...From the door-step I watched him slowly making his cautious way through throngs of lesser men (who gave no special heed to him), and as I thought of the days when his dread name was second only to Lee's in the fear and admiration of the North, I marveled at the change in twenty years. Now he was a deaf, hesitant old man, sorrowful of aspect, poor, dim-eyed, neglected, and alone. 'Swift are the changes of life, and especially of American life,' I made note. 'Most people think of Longstreet as a dead man, yet there he walks, the gray ghost of the Confederacy, silent, alone.'
~ Hamlin Garland, from A Daughter of the Middle Border. Published in 1921, the book was winner of the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
Since General Longstreet's birthday is Friday, January 8th, I decided to post the Say What Saturday quote a bit early this week. I posted this quote a while back here at CWT, but I had never 'connected the dots.' It's a great quote on its own, but even more meaningful when when you understand the context in which it was written.
Hannibal Hamlin Garland (September 14, 1860 – March 4, 1940) was an American novelist, poet, essayist, short story writer, 'Georgist' (proponent of the single tax movement), and psychical researcher. Garland wrote a serialized biography of Ulysses S. Grant for McClure's Magazine before publishing it in 1898 as the book Ulysses S. Grant: His Life and Character. In 1917, Garland published his own autobiography, A Son of the Middle Border. The book's popularity prompted a sequel, A Daughter of the Middle Border, which won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
While researching for the Grant biography, Hamlin Garland established a relationship with General Longstreet. Beginning in November 1896, the two corresponded by mail and, in May 1897, after a "visit with the aged ex-warrior," Garland wrote "a sketch of the last great figure of the confederacy as he appears today in his quiet mountain home in Georgia..." [The entire article is included below in post #2 of this thread.]
Omaha Daily Bee. (Omaha, NE), May 30, 1897, Part III, page 20.
When Ulysses S. Grant: His Life and Character was published, Garland sent a copy to General Longstreet in Gainesville, GA. The gift was acknowledged as follows:
USC Digital Library, Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 (Attribution 4.0 International)
More than 20 years later, Hamlin Garland's reminiscence of the General was included in A Daughter of the Middle Border. [Source for quote: https://archive.org/stream/daughtersmidd00garlrich#page/58/mode/2up/search/Longstreet ~ page 59]