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05/22/15

After the War: The Lees

This entry is part of 4 in the series After the War: Military Leaders

Custis LeeRobert E. Lee had three sons and a nephew serve in the Confederate Army. Three of them attained the rank of major general and all of them had interesting postbellum lives.

George Washington Custis Lee was born in 1832 at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He was familiarly known as Custis to his family and friends. Custis entered West Point at the age of seventeen and attended the national military academy from 1850 until his graduation in 1854.

During his first year, Lee excelled both academically and militarily. Toward the end of his first year he was almost expelled, when alcohol was found in his room. He claimed that he did not put it there, and got away with only minor punishments. He did well his second year also. At the beginning of his third year, his father became the Superintendent of West Point. He graduated first in his class of forty-six, in 1854.

Lee was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers as a brevet Second Lieutenant. He served primarily in California, Georgia, and Florida during his time in the U.S. Army. In 1855, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the Regular Army. In 1859, Lee was commissioned a full First Lieutenant. Lee was stationed in Washington D. C., during the period of secession and the firing on Fort Sumter.

He then resigned from the U.S. Army, in the spring of 1861 after Virginia seceded from the Union. He resigned about two weeks after his father had done the same. Lee then offered his services to the Virginia state forces.

Lee served in the Virginia state forces, until July 1861. At that time he was given a commission as a Captain in the Confederate Army. During the next few months, Lee worked in the Confederate engineers corps. He spent his time constructing fortifications for the new capital city, Richmond.

At the end of August 1861, Lee was offered and accepted the position of aide-de-camp to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He was then promoted to the rank of Colonel. Lee served in his position for the next three years of the war. He was often sent on missions to assess the military, and would then return to report to Davis.

By 1864 he had commanded troops in the defenses of the capital city and was promoted to Major General. After the fall of Petersburg he commanded troops in the retreat. He was captured at Sayler’s Creek three days before his father’s surrender at Appomattox.

In late 1865, Lee was hired as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute. Lee held this position until the death of his father. Between 1871 and 1897, Lee served as the ninth president of Washington and Lee University. In 1897, Lee resigned as president of Washington and Lee University. He then moved to the home of his late brother, Major General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, Ravensworth Mansion. Lee died on February 18, 1913 in Alexandria, Virginia, and is buried in the Lee Chapel, near his family members.

William Henry Fitzhugh Lee was born in 1837 at Arlington House in Arlington, Virginia. He attended Harvard University Rooney Leeand in 1857 entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. He participated in the Utah War against the Mormons while serving in the 6th U.S. Infantry. In 1859, he resigned from the U.S. Army to operate his White House Plantation, on the south shore of the Pamunkey River, in New Kent County, Virginia.

Lee, known as Rooney to his family and friends, spent the entire war in the Calvary. He primarily served in the command of J.E.B. Stuart. He was wounded at Brandy Station and captured by Union forces.

He was shipped to New York State, where he was held as a prisoner of war until returned to the Confederate Army on February 25, 1864, in exchange for Union Brig. Gen. Neal S. Dow. In April, Lee was promoted to major general and commanded a division in the Cavalry Corps during the breakout from Petersburg and the retreat of his father’s army in the Appomattox Campaign.

By the end of the war, Rooney Lee had risen to second-in-command of the Confederate cavalry. He surrendered along with his father at Appomattox Court House.

After the surrender he returned to White House Plantation. After their mother died in 1873, Rooney inherited Ravensworth Plantation, the old Fitzhugh family property in Fairfax County. He moved there with his family from White House.

In 1875 Rooney was elected to the Virginia Senate, serving until 1878. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1887. He served in the House until his death at Ravensworth in 1891. He is interred in the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, with his parents and siblings.

Rob LeeRobert Edward “Rob” Lee, Jr., known as Rob, was born in 1843. Rob never envisioned a military career and in 1860 enrolled at the University of Virginia. To his mother’s dismay he joined the Rockbridge Artillery as a private.

