I have decided to start a series of threads dedicated to learning more about James Longstreet. This series will cover his birth, youth, pre-war, war, and post war years. I feel some here may find getting to know him interesting. I'll start it off with the opening passage found in General James Longstreet; The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier by Jeffry D. Wert. It still gives me chills. I hope you enjoy The column of men marched up the street in the warmth of a late spring day. Numbering perhaps fifteen thousand and stretching back out of view, the marchers came on without a cadence in their strides or a symmetry to their ranks. Many of them wore tattered old clothes; no two seemed to be dressed alike. At one point in the precession the shredded remains of a battle flag, held together by red mosquito netting, rose above their heads. The huge crowd of onlookers, however, needed no flag: The sight of these marchers was enough. Everyone sensed that beside each man in the column walked a ghost. The day was May 29, 1890, in Richmond, Virginia, a time for memories and ghosts. The previous week, the former capital of the Confederacy had been gripped with a "frenzy of Southern feeling," according to a newspaper reporter. Drygood stores sold Confederate emblems; a huge confederate flag draped across the façade of the city hall; and thousands of invited guests and visitors spilled from railroad cars. The city seemingly resonated with the sounds of the past. The occasion long planned and anticipated was the unveiling of an equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee. Sculptor J. A. C. Mercie had designed and created the monument to the former commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, and a coterie of Lee's lieutenants in the army ---Jubal A. Early, Fitzhugh Lee, John B. Gordon and others assisted in the preparations. Invitations were extended to former officers, units, and veterans of the confederacy's most famous army. In the capital of the long-dead Confederacy, the justness of the Lost Cause and the greatness of Lee's military genius would be affirmed. At noon on the 29th, the chief marshal and the general's nephew, Fitzhugh Lee, mounted on a iron-gray horse, led the parade down Broad Street. Behind him came bands playing music and ranks of young men in uniform, striding forth with the assurance of their years and with the dreams of untested warriors. The crowds of spectators lining the street watched this passage of youth closely, but they were there to see and honor the veterans of Malvern Hill, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness and Appomattox. As the old soldiers ---- the youth of an earlier generation who had christened the Confederacy with their sacrifices for four long years --- appeared, the onlookers cheered. At the head of the column rode John Gordon, the ramrod-straight Georgian who had led Lee's army in that final march on the road at Appomattox. Behind him and interspersed among the ranks of the veterans came other generals ---Early, Joseph E. Johnston, Wade Hampton, Cadmus M. Wilcox, Joseph Kershaw, Charles Field, Joseph Wheeler, and E. Porter Alexander. The crowed greeted each of them with additional cheering. But as the carriage of one former general passed, the response of the people increased, rippling along the parade route and rising in volume like a volley of musketry fired from one end of the battleline to the other. When former soldiers in the column recognized their old chief, they broke ranks, stopping the procession. A few of the men volunteered to lead the horses throughout the route. At the platform near the covered monument, the general, took his place on the stand. The assembled veterans emitted a yell, that eerie Southern battle cry that had echoed across numerous bloody fields. James Longstreet, former lieutenant general and commander of the First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, had arrived. His journey to this place and time had been long. For the better part of the past two decades he and been an apostate, a scapegoat for the majority of Southerners. His record in the war had been vilified and falsified, his devotion to the confederacy had been questioned. He defended himself in print but did it poorly and only enhanced the efforts of this detractors. The organizers of the event had not invited him until the some of his former artillerymen insisted that he attend as their escort, and he accepted. As he sat down, he knew that to many of former comrades on the platform he was an unwanted presence. On this day for memories, however, the veterans of the army remembered James Longstreet as a soldier and saluted him. They knew he belonged there, for he had earned their respect and devotion from the beginning at First Manassas to the end at Appomattox. Although he now looked "old, feeble, indeed badly broken up" to one of his former staff officers, they recalled him as a robust, powerful, and tireless man whose battlefield courage and sincere concern for their welfare had few equals in the army. He had the soul of a soldier, and they never forgot it. So he sat before the men he cared most about, at the foot of a monument dedicated to the general who had called him "my old war-horse." It was as it should have been----a day for memories, a day for ghosts, a day for soldiers. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. This describes the man I became fascinated with many years ago. If you like, join me on a journey spanning his entire lifetime through a series of threads. Get to know the man Lee called his "old war-horse"