet to full command with full responsibilities. To me, it shows that even still recovering from a serious wound, Lee put him back in command as if nothing happened. Like you indicated in your above stated post, Lee trusted him to the end.
 

Pete Longstreet

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I strongly suggest reading Cory Pfarr's excellent 2019 book. He does a nice job of demolishing much of the concocted mythology generated after the war by Early, et al. that became some of the "accepted wisdom" regarding the supposed delay on July 2, etc.

The terrain and Union alignments on July and September 20 regarding an assault are most certainly "apples and oranges". Take a look at a good map of each.
I read his book a few months ago. Excellent book. He really does a great job on putting the pieces together regarding the Day 2 "delay". He dissects the delay and basically shifts it onto Lee, who was in contact with Longstreet most of the day on July 2nd. In short, Lee could have done a lot more than he did, and ultimately the blame for Gettysburg falls onto him.
 

rpkennedy

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I've gone back and forth on that question. Honestly I don't know whether Sickles hurt or helped the Union. You clearly feel one way. I can see it from both sides. My big what if is the break down of the Echelon attack in the 3rd Corps. Mahone, Posey, Lane, and Thomas (Roughly 4,500 men) don't make their attack between 6:45 - 7:30 PM. If they attack and then Early Launches his attack by Hays and Avery (Another 2,000 men) and Rodes moved out to attack but never does, that may change if he sees Pender on the attack. You have between 6-7K men attacking Cemetary Hill and Northern Cemetary Ridge. It's only being held at this point by Smith, Kryzanowski, Ames, Von Amsberg, and Von Gilsa. On top of that Johnson is assaulting Culp's hill, which was being defended by Greene and what was left of I Corps. Meade had sent everything south.
Anderson being a complete no-show and Pender going down at a most inopportune time stopped the attack in its tracks.

Ryan
 
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Thanks for the reference to that thesis, however when I went to that site, the signup required entry of credit card information which I was unwilling to do.
I managed to download the thesis of Maj. Hampton Hite (PDF), available here for those members interested in reading this short study about "Old Pete".
 

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Belfoured

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@Belfoured Work comes first, please don't rush on my account. I'll be here. And thank you!

John
Here's a succinct attempt. Lee's staff was always small - c. 6 or 7 maximum and late in the war it was down to 3. That was far too small for an army commander. Longstreet had 6 or 7 fairly pretty early. When the ANV was organized into corps he doubled the number. Lee also pretty much used his staff as clerks and not for much else. Longstreet appears to have selected his staff from among officers who were unafraid to weigh in on matters and several had prior staff experience. One example of how he used them was Sorrel's role in helping organize the attack at the Wilderness. I think the consensus is that Lee never really appreciated how a good staff should function, while Longstreet did.
 

Wizard of Cozz

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Here's a succinct attempt. Lee's staff was always small - c. 6 or 7 maximum and late in the war it was down to 3. That was far too small for an army commander. Longstreet had 6 or 7 fairly pretty early. When the ANV was organized into corps he doubled the number. Lee also pretty much used his staff as clerks and not for much else. Longstreet appears to have selected his staff from among officers who were unafraid to weigh in on matters and several had prior staff experience. One example of how he used them was Sorrel's role in helping organize the attack at the Wilderness. I think the consensus is that Lee never really appreciated how a good staff should function, while Longstreet did.
This is part of the reason that Lee relied on discretionary orders, he didn't have the staff to micromanage situations even if he had wanted to.
 

Belfoured

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This is part of the reason that Lee relied on discretionary orders, he didn't have the staff to micromanage situations even if he had wanted to.
Agree. Of course, if he had understood the proper size and functioning of a staff, that wouldn't have been a problem. A great hypothetical is July 1 and Ewell (and for the record I feel strongly that Ewell made the proper military decision under the circumstances for several reasons, and that the "Jackson alternative" is utter delusion for its own set of reasons).

As officers such as Grant and Longstreet understood how a staff should work, a Porter or a Sorrel would likely have had authority to do more than simply transmit an ambiguous or optional order - they probably would have been involved with Ewell in the decision. For example, they could have assessed the circumstances and advised Ewell as to whether they believed an attack was "practicable" within the meaning of the order and how that related to the warning against bringing on a "general engagement". That's not how Lee used his staff - too small to begin with, he never cloaked any of them with real authority to act in his stead. That meant that Lee had to issue very precise, specific orders laying out what was to happen "if this" or "if that". But that was far from Lee's personal style.
 
