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Court Martial: James Longstreet.

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  • Court Martial: James Longstreet.

    Charge: Dereliction of Duty.
    Specifications: On July 3rd, 1863; Lieutenant General James Longstreet; Commander of 1st Corp, Army of Northern Virginia did willingly commit dereliction of duty by 1) failing to prepare his Corps and associated units in a timely manner for the assault on Cemetery Ridge; 2) removed himself from effective command of Pickett's Division; 3) removed himself from command of the assault.

    Particulars

    Charge 1: General Longstreet on receipt of his orders did procrastinate in an attempt to get General Lee to modify or abandon the orders all together. By failing to move the assault in time of the order; it did allow the forces of the United States to discern the place of attack and bring reinforcements to the critical area which fatally weakened the attack and caused undue casualties to his command.

    Charge 2: Major General George Pickett, being known as a careless soldier and having to be directed closely by his Commanding General was given neither firm direction nor positive handling to ensure the attack was carried out on time and with the intent of the Commanding General of the ANV.

    Charge 3: Rather than exercising tactical control of the assault as directed; General Longstreet shirked his responsibility by making a Colonel of Artillery (Edward Porter Alexander) responsible for the launching of the attack. Despite being told four times to begin the attack or they artillery would not be able to support Pickett, and that there was at least 18 guns still firing from the United States center, he (Pickett) still deferred to General Longstreet for the final go order. Rather than actively and responsibly giving the order to go or to retire; General Longstreet merely bowed his head.

    How do you vote? Guilty or Not Guilty and if so inclined a reasoning for your verdict.
    42
    Guilty
    7.14%
    3
    Not Guilty
    92.86%
    39

    The poll is expired.

    Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

    "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

    What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

  • #2
    I say yes because there is no known reason why it took him so long
    and that would have been clarified. Capt. Poague indicated he was
    to be ready at 8 in the morning for the attack and to move up with it.
    He also says he never fired his cannon nor was he ordered out during the charge.

    Someone did get the order for 8 in the morning but where it came from, who knows.
    In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.
    Robert E. Lee

    Comment


    • #3
      The defense would like to submit the following for the court's consideration.

      1. That when Pickett's Division arrived on the field on the evening of July 2nd, 1863, one Major Walter Harrison of Pickett's Divisional Staff was sent to General Lee to report the arrival of Pickett's Division. Pickett himself rode to see Longstreet. When Harrison arrived at Lee's HQ, Lee told him to tell Pickett: "Tell General Pickett I shall not want him this evening, to let his men rest, and I will send word when I want him."

      2. That on the day before the bulk of Longstreet's Corps had attacked a superior force on the flank and gave a severe fight, but at the cost that his divisions were not fit to continue. This is given that one division was commanded by a subordinate that had been deemed unreliable by General Lee and had ordered Longstreet to closely supervise, while the other was commanded by a subordinate who had never until the day before commanded a division in combat and in all truth was probably not fit for anything higher than brigade command. Both Divisions had fought hard and were severely reduced by casualties.

      3. That evidenced by the testimony of Colonel Alexander, that Longstreet was active on the morning of the 3rd, having brought orders up and personally directing the placement of artillery.

      4. That the Lt. General of the First Corps when approached by Lee in the morning did to convince entirely under the convictions of the judgement that the position could not be carried by frontal assault. History has vindicated the Lt. General's Judgement.

      5. That General Lee himself rode along the line as did Longstreet to observe the preparations for the work. The commanding general did nothing to correct any errors or supposed dereliction of duty if he saw them.

      6. That the evidence would suggest that Union high command had correctly predicted where Lee would strike the night before, thus making the first charge irrelevant. Union reserves were and spare artillery would be positioned behind Gibbon's front regardless of how long the assault took to get under way.

      7. That Longstreet did see to the deployment of Pickett's Division, in particular the formation of assault Pickett used of two brigades in front and one in support.

      8. That Major General Pickett had the record of being a gallant and daring soldier, one who Longstreet felt competent enough for command of a division command and one who Lee felt was competent enough to allow Pickett to retain command, at least until the Five Forks Debacle.

      9. That the judgement of Colonel Alexander as to whether the artillery bombardment was effective or not the intention of at least the second of Longstreet's notes to Alexander.

      10. That Longstreet saw to the men of Pickett's Division by morally inspiring them with his own person exposing itself to counterartillery fire. See the testimony of Brigadier General Kemper. That while Longstreet still strongly opposed the attack, he did indicate that he would order it forward.

      11. That according to the testimony of Sorrell, Longstreet did see to Pickett's Division always, and when Longstreet still ordered the attack forward, left the direction of the assault in the hand of his division with instructions to attack, thus not removing himself from command, but rather remaining in command at a corps level.

