From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America

From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America

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Overview

Peer through history at Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet, whose steady nature and dominating figure earned him the nicknames "War Horse," "Bulldog," and "Bull of the Woods." Years after the war, Longstreet's reputation swung between Confederate hero and brutish scoundrel. A dutiful soldier with a penchant for drink and gambling, Longstreet spoke little but inspired many, and he continues to fascinate Civil war historians.

In his memoir From Manassas to Appomattox, Longstreet reveals his inner musings and insights regarding the War between the States. Ever the soldier, he skims over his personal life to focus on battle strategies, war accounts, and opinions regarding other officers who were as misunderstood as him. The principle subordinate under General Robert E. Lee, Longstreet provides several accounts of Lee's leadership and their strong partnership.

An invaluable firsthand account of life during the Civil War, From Manassas to Appomattox not only illuminates the life and ambitions of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, but it also offers an in-depth view of army operations within the Confederacy. An introduction and notes by prominent historian James I. Robertson Jr. and a new foreword by Christian Keller offer insight into the impact of Longstreet's career on American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780253047069
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 774
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James Longstreet was a Confederate general under Robert E. Lee.

James I. Robertson Jr. was Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech and the author of numerous titles. He died in November 2019.

Christian Keller is Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at War College and is the author of Pennsylvania: A Military History.

Read an Excerpt

Foreword
Long considered one of the most important eyewitness accounts of the American Civil War, James Longstreet's From Manassas to Appomattox remains an indispensable primary source for scholars and students interested in the Confederacy's high command and generalship in the Army of Northern Virginia (ANV). First published in 1896 and reprinted numerous times since, the book still possesses the power to transport readers into Robert E. Lee's inner circle and the momentous decisions made within it that charted the course of much of the war in the Eastern Theater. Its plainly written but powerful narrative, frank observations of contextual realities, and even several moments of humor bring to life the world of 160 years ago when, for several years, the Southern nation struggled to achieve independence from the United States. This handsome new edition by Indiana University Press not only befits the historical significance of the work but also makes it available to a new generation of readers, who, it is hoped, will benefit from it as much as those in the past.

Longstreet, who served as Lee's de facto second-in-command for much of the war (only sharing that distinction, for a time, with Stonewall Jackson), was uniquely positioned to offer insights that no other high-ranking Confederate in the ANV could offer. As a general officer, he participated in every major campaign in Virginia from the beginning of the war to its end, and enjoyed a remarkable longevity vis-à-vis his peers. Lee passed away in 1870, leaving a vacuum for other would-be writers to fill. Yet among the corps commanders and those of equivalent standing in the commanding general's estimation, Jackson died in 1863, J.E.B. Stuart in 1864, A. P. Hill in 1865, Richard S. Ewell in 1872, Richard H. Anderson in 1879, and Jubal Early in 1894. Only John B. Gordon rivalled Longstreet's endurance, dying the same year as he (1904). Thus the native South Carolinian and adopted Alabaman, nicknamed "Old Pete," outlived nearly everyone else who was in a position to comment authoritatively about the inner workings of the South's most significant field army. More importantly, however, Longstreet had an eye for detail that, although embellished by three decades of postwar hindsight and a well-documented penchant for self-justification, still provides the modern reader with a comprehensive understanding of why and how events occurred the way they did. Certainly, those seeking objective clarification about Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, or how the East Tennessee Campaign of 1863 ended, for instance, should consult more period sources than simply this book, as Longstreet clearly wrote about these episodes—and others—with an exculpatory eye. Several excellent biographies of the general and numerous articles, some published soon after From Manassas to Appomattox was itself first released, have illuminated the biases that infiltrate his recollections of events. Yet the same could easily be said of the writings of Early, Gordon, Fitzhugh Lee (all of whom criticized Longstreet), and a host of other former Confederate and Union authors, so Longstreet was far from alone in evaluating his experiences in the war through a personal lens. Such is the privilege of the eyewitness chronicler, putting the burden of careful analysis on the contemporary reader.

Nonetheless, this general officer, whom Lee termed "my old warhorse," has been reconsidered over the past four decades and, if anything, his account of events defended if not unilaterally upheld. Michael Shaara based much of his famous, prize-winning book, The Killer Angels, on Longstreet's narrative of the Gettysburg Campaign as exposited in this volume.1 Scholars such as Thomas L. Connelly, Barbara L. Bellows, William G. Piston, and Jeffry D. Wert, seeking a historical rebalancing of the "Lost Cause" narrative of rebel defeat in which Lee traditionally could do no wrong and the Federals "overwhelmed" rather than defeated the Confederates, have examined the book more closely.2 Students of Civil War strategy, too, such as Gary W. Gallagher and Donald Stoker, have recently looked again at From Manassas to Appomattox in an attempt to understand, on a national level, why the South lost the war.3 Longstreet was gifted with an ability to see the big picture as the conflict progressed, scan the operational and theater environment correctly, and grasp the significance of contingency events. These themes emerge repeatedly throughout the work and are particularly valuable. Among the great postwar memoirs, only Ulysses S. Grant's and possibly William Tecumseh Sherman's possess a similar quality. In scope, insight, candor, and comprehensiveness, Longstreet's account has few equals.

Christian B. Keller
US Army War College

Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels (New York: Random House, 1974).
2 Thomas L. Connelly and Barbara L. Bellows, God and General Longstreet: The Lost Cause and the Southern Mind (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982); William Garrett Piston, James Longstreet and His Place in Southern History (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987); Jeffry D. Wert, General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993).
3 Gary W. Gallagher, The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000); Gary W. Gallagher, Lee and
His Generals in War and Memory (Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 1998); Donald Stoker, The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Table of Contents

Foreword by Christian Keller

Introduction

Preface

1. The Ante-bellum Life of the Author

2. From New Mexico to Manassas

3. Battle oManassas, or Bull Run

4. The Confederates Hovering Around Washington

5. Round About Richmond

6. The Battle of Williamsburg

7. Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks

8. Sequelae of Seven Pines

9. Robert E. Lee in Command

10. Fighting along the Chickahominy

11. Battle of Malvern Hill

12. Halleck and Pope in Federal Command

13. Making Ready for Manassas Again

14. Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)

15. The Maryland Campaign

16. "The Lost Order" - South Mountain

17. Preliminaries of the Great Battle

18. Battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam

19. Battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam (continued)

20. Review of the Maryland Campaign

21. Reorganization and Rest for Both Armies

22. Battle of Fredericksburg

23. Battle of Fredericksburg (continued)

24. Preparing for the Spring of '63

25. Invasion of Pennsylvania

26. Gettysburg - First Day

27. Gettysburg - Second Day

28. Gettysburg - Third Day

29. The Wave Rolls Back

30. Longstreet Moves to Georgia

31. Battle of Chickamauga

32. Failure to Follow Success

33. The East Tennessee Campaign

34. Besieging Knoxville

35. Cut Off from East and West

36. Strategic Importance of the Field

37. Last Days in Tennessee

38. Battle of the Wilderness

39. Again in Front of Richmond

40. Talk of Peace

41. Battle of Five Forks

42. Petersburg

43. Appomattox

44. Post-Bellum Pendant

Appendix

Notes

Index

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