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Why was Longstreet Rattled on the Offensive?

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  • Why was Longstreet Rattled on the Offensive?

    As we all know, perhaps, he drank at Antietam and Gettysburg. He usually had good nervous control, at Fredericksburg for example, but in these two offensive battles he drank. What was it? Did he have faith in the cause? Could he do more than sit there and command orders? Was he nervous that siding with the Confederacy would damage his post-war career? Did he really care about money and rank that much? What was his rank, I think it was Lieutenant-General with Polk and Hardee—those were the higher ups. Did they command the respect and attention of the rank and file or their superiors?

    Longstreet seems to have been an excellent division commander promoted past his abilities. Did he show any capacity for independent thinking? How were his independent campaigns? Good? He must've won against Burnside...at least.

    Reference to another poster has been deleted. Please refrain from such in the future.

    ACG Staff
    Last edited by D1J1; 16 Jun 20, 05:28. Reason: Remove personal reference directed at another poster.
    "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

  • #2
    Do you have any references for these ideas?
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Massena View Post
      Do you have any references for these ideas?
      It would appear that some officers were completely blotto during Antietam, as at almost every engagement, but Longstreet was not one of them according to the eyewitnesses in the source below. Did he have a snork or two? The answer is yes, but there is no mention of him imbibing to the point that it affected his abilities or performance. If what the OP hints at is to the contrary, that supposition would appear to be entirely incorrect.

      http://antietamjournal.blogspot.com/...abundance.html

      Regards,
      Dennis




      If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

      Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

      Comment


      • #4
        That was my impression. Taking a snort or two before or during an action, or in the immediate aftermath is not something to look down one's nose at or to make an incorrect accusation.
        We are not now that strength which in old days
        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Massena View Post
          That was my impression. Taking a snort or two before or during an action, or in the immediate aftermath is not something to look down one's nose at or to make an incorrect accusation.
          Apparently it was “just a snort” at Antietam, if you think that’s the occasion to drink.

          At Gettysburg he gave confusing orders to McLaws while under the influence, while planning for Meades counterattack. The tactical commander of the engaged sector drunk in combat. It’s like that guy who led the attack at the Crater.
          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by American87 View Post

            Apparently it was “just a snort” at Antietam, if you think that’s the occasion to drink.

            At Gettysburg he gave confusing orders to McLaws while under the influence, while planning for Meades counterattack. The tactical commander of the engaged sector drunk in combat. It's like that guy who led the attack at the Crater.
            You are making the assumption, now accusation, that Longstreet was drunk in combat. I have never read such about him on ANY field. Nor have I ever seen ANY poster, even his detractors, make such an accusation about him in this forum at any time.

            Absent proof of same, these accusation deserve no further consideration. Please provide some or I believe the folks who visit here will and should in all likelihood consider this matter closed.

            Referencing my bold of your words, please let us know precisely what counterattack you are referring to here? Is it an event that really happened or one that could, might, maybe have taken place.

            Regards,
            Dennis

            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

            Comment


            • #7
              Fremantle, the British observer with the Army of Northern Virginia, wrote,

              "[Longstreet] was making the best arrangements in his power to resist the threatened advance...He asked for something to drink: I gave him some rum out of my silver flask, which I begged he would keep in remembrance of the occasion; he smiled, and, to my great satisfaction, accepted the memorial. He then went off to give orders to M'Laws' [sic] division."

              Fremantle, p. 267 https://books.google.com/books?id=1Y...page&q&f=false


              McLaws described what happened next,

              "Colonel Sorrel, General Longstreet's Adjutant-General, rode up...He said: “Never mind that now, General; General Longstreet directs that you retire to your position of yesterday. Retire at once, and I will carry the order to General Law to retire Hood's division.”...I halted the brigades as they came into position, and in a short while my line was re-established in the position of the day before. As we came in the enemy advanced clouds of skirmishers coming — I suppose their lines of battle behind — I strengthened my skirmishers and drove or kept them back of the peach orchard, so that I could rest undisturbed on my new line, and then went to my new position, and was sitting on my horse watching the enemy...Not long after this Colonel Sorrel came to me and asked if I could retake the position I had just abandoned. I demurred most decidedly to the suggestion under the circumstances, and asked why he made the inquiry. “Because,” he said, “General Longstreet had forgotten that he had ordered it, and now disapproved the withdrawal.” “But, Colonel Sorrel,” I said, “recollect that you gave me the order.” “Yes, sir,” he said, “and General Longstreet gave it to me.”

              Source: McLaws' account of the battle, search for "Longstreet had forgotten," and see that paragraph:http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/...Achapter%3D2.6
              "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

              Comment


              • #8
                In regard to the counterattack, it was after Pickett's Charge when the Confederates were preparing for a Union counterattack.
                "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by American87 View Post

                  Apparently it was “just a snort” at Antietam, if you think that’s the occasion to drink.

                  At Gettysburg he gave confusing orders to McLaws while under the influence, while planning for Meades counterattack. The tactical commander of the engaged sector drunk in combat. It’s like that guy who led the attack at the Crater.
                  Where is your source or evidence that Longstreet was drunk at Gettysburg on the third day? I have seen nothing to support that and I have been studying the Civil War for quite some time, since the 5th grade in 1963. So if you have evidence please post it. If not, it is a type of conspiracy theory or you're trying to lay the blame for PIckett's failure on someone other than Lee.
                  We are not now that strength which in old days
                  Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                  Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                  To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Massena View Post

                    Where is your source or evidence that Longstreet was drunk at Gettysburg on the third day? I have seen nothing to support that and I have been studying the Civil War for quite some time, since the 5th grade in 1963. So if you have evidence please post it. If not, it is a type of conspiracy theory or you're trying to lay the blame for PIckett's failure on someone other than Lee.
                    See post #7.
                    "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by American87 View Post

                      See post #7.
                      Taking a drink is far from being drunk. Have you never imbibed? Or, are you a teatottaler? There is a great difference from taking a drink or two and being drunk.
                      We are not now that strength which in old days
                      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is part of the "Longstreet Forgiveness Program" (my term), which is when pro-Nothern writers pass over Longstreet's incompetence and generally take his point of view of the Army of Northern Virginia—especially his opinion on Lee's tactics during Gettysburg—before the war ended and he rekindled his warm relationship with Grant and became a Republican. He was at Grant's wedding you know.
                        "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Massena View Post

                          Taking a drink is far from being drunk. Have you never imbibed? Or, are you a teatottaler? There is a great difference from taking a drink or two and being drunk.
                          See post #7. He forgot his orders to McLaws and had to countermand them after the general withdrew from his position.
                          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And I never drank at work. Only at the end of the day or on vacation during the day, or on Holidays. Never while in a responsible position. So I can criticize Longstreet for getting drunk in battle and messing up his orders while preparing for a counter-attack. Luckily for his men it never came.
                            "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Where is the evidence for your claim of drunkeness?
                              We are not now that strength which in old days
                              Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                              Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                              To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                              Comment

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