By Steven A. Holmes, CNN
“So where are Longstreet’s statues?
General James Longstreet was an important figure in the Confederate Army; as important as Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart or A.P. Hill; nearly as critical to the Confederate cause as Robert E. Lee.
A genius at combining offensive and defensive maneuvers, Longstreet led his 28,000 men in a flanking movement — described as the largest simultaneous mass assault of the war — and routed the Union Army at the Second Battle of Bull Run in 1862. The carnage that Longstreet’s stout defense inflicted on attacking Union troops during the Battle of Fredericksburg a month later was so great that Lee, watching it, observed, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” Longstreet’s defeat of the northern troops during the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863 provided the Confederacy with its only major victory after Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg.
He was, by most accounts, Lee’s most trusted general. Lee once termed him “the staff in my right hand,” and by the end of the war made Longstreet his second-in-command….”
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The statue of Longstreet, the one of him on his hobby horse, is on West Confederate Avenue in Gettysburg, just a bit south of its intersection with Wheatfield/Millerstown Road. It’s only there (erected and dedicated during, IIRC, the 135th Anniversary in 1998) because it had been authorized by the Battlefield Commission a century before, but never built due to lack of funds. It’s also unique in that it is the ONLY statue of an actual Confederate General anywhere on the field, as Lee is technically just the ‘crowning point’ of the Virginia Monument.
My reference to a ‘hobby horse’ is that Hero, Longstreet’s long-serving steed, is disproportionately small in comparison to his rider. If you look at most equestrian statues, such as Hancock and Reynolds, you’ll notice that the perspective gained by having the statue up on a tall pedestal makes the horse look too large in proportion to the rider, except from a distance. The designer of Longstreet’s statue, knowing that it was supposed to be up on a pedestal, purposely downsized Hero a tad, to give the General his due. Unfortunately, even in the 1990’s, Reb funding was such that a pedestal just couldn’t be had, especially as the location was wooded and would render things a bit odd.So Hero and Longstreet are on a ground level base, and the visual effect is almost that there should be a merry-go-round pole transfixing the poor beast. Either that or Pete Longstreet is a giant that makes Heros von Borcke look like a mounted hobbit!
– Rick Barber