What did Lee think of Longstreet's performance?

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OldReliable1862

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With Old Pete's birthday having just been celebrated, I thought I'd prod the hornet's nest and ask: what did Lee think of his performance during the battle as a whole? I'm aware of the "All my fault, all my fault" anecdote - by the way, does anyone know where this quote comes from, so we can try to establish what the context was?

Lee was working on his memoirs at the time of his death, but as he never finished them, we'll never have his view of the situation. However, he doesn't seem to have blamed Pete at any point.
 

jackt62

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We can say that whatever Lee might have thought about Longstreet's performance at Gettysburg, Lee remained dependent on Longstreet until the end of the war. Longstreet's corps was still a formidable force and was instrumental in helping stop the Union advance through the Wilderness on its 2nd day until his accidental wounding. After his return to the ANV, Lee relied on Longstreet's advice about treating with Grant over surrender terms at Appomattox. Much of the criticism of Longstreet was based on the post war "Lost Cause" writers who sought to shield Lee from major blame for the Gettysburg defeat, and consequently directed their attention to Longstreet, whose association with the Republican Party in their view, was further evidence of his alleged misdeeds.
 

Eleanor Rose

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With Old Pete's birthday having just been celebrated, I thought I'd prod the hornet's nest and ask: what did Lee think of his performance during the battle as a whole? I'm aware of the "All my fault, all my fault" anecdote - by the way, does anyone know where this quote comes from, so we can try to establish what the context was?

Lee was working on his memoirs at the time of his death, but as he never finished them, we'll never have his view of the situation. However, he doesn't seem to have blamed Pete at any point.
I actually did a thread devoted to this topic. General Lee did not blame General Longstreet. Of course, we can never say that enough because there are still some folks who like to bash my favorite general. 😪

 
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OpnCoronet

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We can never know for sure because Lee was careful never to have mentioned it.

As discovered by Lee in his reorganization of the ANV , there was a dearth of outstanding talent for corps commanders in the Army, with Longstreet being the Best, i.e., if Longsgtreet was the Best, who then to replace him?

Longstreet, along with others, had misfired at Gettysburg, but it was too early in the reorganization to throw the piece away. Lee decided to tinker with the piece and try it again. He could not really replace any of the present Corps commanders with anyone better.

Lee, I think, came closest to the truth, as far as he was concerned, when he admitted that the ANV had been overtried, Which I believe referred to his supreme confidence in the ANV itself annd and could overcome any deficienncies of its commanders if properly positioned and directed into battle, which, I think, he assumed would be his job.

Lee had been disappointed by his senior commanders, but not disheartened, but did realize that the ANV, was not all conquering under any circumstances.
 

Irishtom29

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I assume Lee was well satisfied with Longstreet. On the second day Longstreet's corps, short a division, did what I think was the finest single day's fighting of any corps in the war. On the third day Longstreet, given a task bound to fail, failed. That was on Lee.

At Gettysburg Lee had a poor grip on his army and most of the army's failures at high command level are on him.
 
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OldReliable1862

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I assume Lee was well satisfied with Longstreet. On the second day Longstreet's corps, short a division, did what I think was the finest single day's fighting of any corps in the war. On the third day Longstreet, given a task bound to fail, failed. That was on Lee.

At Gettysburg Lee had a poor grip on his army and most of the army's failures at high command level are on him.
It seems to me that, at Gettysburg, the old Lee of Malvern Hill reappeared big time.

As far as talent in high command, I wouldn't knock the ANV's other commanders quite yet. Richard H. Anderson wa steady and capable, and Early, Rodes, and Gordon were on the rise.
 
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jackt62

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at Gettysburg, the old Lee of Malvern Hill reappeared big time.
Maybe that old Lee never really disappeared. His aggressive tactics and insistence on risky tactics including dividing his forces may have given him success on other battlefields, but sooner or later, were bound to run up against a wall, such as what happened at Gettysburg.
 

Irishtom29

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Longstreet is one of those interesting guys from the war. I put him in that George Thomas category. I doubt that there was a better defensive Commander in the South
I doubt there was a better offensive corps commander on either side.

He didn't do that much defensive fighting and screwed up his most important defensive task, that of holding Lookout Valley.
 
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War Horse

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Maybe that old Lee never really disappeared. His aggressive tactics and insistence on risky tactics including dividing his forces may have given him success on other battlefields, but sooner or later, were bound to run up against a wall, such as what happened at Gettysburg.
Perhaps like Fredericksburg. :smile:
 

War Horse

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It bears pointing out that there was plenty of blame to go around at the upper levels of Confederate command at Gettysburg. Whatever mistakes Longstreet may have made, he could hardly be singled out among Lee's corps and division commanders for miscues there.
Perhaps like the opening of the campaign. Heth blew it from the start.
 

War Horse

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Yes. Antietam being the more difficult fight. Fredericksburg called upon no special defensive talents.
You’re kidding right? Alexander’s placement of guns made the invincible defensive position. If that’s not special talent, no one in the war showed any.
 
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War Horse

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It bears pointing out that there was plenty of blame to go around at the upper levels of Confederate command at Gettysburg. Whatever mistakes Longstreet may have made, he could hardly be singled out among Lee's corps and division commanders for miscues there.
Agreed. Longstreet and Jackson shared an extraordinary talent. The ability to coordinate the movement of extremely large numbers of men. This ability was very uncommon at the time. No communicates equipment whatsoever. This was the keystone of Lee’s success. To have two such men in the same Army was an anomaly. Without Jackson Lee was already at a disadvantage. Taking nothing away from Ewell’s performance. He did as good of a job as could be expected.
 
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