The Lost Cause Attack on the Battlefield Reputation of Lieutenant General James Longstreet and Its Effect on U.S. Civil War History

  • 2013

The Lost Cause Attack on the Battlefield Reputation of Lieutenant General James Longstreet and Its Effect on U.S. Civil War History

Author:
Kevin Brown
Abstract:

Confederate Lieutenant General Longstreet ended the U.S. Civil War with one of the most impressive battlefield records of any participant in the war. Despite Longstreet's consistent and outstanding record of superior battlefield performance his reputation and battle record were maligned after the death of Robert E. Lee. This paper explores why Longstreet's wartime record was attacked so vehemently by the members of the Southern Historical Society and their publication arm, the Southern Historical Society Papers (SHSP). Additionally, it investigates why generations of American historians were willing to accept and repeat the false statements about the battlefield conduct of General Longstreet published in the SHSP. Additionally, it examines the acceptance of the lies and false representations of the Lost Cause mythologists and their effect on the historical record. Finally, it addresses the ongoing damage to Longstreet's legacy.