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Scott1967

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As others have stated, Lee was against sending Longstreet west. And while Longstreet was gone, Lee would write him "My Dear General" telling him to be safe and return to him soon. You make some solid points but I have yet to find any documentation that indicates Lee wanted to rid himself of Longstreet.
I don't think Lee wanted to get rid of him but certainly a cooling down period was needed after Gettysburg however you are quite correct because Lee was so cordial in his writings regardless we can conclude their certainly was no intense hatred but their must have been some tension after Gettysburg however most of that I suspect would have been private and between the two men we shall never know.

The way I look at is why would you send your best troops and commander to Bragg not knowing was Meade was going to do in the fall 1863 when you have Ewell and Hill in dire need of getting more corps experience?.

Granted Longstreet wanted to go knowing he would be serving under Bragg not something to look forward to really its all very strange imho.
 

Belfoured

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I don't think Lee wanted to get rid of him but certainly a cooling down period was needed after Gettysburg however you are quite correct because Lee was so cordial in his writings regardless we can conclude their certainly was no intense hatred but their must have been some tension after Gettysburg however most of that I suspect would have been private and between the two men we shall never know.

The way I look at is why would you send your best troops and commander to Bragg not knowing was Meade was going to do in the fall 1863 when you have Ewell and Hill in dire need of getting more corps experience?.

Granted Longstreet wanted to go knowing he would be serving under Bragg not something to look forward to really its all very strange imho.
It wasn't Lee's initiative. He was persuaded to agree to it because Longstreet made the request and because Bragg's circumstances had become dire and what was left of Tennessee in Confederate control was about to be lost. That's why Lee "sent" Longstreet to Bragg.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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If you read Longstreets memoirs, which are exceedingly dry, and it’s been a few years for me, so forgive and correct me if I misremember here - Longstreet went to Bragg to try to save what was left of Tennessee. After an incredibly miserable winter, Longstreet knew he wasn’t going to save Tennessee from Bragg because Bragg couldn’t save himself from himself. The whole situation was dire in every direction. Longstreet just needed to salvage his command and his men from starvation and being frozen to death in the mud and snow and get back east. He knew TN was gone. Longstreet was highly realistic and pragmatic. Bragg was also not a well man physically, besides ALL the other social/emotional issues and his command was completely floundering. Bragg was not recalled and replaced and the best Longstreet could do for himself and his men was get out of there.
 

rpkennedy

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Here's a succinct attempt. Lee's staff was always small - c. 6 or 7 maximum and late in the war it was down to 3. That was far too small for an army commander. Longstreet had 6 or 7 fairly pretty early. When the ANV was organized into corps he doubled the number. Lee also pretty much used his staff as clerks and not for much else. Longstreet appears to have selected his staff from among officers who were unafraid to weigh in on matters and several had prior staff experience. One example of how he used them was Sorrel's role in helping organize the attack at the Wilderness. I think the consensus is that Lee never really appreciated how a good staff should function, while Longstreet did.

Agreed. Longstreet had served as an infantry company officer and also as a staff officer (he spent a lot of time as a quartermaster in the antebellum army) which certainly influenced how he organized his staff and its personnel.

Ryan

Edit: Longstreet was a paymaster, not a quartermaster. My error. Here is a quick synopsis of his pre-war career:

Brevet 2nd Lt., 4th Infantry (7/1/42)
2nd Lt., 8th Infantry (3/4/45)
1st Lt., 8th Infantry (2/23/47)
Brevet Captain (8/20/47) for Contreras and Churubusco
Brevet Major (9/8/47) for Molino del Rey
Captain, 8th Infantry (12/7/52)
Major, Staff/Paymaster (7/19/58)
Resigned (6/1/61)
 