After the Battle of Sharpsburg, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned as aide to his older brother Custis. The latter was a major general and aide-de-camp to the Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and involved in defending Richmond, Virginia.

After the war, Rob lived and farmed Romancoke Plantation on the north bank of the Pamunkey River in King William County, which he inherited from his maternal grandfather George Washington Parke Custis.

Rob also became a writer, gathering his memories of his family and life in Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee (1904). The first-hand account provides a valuable source of information on day-to-day life at Arlington House during his youth, and includes many items of interest regarding his father’s entire life. However, some are now offended by racial views expressed therein.

Robert E. Lee, Jr. died in 1914. He was interred with his parents and siblings in the Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginia, where his father and brother Custis each had served as a president of the college now known as Washington and Lee University.

Finally, there is their cousin Fitzhugh Lee who was born in 1835. He was the son of Sydney Smith Lee who had a distinguished career in the United States Navy. Fitz Lee graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1856 and was Fitzhugh Leecommissioned as a cavalry officer in the regiment that was commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston with his uncle Robert E. Lee as second-in-command.

Lee resigned his position at West Point when Virginia seceded. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the cavalry and as a staff officer. However, he rose rapidly and by July 1862 was a brigadier general. He served primarily under the command of J.E.B. Stuart. After the Battle of Gettysburg Stuart singled him out as “one of the finest cavalry leaders on the continent, and richly [entitled] to promotion”. He was soon promoted to major general.

After Stuart’s death at Yellow Tavern Wade Hampton was promoted to command the Confederate cavalry. Lee remained in command of his division. When Hampton was sent to North Carolina to assist General Joseph E. Johnston Fitz Lee succeeded to command. He personally led the last cavalry charge on April 9th at Farmville, Virginia.

After the war, Lee devoted himself to farming in Stafford County, Virginia, and was conspicuous in his efforts to reconcile the Southern people to the issue of the war, which he regarded as a final settlement of the questions at issue. In 1885, he was a member of the board of visitors of West Point. From 1886 to 1890 he was governor of Virginia having defeated Republican John Sergeant Wise with 52.77% of the vote.

In April 1896, Lee was appointed consul-general at Havana by President Cleveland, with duties of a diplomatic and military character added to the usual consular business. In this post (in which he was retained by President William McKinley until 1898) he was from the first called upon to deal with a situation of great difficulty, which culminated with the destruction of the warship USS Maine. Upon the declaration of war between Spain and the United States, he re-entered the army.

He was one of three ex-Confederate general officers who were made major generals of United States Volunteers (the others being Joseph Wheeler and Thomas L. Rosser). Fitzhugh Lee commanded the 7th Army Corps, but took no part in the actual operations in Cuba. He was military governor of Havana and Pinar del Río in 1899, subsequently commanded the Department of the Missouri, and retired in 1901 as a brigadier general, U.S. Army, having come full circle.

Lee died in Washington, D.C., and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

The Lee family with five members in the Confederate Army distinguished themselves as true sons of Virginia and defenders of their state. They served Virginia in a variety of positions both in war and peace.

05/5/15

After the War: Ulysses S. Grant

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series After the War: Military Leaders

Ulysses S. GrantMany of the men who fought on both sides during the Civil War became prominent politicians and businessmen after the war. In this series we are going to take a look at them. We’ll start with the Union General-in-Chief, Ulysses S. Grant.

At the end of the war Grant was approaching 43 years old, not very old for a man of his high position, even in the 19th century. He continued as the Commanding General of the United States Army until March 4, 1869 when he was succeeded by his good friend William Tecumseh Sherman. Sherman held the position until November 1, 1883.

Grant stepped down because he was elected the 18th President of the United States. Grant won the election by 300,000 votes out of 5,716,082 votes cast, receiving an electoral college landslide, of 214 votes to Seymour’s 80. Grant, at the age of 46 was (at the time) the youngest president ever elected. He held that position for two terms leaving in 1877.

Grant stabilized the nation during the turbulent Reconstruction period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, and enforced civil and voting rights laws using the army and the Department of Justice.

