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Rating: 7 votes, 2.14 average.

Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet at Gettysburg

Posted April 29th, 2013 at 01:24 AM by Stefany

It seems that Robert E. Lee gets a lot of bashing for Gettysburg not so much because of Pickett's charge, but because he didn't listen to his "Old War Horse" namely his second-in-command General James Longstreet. When Lee contrived the idea for the attack through the center of Meade's army, Longstreet said to him that his idea was horrible. Lee didn't listen to him, ordered the attack and it resulted in failure. But it seems that Lee gets a lot of bashing from historians for not listening to Longstreet more than the result of the Pickett's charge. That freaks me out!

First of all, General Lee was the commander of the army of Northern Virginia, not Longstreet, and that gave him the freedom to do anything the hell he wanted! He wasn't a subordinate to anyone!

Second of all, Longstreet was the kind of general that could operate only if he was under someone's command. He was a good general nonetheless, but he just couldn't command an army interdependently. We all know what happened at Knoxville - he got defeated by Burnside! The very general Longstreet helped to defeat at Fredericksburg the previous year!

Third of all, since Longstreet was under Lee's command for most of his Civil War career, and Lee only brought victory after victory, Longstreet tended to forget himself and think he was actually awesome and contradict Lee more often than required.

Fourth of all, did Longstreet had a better idea than Pickett's charge? OK, let's accept that this attack is indeed a bad idea, did Longstreet have a better one? It's very easy to say "That won't work" when later on you won't be blamed at all.

So I believe Lee had the right to ignore Longstreet's whining and do as he please. Lee was the supreme commander, not Longstreet and if Longstreet was indeed as awesome as he thought he was, why didn't he ask himself the question why he is the one second-in-command and not Lee?
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  1. Old Comment
    *facepalm* another myth that longstreet was late
    Posted April 29th, 2013 at 05:43 PM by Gorge123 Gorge123 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Also stop bashing Longstreet at knoxville he fought with no chance of winning at ALL
    Posted April 29th, 2013 at 05:44 PM by Gorge123 Gorge123 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    [quote=Gorge123;bt2922]*facepalm* another myth that longstreet was late[/quote]

    I didn't write anywhere in the post that Longstreet was late really... :weird:
    Posted April 29th, 2013 at 11:04 PM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    As has already been pointed out to you, Longstreet offered Lee alternatives on two occasions, making this ridiculously self-righteous post even more ridiculous.
    Posted April 30th, 2013 at 12:08 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  5. Old Comment
    ^^ Raise your hand if you are not helping!
    Posted April 30th, 2013 at 12:16 PM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    ^^ Raise your hand if you're deliberately and wilfully ignorant! Longstreet suggested that Lee swing around the Federal left flank multiple times. On the third day, he suggested Lee attack on the flank where Longstreet had made some progress the previous day, and try to roll up the Federal line this time instead of hammering into it head-on, which given what was known at the time, made far more sense than Pickett's Charge.
    Posted April 30th, 2013 at 12:19 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  7. Old Comment
    ^^ Fine, if Lee had carried out with Longstreet's plan, do you believe the battle would have been won?
    And the point of the post is that Lee wasn't obliged to listen to Longstreet at all, not whether Longstreet had a better idea or not.
    Posted May 2nd, 2013 at 12:43 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    If Longstreet had a better idea than Lee and Lee didn't listen to it, that makes Lee an idiot; nobody said he didn't have the right to be an idiot. I think Longstreet's idea is worth trying, but there's one Lee-inflicted problem with it; he only has Jenkins' cavalry brigade immediately on hand, since he left Jones and Robertson behind him and sent Imboden off rustling sheep, as well as sending Stuart off, and I think more cavalry would be useful to screen the movement. And because of logistical considerations, if Meade doesn't attack fairly soon, Lee's going to be forced to move in order to feed his army, although the provisions his men had already collected in PA would probably enable him to maintain his army in one location for a decent amount of time.

    Certainly a much better plan then ordering suicide charges across an open field in the deluded belief that you're invincible.
    Posted May 2nd, 2013 at 06:01 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
    Updated May 2nd, 2013 at 09:08 AM by Viperlord
  9. Old Comment
    ^^ For slandering Lee's name in my presence, you have earned yet another challenge for a duel!
    Posted May 3rd, 2013 at 12:22 PM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Ignoring for a moment that duelling has been illegal for over a century, be careful there; the challenged gets to choose the weapons. This is a battle of wits, and you appear to have come unarmed.
    Posted May 3rd, 2013 at 01:09 PM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  11. Old Comment
    Fiver's Avatar
    This blog is a mixture of opinion and already disproven statements. Lee did not bring only victory, he had several losses before Gettysburg. Longstreet had a responsibility to warn Lee when Lee was making a mistake. Longstreet did the exactly as often as required. It is easy to second-guess after the fact, but this is what you and the Lost Cause have done to Longstreet, not what Longstreet did to Lee. Yes, Longstreet had a better idea. Doing nothing would have been a better idea than Pickett's Charge.
    Posted May 5th, 2013 at 09:40 AM by Fiver Fiver is offline
  12. Old Comment
    ^^ Exactly what losses before Gettysburg Lee suffered with the Army of Northern Virginia?

