View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 07:12 am
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Root Beer Lover

Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
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Barlow wrote:  Didn't George Custer come across Longstreet at Appomattox whereby he "demanded" Longstreet surrender the ANV, and Longstreet put him in his place?  In the movie, the two are good friends. 
Yup. Otto Eisenschiml and Ralph Newman relate the story in their The Civil War: An American Iliad. It's from the eyewitness account of William Miller Owen who served in the Washington Artillery. From pages 683 to 684:

       At nine o'clock on the morning of April 9 the battalion was moved out into the road to resume the march. Just as we emerged General Lee was riding by, going toward the rear, accompanied by Colonels Marshall and Taylor of his staff. I noted particulary his dress. He was in full uniform. His Horse, Old Traveler, was finely groomed, and his equipment---bridle, bit, etc.---were polished until they shone like silver.

     A this seemed peculiar. I had never seen him before in full rig and began to think something strange was to happen. He always wore during the campaigns a gray sack coat with side pockets, quite like the costume of a businessman in cities; and after Second Manassas I had never seen him carry a sword.

     I moved the battalion forward toward the hill. There I espied General Longstreet and General Alexander, chief of artillery, sitting on a log. Alexander got up and came toward me. I said to him, "General Lee instructed me to stop here for orders. What do you want me to do?"

     He replied, "Turn into the field on the right and park your guns." Then he added, in a low tone, "We are going to surrender today."

     Presently a Federal cavalry officer was observed coming down the road toward our forces. He wore his hair very long, and it was of a light or reddish color. In his hand he carried a white handkerchief, which he constantly waved up and down. Upon approaching he dismounted and said, "General Longstreet, in the name of General Sheridan and myself, I deman the surrender of this army. I am General Custer."

     General Longstreet replied, "I am not in command of this army. General Lee is, and he has gone back to meet General Grant in regard to a surrender."

     "Well," said Custer, "no matter about General Grant. We demand the surrender be made to us. If you do not do so, we will renew hostilities."

     "Oh, well!" said Longstreet, "I will do my best to meet you." Then, turning to his staff, he said, "Colonel manning, please  order General Johnson to move his division to the front, to the right of General Gordon. Colonel Latrobe, please order General Pickett's division forward to General Gordon's left."

    Custer listened with surprise; he had not thought so many of our troops were at hand. Cooling off immediately, he said, "General, probably we had better wait until we hear from Grant and Lee. I will speak to General Sheridan about it. Don't move your troops yet." And he mounted and withdrew in a much quieter style.

     As he passed out of hearing Longstreet gave that peculiar chuckle of his. The divisions of Johnson and Pickett hahd had no existence since the fight at Five Forks.

Now if you look here,, Sheridan knew exactly where Grant was meeting with Lee. In fact Sheridan pointed it out to Grant before both headed to the McLean house. Now The American Civil War: An American Iliad relates the eyewitness account of Brevet Maj. General J.L. Chamberlain who reports that Lee arrived around 1 PM with Grant arriving "Not long after...." So Sheridan was in Appomatox Court House, from the sounds of things, before either Lee or Grant, but he was waiting for Grant to meet with Lee rather than demanding Lee surrender to him as Custer's demand of Longstreet would suggest to me he'd have attempted if he wanted the army surrendered to him.

Of course this doesn't mean that they didn't become friends after the war. Before the war seems unlikely. While both were West Point grads, Custer was Class of 1861 (his entire graduating class graduated a year early due to the need for trained officers at the start of the war) whereas Longstreet was Class of 1842. Longstreet was in his second year when Custer was born. But I'm not sure they did.

Last edited on Thu Dec 1st, 2011 07:31 am by Hellcat

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