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pale, and his quivering lip condemned him. “Give this man ten minutes, and hang him! Let the columns push forward immediately.” The order was obeyed, and the brigades in the rear passed the lifeless body of the man dangling from a tree by the roadside. He confessed before his death that he had been acting as a spy for the enemy for ten months.
After the battle of Fredericksburg we find Longstreet detached from Gen. Lee, and undertaking an important separate command in South Virginia. In February, 1863, he was made a Lieutenant-General, and took up his headquarters at Petersburg, to watch the south-side approaches to Richmond, and the movements of the enemy on the North Carolina coast. The campaign was a barren one. A demonstration was made upon Suffolk, but was abandoned after some desultory fighting; and Longstreet rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia on its ill-starred march into Pennsylvania
His vigorous part in the battle of Gettysburg has already been related. Gen. Longstreet was opposed to this battle, fore. boded the worst from an attack on the enemy in his strong and formidable position, and has since very freely criticised the dispositions of his commander-in-chief, especially on the third day when Gen. Lee made the last attempt on the enemy's centre with not more than fifteen thousand men. He thought that the army should have been more concentrated for this supreme effort, and that it should have been made with at least thirty thousand men. When Pickett's column was mangled and driven back there was some fear on the Confederate side that the enemy would advance and pursue the advantage; an apprehension, however, not shared by Longstreet, who appears to have been anxious for the counter-attack, and to have contemplated an opportunity to give the enemy a retaliatory blow. “I had," says he, “ Hood and McLaws, who had not been engaged; I had a heavy force of artillery ; I should have liked nothing better than to have been attacked, and have no doubt I should have given those who tried as bad a reception as Pickett received."
Col. Fremantle, of the British service, who was a spectator of the battle of Gettysburg, and has given a vivid account of it, was near Longstreet at the moment when Pickett's troops retreated across the valley. Seated on the top of a fence, at the
edge of the wood, and looking perfectly calm, the commander was accosted by Col. Fremantle, who said to him, in reference to the grand yet fearful scene before them, “I wouldn't have missed this for anything !" Longstreet replied, laughing, " The devil you wouldn't! I would like to have missed it very much; we've attacked and been repulsed: look there!” The Confederates were slowly and sulkily returning towards his position in small broken parties, under a heavy fire of artillery. “I could now," says Fremantle, “thoroughly appreciate the term bull-dog, which I had heard applied to him by his soldiers. Difficulties seemed to make no other impression upon him than to make him a little more savage.”
Some time after this battle, when the theatre of the war was pushed back to Virginia, Longstreet was transferred, with five brigades, to reinforce the Army of Tennessee under Gen. Bragg. In the battle of Chickamauga he commanded the left wing of the Confederates; and it was always claimed by his friends that he won the field for Bragg and made the decisive action of the day. While this claim is scarcely to be accepted to its full extent, it is undoubtedly true that Longstreet held his ground when the right wing of Polk gave way, and until it recovered to join in the general advance that swept the field and finally routed the enemy.
After the battle of Chickamanga a violent quarrel sprang up between Gens. Bragg and Longstreet, and the War Department at Richmond was burdened with a correspondence full of recriminations. It is not our part to determine the merits of this controversy; it involves questions of military rather than personal interest. It was stated by Gen. Longstreet that Chickamauga was one of the most complete victories of the war, but had not been “followed up." The day after the battle Gen. Bragg asked Longstreet's advice, which was promptly given: “that he should
then to march on Rosecrans' communications in the rear of Nash
campaign. But the right wing had not marched more than eight or ten miles the next day before it was halted, and ordered to march towards Chattanooga, after giving the enemy two and a half days to strengthen the fortifications. Bragg's army remained in front
of the enemy's defences, with orders not to assault him. The only thing the Commanding General had well done, said Longstreet, was to order the attack on the 19th September; everything else had been wrong. He suggested that Gen. Lee might be sent there, while the Army of Northern Virginia remained on the defensive, to prosecute offensive measures against Rosecrans. Bragg's army, in short, was represented to be without organization or mobility, and the government was invoked to interpose speedily to save it from disaster.
It was probably this serious disconcert between Gens. Bragg and Longstreet, in which the Government was equally tender to both, and weakly equivocal, that prompted to some extent the unfortunate detachment of the latter commander for eccentric operations in East Tennessee, which accomplished nothing, deranged the whole Western campaign, and fatally weakened the mountain frontier of Georgia, where should have been the decisive trial of strength. Longstreet's expedition to Knoxville was a false and disastrous enterprise. Failing to take the town by assault, and too weak to risk the operations of siege on account of obvious and rapid reinforcements of the enemy, Longstreet had no other recourse than to retreat into Northeastern Tennessee, and shut himself up for the whole winter in a wild and difficult country, where his command was completely isolated, and as useless to the Confederacy as if it had not existed. There was a large number of barefooted men in his command, and their sufferings may be imagined in the depths of winter, when the weather was extremely cold, and the mountains covered with snow.