He used the army to build the Republican Party in the South, based on black voters, Northern newcomers (“carpetbaggers”), and native Southern white supporters (“scalawags”). After the disenfranchisement of some former Confederates, Republicans gained majorities and African Americans were elected to Congress and high state offices.

In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated one by one as redeemers (conservative whites) regained control using coercion and violence.

Grant’s Indian peace policy initially reduced frontier violence, but is best known for the Great Sioux War of 1876, where George Custer and his regiment were killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Throughout his presidency, Grant faced congressional investigations into corruption in executive agencies, including bribery charges against two of his Cabinet members. Grant’s administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar.

In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase American trade and influence, while remaining at peace with the world. His administration successfully resolved the Alabama Claims with Great Britain, ending wartime tensions. Grant avoided war with Spain over the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his attempted annexation of the Dominican Republic. His response to the Panic of 1873 gave some financial relief to New York banking houses, but was ineffective in halting the five-year economic depression that produced high unemployment, low prices, low profits, and bankruptcies.

After he left the White House Grant and his wife embarked on a two-year world tour. The trip began in Liverpool in May 1877, where enormous crowds greeted the ex-president and his entourage. The Grants dined with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, and Grant gave several speeches in London.

After a tour on the continent, the Grants spent a few months with their daughter Nellie, who had married an Englishman and moved to that country several years before. Grant and his wife journeyed to France and Italy, spending Christmas 1877 aboard USS Vandalia, a warship docked in Palermo.

A winter sojourn in the Holy Land followed, and they visited Greece before returning to Italy and a meeting with Pope Leo XIII. They toured Spain before moving on to Germany, where Grant discussed military matters with Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, telling him that in final stages of the Civil War, the Union Army fought to preserve the nation and to “destroy slavery”.

The Grants left from England by ship, sailing through the Suez Canal to India. They visited cities throughout the Raj, welcomed by colonial officials. After India, they toured Burma, Siam (where Grant met with King Chulalongkorn), Singapore, and Cochinchina (Vietnam). 

Traveling on to Hong Kong, Grant began to change his mind on the nature of colonization, believing that British rule was not “purely selfish” but also good for the colonial subjects. Leaving Hong Kong, the Grants visited the cities of Canton, Shanghai, and Peking, China.

He declined to ask for an interview with the Guangxu Emperor, a child of seven, but did speak with the head of government, Prince Gong, and Li Hongzhang, a leading general. They discussed China’s dispute with Japan over the Ryukyu Islands, and Grant agreed to help bring the two sides to agreement. After crossing over to Japan and meeting the Emperor Meiji, Grant convinced China to accept the Japanese annexation of the islands, and the two nations avoided war.

Both of the Grants were homesick and in 1879 they returned to the United States by way of San Francisco where they were greeted by cheering crowds. By the end of the year the were back in Philadelphia. Grant’s new-found popularity encouraged the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party to press him to run for a third term. The 1880 convention became in a bitter contest that lasted 36 ballots until James Garfield, a compromise candidate was nominated.

Grant tried several business but eventually they were all unsuccessful. The ventures depleted Grant’s savings and he was forced to sell  his Civil War mementos and the sale or transfer of all other assets. By 1884 he was bankrupt and destitute.

After writing several articles about the war which were well received, Grant began to write his memoirs at the urging of the editor, Robert Underwood Johnson.

By late 1884 Grant had received a diagnosis of throat cancer. Despite his debilitating illness, Grant worked diligently on his memoirs at his home in New York City, and then from a cottage on the slopes of Mount McGregor, finishing only days before he died.

Century magazine offered Grant a book contract with a 10 percent royalty, but Grant accepted a better offer from his friend, Mark Twain, who proposed a 75 percent royalty. His memoir ends with the Civil War, and does not cover the post-war years, including his presidency.

The book, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, was a critical and commercial success. In the end, Julia Grant received about $450,000 in royalties. The memoir has been highly regarded by the public, military historians, and literary critics.