      12. That Longstreet did himself, despite his strong opposition order the assault forward, even if the order was not verbal. And multiple eyewitnesses give that Longstreet stated several times that he would attack even though he opposed it.

      13. That Longstreet did supervise the attack as it was underway, even taking precautions to send couriers to Pettigrew of the danger of being attacked on his left flank.

      14. That history has vindicated Longstreet's judgement on the occasion.
      Last edited by semperpietas; 05 Oct 12, 14:26.
      "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

      Pyrrhus Travels West:
      Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by B7B Southern View Post
        I say yes because there is no known reason why it took him so long
        and that would have been clarified. Capt. Poague indicated he was
        to be ready at 8 in the morning for the attack and to move up with it.
        He also says he never fired his cannon nor was he ordered out during the charge.

        Someone did get the order for 8 in the morning but where it came from, who knows.
        Problem is if Longstreet was taking an extraordinarily long time, Lee would have intervened or at least said something as he was riding up and down the lines the entire morning.


        That is because Poague was in Hill's Third Corps as an artillerymen. Lee only specified that the infantry divisions of Trimble (Pender) and Pettigrew (Heth) would be used from Third Corps. And the artillery that would support the infantry advance by Alexander was removed by Chief of Artillery Brigadier General Pendleton.

        It may possible that Longstreet assumed that Hill would directly see the formation and support of his corps.
        Last edited by semperpietas; 05 Oct 12, 07:12.
        "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

        Pyrrhus Travels West:
        Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

        Comment


        • #5
          Chase as provided a good defense imo. I followed his example. NOT GUILTY.

          It is only another try to defelct the failure from Lee to Longstreet.
          "Ask not what your country can do for you"

          Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

          you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

          Comment


          • #6
            I really do not believe that Longstreet was guilty of any offense where he should be court martial-ed on the third day. He was a little slow to act and did like the plan on the second or third day but did not do anything to undermine Lee's plan. Just my two cents.
            Is she crying? There's no crying in baseball.

            Comment


            • #7
              In what is surely the most surprising news item of the day, B7B is for the charges while Semperpietas is against them.

              Comment


              • #8
                Longstreet's only real error was not consulting with Lee the night before. That would have greatly expedited the arrangements, or so it seems to me.
                "Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!" -Daniel Webster

                Comment


                • #9
                  My no means was Longstreet guilty...this was entirely Lee's fault. As was said in the movie Gettysburg, "I argued it last night, I argued it all morning, hell, I've been arguing against any attack at all. I can't call this one off." All Longstreet is guilty of is following the orders of the Commanding General of the ANV. To my knowledge, no officer in the history of the U.S. or C.S. military was ever court-martialed simply for following orders.

                  -Matt
                  SGT, 210th MP Battalion, 2nd MP BDE, MSSG

                  Fervently PRO-TRUMP, anti-Islam and anti-Steelers!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Viperlord View Post
                    Longstreet's only real error was not consulting with Lee the night before. That would have greatly expedited the arrangements, or so it seems to me.
                    Viper, didn't Lee discuss the July 3 attack on July 2nd with Longstreet
                    about what he wanted would do? Differing books say so much different
                    things. It all gets beyond me.
                    In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.
                    Robert E. Lee

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by B7B Southern View Post
                      Viper, didn't Lee discuss the July 3 attack on July 2nd with Longstreet
                      about what he wanted would do? Differing books say so much different
                      things. It all gets beyond me.
                      Not on July 2nd, though Lee did issue orders for the attack, he never met with Longstreet that night. Longstreet didn't follow his usual custom of reporting to Lee's headquarters that night, apparently because of fatigue. Lee was annoyed when he rode over to Longstreet's lines the next morning and found Longstreet making preparations for a flanking attack against the Union left. Nobody gave Pickett's division any orders to be on the battlefield at daylight, so what more Longstreet was supposed to do early on July 3rd is a little vague.
                      "Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!" -Daniel Webster

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by B7B Southern View Post
                        Viper, didn't Lee discuss the July 3 attack on July 2nd with Longstreet
                        about what he wanted would do? Differing books say so much different
                        things. It all gets beyond me.
                        Jeffry Wert has a excellent essay on Longstreet's Role in the third day in:

                        http://www.amazon.com/James-Longstre...Robert+DiNardo

                        as well as his own book with http://www.amazon.com/Gettysburg-Thr.../dp/0684859149.