While his little army was thus contained in the mountains of East Tennessee, the Federal anthorities contrived to get into circulation a great number of handbills, for the purpose of inducing the distressed soldiers to desert. Gen. Longstreet wrote a very handsome letter to Gen. Foster, who had command of the Federal forces in that section, to the effect that it would be more in accordance with the rules of propriety and custom for the Federal Government to communicate any views it entertained through him, instead of throwing handbills among the soldiers. To this very respectful and dignified letter Gen. Foster returned a reply replete with insult and jest. In answer, Gen. Longstreet
said: “You cannot pretend to have answered my letter in the spirit of frankness due to a soldier, and yet it is hard to believe that an officer commanding an army of veteran soldiers, on whose shoulders rest in no small degree the destiny of empires, could so far forget the height of this great argument of arms, and so betray the dignity of his high station, as to fall into a contest of jests and jibes. I have read your order announcing the favourable terms on which deserters will be received. Step by step you have gone on in violation of the laws of honourable warfare. Our farms have been destroyed, our women and children have been robbed, and our homes have been pillaged and burned. You have laid your plans, and worked diligently to produce wholesale murder by servile insurrection. And now, the most ignoble of all, you propose to degrade the human race by inducing soldiers to dishonour and forswear themselves. Soldiers who have met you on so many honourable fields, who have breasted the storm of battle in defense of their honour, their families, and their homes, for three long years, have a right to expect more honour, even in their adversaries.”
These severe but entirely just words might have occasioned a sense of shame in a manly breast; but they were decidedly thrown away on Foster, who was one of those Federal commanders who illustrated the extreme Northern school of abolition, and whose consciences were never disturbed by any expedient, no matter how violent or dishonourable, in the prosecution of the war.
The failure of the assault on Knoxville was ascribed by Gen. Longstreet to certain delays on the part of Maj.-Gen. McLaws in making the attack, and was the occasion of an unpleasant quarrel in which it must be confessed Gen. Longstreet showed evidence of undue temper. The charges against McLaws were not sustained. On the papers in this case, which created great scandal in the army, President Davis indorsed: “Gen. Longstreet has seriously offended against good order and military discipline in rearresting an officer (Gen. McLaws) who had been released by the War Department, without any new offence having been alleged.” The rebuke was a severe one, and it was thought about this time that Gen. Longstreet had shown such unfortunate evidences of temper that it would be advisable to
relieve him. He himself had asked to be relieved, and had expressed impatience that he should be held subject to the orders of Gen. Johnston, who had now taken command of the army of Tennessee, and whose headquarters were certainly at an inconvenient distance from the district which Longstreet had eccentrically invaded, and where he was practically isolated, so far as reinforcements were concerned. Happily, however, the restoration of railroad communications with Virginia, in the early months of 1864, called him to a new and urgent field, and he was enabled to rejoin his old commander, Gen. Lee, in season for the great campaign of that year, which decided the long-vexed fate of Richmond.
A statement has already been made in another part of this work of the wounding of Gen. Longstreet, by the misdirected fire of his own men, in the second day's fight of the Wilderness, just at the time he was organizing a general attack on the enemy's works. It was a most untimely accident. Gen. Longstreet was always persuaded that he would have inflicted a decisive blow-in his own words, have “had another Bull Run on the enemy”—but for the fall from his wound, and the consequent delay and miscarriage of his plan, which contemplated, while he attacked in front, a movement on the Brock road to cut off the enemy. The fire which wounded him was from the flanking party, which mistook the cavalcade of the commander for a body of Federal cavalry. Gen. Longstreet was near enough the men to shout to them to cease firing. He was shot through the neck and shoulder.
His wound, though not dangerous, was very severe, kept him from the field nearly six months, and produced a paralysis of the nerves of his right arm. About the close of October, 1864, he resumed command of his corps, having “marked with pride and pleasure the success which had attended their heroic efforts." In the last days of Richmond, his command was generally on the north side of the James; but he crossed to Petersburg in time to take part in the last battle there, checking the enemy by a timely reinforcement, and enabling Gen. Lee to hold an interiour line closely covering the town. He joined in the final retreat, and was included in the surrender at Appomattox Court House.
This brief record of Gen. Longstreet's experience of the war