Tuesday, September 25, 2012
After the war, Longstreet got involved with the Republican Party and became known as a traitor to the South. In November 1865, Ulysses S. Grant petitioned President Andrew Johnson to restore Longstreet's citizenship. When Longstreet and Johnson met, Johnson said, "There are three persons of the South who can never receive amnesty: Mr. Davis, General Lee, and yourself. You have given the Union cause too much trouble."
In 1867, Longstreet wrote letters to the New Orleans Times, which were reprinted widely. In them, he advised Southerners, as a "conquered people," to cooperate with the North and the Republicans, as the war was fought upon "Republican ideals." Southerners were furious. When he officially joined the Republican Party, supported the Grant administration, and accepted Republican political appointments, they were outraged.
The blame for the heavy losses suffered at Gettysburg was placed squarely upon Longstreet's shoulders, and he was excluded from Confederate circles, even military reunions, and there are few monuments to Longstreet in the South. Such criticism chafed Longstreet, but he was unable to defend himself well in writing.
More on this series of posts on Longstreet to come.