Group remembers Gen. Longstreet today

Edgefield native, Civil War general honored in Gainesville

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 5:46 AM
Last updated 6:27 AM
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GAINESVILLE, Ga.- Every week or so, visitors to Confederate Gen. James Longstreet's Gainesville grave leave behind an item of some kind, perhaps a cigar or a candle.

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James Longstreet, born near North Augusta, attended Richmond Academy  Library of Congress
Library of Congress
James Longstreet, born near North Augusta, attended Richmond Academy

The Longstreet Society, which aims to preserve the Civil War leader's history and legacy, even has some of the items on display at the Piedmont Hotel, property owned by the general until his 1904 death and now the society's Maple Street headquarters.

For those wishing to pay respects as part of an organized ceremony, the Dahlonega-based Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1860, Blue Ridge Rifles is planning an annual memorial service today at Longstreet's Alta Vista Cemetery grave site.

If it rains, the service will be held at the cemetery's mausoleum.

"We have years when 100 or so folks show up, and then there are years when maybe four show up," said Joe Whitaker, Longstreet Society treasurer and a Camp 1860 member. "It all depends on the weather."

Longstreet, who was born 190 years ago, died on Jan. 2, 1904, in Gainesville. Known as Gen. Robert E. Lee's "Old War Horse," he lost popularity in the South as he became a Republican and advocated civil rights for blacks.

The annual ceremony was started a decade or so ago by Tim Ragland, who was commander of Camp 1418 in Cleveland, and Mike Freeman, who was adjutant for the Cleveland and Dahlonega camps at the time.

"Mike and I both had an interest in Gen. Longstreet," Ragland said, explaining how the event began. "We have one of the top, key people for the Confederacy ... who resided and was buried in Gainesville. That is just extremely unique."

Also, "ever since the Battle of Gettysburg, there has been a lot of negative press toward Longstreet, and we wanted to kind of change people's attitudes about that," Ragland said.

"As far as I know, there never has been an annual or any kind of major observance of the general until we started this," he added.

The service features remarks by Ragland, a placement of cigars (a favorite of Longstreet's) and a wreath at the grave and an honor guard that will fire a salute.

Whitaker said the hope is other camps will attend the service, along with United Daughters of the Confederacy and Longstreet Society members.

After the service, the public is invited to an open house at the Piedmont Hotel, where refreshments will be served.

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Batman
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Batman 01/16/11 - 09:28 am
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An interesting tidbit -- Gen.

An interesting tidbit -- Gen. Longstreet applied for a pardon from President Andrew Johnson, endorsed by his old friend Ulysses S. Grant. Johnson refused, however, telling Longstreet in a meeting: "There are three persons of the South who can never receive amnesty: Mr. (Jefferson) Davis, General Lee, and yourself. You have given the Union cause too much trouble."

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/16/11 - 10:54 am
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Longstreet at Gettysburg has

Longstreet at Gettysburg has been debated. If Gen. Lee has listened to him and not charged up Cemetery Hill, I'd have a yankee girl shining my boots on my old Aiken plantation.

PitchFork007
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PitchFork007 01/16/11 - 12:22 pm
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That GEN Robert E. Lee did

That GEN Robert E. Lee did not follow GEN Longstreet's advice not to attack that well entrenched, armed, and supplied Union Army uphill defensive position at the Battle of Gettysburg was the greatest stategical mistake made during the Civil War. It was the turning point of the war and it was the mistake for which the South is still suffering. And, this mistake of all mistakes was made by our beloved GEN Robert E. Lee, who many, but definitely not me, consider to be the greatest Confederate officer of that war. Personally, I have always admired "Stonewall" Jackson. Though he may not have been the greatest, I can think of no others who ever came close to matching his individual personal courage and bravery.

Riverman1
93233
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Riverman1 01/16/11 - 11:12 am
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PitchFork007, in the

PitchFork007, in the miniseries "Lee" they tried to make Longstreet look cowardly when he was in fact the best general on either side. He was practical and said no army could make it up that hill. Lee should have simply kept moving around the Union forces and picked his own battle ground if necessary as he moved to New York City. Lee was detached and spoiled by the early victories and fighting ability of the Confederate soldiers.

tcowan13
266
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tcowan13 01/16/11 - 12:07 pm
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The South is always the

The South is always the winner.at least we have the prettiest women and Florida.

DaddyFrog
46
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DaddyFrog 01/16/11 - 02:32 pm
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He was born in Edgefield

He was born in Edgefield County,SC. There's a marker on Martintown Rd. marking his birthplace. He also lived near Augusta as a boy, and attended ARC.

dokken3605
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dokken3605 01/16/11 - 03:20 pm
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Every Jan The Jennie Benson

Every Jan The Jennie Benson Children of the Confederacy Chapter # 884 have a B/day Celebration at his homesite Daddyfrog that is not really his birthplace if you go to Gregory lake rd turn onto it take the left just before you get to the North Augusta Country club there is a doll like house on corner follow this rd when come to i believe the first left take that then go up to the first left again you will see an iron gate in front and a dirt road going around to left take the dirt rd go to first driveway go beside house you will see an open field with a lrg Monument in it this is the actual Birth Place of Gen Longstreet but is Private property also and we get permission each yr to hold a B/day celebration for Him

Southern_Patriot
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Southern_Patriot 01/16/11 - 10:58 pm
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In Dixieland I'll take my

In Dixieland I'll take my stand to live and die in Dixie

Riverman1
93233
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Riverman1 01/17/11 - 08:05 am
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We should have won that war

We should have won that war and kept the north under Reconstruction for the next 80 years.

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