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Copyright, , by J. Lippincott Company. Electrotyped and Printed by J. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, U. Immediately after the surrender of the Confederate armies engaged in the war between the States, General Lee undertook to write of the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia while under his command, and asked such assistance as I could give in supplying reports, despatches, and letters of his, the originals of which had been lost or destroyed.
Under the impression that they could not be put to better use, such as were then in hand were packed and sent him. He gave up the work, and after a few years his death made it impossible that the world should ever receive the complete story of the Confederate campaigns in Virginia from the noble mind that projected and controlled them.
Possibly, had I not expected our commander to write the history of those campaigns, I should have written it myself a decade or so earlier than I have done.
But, personally, I am not sorry that I write of the war thirty years after its close, instead of ten or twenty. While I am so constituted, temperamentally, that I could view then almost exactly as I do now the great struggle in which I bore a part, I do not know that others, in any considerable number, might have so regarded it at the earlier periods to which I refer. I believe that now, more fully than then, the public is ready to receive, in the spirit in which it is written, the story which I present.
It is not my purpose to philosophize upon the war, but I cannot refrain from expressing my profound thankfulness [Pg vi] that Providence has spared me to such time as I can see the asperities of the great conflict softened, its passions entering upon the sleep of oblivion, only its nobler—if less immediate—results springing into virile and vast life.
I believe there is to-day, because of the war , a broader and deeper patriotism in all Americans; that patriotism throbs the heart and pulses the being as ardently of the South Carolinian as of the Massachusetts Puritan; that the Liberty Bell, even now, as I write, on its Southern pilgrimage, will be as reverently received and as devotedly loved in Atlanta and Charleston as in Philadelphia and Boston.
And to stimulate and evolve this noble sentiment all the more, what we need is the resumption of fraternity, the hearty restoration and cordial cultivation of neighborly, brotherly relations, faith in Jehovah, and respect for each other; and God grant that the happy vision that delighted the soul of the sweet singer of Israel may rest like a benediction upon the North and the South, upon the Blue and the Gray. The spirit in which this work has been conceived, and in which I have conscientiously labored to carry it out, is one of sincerity and fairness.
As an actor in, and an eyewitness of, the events of , I have endeavored to perform my humble share of duty in passing the materials of history to those who may give them place in the records of the nation,—not of the South nor of the North,—but in the history of the United Nation. It is with such magnified view of the responsibility of saying the truth that I have written. If I speak with some particularity of the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, it must be ascribed in part to the affection of a commander, and in [Pg vii] part to my desire to relieve its brave officers and men in the ranks from unjust aspersions.
I being under the political ban, and the political passions and prejudices of the times running high, they had no difficulty in spreading their misrepresentations South and North until some people, through their mere reiteration, came to accept them as facts.
I simply present the facts concerning the First Corps in all fulness and fairness, attested by indisputable authorities, that the public may judge between it and its detractors. In the accounts of battles and movements, the official War Records supply in a measure the place of lost papers, and afford a great mass of most trustworthy statistics. I am under obligations to General E. Alexander, General G. Fairfax, Colonel T. Haskell for many interesting suggestions.
To Major George B. Davis and Mr. Perry, of the War Records office, I am under obligations for invaluable assistance; as also to Mr. Alfred Matthews, of Philadelphia, for material aid in revising the manuscript of these memoirs. My earliest recollections were of the Georgia side of Savannah River, and my school-days were passed there, but the appointment to West Point Academy was from North Alabama.
Other children of the marriage, Rebecca, Gilbert, Augustus B. Richard Longstreet, who came to America in and settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey, was the progenitor of the name on this continent. It is difficult to determine whether the name sprang from France, Germany, or Holland. That branch claimed to trace their line [Pg 14] back to the Conqueror. Marshall Dent married a Magruder, when they migrated to Augusta, Georgia.
Father married the eldest daughter, Mary Ann. Grandfather William Longstreet first applied steam as a motive power, in , to a small boat on the Savannah River at Augusta, and spent all of his private means upon that idea, asked aid of his friends in Augusta and elsewhere, had no encouragement, but, on the contrary, ridicule of his proposition to move a boat without a pulling or other external power, and especially did they ridicule the thought of expensive steam-boilers to be made of iron.
To obviate costly outlay for this item, he built boilers of heavy oak timbers and strong iron bands, but the Augusta marines were incredulous, as the following from the city papers of the times will indicate:. Can you row the boat ashore, Without paddle or an oar, Billy boy? Full of confidence, the inventor thought to appeal to the governor, and his letter is still preserved in the State archives:.
In not reducing my scheme to active use it has been unfortunate for me, I confess, and perhaps the people in general; but, until very lately, I did not think that artists or material could be had in the place sufficient.
