Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Gettysburg: The Second Day

How close were Lee and Longstreet? What did they decide on July 2, 1863?

Lee and Longstreet were never as close as Lee and Jackson had been; theirs was closer to a relationship between peers. The British observer Colonel Arthur Fremantle commented that the relationship between Lee and his “Old War Horse” Longstreet was touching, that they clearly enjoyed one another’s presence. There was a difference between them where tactics were concerned, however, and it reared its head on July 2. Longstreet could practically feel his chief’s impatience, but he felt he had to make an attempt to dissuade him. The previous day’s fight had been brilliantly successful, Longstreet declared, and now the opportunity had presented itself for the Confederates to swing well around the federal left and take up a defensive position in their rear. Because they would be between the Federals and Washington, D.C., Meade would be forced to attack. On most occasions, Lee might have listened. His blood was clearly up, however, and he cut Longstreet off, saying that the enemy was “there” (he pointed to the ridge of hills) and he intended to strike them.


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