Lot 89: Uncommon Signature of Confederate General James Longstreet, "Old War Horse"
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: LONGSTREET, JAMES. (1821-1904). Prominent Confederate general known as “Old War Horse.” CS. (“James Longstreet”). 1p. 12mo. N.p., N.d. Longstreet’s signature and the words “Yours truly” written on a small card. ********** Longstreet was a West Point graduate, Mexican-American War veteran and friend of Ulysses S. Grant, to whom he became related after Grant’s marriage to his cousin. With the 1861 secession of the Southern States, Longstreet resigned his military commission and joined the Confederate Army. Reporting directly to Robert E. Lee, he distinguished himself at Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, and Antietam to become one of Lee’s most trusted commanders, though at the Battle of Gettysburg he openly questioned Lee’s strategy. Reluctantly following Lee’s orders, Longstreet lead the doomed infantry assault that became known as Pickett’s Charge. Half of the approximately 12,500 Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or captured during the offensive, which ended Lee’s campaign in Pennsylvania and marked the turning point of the war. ********** Following the war, Longstreet embraced Reconstruction and his reputation suffered. He became a popular scapegoat for the Confederate defeat. Adding to his unpopularity in the South was his relationship with Grant, whose presidential campaign he supported. After leading local and federal forces in their suppression of the 1874 Battle of Liberty Place, an anti-Reconstruction insurrection in New Orleans, Longstreet became so unwelcome in that city that he relocated his family, fearing for their safety. He spent five years penning his memoir From Manassas to Appomattox which responded to criticisms of his war record. Modern historians have challenged previous criticisms and helped restore Longstreet’s reputation as a brilliant military commander. ********** Lightly foxed with mounting traces on the verso; in very fine condition.