After a year-long struggle with the cancer, Grant died at 8 o’clock in the morning in the Mount McGregor cottage on July 23, 1885, at the age of 63. Phillip Sheridan, then Commanding General of the Army, ordered a day-long tribute to Grant on all military posts, and President Grover Cleveland ordered a thirty-day nationwide period of mourning.

After private services, the honor guard placed Grant’s body on a special funeral train, which traveled to West Point and New York City. A quarter of a million people viewed it in the two days before the funeral. Tens of thousands of men, many of them veterans from the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) or other veterans’ organizations, marched with Grant’s casket drawn by two dozen horses to Riverside Park in Manhattan. His pallbearers included Union generals Sherman and Sheridan, Confederate generals Simon Bolivar Buckner and Joseph E. Johnston, Admiral David Dixon Porter, and Senator John A. Logan, the head of the GAR.

Grant’s body was laid to rest in Riverside Park, first in a temporary tomb, and then—twelve years later, on April 17, 1897—in the General Grant National Memorial, also known as “Grant’s Tomb”. The tomb is the largest mausoleum in North America. Attendance at the New York funeral topped 1.5 million.Ceremonies were held in other major cities around the country, and those who eulogized Grant in the press likened him to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Ulysses S. Grant had come a long way from Galena, Illinois to the height of fame. His main character trait as a general was highlighted by Abraham Lincoln. When he was pressed to remove Grant after the Battle of Shiloh, Lincoln told the critic: ‘I can’t spare this man; he fights.'”

 

 

05/8/15

After the War: Robert E. Lee

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series After the War: Military Leaders

Robert E. Lee in May 1869For Robert E. Lee the American Civil War ended on April 9, 1865 when he surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. He told his staff “… then there is nothing left me but to go and see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths…”.

For Robert E. Lee the surrender of his army was perhaps the bitterest moment in a life replete with honors and victories. Leaving the McLean House he told his men ”Boys, I have done the best I could for you. Go home now. And if you make as good citizens as you have soldiers, you will do well”. When he returned to his camp Lee went into his tent and was not seen for several hours.

The day after his surrender, Lee issued this Farewell Address to his army.

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.

General Order
No. 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

— R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9

Lee personally oversaw the writing and editing of General Order No. 9. He signed all of the copies that were circulated throughout the Army of Northern Virginia.

Robert E. Lee then returned to Richmond on horseback to the house that he had rented for his family. He insisted that the war was over and energetically campaigned for inter-sectional reconciliation. “So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South.”

After the end of the war Robert E. Lee was neither arrested nor punished. However, he did lose the right to vote as well as some property. His family had lost the Custis-Lee Mansion in what is now Arlington National Cemetery. They were compensated for the property in 1883.

He supported President Andrew Johnson’s program of Reconstruction.  He joined with Democrats in opposing the Radical Republicans who demanded punitive measures against the South, distrusted its commitment to the abolition of slavery and, indeed, distrusted the region’s loyalty to the United States.

Lee generally supported civil rights for all, as well as a system of free public schools for blacks, but forthrightly opposed allowing blacks to vote. “My own opinion is that, at this time, they [black Southerners] cannot vote intelligently, and that giving them the [vote] would lead to a great deal of demagogism, and lead to embarrassments in various ways,” Lee stated.

Emory Thomas says Lee had become a suffering Christ-like icon for ex-Confederates. President Grant invited him to the White House in 1869, and he went. Nationally he became an icon of reconciliation between the North and South, and the reintegration of former Confederates into the national fabric.

The Lees resided in Richmond until June 1865 when he accepted the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, and served from October 1865 until his death.

The trustees used Lee’s famous name and reputation to raise money in large scale fund-raising appeals. Lee transformed Washington College into a leading Southern college expanding its offerings significantly and added programs in commerce, journalism, and integrated the Lexington Law School.

Lee was well liked by the students, which enabled him to announce an “honor system” like West Point’s, explaining “We have but one rule here, and it is that every student be a gentleman.” To speed up national reconciliation Lee recruited students from the North and made certain they were well treated on campus and in town.

