While many books and writings are available on the history of Lieutenant General James Longstreet of the Confederate States Army, nearly the entire body of this historiography marginalizes his accomplishments and is devoted to his falling from grace with the postwar Southern elites. This piece of historiography aims to look at Longstreet with twenty-first century objectivity, and completely abandons the Lost Cause linked hatred that many postwar Southern elites had for him and his post war politics. While Longstreet s political incorrectness was the reason he became ignored, politics is completely irrelevant to the student of warfare looking to garner lessons from Longstreet s battles and campaigns. This work will compare the similarities of Longstreet s innovations and operations to certain aspects of war that became standard in the First and Second World Wars. Interpreting Longstreet through the comparison of his methods to twentieth century methods shows Longstreet was a very modern general. Even more important than identifying Longstreet s originality is identifying how his actions greatly added to the changing complexion of warfare. Some of his innovations were the early origins of prominent facets in twentieth century warfare, and he clearly established his legacy as a modern innovator as early as 1862. But only now are the postwar negative portrayals of Longstreet faded enough for him to emerge as the Confederacy s most modern general.
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LTC Knudsen's Army career spans over twenty four years of active duty service, and includes American and German Army Field Artillery Schools, Command and General Staff College, and he is a recent graduate of the Joint Services Staff College, Naval Station, Norfolk. With many years of tactical experience in the integration of fire support, maneuver planning and fire control computation for cannon units, much of this time was spent in the German training areas on tactics offensive armored warfare, as well as peace-keeping and counter-insurgency training. A combat veteran of Desert Storm, he performed extensive artillery fire planning and execution in support of the US breakthrough of the Iraqi line and penetration into Iraq. He has also served in Iraqi Freedom in the current conflict as a Force Manager, fielding new equipment to units in Iraq. His years of staff work at the Corps, Army, and Pentagon levels give him a strong understanding of army operations from the lowest to highest levels. His interest in James Longstreet began at an early age, and expanded in Germany when comparing some of Longstreet's tactics and operations to current methods in the training areas. LTC Knudsen's way of looking at the Civil War draws heavily from 20th Century Army doctrine, field training, staff planning, command, and combat experience.Review:
Lt. Col. Knudsen's book General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Modern Soldier, is a clear step in the right direction. Lt. Col. Knudsen, is an army artillery officer with vast military experience. His area of expertise is in fire support, maneuver doctrine and instructor of artillery operations, fire support, and maneuver planning and execution makes him an expert in his profession. Additionally he saw combat during Desert Storm performing extensive artillery fire planning and execution in support of U.S. forces for the length of the war. During the War on Terror he has served as a Force Manager in HQDA G-8, Pentagon, in Kuwait and Iraq fielding new eqiupment to deployed units, and also worked to prepare and deploy units to the Iraqi Surge. He has a Masters degree in Liberal With this expertise, Lt. Col. Knudsen sheds significant light on the achievements of Longstreet during the Civil War. Knudsen objectively analyzes Longstreet's performances in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga and the siege in Petersburg, and uses them to demonstrate the tactical and strategic abilities Longstreet developed during the course of the war. The first two chapters explain how Longstreet's reputation was slanderously depicted and how professional officers from both armies viewed tactics and strategy as the war commenced. Chapter two concludes that "The next battle [Fredericksburg] would not only bring the South a major victory, but Longstreet would give the world a glimpse of twentieth century warfare." A thorough review of these battles identifies the tactics used and how Longstreet and several of his peers reacted to them. Knudsen compares the strategy of both Longstreet and Lee and presents a compelling case for the former. Considering the level of expertise of the author, this book is very readable and interesting, even for those with little military experience. It should be mandatory reading for all students of the war and military evolution, and especially important for those with aspirations of writing Civil War military history. Perhaps now Lt. Gen. Longstreet may rest in greater peace as his proper reputation as a military leader is being restored. --Reconstructed Rebel; MD
This is the first book produced which attempts to objectively analyze James Longstreet's ability and skill as a professional soldier and his strategic vision in the Civil War. Although in need of some editorial trimming and grammatical tweaking, this paperback volume is still a very good read. The author devotes the introduction to an analysis of the Lost Cause mentality which has dominated the South's historical writings until recent times and how it effected the disappearance of Longstreet's innovative lessons in modern warfare from the tomes of later military strategists and student reading lists. The rest of the book is a rather astute discussion of why Longstreet was actually the best combat soldier of the Civil War. Simple said, Longstreet's use of staff, his use of "blitzrieg movements" and "in depth" attack, his innovations in trench warfare and centralized indirect fire, his "Western theatre" strategy and use of interior lines, his use of large strategic movements of troops and materials, as well as a host of other innovations helped make obsolete the use of Napoleonic and Jominian Theory in Civil War --Johnny W. Kicklighter - Belleville, IL
