Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Longstreet Society seminar held on bloodied ground of Manassas

The Gainesville, Ga.-based Longstreet Society earlier this month visited Manassas National Battlefield Park, scene of the general's crushing assault on the Union army in the second of two engagements on the Virginia battle ground.

Speakers included Perry Jamieson, co-author of "Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage," and Scott Patchan, who wrote "Second Manassas: Longstreet's Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge."

In August 1862, Gen. John Pope clashed with Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson in Northern Virginia. At Manassas, their armies slugged it out on Aug. 29. According to the National Park Service battle summary, "During the afternoon, Longstreet’s troops arrived on the battlefield and, unknown to Pope, deployed on Jackson’s right, overlapping the exposed Union left. Lee urged Longstreet to attack, but “Old Pete” demurred. The time was just not right, he said. Critics have said Lee should have overruled Longstreet.

After futile Federal attacks on Aug. 30, Longstreet made his move.

"Seeing the Union lines in disarray, Longstreet pushed his massive columns forward and staggered the Union left. Pope’s army was faced with annihilation. Only a heroic stand by northern troops, first on Chinn Ridge and then once again on Henry Hill, bought time for Pope’s hard-pressed Union forces."

Pope withdrew to Washington and Lee prepared for an invasion of the North.

Dan Paterson, great-grandson of Longstreet, told the Picket he spoke at the seminar about how the maligned Longstreet's postwar support for black suffrage made him the "fall guy" for the war's loss.

The 2012 seminar is scheduled for Oct. 6-7. It will cover the Seven Days Campaign in Virginia.

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