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Statue/monument of General Longstreet...

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Southernbelle, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Cadet

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    December 18

    Hello all,
    I have visited Gettysburg National Military Park many times. I noticed that the statue of General Longstreet on his horse is not raised - it sits directly on the ground and is easy to overlook. When I first saw the statue I thought it looked like a carousel horse - it did not seem dignified. I asked the tour guide about it and was told that many seem to blame the loss of the battle on General Longstreet for various reasons, and some have suggested that is reflected in the monument. I am not sure what group dedicated the monument. Any thoughts on this subject? Thank you.[​IMG]
     

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  3. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Welcome to the boards, Southernbelle. Good to have you here.

    I've never noticed that or heard about it before. I guess it's possible that the reason for no pedestal is what the tour guide suggested, but I thought most of those monuments were placed by the states from which the soldiers/regiments etc. hailed. It doesn't make too much sense for whoever placed the monument in his honor, to have also deliberately set it up with an already built-in insult. But I could be wrong.



    Lee
     
  4. Bonny Blue Flag

    Bonny Blue Flag 1st Lieutenant

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    Welcome, Southernbelle!

    I have visited Gettysburg and have seen the statue in question. It looked disproportional, the body of Longstreet to the body of the horse.

    They don't appear to be built for the same statue--either Longstreet's body needed to be smaller to fit the frame of the horse, or the horse needed to be bigger.

    Perhaps it is an artist's personal rendition of the man, the history.....or the horse.

    --BBF
     
  5. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Dear Southernbelle;

    Welcome to Civil War Talk!

    I look forward to your future postings here and in many of the forums here.

    I must warn you though; there will be times the software will net a naughty word or more. It will appear in your post as a ***** . Moderators have no control over it but; one of the most frequent 'word' caught in the net is: f-u-r-t-h-e-r. LOL Go figure. It is an innocent word and its caught a lot. So, if you see a word you know is innocent, like fu-rt-her or, General C-um-mings and or ship's s-cr-ew; just go back to your original post, hit the edit button and insert a few well placed hyphens if you will.

    Another thing we're finding; is that some names are shared by other states, same with roads. So, if you will - when you are talking about Arlington, please denote which one-- Arlington, Virginia, Arlington, Texas, etc. Columbia Pike, is another common road term; so it would help to know where this road is--Virginia or elsewhere. That way, we're able to follow your topic/words/comments and observations.

    Please know there are no quotas but, certainly want to hear from you. Post when you feel comfortable in doing so and at your own speed.

    References are wonderful if you have them. It is great to go to the same book, page and read as another poster has; to read all of what that page has to offer. I like official records myself. So, I post all the information I can as to share.

    Personal opinions and comments are welcomed also. So, don't feel this forum requires only references as to post comments about.

    Now that I have done my official, unofficial greeting duties :wink: -=- onto the topic of your post....

    From the rumors I heard; the Longstreet family commissioned the statue but, the artist ran over budget and also didn't give the Longstreet family the promised quality of goods.

    To me, it looks more like actor Tom Berenger who played 'General Longstreet' in the movie "Gettysburg." Hero, Longstreet's horse was an Irish Thoroughbred and the statue looks like some cross between a plow horse and pony. Longstreet, being 'Dutch' have big bones and strong. Berenger really does fit that physical statue well.

    I personally feel that General Longstreet; General Lee's "Old War Horse" which is an extreme compliment; has been humiliated once again by such a statue. I think the Longstreet family was ripped off in a royal manner; but--couldn't raise funds once lost so much; they had to accept it.
    I think Longstreet should be on a bronze memorial like everybody else; life like and in proportion.

    When Lee died; all the blame games started on Longstreet for the loss at Gettysburg but; other Generals performed far worse and have better memorials. And, several of the poor performers at Gettysburg had better memorials than Longstreet's to which 'finally' was permitted in 1993 after the movie Gettysburg was made.

    Frankly, if I had the money-- I'd make sure Longstreet was properly honored. Unfortunately, I am not wealthy enough to do so. And, I don't have the authority to kick some caboose in South Carolina or Georgia to get a proper monument for Longstreet.

    Respectfully submitted for consideration,
    M. E. Wolf
     
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  6. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Southern Belle: Welcome. Have not been there, have not seen that, but it seems to me that Longstreet was not tiny, so any horse you put him on is going to look too small.

    On the other hand, if you go into Tennessee, you will be hard put to find anything that mentions John Bell Hood. So maybe there is some of that on the fields of Gettysburg.

    Pay no attention to me; I really, really know nothing at all.

    Ole
     
  7. PvtClewell

    PvtClewell Corporal

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    Maybe this link will help:

    http://www.gettysburgdaily.com/?p=143

    Be warned. The site I offer here is not a fan of the statue, but I think it might answer a few questions. I personally think the statue is a little cartoonish.

