One of the most important, and controversial, Confederate generals during the Civil War was Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Robert E. Lee’s “old warhorse.” Longstreet was Lee’s principal subordinate for most of the war, ably managing a corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. Longstreet was instrumental in Confederate victories at Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga, while he was also effective at Antietam and the Battle of the Wilderness, where he was nearly killed by a shot through the neck.
Had Longstreet died on the field, he may have been one of the South’s biggest heroes. However, it was his performance at Gettysburg and arguments with other Southern generals after the Civil War that tarnished his image. Longstreet was charged with being slow to attack on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, allowing the Union to man Little Round Top. He also resisted Lee’s order for Pickett’s Charge the next day. The fact that he served in Republican administrations after the Civil War rubbed his former comrades the wrong way, and the Georgian’s criticism of Lee infuriated the Lost Cause advocates who idolized the Virginian Lee.
Although Longstreet would dive headfirst into the controversies in his memoirs, his official account of the Chickamauga Campaign makes little mention of his disputes with Braxton Bragg, and his disagreements over the way Bragg commanded the battle. Longstreet’s account was preserved in the The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, and this edition is specially formatted with pictures of Longstreet and other important military commanders.