    @Viperlord, for the hundredth time, that's because you get to pick the weapons doesn't guarantee that you will win!
    Posted May 5th, 2013 at 11:32 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    In my case, it does, actually. But Lee lost several of the Seven Days Battles, he lost at South Mountain, and he lost at Antietam.
    Posted May 5th, 2013 at 11:40 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  14. Old Comment
    ^^ No it doesn't. Lincoln got challenged to a duel, he chose the weapons and at the last minute both him and his opponent chickened out of it.

    Lee never lost a single battle at Seven Days, they were all inconclusive, there is a difference. Antietam was a [b]draw[/b]
    It would be been a Union victory if Burnside had managed to capture Sharpsburg and thus cut off Lee's retreat route.
    Posted May 6th, 2013 at 10:31 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Antietam was a Union victory, and every historian classifies it as such. Arguably it's a tactical draw, but there's no doubt it was a strategic victory that enabled Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. And Lee very plainly lost at Beaver Dam Creek and Malvern Hill. The only battle he won was Gaines' Mill.
    Posted May 6th, 2013 at 11:05 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
  16. Old Comment
    ^^ Antietam was a draw, pure and simple. And that famous Proclamation of Lincoln only freed the slaves in the South. If the Unionists were such humanists and crusaders for freedom, how come they didn't liberated their slaves up until the end of the war?
    Posted June 27th, 2013 at 08:44 AM by Stefany Stefany is offline
  17. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Antietam was not a draw. Find one historian who classifies it as a tactical and strategic draw. It was a strategic victory for the Union; Lee sacrificed over a fourth of his army for absolutely no purpose whatsoever, and retreated. Most importantly, the victory was used to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which was a political masterstroke, and along with Lee's defeat at Antietam, essentially slammed the door shut on foreign intervention.

    And Lincoln didn't have any authority to end slavery in the loyal states; only Congress could do that. The Emancipation Proclamation was a radical step for the political time it was made in, and two years later, Congress followed it up with the 13th Amendment, ending slavery forever.

    Again your hypocrisy is placed on public display; you whine that slavery in the North wasn't ended soon enough, but yet you've outright proclaimed your support for the side that would have not only perpetuated slavery for decades, but spread it all across the Americas. You are intellectually dishonest.
    Posted June 28th, 2013 at 05:52 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is online now
    Updated June 28th, 2013 at 05:54 AM by Viperlord
  18. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Viperlord View Comment
    ^^ Raise your hand if you're deliberately and wilfully ignorant! Longstreet suggested that Lee swing around the Federal left flank multiple times. On the third day, he suggested Lee attack on the flank where Longstreet had made some progress the previous day, and try to roll up the Federal line this time instead of hammering into it head-on, which given what was known at the time, made far more sense than Pickett's Charge.
    Not only were Lee's Day 3 orders unreasoned, they were almost mindless. He told Longstreet to use Hood and McLaw's divisions (along with Pickett) to assault straight ahead from the vicinity of the Peach Orchard position. Longstreet rightly protested that his entire right flank could easily be crushed under those circumstances.

    Lee's almost mindless reaction was to switch Hood and McLaws divisions with several of AP Hill's units. Many of the Hill's units (from Heth's and Anderson's divisions) that Lee identified for Pickett's Charge had been seriously damaged on Day 1 and many of the key officers were out of action. Yet Lee was so utterly determined to order another frontal assault, he hardly even considered any alternative.

    In his sham Battle Report, Lee wrote "The result of this day's (Day 2) operations induced the belief that with proper concert of action, and with the increased support that the positions gained on the right would enable the artillery to render the assaulting columns, we should ultimately succeed, and it was accordingly determined to continue the attack." In fact, it was Lee alone who singlemindedly insisted on continuing the attacks over Longstreet's strong objections.

    Further, Lee played CYA by writing "General Longstreet's dispositions were not completed as early as was expected, but before notice could be sent to General Ewell, General Johnson had already become engaged and it was too late to recall him." I believe Johnson was largely driven off Culp's Hill by daybreak on Day 3 and that Meade hardly needed his troops stationed on Culp's Hill to successfully defend his center on Day 3. Lee's report IMO is a deliberate misstatement of the facts. Lee had to have known of the early setback on Culp's Hill yet he didn't hesitate for a moment to cancel Longstreet's attack.

    Lee's report also said: "General Longstreet was delayed by a force occupying the high rocky hills on the enemy's extreme left, from which his troops could be attacked in reverse as they advanced." Longstreet was delayed because he had to wait to show Lee that his original orders were dangerously flawed.

    Lee's report is replete with inaccuracies and excuses (along with his August letter to Davis offering his resignation). Lee wrote " It had not been intended to deliver a general battle so far from our base unless attacked......" But Lee's pre-battle statements clearly indicated his intention to fall upon the early arriving Union corps and smash one in on the next.

    IMO, this report set the stage for the Early cabal to build on Lee's half truths, distortions and falsifications - and the campaign to blame Longstreet for Lee's failures.
    Posted July 15th, 2013 at 07:05 AM by Uncle Billy Uncle Billy is offline
 

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