Lieutenant General James Longstreet: Innovative Military Strategist

The Most Misunderstood Civil War General

F. Gregory Toretta

This book is a much-needed, fresh examination of the unique strategies and technological achievements made by General Longstreet during the Civil War.
Date Published :
May 2022
Publisher :
Illustration :
40 photographs and 5 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636241173
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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A fresh examination of the unique strategies and technological achievements made by General Longstreet during the Civil War.

Lieutenant-General James Longstreet, commander of the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, was a brilliant tactician and strategist. Prior to the Civil War there were many technological developments, of which the rifled musket and cannon, rail transport and the telegraph were a few. In addition, the North enjoyed a great advantage in manpower and resources. Longstreet adapted to these technological changes and the disparity between the belligerents making recommendations on how the war should be fought. Longstreet made a leap of thinking to adjust to this new type of warfare. Many others did not make this leap, including Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, Bragg, Hood and Jefferson Davis. Unfortunately, his advice was not heeded and given the weight it deserved. In contrast to many other southern generals, Longstreet advocated for defensive warfare, using entrenchments and trying to maneuver the enemy to assault his position, conserving manpower, resources and supplies.

With the advent of the highly accurate and long-range rifled musket, offensive tactics became questionable and risky. This caused Longstreet to come into conflict with General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. Longstreet opposed the Gettysburg campaign and Lee’s battle plans at Gettysburg against General Meade and the Army of the Potomac. At Chickamauga, Longstreet was at odds with General Bragg on how to proceed after the stunning victory by the Army of Tennessee over Rosecrans and his forces.

Longstreet was never given full authority over an army in the field. He was a pragmatic and methodical general and had his suggestions been utilized there would have been a better outcome for the South. Many historians and biographers have misunderstood Longstreet and his motives, not focusing on the total picture. This work offers a fresh and unique perspective on Lieutenant-General James Longstreet and the Civil War. This narrative takes a new viewpoint of the Civil War and the generals who tailored their designs to pursue the war, analyses Longstreet’s views of the generals and the tactics and strategy they employed and examines why Longstreet proposed and urged a new type of warfare.

About The Author

F. Gregory Toretta is a writer and historian with a passion for the American Civil War, accumulating an extensive library and undertaking copious research.


INTRODUCTION: Lieutenant-General James Longstreet: A Confederate Genius Reexamined

CHAPTER ONE: Technological Changes and Comparison of the Antagonists: Advantage North
CHAPTER TWO: Chancellorsville—To Stand Behind Our Intrenched Lines
CHAPTER THREE: Prelude to Gettysburg—Skillful Use of Our Interior Lines
CHAPTER FOUR: Marching towards Gettysburg—the Spy Harrison
CHAPTER FIVE: Gettysburg Day One—Old Bulldog
CHAPTER SIX: Gettysburg Day Two—Up the Emmetsburg Road
CHAPTER SEVEN: Gettysburg Day Three—We Gained Nothing But Glory
CHAPTER EIGHT: Gettysburg Day Four—A Very Taciturn and Undemonstrative Man
CHAPTER NINE: Gettysburg Reconsidered—Lee’s Old Warhorse
CHAPTER TEN: Chickamauga—Prologue: Western Concentration
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Chickamauga—Bull of the Woods
CHAPTER TWELVE: Chickamauga’s Aftermath—Longstreet is the Man
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Knoxville—They Had Few Equals And No Superiors
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: East Tennessee—Strategic Importance of the Field

EPILOGUE: General Longstreet—Strategy and Tactics
APPENDIX: Civil War Timeline


“[A]n impressive work of meticulous and original scholarship offering an inherently fascinating and informative contribution to the growing library of American Civil War histories and biographies.”

- Midwest Book Review

“…multiple memoir excerpts, including a significant amount of Longstreet's memoirs.”


“The most exciting chapters on Longstreet and his adaptation to warfare on a grand scale is presented in the author’s analysis of the Battles of Chickamauga and the Wilderness.”

- Journal of Military History

“Toretta displays detailed knowledge of Longstreets’s career and of the campaigns in which he was engaged. He relies heavily on Confederate primary sources, quoting liberally from Longstreet’s own memoir…”

- The Journal of America's Military Past

“Toretta has done a tremendous service to students of the American Civil War by compiling this material in a single volume, analyzing the various arguments made and presenting a clear and compelling conclusion.”


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