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Grant’s presidential run—a move that sullied his reputation in the South.
Throughout his later life, Longstreet was one of the popular targets of the Lost Cause movement, a literary and cultural crusade that condemned Reconstruction efforts and sought to shift blame for the Confederate defeat away from Robert E. Longstreet would spend much of his later life defending himself against repeated attacks from these critics, who argued that his slowness in mobilizing his troops and his disagreements with Lee represented a betrayal of the Confederacy.
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.
Long known for his slowness in readying his armies for combat, Longstreet delayed his offensive on the battle’s second day in order to coordinate his forces, a move that his detractors would later argue allowed Union General George Meade to prepare for the attack.
On the third day of the battle, Longstreet reluctantly oversaw the infamous offensive known as “Pickett’s Charge,” an attack by over 12,500 Confederates on the center of the Union lines.
He was sent to Richmond, Virginia, and commissioned as a brigadier general under the command of General P. Mc Clellan’s march toward Richmond during the Seven Days Battles.
Many of Longstreet’s most famous victories came in the months after Robert E.
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.
Along with General Stonewall Jackson, he became one of the most trusted field commanders in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.