Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Old Pete" and "Unconditional Surrender" reunite

James Longstreet and U.S. Grant were friends prior to the Civil War. The two had become acquainted during their West Point days and they had served together at the Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. Both were serving in the Fourth Infantry and while there “Old Pete” Longstreet introduced Grant to his fourth cousin, Julia Grant, and the couple eventually married. Grant had Longstreet serve as a member of his wedding party and these things illustrate the friendship that they shared. The two grew so close before and after the Civil War that when Longstreet heard of Grant’s death he said He was the truest as well as the bravest man that ever lived." The two served together during the Mexican War and

When the NY Times interviewed Longstreet in 1885 he spoke openly of his relationship with U.S. Grant. "Ever since 1839, I have been on terms of the closest intimacy with Grant.” West Point could be an intimidating place and the large, robust Longstreet took the frail Grant under his wing. One of his greatest memories was introducing the game of Brag to Grant and watching him struggle as a player. “We instructed Grant in the mysteries of the game, but he made a poor player” Longstreet said. After the surrender at Appomattox Grant walked up to Longstreet and recalled the old days. In many ways if reflected both of their attitudes towards a reconciliation between North and South. “Pete, let us have another game of brag, to recall the days that were so pleasant.”

Both men shared a unique relationship that very few people know about. The loss of General Longstreet due to his wounding at the Wilderness cost General R.E. Lee the one lieutenant who had insight into Grant’s character. It was said that he told several people in the Confederate high command “That man Grant will fight us every day, and every hour, until the end of this War.” He was right.

Internet Links to consider


NY Times Article interviewing Longstreet after Grants death



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