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Savannah Georgia

August 28, 1888

I A Pennypacker

Phil Pa

Dear Sir

I herewith send you a photo of myself taken some eight or ten years past. This in compliance with your request in your letter of the 25th rec (recent?) February. It has become indistinct by age and the effects of the climate. But if it will answer your purpose, I will be gratified and feel complimented by the desire expressed for it.

As for Gen Longstreet! His corps was composed of three divisions commanded

respectively by McLaws,Hood, and Pickett, and his Arty by Gen E P Alexander. He knew that his division commander, in his dep. (dept?) of Arty, required any instructions that he could give, and therefore never gave any, beyond the order of march and conferring with his division commander, who in turn never taught him, except to get in the news-- “Never for advice, for they were fully his equal in ability, nor did he seek council [in?] conferences with his equals in rank, nor even with his superiors, but allowed himself to be influenced by very inferior personages either of his staff, or from those of his command, not his division commanders, who were seeking adornment by flattering his self conceit, already offensive in its exhibits, or by innuendos or lies intended to depreciate, some one or two of his Division Commanders, who seldom went to Corps Hd Qrs when neither amusement nor information was obtainable.

He was placed prominently forward, in the first instance, because he was connected by marriage with his [F.F. Co?] his wife being a Miss Garland of Virginia, and him by [self?] assertive conceit. And persistent pushing himself at Head Quarters, regardless of the claims or merits of any others, in fact was depreciating those of all others, regardless of even the truth if it was in his way. He gained his first position. He is a brave man, and this with his obstinacy and [self assertion?] placed him far beyond his merits, such at least as history will award him. He was incapable of conducting a campaign from the evolutions of his own brain and his jealousy of advice was so great that really at times it seemed as if he preferred that of the enemy rather than to take it from one of his subordinates and had taken it from the opposing commander. A notable instance of this characteristic is the conduct of the Campaign against Knoxville, which he commanded, for he could not have ordered movements more to the advantage of the opposing forces, if he had acted only in conformity of the orders of Burnside and Gen Grant.The expedition was such a remarkable failure, when it should have been a success. That there who knew of events as they happened have attributed the faults committed to a desire of Longstreet, not to succeed! But I think they are attributed rather to his badly ballanced [sic] nature which unfitted him for separate command.

I beg leave to express my sympathy for yourself and family in affliction.

very truly yours

L McLaws

Gen Longstreet’s mother was a ___ of the same blood of the wife of Gen Grant, hence the cause of the suspicion with which some persons have regulated the ”curious” conduct of Gen Longstreet when he happened to be opposed to Gen Grant in Chattanooga and Tenn + c..

Creation Date





Chatham County




United States

Creator Life Dates



Lafayette McLaws, Longstreet, Hood, Pickett, Grant, Civil War, Alexander

Date Digital


Document Type



Military History | Political History | Social History | United States History

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Letter: Lafayette McLaws to Isaac R. Pennypacker, August 28, 1888