It’s been labeled the turning point of the Civil War, Lee’s failure, and the event the Confederacy missed Jackson the most; without a doubt, one of the most famed and important events in American history was the three day battle that took place in and around the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the Civil War. Most compelling of all events of the Battle of Gettysburg, however, were the actions of the man Lee called “My Old War Horse”, James Longstreet, on that fated second day. For it was the Confederacy’s failure to take the Union position on the second day that would force Pickett’s charge on the third day and, in turn, lead to the ultimate defeat of the Confederacy in the Battle of Gettysburg.
My research and project attempt to assess exactly if Longstreet was to blame for the failure on the second day of Gettysburg. By evaluating both the different opinions of other prominent historians and the actual reports from the men involved in Gettysburg, I assessed Longstreet’s actions, the actions of his men, the actions of other Confederate leaders involved in the battle, and the Union actions to help make a determination. My presentation will focus on exactly how Longstreet was not the sole blame because of these factors, and also how he was one of the few completely successful actors from either side fighting on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Jeremy Butler, ’03 Hitterdal, MN
Majors: History, English
Sponsor: M. Philip Lucas