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Wizard of Cozz

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If you read Longstreets memoirs, which are exceedingly dry, and it’s been a few years for me, so forgive and correct me if I misremember here - Longstreet went to Bragg to try to save what was left of Tennessee. After an incredibly miserable winter, Longstreet knew he wasn’t going to save Tennessee from Bragg because Bragg couldn’t save himself from himself. The whole situation was dire in every direction. Longstreet just needed to salvage his command and his men from starvation and being frozen to death in the mud and snow and get back east. He knew TN was gone. Longstreet was highly realistic and pragmatic. Bragg was also not a well man physically, besides ALL the other social/emotional issues and his command was completely floundering. Bragg was not recalled and replaced and the best Longstreet could do for himself and his men was get out of there.
That's a pretty simplistic answer IMO. Longstreet gets mixed reviews from me for his work in Tennessee. Obviously his planning and launching of his attack at Chickamauga, was as good as anything planned up to that point in the war, and was similar in idea, though not execution as what Upton would do at Spotsylvania. Afterwards, he actively involves himself in getting Bragg removed. I have no love for Bragg, and can honestly say Longstreet would have been as good as anyone to replace him, but the way he went about it didn't necessarily put him in the best light. With that being said, as despised as Bragg was, I can't for the life of me understand why Davis kept him on, it was a disaster waiting to happen. .

Moving onto Chattanooga, Longstreet displays an uncharacteristic lackadaisical attitude towards the battle of Wauhatchie. He should know how important it is to deny supplies to the besieged Union army, yet he attacks with just one division (Hood's under Jenkins), and leaves much of the planning to Jenkins, who at the time is feuding with Law. It ends in a poorly executed defeat. He is then sent to Knoxville, where he launches an ill-fated assault on the city, that leads to a feud with McLaws. Clearly, not his best hour.

However, he comes back from that to meet back up with the AoNV and one of his best days with his attack against Hancock's II corps at the Wilderness.

One last thing, while interesting, Longstreet's memoirs were written long after the civil war, and much must be taken with a grain of salt.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Well, I asked you to correct me :rolleyes: and I knew my answer was overly simple but I was just giving the most basic of basic outlines of the whole Knoxville thing.

Davis was loyal, to a fault, to his friends and that is seen time and time again throughout the whole war.
 

Belfoured

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That's a pretty simplistic answer IMO. Longstreet gets mixed reviews from me for his work in Tennessee. Obviously his planning and launching of his attack at Chickamauga, was as good as anything planned up to that point in the war, and was similar in idea, though not execution as what Upton would do at Spotsylvania. Afterwards, he actively involves himself in getting Bragg removed. I have no love for Bragg, and can honestly say Longstreet would have been as good as anyone to replace him, but the way he went about it didn't necessarily put him in the best light. With that being said, as despised as Bragg was, I can't for the life of me understand why Davis kept him on, it was a disaster waiting to happen. .

Moving onto Chattanooga, Longstreet displays an uncharacteristic lackadaisical attitude towards the battle of Wauhatchie. He should know how important it is to deny supplies to the besieged Union army, yet he attacks with just one division (Hood's under Jenkins), and leaves much of the planning to Jenkins, who at the time is feuding with Law. It ends in a poorly executed defeat. He is then sent to Knoxville, where he launches an ill-fated assault on the city, that leads to a feud with McLaws. Clearly, not his best hour.

However, he comes back from that to meet back up with the AoNV and one of his best days with his attack against Hancock's II corps at the Wilderness.

One last thing, while interesting, Longstreet's memoirs were written long after the civil war, and much must be taken with a grain of salt.
"One last thing, while interesting, Longstreet's memoirs were written long after the civil war, and much must be taken with a grain of salt."

Substitute [FILL IN THE BLANK] for "Longstreet" and the statement is still true. Anybody who has ever read the recollections of Chamberlain and Gordon knows this well. And those two are very far from alone.
 

Wizard of Cozz

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"One last thing, while interesting, Longstreet's memoirs were written long after the civil war, and much must be taken with a grain of salt."

Substitute [FILL IN THE BLANK] for "Longstreet" and the statement is still true. Anybody who has ever read the recollections of Chamberlain and Gordon knows this well. And those two are very far from alone.
Absolutely, and there are varying degrees of what they are worth, and it doesn't mean that they are worth nothing, but sometimes it's better if things they say can be verified by letters or orders closer to when they actually happened, is all i'm trying to say. Early, Gordon, Chamberlain, E. Porter Alexander, ect. were writing so far after things had happened, that they may even believed many of their half-truths.
 
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