Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 16, 1862 (Sunday): Longstreet Addresses the Troops

Moxley Sorrel, Longstreet's AAG

November 16, 1862.
    The troops of this command will be held in readiness for battle upon a moment's notice. Commanders will see that provisions, ammunition, and transportation are at hand and in such quantities as may he wanted to meat their necessities. The commanding general relies upon the valor and patriotism of these well tried troops to sustain them in the struggle that they may again be called upon to encounter. Officers, cool and take care of your men. Soldiers, remain steady in your ranks, take good aim, and obey the orders of your officers. Observe these simple injunctions, and your general will be responsible for the issue.
     By command of Lieutenant-General Longstreet:

    G. M. SORREL,
    Assistant Adjutant-General.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 645.

Longstreet's orders reflect the belief action was immanent on the 16th.  There had been artillery fire exchanged on the 15th near Warrenton and Union forces were moving, albeit tentatively.  There is a certain amount of grandiosity in Longstreet's statement that if his troops followed a few precepts he would be responsible for the outcome of battle.  But this is not at all atypical of general's remarks to their troops throughout the war.  It perhaps should be left unremarked, but with some difficulty it is not, that Longstreet after the war scrupulously avoided accepting responsibility for any action of his during the war, unless that action was attended with unalloyed victory.


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