previous next

[54]

General James Longstreet's account of the campaign and battle.

[The following paper is not properly one of our “Gettysburg series,” and was not called forth by our enquiry for detailed narratives by active participants, nor by anything which we have published.

In the early part of last year the Philadelphia Times announced that it had engaged General Longstreet to prepare his account of Gettysburg, and his article appeared in that paper on the 3d of November last. But we have no hesitancy in republishing the paper, although it was not written for our pages, and we are under no obligation to copy an article which has first appeared elsewhere. General Longstreet's position as second in command at Gettysburg, the important part he bore in the great battle, his unquestioned gallantry, and the fact that he commanded as noble a corps as ever fought for any cause-all demand that, in addition to his official report (which our Society published for the first time), we shall put into permanent form the narrative which he now gives of these great events. We, therefore, print the paper in full.]

It has been my purpose for some years to give to the public a detailed history of the campaign of Gettysburg, from its inception to its disastrous close. The execution of this task has been delayed by reason of a press of personal business, and by reason of a genuine reluctance that I have felt against anything that might, even by implication, impugn the wisdom of my late comrades in arms. My sincere feeling upon this subject is best expressed in the following letter, which was written shortly after the battle of Gettysburg, when there was a sly under-current of misrepresentation of my course, and in response to an appeal from a respected relative that I would make some reply to my accusers:

camp, Culpeper Courthouse, July 24, 1863.
My dear uncle: Your letters of the 13th and 14th were received on yesterday. As to our late battle, I cannot say much. I have no right to say anything, in fact, but will venture a little for you alone. If it goes to aunt and cousins, it must be under promise that it will go no further. The battle was not made as I would have made it. My idea was to throw ourselves between the enemy and Washington, select a strong position, and force the enemy to attack us. So far as is given to man the ability


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (4)
Washington, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Longstreet (3)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 24th, 1863 AD (1)
November 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: