Friday, September 23, 2011

September 24, 1861 (Wednesday): Longstreet Offers to Resign

General James Longstreet

September 24, 1861 

Col. Thomas Jordan,
     Assistant Adjutant-General:
   COLONEL:  I have recently heard from various and reliable sources that one or more major-generals have been appointed and that the appointments have been given to persons whom, under the law and on account of services, I should now rank.  I can cheerfully submit to have persons placed over me who have rendered any particular service, but I cannot admit the right or justice of having persons placed over me on any other account.  When I returned to my home to take part in the cause of my people, I sacrificed everything except, as I thought, the hope of a proper recognition of my services.  The placing of persons above me whom I have always ranked and who have just joined this service I regard as great injustice.  I therefore request that an officer be detailed to relieve me of this command.  I think that I have done my share of this service, which is not altogether the most agreeable.
   I remain, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding           

Series I., Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 310

On September 19 Earl Van Dorn and G. W. Smith were promoted to Major General, prompting Longstreet's offer to resign.  The letter is so similar to Joe Johnston's missives on ranks, and Longstreet and Johnston were so close, it must be considered this is a bit of mischief on Johnston's part.  Jordan, to whom the missive is directed, was Beauregard's Chief of Staff.  To make a point about the promotions process and discomfit Beauregard at the same time was probably, to Johnston, a bit like winning the daily double.  No doubt Longstreet never had any real intent to resign.     

No comments:

Post a Comment