This is the first book produced which attempts to objectively analyze James Longstreet's ability and skill as a professional soldier and his strategic vision in the Civil War. Although in need of some editorial trimming and grammatical tweaking, this paperback volume is still a very good read. The author devotes the introduction to an analysis of the Lost Cause mentality which has dominated the South's historical writings until recent times and how it effected the disappearance of Longstreet's innovative lessons in modern warfare from the tomes of later military strategists and student reading lists. The rest of the book is a rather astute discussion of why Longstreet was actually the best combat soldier of the Civil War. Simple said, Longstreet's use of staff, his use of "blitzrieg movements" and "in depth" attack, his innovations in trench warfare and centralized indirect fire, his "Western theatre" strategy and use of interior lines, his use of large strategic movements of troops and materials, as well as a host of other innovations helped make obsolete the use of Napoleonic and Jominian Theory in Civil War combat and facilitated the movement towards the twentieth century trench warfare of WWI and the Blitzkrieg of WWII. Of secondary note, it is interesting and satisfying to see the inexorable approaching destruction of the "anti-Longstreet" cabal which has for so many years been able to hide the greater talents of this Civil War general in a blanket of "Lost Cause" hate. Do you ever wonder why Lee wanted Longstreet as second in command and had his commission as a Lt. Gen. dated one day before that of Stonewall Jackson's. There should be no doubt about why Longstreet represented the "crème de la crème" of Civil War generals after reading this book. --Clark Thornton - Decendent of General Longsteet and family geneologist
I had three great grandfathers and three great uncles who served in the war. During a recent meeting of our Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Harold Knudsen of the US Army was our guest speaker. I had no idea of who General Longstreet was and, at the time, really didn't care all that much. After all, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were my heroes. However, Knudsen quickly captured my attention as it became apparent that the legacy of James Longstreet had been swept under the rug by the philosophy of political correctness. I was so enthralled by Knudsen's lecture; I was the first person at his book table to purchase a hardbound copy of his book. LTC Knudsen's book is small and is less than one hundred pages. Tiny in comparison to the monolithic volumes that exist on Lee and Jackson and other figures. I have in times past started to read some of those exhaustive works on the Civil War and its heroes, but have rarely completed any. It seems I would get bogged down in what would seem to be the endless battles and forever lost in the explanations of force movements, placement of batteries, flanking maneuvers and all the minutiae of military speak. Even though Knudsen is militaryesque in his writing, he is succinct and keeps the reader's attention. At one point I asked myself, where are the maps? However, I soon realized his descriptions do not require maps. Actually, I believe maps would have been a distraction. Knudsen makes the case that General Longstreet has not only been misjudged by history, but actually was one of the most successful generals of the war. He subtitles his book: The Confederacy's Most Modern General; and indeed it appeares Longstreet was. Longstreet broke with the Napoleonic practices of warfare and introduced innovations that had not been seen in nineteenth century warfare. Not until recently has Longstreet's reputation begun a slow re-examination. In fact, it wasn't until 1998 that the first monument to honor him was erected at Gettysburg. Biographers of the post war era stated Longstreet was smart and ambitious but also a know it all. They turned against him for rejecting the ideology of the Lost Cause. Indeed, Longstreet was not a politically correct person, and according to the author, considered political correctness a form of dishonesty. Longstreet wasn't interested in political debate and didn't engage on the causes of the war, but instead excelled in the art of war. His view was simple: once war was decided to be the course of action; his goal was to win it. Knudsen does not discuss Longstreet's post military career, other than mentioning his involvement with the passage of military reconstruction bills in Congress. However, that only fueled my curiosity in wanting to do more research on the general. My research uncovered that Longstreet enjoyed a career working for the U.S. Government and he was a convert to the Republican Party. Combining this with his support for reconstruction and some critical comments he wrote about General Robert E. Lee, he inflamed his detractors and distanced himself from his Confederate colleagues. Portions of Knudsen's conclusion were steeped with a good bit of military strategic lingo which required me to read it twice to obtain a good comprehension. Knudsen's background in military command structure and control is very evident as he knows his stuff. However, parts of the final chapter sometimes leave the reader with a feeling he is at a military academy receiving a briefing on military policy and doctrine. All in all, I believe his book is long overdue and it deserves a place on your bookshelf. You won't be disappointed. --Johnny W. Kicklighter - Belleville, IL
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Book Description USA Publishing, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110982659202