b. Jan. 8, 1821, Edgefield District, S.C., U.S.d. Jan. 2, 1904, Gainesville, Ga.
Longstreet was a Confederate officer during the American Civil War.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. (1842), he resigned from the U.S. Army when his native state seceded from the Union (December 1860); he was made a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He fought in the first and second battles of Bull Run, called First and Second Manassas by the Confederates (July 1861; August-September 1862); was a division commander in the Peninsular Campaign (March-July 1862); and at Antietam (September 1862) and Fredericksburg (November-December 1862) commanded what was soon called the I Corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. Promoted to lieutenant general (1862), Longstreet participated in the Battle of Gettysburg as Gen. Robert E. Lee's second in command. His delay in attacking and his slowness in organizing "Pickett's Charge," his critics argue, were responsible for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg; others, however, place the blame on Lee, citing his inability to cope with unwilling officers. In September 1863 he directed the attack at Chickamauga that broke the Federal lines. He was severely wounded in the Wilderness Campaign. In November 1864, although with a paralyzed right arm, he resumed command of his corps. He surrendered with Lee at Appomattox.
After the war he became unpopular in the South--partly because of his admiration for Pres. Ulysses S. Grant and partly because he joined the Republican Party. He served as U.S. minister to Turkey (1880-81) and commissioner of Pacific railways (1898-1904). His reminiscences, From Manassas to Appomattox, appeared in 1896.