                        Lee wanted Pickett along the remnants of Hood and McLaws Divisions to essentially renew the attack made the day before. While Longstreet was arranging this he extended the plan of attack to include flanking the Round Tops and did not call Pickett forward (neither did Lee, who explicitly told Pickett that he would call Pickett to the line). Lee when conferring with Longstreet cancelled the flanking order and when finding out how battered Law's and McLaws' troops decided for a center attack with Pickett.
                        "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

                        Pyrrhus Travels West:
                        Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                          It is only another try to defelct the failure from Lee to Longstreet.
                          Is it, John? Is it really? Reading my so called mind again?
                          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First of all let me say that I am hypothesizing that while Longstreet DID obey his orders; he did so in such a manner that seriously impeded his command in the 3rd day. Hence Dereliction of Duty. But I would note several things.

                            1) I AM playing devil's advocate. No more really. I like and respect Dutch a good bit.

                            2) Care must be taken in trying to figure out Lee's attitudes. To my knowledge he never openly criticized a subordinate esp. Longstreet, Jackson or Stuart. Unfortunately he never wrote his memoirs..I wish...somebody had gone to him and told him they'd not publish it till all the principals were dead, but alas. I guess i could just as easily claim that Lee never said a word because he expected Dutch to do more.

                            3) Rather than doing another old boring post; I thought I'd have a little fun with it and posted it like I did. As I said repeatedly; my ACW knowledge is broad, but shallow. I am hoping it generates a lot of conversation that allows me to learn more.

                            4) I have, in my shallow so called mind, my own opinions on the charges. I'll reveal it later.

                            5) On Pickett his quality of command has been called into question frequently and not just for the 'Shad Bake' fiasco either. Longstreet's aides had to stay with Pickett to make sure he understood the orders and COULD NOT SCREW THEM UP. It was also understood that he was hungry for glory and thought the war would end before Gettysburg. (But glory hunting was fairly common esp. for the old US Army officers who were locked in grade for decades.)

                            Again I am playing Devil's Advocate only. Besides I need something to distract me from my cold from hell.
                            Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                            "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                            What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RichardS View Post
                              First of all let me say that I am hypothesizing that while Longstreet DID obey his orders; he did so in such a manner that seriously impeded his command in the 3rd day. Hence Dereliction of Duty. But I would note several things.

                              1) I AM playing devil's advocate. No more really. I like and respect Dutch a good bit.

                              2) Care must be taken in trying to figure out Lee's attitudes. To my knowledge he never openly criticized a subordinate esp. Longstreet, Jackson or Stuart. Unfortunately he never wrote his memoirs..I wish...somebody had gone to him and told him they'd not publish it till all the principals were dead, but alas. I guess i could just as easily claim that Lee never said a word because he expected Dutch to do more.

                              3) Rather than doing another old boring post; I thought I'd have a little fun with it and posted it like I did. As I said repeatedly; my ACW knowledge is broad, but shallow. I am hoping it generates a lot of conversation that allows me to learn more.

                              4) I have, in my shallow so called mind, my own opinions on the charges. I'll reveal it later.

                              5) On Pickett his quality of command has been called into question frequently and not just for the 'Shad Bake' fiasco either. Longstreet's aides had to stay with Pickett to make sure he understood the orders and COULD NOT SCREW THEM UP. It was also understood that he was hungry for glory and thought the war would end before Gettysburg. (But glory hunting was fairly common esp. for the old US Army officers who were locked in grade for decades.)

                              Again I am playing Devil's Advocate only. Besides I need something to distract me from my cold from hell.
                              1. Understandable. You should do similar "trials" for other controversial Civil War figures.

                              2. I agree that while Lee avoided openly criticizing subordinates, he didn't outright avoid criticizing them all together. He rewrote the Gettysburg OR which took a harsher tone with Stuart's actions. When promoting Stonewall Jackson to Lt. General he also indicated that he had not been impressed with Jackson's initial combat performances at the Seven Days. And his laconic remarks to A.P. Hill after Bristoe Station did reach the public. I have seen nothing to indicate any extreme disappointment in Longstreet's performance from Lee. We do know that Lee and Longstreet frequently corresponded after the war in a friendly tone until Longstreet's politics became public knowledge. Lee was not so cordial to other subordinates however.

                              3. I appreciate your efforts.

                              4. Really?

                              5. I partially disagree. Part of Longstreet's command style was that his staff had authority to act on his behalf to ensure his instructions and intent were carried out and Longstreet often distributed staff officers along his command to ensure that his orders were being followed. This was not limited to just Pickett. Longstreet was the one who recommended Pickett for the promotion over who would replace the deceased D.R. Jones, over several other qualified candidates including Cadmus Wilcox. While Longstreet's friendship probably secured the promotion for Pickett, it was Lee who confirmed it.
                              Last edited by semperpietas; 05 Oct 12, 17:45.
                              "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

                              Pyrrhus Travels West:
                              Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

                              Comment

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