Lee was highly respected by the students and faculty. A typical account by a professor there states that “the students fairly worshipped him, and deeply dreaded his displeasure; yet so kind, affable, and gentle was he toward them that all loved to approach him. … No student would have dared to violate General Lee’s expressed wish or appeal; if he had done so, the students themselves would have driven him from the college.”

Robert E. Lee was not pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored. On January 30, 1975, Senate Joint Resolution 23, A joint resolution to restore posthumously full rights of citizenship to General R. E. Lee was introduced into the Senate by Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (I-VA), the result of a five-year campaign to accomplish this. The resolution, which enacted Public Law 94-67, was passed, and the bill was signed by President Gerald Ford on September 5, 1975.

On September 28, 1870, Lee suffered a stroke. He died two weeks later, shortly after 9 a.m. on October 12, 1870, in Lexington, Virginia, from the effects of pneumonia. According to one account, his last words on the day of his death, were “Tell Hill he must come up. Strike the tent”, but this is debatable because of conflicting accounts and because Lee’s stroke had resulted in aphasia, possibly rendering him unable to speak.

Robert E. Lee is considered one of the great tacticians of the Civil War. At Chancellorsville he divided his army and achieved a great victory against a Union Army twice the size of his.

According to my notion of military history there is as much instruction both in strategy and in tactics to be gleaned from General Lee’s operations of 1862 as there is to be found in Napoleon’s campaigns of 1796.

—Field Marshal Garnet Wolseley

 

 

 

05/21/15

After the War: James Longstreet

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series After the War: Military Leaders

James Longstreet post bellumLieutenant General James Longstreet of South Carolina was at the very top of the Army of Northern Virginia commanding the First Corps. General Robert E. Lee called him his ‘Old Warhorse’.

Moxley Sorrel, one of his staff officers, wrote of Longstreet’s confidence and calmness in battle: “He was like a rock in steadiness when sometimes in battle the world seemed flying to pieces.” Gen. Lee said, “Longstreet was the staff in my right hand.” He had been established as Lee’s principal lieutenant.

At the Seven Days Battles he was in operational command of nearly half of the army, 15 brigades. Longstreet was an aggressive commander especially at Gaines’ Mill and Glendale. His command eventually became the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Longstreet’s reputation suffered unfairly from the disastrous attack on the Union center on the third day at Gettysburg when the misnamed Pickett’s Charge had nearly wrecked the Confederate Army. After the war many of the ‘Lost Cause’ proponents blamed Longstreet rather than the man who ordered the attack, Robert E. Lee.

After the war Longstreet and his family settled in New Orleans where he entered a partnership in the cotton brokerage business and became the president of the newly created Great Southern and Western Fire, Marine and Accident Insurance Company. In 1870, he was named president of the newly organized New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad.

He applied for a pardon from President Andrew Johnson, endorsed by his friend, Ulysses S. Grant. Johnson refused, however, telling Longstreet in a meeting: “There are three persons of the South who can never receive amnesty: Mr. Davis, General Lee, and yourself. You have given the Union cause too much trouble.” Regardless of such opposition the United States Congress restored his rights of citizenship in June 1868.

James Longstreet was the only senior Confederate officer to join the Republican Party during Reconstruction. He endorsed Grant for president in 1868, attended his inauguration ceremonies, and six days later received an appointment as surveyor of customs in New Orleans. For these acts he lost favor with many Southerners. His old friend Harvey Hill wrote to a newspaper: “Our scalawag is the local leper of the community.”

Longstreet and Grant had been friends since their days at West Point. Grant married Longstreet’s fourth cousin, Julia Dent, and Longstreet was in attendance although his role is disputed by historians. The two men would remain friends through the war and the peace that followed.

The Republican governor of Louisiana appointed Longstreet the adjutant general of the state militia and by 1872 he became a major general in command of all militia and state police forces within New Orleans. During protests of election irregularities in 1874, referred to as the Battle of Liberty Place, an armed force of 8,400 White League members advanced on the State House.