    Incidentally, the Longstreet statue is the creation of Gary Casteel, who also did the Davis and Jim Limber statue.
     
  8. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    From the different angles of photography shown, Longstreet does look quite out of proportion to his horse, and the statue doesn't really convey a tribute, in my opinion. Cartoonish is a good word, I'm afraid. I can see what Southernbelle is talking about. I think many fans of Longstreet, including myself, would be disappointed. The photo of it in the snow taken by Mike posted on another thread looks better. Perhaps the angle from which the photo was taken, combined with the snow. I dunno.



    Lee
     
  9. PvtClewell

    PvtClewell Corporal

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    Here is another site giving some background behind the creation of the Longstreet Memorial at Gettysburg:

    http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/l/Longstreet_Memorial_Fund.html

    I vaguely remember donating $25 to the North Carolina division of the SCV, which was heavily involved in the commission of the statue and the fundraising behind it.

    If you scroll down to 'Historical note", you get this:

    "The Longstreet Memorial Fund was established in June 1991 by the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to erect a monument to the memory of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Confederate States of America. The committee met for the first time in July 1991 and decided that, among all the proposed sites, the Gettysburg National Military Park would be most appropriate for a monument dedicated to General Longstreet.

    A meeting with Gettysburg National Military Park officials was scheduled for January 1992, at which time the National Park Service granted permission to begin the process of erecting a statue in Pitzer Woods, located on West Confederate Avenue, where Longstreet directed his activities on 2 and 3 July 1863.

    Gary Casteel designed Longstreet's equestrian monument, which was unveiled in a two day ceremony held on 2 and 3 July 1997."
     
  10. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Southern Belle,

    I was part of the group that helped dedicate Longstreet's statue and I assure you, it was done with all the respect and consideration that all of the great Southern generals have received in previous dedications.

    I was part of the reenactor element that made up the honor guard for the dedication ceremoney (17th Mississippi was my company) made up from units primarily of the reenacting Army of Northern Virginia. I was informed by our officers that our units were the first Confederate forces, under arms (we were permitted to fix bayonets), on the battlefield in over 140 years.

    I recall at least one Senator was there and perhaps other state representatives. It was a real thrill to present arms when the statue was unveiled.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
  11. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    I believe the style of the statue, less than life size and mounted on eye level, not on a pedestal, reflects current trends of statuary and not disrespect for Longstreet. However, since it is in a jarringly different style then other statues in the park, it doesn't really work. It's not a good likeness of Longstreet either, recalling Tom Berenger from the movie(wide beard vs. Longstreet's narrow beard, cowboy hat, not the kepi that Longstreet usually wore), as well as the tiny pony that the general is on, detract.On the other hand, Longstreet was controversal during his life and after his death, and having him in violent motion down in the dust, is somehow fitting.
     
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  12. gary

    gary 1st Lieutenant

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    It's out of proportions because it's supposed to be high up on a pedestal. Fund raising fell short and there was just enough to make the statute, but not enough to pay for a marble or granite pedestal.
     
  13. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    That's really unfortunate. It seems that there would be at least one southern, or northern for that matter, history or CW buff with the money to purchase a decent pedestal for that statue. How much of a dent in the wallet would that be for a Ted Turner, or a Fred Smith (Fedex founder who grew up in Memphis, CW buff, and helped Bob Dole raise funds for the WWII monument in DC)? I would think any well-to-do CW enthusiast would be happy to do that. Perhaps the problem hasn't been publicized well enuff. (?)



    Lee
     
  14. Crazy Delawares

    Crazy Delawares Sergeant

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    In speaking to a person born and raised in Gettysburg one time, she said that there is no pedestal for the General because it was supposed to reflect his lack of political standing in the South after the war.
    His size is disproportionate because the man himself became larger than life due to all the controversy between him and Early. The small horse, if I recall correctly, was supposed to reinforce his weak standing in southern society.
    IF, and I reiterate IF, what I say is correct, then the statue takes on more of a statement character then a memorial one.
    Then again, I could be WAY OFF on this one (as well as my G-burg connection).
     
  15. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Sculptor Gary Casteel on the Longstreet Monument (5 pages plus photos):
    http://www.garycasteel.com/longstreet.htm








    Another opinion on the statue:

    [​IMG]
    "...Not all of them are as exceptional as the Meade and Lee statues. The one of Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet on his horse Hero, dedicated in 1998, is an abomination. The sculptor seems not to have based Longstreet’s face on any known photograph of the man.Instead, Longstreet sports a beard that looks very much like J. E. B. Stuart’s full and rounded beard or even like the one worn by Santa Claus in Thomas Nast’s famous engraving. Worse, Hero is a horse too small for either the real Longstreet or the figure depicted in the statue. Looking more like a wooden or plaster carousel horse, Hero also lacks the correct proportions—the basic anatomy and body dimensions—of an actual horse, with its hind quarters and croup too large, its shoulders too small, its withers practically non-existent, its point of shoulder too broad, its legs too short, its neck too swollen—and in a pose that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a real horse to ever replicate. As for Longstreet, who spent a good part of his life (and the Civil War) in the saddle, he is clutching the reins in a manner that no experienced horseman would ever do.