However, necessity, that grand mother of invention, has furnished me with an idea of perfecting my plan almost entirely of wooden material, and by such workmen as may be had here; and, from a thorough confidence of its success, I have presumed to ask your assistance [Pg 15] and patronage. Should it succeed agreeably to my expectations, I hope I shall discover that sense of duty which such favors always merit; and should it not succeed, your reward must lay with other unlucky adventures.
Therefore I have taken the liberty to state, in this plain and humble manner, my wish and opinion, which I hope you will excuse, and I shall remain, either with or without your approbation,. He failed to secure the necessary aid, and the discovery passed into the possession of certain New Yorkers, who found the means for practicable application, and now steam is the goddess that enlightens the world. My father was a planter. From my early boyhood he conceived that he would send me to West Point for army service, but in my twelfth year he passed away during the cholera epidemic at Augusta.
Mother moved to North Alabama with her children, whence in my sixteenth year I made application through a kinsman, Congressman Reuben Chapman, for appointment as cadet, received the coveted favor, and entered with the class that was admitted in As cadet I had more interest in the school of the soldier, horsemanship, sword exercise, and the outside game of foot-ball than in the academic courses. The studies were successfully passed, however, until the third year, when I failed in mechanics.
When I came to the problem of the pulleys, it seemed to my mind that a soldier could not find use for such appliances, and the pulleys were passed by. At the January examination I was called to the blackboard and given the problem of the pulleys.
The drawing from memory of recitation of classmates was good enough, but the demonstration failed to satisfy the sages of the Academic Board. It was the custom, however, to give those [Pg 16] who failed in the general examination a second hearing, after all of the classes were examined. The bridge was safely passed, however, and mechanics left behind. At the June examination, the end of the academic year, I was called to demonstrate the pulleys.
The professor thought that I had forgotten my old friend the enemy, but I smiled, for he had become dear to me,—in waking hours and in dreams,—and the cadet passed easily enough for a maximum mark. The cadets had their small joys and sometimes little troubles. On one occasion a cadet officer reported me for disobedience of orders. As the report was not true, I denied it and sent up witnesses of the occasion. Dick Garnett, who fell in the assault of the 3d, at Gettysburg, was one witness, and Cadet Baker, so handsome and lovable that he was called Betsy, was the other.
Upon overlooking the records I found the report still there, and went to ask the superintendent if other evidence was necessary to show that the report was not true. He was satisfied of that, but said that the officer complained that I smiled contemptuously. As that could only be rated as a single demerit, I asked the benefit of the smile; but the report stands to this day, Disobedience of orders and three demerits. The cadet had his revenge, however, for the superintendent was afterwards known as The Punster.
There were sixty-two graduating members of the class of , my number being sixty. I was assigned to the Fourth United States Infantry as brevet lieutenant, and found my company with seven others of the regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in the autumn of Of the class graduating the year that we entered were G.
Beauregard and Irvin McDowell, who, twenty-three years later, commanded the hostile armies on the plains [Pg 17] of Manassas, in Virginia. Braxton Bragg and W. Hardee were of the same class. The head man of the next class was I. Stevens, who resigned from the army, and, after being the first governor of Washington Territory, returned to military service, and fell on the sanguinary field of Chantilly on the 1st of September, Next on the class roll was Henry Wager Halleck, who was commander-in-chief of the United States armies from July, , to March, Sherman and George H.
Thomas, of the Union army, and R. Ewell, of the Confederate army, were of the same class The class of had the largest list of officers killed in action. Lyon, R. Garnett, J. Reynolds, R. Garnett, A. Whipple, J. Jones, I. Richardson, and J. Smith, M. Smith, R. Anderson, L. McLaws, D. Hill, A. Stewart, B. Alexander, N. Dana, and others. But the class next after us was destined to furnish the man who was to eclipse all,—to rise to the rank of general, an office made by Congress to honor his services; who became President of the United States, and for a second term; who received the salutations of all the powers of the world in his travels as a private citizen around the earth; of noble, generous heart, a lovable character, a valued friend,—Ulysses S.
I was fortunate in the assignment to Jefferson Barracks, for in those days the young officers were usually sent off among the Indians or as near the borders as they could find habitable places. In the autumn of I reported to the company commander, Captain Bradford R. Alden, [Pg 18] a most exemplary man, who proved a lasting, valued friend.
Eight companies of the Third Infantry were added to the garrison during the spring of , which made garrison life and society gay for the young people and interesting for the older classes. All of the troops were recently from service in the swamps and Everglades of Florida, well prepared to enjoy the change from the war-dance of the braves to the hospitable city of St.
From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America
From Manassas To Appomattox