A recent letter bemoans the absence of Southern statues to General James Longstreet and blames a racist reaction to his post-Civil War behavior and letters. Unfortunately, a salient issue is glossed over.
After Stonewall Jackson died of friendly fire following Lee’s amazing victory at Chancellorsville, Longstreet became the Commander’s key field general. He vehemently opposed Lee’s aggressive offensive plan for Gettysburg and unsuccessfully argued for a prolonged defensive posture, then a flanking maneuver to the Union’s left to draw them out, and finally a crippling counter-attack — the classic rope-a-dope.
But following Lee’s greatest military blunder and the Confederacy’s devastating defeat on the hills of Pennsylvania, who could point fingers at God on Traveler, the South’s only hope, when Longstreet’s lukewarm support and dawdling battle generalship created a ready (and face-saving) target?
Gettysburg was the end’s beginning, and the scapegoat knew there would be no statues — ever. Longstreet took his program, as coaches say today, to a different team.
Andy Palchak, Kalispell