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Court Martial: James Longstreet.

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  • 1.) I don't know if Pickett's Charge was delayed any longer than it should have been. However, Lee's original plan for July 3 was for Longstreet to resume his attack against the Union left flank. Longstreet disobeyed orders by not having his troops ready for this attack, and when Lee arrived to inspect the troops Longstreet argued with him until Lee decided it was best to adopt a new plan, i.e. attacking the Union center. So technically I would have to say my opinion is pending, but Longstreet did delay and argue before Lee settled on the plan for Longstreet to attack the Union center.

    2.) Again this one might go on a technicality. If you literally mean Longstreet neglected Pickett's division, I would probably say "not guilty." If you mean Longstreet neglected the force that made up "Pickett's Charge," I would say "guilty."
    Lee ordered that the two brigades from Pender's division should be placed en echelon to the left of Heth's division. When these two brigades arrived on the field they were temporarily under Lane's command. Longstreet ordered Lane "to form in rear of the right of Heth's division." Thus instead of advancing on the left en echelon, Lane's two brigades advanced immediately behind Heth's right flank.

    3.) Longstreet did try to pass responsability of the attack onto Alexander. After he wrote a message to Alexander telling that officer to make the final judgement call, Longstreet went into the woods, laid down, and closed his eyes. He later wrote that he was meditating new ideas for helping the attack, but Col. Fremantle believed that Longstreet had fallen asleep. A courier interupted Longstreet with a reply from Alexander, and Longstreet ordered the bombardment to start.
    Alexander ended up not taking responsability for the assault, and he sent a message to Longstreet urging him to advance if he wanted artillery support. When Pickett asked if he should advance, Longstreet replied by dropping his chin to his collar. Pickett repeated his question for confirmation, but Longstreet said nothing until Pickett walked away.

    4.) I would add a fourth charge: Drinking while engaged in battle. While Longstreet was preparing his troops for a possible counter-attack after Pickett's Charge, he took Col. Fremantle's flask and started drinking rum. His subsequently confused the orders he gave to McLaws.
    "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

    "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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    • Originally posted by RichardS View Post
      Bump. Just an old interesting thread to me. Let's see what the new bloods have to say.
      Richard,

      I would refer you to Chase's post 192 where he provides a link to the Karlton Smith article. Smith is an extremely knowledgeable Gettysburg NPS Park Ranger and historian. I think the peeps have spoken on this overwhelmingly. Oh, there will always be a few naysayers who blame Longstreet for every wrong, real or imagined. And, in turn expose their extreme biases and hypocrisies in equal measures.

      A good example is some will say Longstreet took a nap on the third day while excusing Jackson for sleeping during the whole Seven Days ( noted Jackson fan club member and chronicler of ANV, Robert Krick called Jackson's inability to stay awake around Richmond, asleep in the saddle).
      Last edited by cici; 07 Mar 17, 23:38.

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      • Reading back through this makes me miss Chase all the more. I really enjoyed reading his posts.
        Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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