Longstreet commanded a force of 3,600 Metropolitan Police, city policemen, and African-American militia troops, armed with two Gatling guns and a battery of artillery. He rode to meet the protesters but was pulled from his horse, shot by a spent bullet, and taken prisoner. The White League charged, causing many of Longstreet’s men to flee or surrender. Federal troops were required to restore order. Longstreet’s use of black troops during the disturbances increased the denunciations by anti-Reconstructionists.

The Longstreet family left New Orleans and moved to Gainesville, Georgia over concerns for their health and safety. He applied for various jobs through the Rutherford B. Hayes administration and was briefly considered for Secretary of the Navy. He served briefly as deputy collector of internal revenue and as postmaster of Gainesville.

In 1880 Hayes appointed Longstreet as his ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and later he served from 1897 to 1904, under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, as U.S. Commissioner of Railroads, succeeding Wade Hampton III.

Longstreet’s wife Louise died in December of 1889. He remarried at the age of 76 in 1897, in a ceremony at the governor’s mansion in Atlanta, to Helen Dortch, age 34. Although Longstreet’s children reacted poorly to the marriage, Helen became a devoted wife and avid supporter of his legacy after his death. She outlived him by 58 years, dying in 1962.

After suffering criticism of his war record from other Confederates for decades, Longstreet refuted most of their arguments in his memoirs entitled From Manassas to Appomattox, a labor of five years that was published in 1896.

His final years were marked by poor health and partial deafness. In 1902 he suffered from severe rheumatism and was unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. His weight diminished from 200 to 135 pounds by January 1903. Cancer developed in his right eye, and in December he had X-ray therapy in Chicago to treat it. 

He contracted pneumonia and died in Gainesville, six days before his 83rd birthday. Longstreet’s remains are buried in Alta Vista Cemetery. He outlived most of his detractors, and was one of only a few general officers from the Civil War to live into the 20th century.

Longstreet’s reputation suffered greatly from the attacks of the believers in the Lost Cause mythology. It should be noted that the attacks began two years of the death of General Lee. They centered on Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg. Jubal Early in a speech at Washington College falsely accused Longstreet of attacking late on the second day and of being responsible for the debacle on the third.

The following year William N. Pendleton, Lee’s artillery chief, claimed in the same venue that Longstreet disobeyed an explicit order to attack at sunrise on July 2. Both of these allegations were fabrications. However, Longstreet failed to challenge these lies publicly until 1875. That failure further damaged his reputation.

Most of the criticisms and fabrication lasted into the 20th century with Douglas Southall Freeman including them in his famous biography of Robert E. Lee. Clifford Dowdey, a Virginia newspaperman and novelist, was noted for his severe criticism of Longstreet in the 1950s and 1960s. (Dowdey was quite a prolific author and many of his works can be found on Amazon.com.)

The publication of Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels in 1974, based in part on Longstreet’s memoirs, followed by its 1993 film adaptation, Gettysburg, have been credited with helping to restore Longstreet’s reputation as a general and to dramatically raise his public visibility. The 1982 work by Thomas L. Connolly and Barbara L. Bellows, God and General Longstreet, provided a “further upgrading of Longstreet through an attack on Lee, the Lost Cause, and the Virginia revisionists.”

Jeffry D. Wert wrote that “Longstreet … was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the conflict on either side.”  Richard L. DiNardo wrote “Even Longstreet’s most virulent critics have conceded that he put together the best staff employed by any commander, and that his de facto chief of staff,Lieutenant Colonel G. Moxley Sorrel, was the best staff officer in the Confederacy.”

DiNardo cited the effective way in which Longstreet delegated responsibilities for control of battlefield movements to his staff and how they were able to communicate with him more effectively during battles than the staffs of other Confederate generals during the war.

After Longstreet’s death, his second wife Helen privately published Lee and Longstreet at High Tide in his defense, in which she stated “the South was seditiously taught to believe that the Federal Victory was wholly the fortuitous outcome of the culpable disobedience of General Longstreet.” (This book is also available on Amazon.com.)