Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Not Pickett's Charge . . .

Let's just make one thing clear:
It should never be called Pickett's Charge. It really was Longstreet's Assault.

Longstreet has an historical black-eye from being blamed for Lee's loss on the Third Day and therefore, the loss of The Battle of Gettysburg. Some historians and Longstreet detractors feel that Longstreet should have forced his "to the right of the Union line" assault on Lee. Lee wanted to hit the Union line on Cemetery Ridge in the middle. Lee prevailed. Longstreet followed the wishes of his commander and began his assault in the afternoon of July 3, 2005.
Lee's forces were decimated and retreated to Union cries of "Fredricksburg! Fredricksburg!"

So being the good Northern girl that I am - Union blue running through my viens: Why do I take up the banner for justice for Longstreet? I just think that sometimes, it's not only the victors who write history - it's the losers who want to rewrite the loss. What's right is right.

Longstreet didn't lose the Battle of Gettysburg. Lee lost it. That idea was (and still is) a difficult one for some people to accept. Lee was a great general - so great that, on the eve of the War, Lincoln offered him the Army of the Potomac. But Lee could not see himself fighting against his beloved Virginia. Throughout the first years of the War, Lee's legend grew to super-human proportions. Lee could not do anything wrong.

But he did at Gettysburg. He didn't listen to his "old warhorse" - Longstreet.

It was Longstreet's Assault - not Pickett's Charge - but it was Lee's decision.

And it took 100 years before Longstreet had a statue at Gettysburg. Such was his infamy.

If Lee had listened? Well, who knows?
But he didn't and Longstreet took the blame.

Remember: It was Longstreet's Assault.


Blogger zorro said...

actually, Longstreet wanted to swing around Mead's forces & get between them & Washington. this would have created a situation where they could sue for peace, thus saving the army. Longstreet, in my opinion was a much better general. he always favored flank attacks & stayed away from frontal assaults--the kind that got a lot of young men killed.

6:47 PM  

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