Longstreet was reunited with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in early 1864.
During the Battle of the Wilderness in May of that year, Longstreet was accidentally wounded by his own men.
Longstreet played a controversial part in the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, in which he reluctantly oversaw “Pickett’s Charge,” a doomed offensive that resulted in a Confederate defeat.
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He later wrote that he endorsed the strategy only after confirming that the campaign would be based around fighting from defensive positions—the same tactic that had been so effective at Fredericksburg.
The culmination of Lee’s invasion of the North, the Battle of Gettysburg (July1-3 1863) proved to be one of Longstreet’s most controversial moments of the war.
Despite an injury that paralyzed his right arm, he returned to duty in October 1864. After the war, Longstreet settled in New Orleans and went into private business.
Late in the war, Longstreet protected critical railroad lines while in command of forces entrenched between Richmond and the James River. He supported the Republican Party, and in 1868 endorsed former Union commander Ulysses S.
Longstreet attended the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1838 to 1842 and was part of a class that included the future Civil War generals Ulysses S. While he was known as an affable cadet, Longstreet was not a particularly good student, and finished 54th in his class of 56.
Before the Civil War, James Longstreet was a good friend of Union General Ulysses S. Longstreet’s later support of Grant’s 1868 presidential campaign drew the ire of many in the South, and contributed to the numerous attacks on his character during his postbellum career. He spent his first two years of service stationed in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, where he met Maria Louisa “Louise” Garland, the daughter of a wealthy lieutenant colonel.
Although he had reservations about secession, Longstreet was devoted to serving the interests of the South. Longstreet commanded his brigade with distinction in the Battle of First Bull Run, and in October 1861 he was promoted to the rank of major general and given control of a division.
At the start of the Civil War in 1861 he resigned from the Army and offered his services to Alabama. His first significant action in this capacity came during the Peninsula Campaign in the summer of 1862, when the Confederate Army halted Union General George B.
During the Battle of Antietam—the single bloodiest day of the Civil War—Longstreet mounted a defensive stand in which his army repelled a Union force nearly two times its size.
This performance saw Longstreet promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.
Longstreet later briefly served as the adjutant general of the state militia of Louisiana in the early 1870s.