Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy birthday, General Longstreet

It is the birthday of Confederate General James Longstreet (1821), who earned great respect as a trusted officer of Robert E. Lee during the Civil War but was vilified after the war for his support of the Republican Party and campaigning for his friend Ulysses S. Grant in 1868. He distinguished himself at the Battles of First and Second Bull Run and later at Antietam and Fredericksburg. But he disagreed with Lee’s tactics and reluctantly directed Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, which ended in defeat. After the war, Longstreet wrote critically of Lee, and earned enmity throughout the south. Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him ambassador to Turkey and William McKinley named him U.S. railroad commissioner.

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