Longstreet was born in Edgefield District, South Carolina on January 8, 1821.
Like most other generals of the Civil War, Longstreet graduated from West Point in 1842, and went straight into service. There he served until 1861, when he moved into the service of the confederacy. As a general, he led troops in most of the major battles in Virginia, including Bull Run, (both of them), Fredericksburg, and Chickimauga in Georgia. During the Wilderness campaign in 1864, Longstreet fell wounded. When he recovered, Longstreet returned to duty and fought until the war ended in 1865.
Along with his good friend, Ulysses S. Grant Longstreet became a Republican, and was given several positions by his presidential friend. This political connection hurt him in the eyes of ex-Confederates as did his criticism of Robert E. Lee, who had become a symbol of heroism to the South. Longstreet was blamed (unjustly it now seems) by General Jubal A. Early and others for the Southern defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war he got caught up in a large controversy as to his conduct during the war.
Bibliography: Aston, W.G., Tarnished Lieutenant (1987); Sanger, Donald, and Hay, Thomas, James Longstreet (1952); Tucker, Glenn, Lee and Longstreet at Gettysburg (1968).
Jan. 2, 1904