GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET
James Longstreet, a man who began his military career as a paymaster in the Union army ended the same career as one of the most successful and controversial generals of the Confederacy. Longstreet first offered to aid the Confederacy after resigning his commission as a Major in the Union army. He signed on expecting a job as paymaster, his previous job in the Union military, but instead he received a general’s commission commanding infantry.
At the first battle of Manassas he was in command of three Virginia infantry regiments which held Blackburn's Ford during that battle. General Longstreet was supported by the brigade under Colonel Jubal Early who wrote in his official report of the action at the ford, and that Longstreet "was actively engaged in the thickest of the fire in directing and encouraging the men under his command, and I am satisfied he contributed very largely to the repulse of the enemy by his own personal exertions."
From that point onward, with few exceptions, Longstreet served the Confederate army in outstanding form. When Robert E. Lee took command and formed the Army of Northern Virginia, Longstreet found both a friend and a mentor through his time as a leader. With Lee's recommendation, Longstreet rose in rank to the senior lieutenant-general in the Confederate army and was given command of the 1st Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.
All across Virginia Longstreet led his soldiers into battle after battle and received the respect and admiration of his men and the appreciation of his fellow generals. During the Seven Days and second Manassas campaigns Longstreet displayed his brilliance on the offensive, and at Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg he showed he was equal to the tasks of the defensive as well.
Prior to the campaign that resulted in the battle of Gettysburg, Longstreet offered a plan to Lee and the Richmond government designed to take pressure off of the important Mississippi River port...