Say What Saturday: Longstreet on Grant's "Prophecy of Peace" April 1896

lelliott19

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Speaking of General Grant, former Confederate General James Longstreet said: "He stood alone as the man for the time. When it was ended the war with him was over. His heavy blows were changed to pleasant salutations." Everyone here probably already knows this, but, like others who had once fought on opposing sides, Grant and Longstreet developed a cordial relationship after the war. Actually, it was more than cordial. The two men held each other in high esteem; they were friends. Eight month's after Grant's death, former Confederate General James Longstreet was invited to Boston, Massachusetts to provide the principal address for the Middlesex Club's Annual Grant Banquet.

Boston, April 28 --- Gen. Longstreet, of Georgia, Grant's greatest antagonist, is the guest of the Middlesex club, and on Monday night was the principal speaker at its annual Grant banquet.

Gen. Longstreet. upon rising to respond to the toast, was received with long-continued cheers, the audience standing and rapturously greeting him, and even during the first few sentences it was impossible for the general to be heard consecutively, owing to the interruption of applause. He said, among other things:

Of all the union commanders, he was the great leader who accurately surveyed the great field of war, the elements of strength, and points of error, and considered the vast means so necessary to solve the problem. He stood alone as the man for the time. When it was ended the war with him was over. His heavy blows were changed to pleasant salutations. Incapable of malice his generous heart offered all that his enemy could ask as terms for surrender with abundance of provisions for the hungry soldiers and transportation to their distant homes.

If he could have been in Chicago in May of last year and witnessed the unveiling of a monument over the dead confederate prisoners of war and could have been with us at the dedication of the national park at Chickamauga in September last, to witness the assembling of Gov. Morton, Gov. McKinley, Gen. Alger, Gen. Grosvenor, Gen. Bates, Gen. Gordon, and multitudes of those of the blue and the gray in cordial, fraternal greetings, he could have known that his prophecy of peace was not a delusive hope, but a happy fruition, mirrored in the expressions of all his countrymen.
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The Diamond Drill. (Crystal Falls, Iron County, MI), May 02, 1896, page 6.
 

Ole Miss

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It has always been difficult for my wife to understand how men can be at each other's throats then be over it so quickly! Like little boys who fight and then go ride bikes together. She has assured me that women do not make up so quickly and sometimes never do. Makes me wonder about the soldiers of the ACW.

We see and read stories about ole foes who reminisced about their days of deadly conflict yet are now best friends. The missing part about those stories is time! I am fairly certain that in the months and years after the War, during the recession and Western expansion of this Nation, former enemies were not so quick to forgive and forget. Animosities were high till about the 1880's or so when age had mellowed the sharp pangs of memories and lost family and friends.

We saw the same actions with WW II foes as well as those of the Viet Nam War. Man's ability to heal and forgive gives me hope and comfort that our present issues will be healed and we as a country will come together as we always have.
Regards
David
 

lelliott19

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Man's ability to heal and forgive gives me hope and comfort that our present issues will be healed and we as a country will come together as we always have.
I hope you're right. I debated over posting this now - with all that is going on. I decided to go ahead since I see it as inspiration for us to come together as Grant and Longstreet and others did after the war. I don't want this to turn into a debate over current events, so please no one take it in that direction. I'd hate to have to lock my own thread. :biggrin: I'd just like us to recognize that great men were able to overcome their differences. Surely we can all take inspiration from that?
 

farrargirl

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I hope you're right. I debated over posting this now - with all that is going on. I decided to go ahead since I see it as inspiration for us to come together as Grant and Longstreet and others did after the war. I don't want this to turn into a debate over current events, so please no one take it in that direction. I'd hate to have to lock my own thread. :biggrin: I'd just like us to recognize that great men were able to overcome their differences. Surely we can all take inspiration from that?
A great post, Laura. And timely, absolutely. Here’s one of my favorite books on him from my library, and a quote from pgs 159-60.
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