    Breaking the park rules, Ron and I left the bridle trail and rode up beside the Longstreet monument which, by the way, lacks a pedestal; instead, the horse’s hooves sit flat on the ground) in Pitzer’s Woods along Seminary Ridge, south of the Virginia Memorial, just to see how mistaken the sculptor had been in rendering Hero. Even next to my relatively small Rocky Mountain mare, Tess, Hero seemed tiny and insignificant—a pony, rather than a horse. From the saddle, one must look down on the Longstreet equestrian statue rather than looking straight at the man or his horse in the eye. Unfortunately for Longstreet, this monument—one of only two in the country erected in his memory (the other is in Gainesville, Georgia)—diminishes the man and his war record rather than truly honoring him. If my artistic criticism seems excessive, so be it. In my estimation, the Longstreet statue is probably the worst tribute to a Civil War soldier and his horse that I know of.​

    The Longstreet statue also violates an accidental similarity found among the seven other Gettysburg equestrian statues. On those other statues, if one of the horse’s hooves are raised (as in the case of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock’s equestrian statue, then its rider was wounded in the battle ; two hooves raised, as in the case of Major General John F. Reynolds’s monument, then the rider was killed at Gettysburg; and if all the hooves are firmly on the ground, like Traveller and Old Baldy, then the riders survived the battle. The Longstreet monument breaks that old tradition by depicting Hero with one hoof raised, when, in fact, its rider was not wounded in the battle. Why the sculptor, rather audaciously and quite unnecessarily for artistic effect, chose to break the tradition is not known. All in all, it was yet another of his extraordinarily bad judgments."​








    Lee
     
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  16. Crazy Delawares

    Crazy Delawares Sergeant

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    The raised hoof reminds me, my "source" said that the raised hoof signifies Longstreet's political "wounding" after the war when he criticized Gen. Lee.
    Folks, take it for what its worth.
     
  17. bama46

    bama46 Captain

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    In contrast to the majority of the posters, it is my opinion that the North Carolina monument and the Longstreet Monument are tow of the most beautiful monuments on the battlefield. The longstreet monument conveys the power of the horse and the man in a convincing way. It is an action figure rother than a posed equestrian. It is probalby not for everyone, but as the only monument to the general anywhere, it does him justice IMHO
     
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  18. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Sounds like we're reading more into it than the artiste intended. Or are we just trying to figure out what the artiste intended?

    Seems like we're looking for the Bucyrus for our monuments to ride. It was not always so. Stonewall rode one of the sorriest-looking horses -- small, not at all pretty, but Little Sorrel was apparently an easy ride. And "easy ride" figures largely into which horse you're going to ride.

    I'm not much of a rider, but I have at least experienced the difference between a horse that canters and one that glides. Trust me; if you spend any time in the saddle, the horse that glides is preferred.

    In a slightly different vein, all the generals had several horses and usually hired a man to see that they remained well fed and maintained. Sherman's favorite horse was likely an easy ride, but it got skittish when it was noisy. Grant commandeered a small horse called Little Jeff outside of Vicksburg that was an easy ride. When it came time to look imposing and general-like, he rode Cincinnati. (Then, I'll figure he told his wrangler to get the tack back on Little Jeff.)

    One of those silly details we overlook. Jackson rode Little Sorrel. Don't know what Longstreet rode, but you can take ito the bank that he didn't much care about the horse's appearance.

    Ole
     
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  19. samgrant

    samgrant Captain Retired Moderator

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    "cartoonish" is the word that occured to me also, even before I read your post.

    I have just found what the "Star and Banner" has dermined to be the 2nd ugliest monument:

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache...ument+at+gettysburg"&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

    (Sorry if this was been previously posted.)

    --
     
  20. DSERRANO

    DSERRANO Cadet

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    longstreet statue

    artists seem to get carried away with there own ideas and ideals, egos enter the fray and distort the true intention of the monument. There hasnt been a good historical sculpture done i n this country in for at least 50 years. if you want good civil war sculyure go to Baltimore. The Longstreet sculture is out of proportion and horribly inacurate. We need to preserve the existing 19th century monuments instead of filling up the park with tacky new stuff.
     
  21. RebelCaptainDave

    RebelCaptainDave Cadet

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    Well now folks, It might be just me, but I think the sculpture looks fine!
    Being on the ground makes it more personal indeed, as it should be. It could use some more troops around it to make it more appealing or even his companies colors. The sculpture speaks " action"!

    Captain Dave
     

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