James Longstreet, an American soldier, born in South Carolina about 1820. He was taken to Alabama in his childhood, graduated at West Point in 1842, and was assigned to the infantry. He served in the principal battles of the Mexican war, was severely wounded in the assault on a fortified convent at Chapulte-pec, and was successively brevetted as captain and major. From 1847 to 1858 he was on frontier duty in Texas, having been made captain of infantry in 1852. In 1858 he became paymaster, with the rank of major of staff, at Albuquerque, New Mexico. In June, 1861, he resigned and entered the confederate service, and became a brigadier general under Beauregard. His brigade took an active part in the first battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861), after which he was made major general. He commanded the rear guard at the abandonment of Yorktown, and fought the battle of Williamsburg (May 5, 1862), which enabled the confederates to effect their retreat to Richmond. At the battle of Seven Pines (May 31) Longstreet's division bore the main part, and gained whatever success was achieved.
During the "seven days" his division was closely engaged in the battles of Cold Harbor (June 27) and Frazier's Farm (June 30). Of the 10,000 men in this division the loss in killed and wounded was 4,292. Shortly after the confederate army of northern Virginia was organized into two corps, under the immediate command of Jackson and Longstreet, to operate against the Union army of Virginia under Pope. At the second battle of Bull Run Longstreet, with whom was Lee, joined Jackson on the second day (Aug. 30) in time to secure the victory. In the invasion of Maryland which ensued, Longstreet's corps bore an-important part in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. At the battle of Fredericksburg (Dec. 13) Long-street commanded the confederate left, where the main success of the day was achieved. In February, 1863, Longstreet with two of his five divisions was detached for special service in North Carolina, but was recalled to Virginia immediately after the battle of Chancellorsville, was made lieutenant general, and received command of one of the three corps of the army destined for the invasion of the north.
At Gettysburg portions of his corps, though not under his immediate orders, fought the indecisive action of July 2, and the fatal one of July 3. During the partial lull of operations in the east which followed this battle Long-street with his division was sent to the west to the support of Bragg. He arrived in Tennessee just in time to secure the confederate success at Chickamauga (Sept. 19, 20). Early in November Longstreet was sent by Bragg to operate against Burnside near Knoxville. This movement proved unsuccessful, and in March, 1864, Longstreet with his division rejoined the army of Lee. At the battle of the Wilderness, May 6,1864, Longstreet was severely wounded by his own men, who mistook him for a Union officer, and did not resume service till October. He was then placed in command of the forces on the east side of the James river. He took part with a few brigades in the final engagement at Petersburg, which enabled Lee to secure his retreat from that city. He was a member of the last council of war held by Lee in the woods on the night of April 8, 1865. After the conclusion of the war Longstreet was among the first of the confederate generals to avail himself of the proffered amnesty.
He took up his residence in New Orleans, engaged in civil pursuits, and exerted himself to bring about a cordial peace, acting with the republican party. For a time he was surveyor of the port, and in 1874 was one of the school commissioners of New Orleans.