Monday, September 24, 2012

On the second day of fighting at the Battle of the Wilderness– almost exactly one year later, and three miles away from where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men during the Battle of Chancellorsville – Longstreet was shot by his own men in the thickets of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. Many believe the battle wouldn't have ended in a draw if Longstreet had been able to direct his counterattack in person.

Longstreet was struck by a minie ball in the throat and exited through his right shoulder, severing nerves. As a result of his wounds, his once clear voice was now husky and his right arm was paralyzed. He was put on leave until his wounds healed. Longstreet's fall was recognized as a great blow to the South and a stroke of luck for the North. 

Longstreet rejoined Lee in October 1864, with his right arm paralyzed and in a sling, initially unable to ride a horse. He had taught himself to write with his left hand; by periodically pulling on his arm, as advised by doctors, he was able to regain use of his right hand in later years. For the remainder of the Siege of Petersburg, he commanded the defenses in front of the capital of Richmond, including all forces north of the James River and Pickett's Division at Bermuda Hundred.

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