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LONGSTREET (Chapter 5 of Part III)
Stuart’s return & recovering from the loss at Little Round Top
Longstreet lies to a wounded and drugged Hood about the failure of the attack and the high casualties, telling him that the charge succeeded. Longstreet orders Captain Goree to scout the surrounding area and Goree confesses to having punched one of Hood’s officers. Apparently Hood’s officers can’t imagine Lee making a mistake and blame the failed attack on Longstreet.
The casualty reports are dire: Longstreet lost over eight thousand men in two hours. Pickett arrives in camp eager for battle, and Longstreet makes his way to headquarters only to find Jeb Stuart being admired upon his return. Longstreet avoids the young cavalier as much as possible and makes his way to Lee. Longstreet recounts the battle to Lee, who insists that with one more push the Union line will break.
Longstreet takes his leave from Lee only to find Marshall outside demanding that Stuart be court-martialed. Longstreet leaves feeling hopeless, knowing that Lee will never sign the court-martial papers nor change his mind about the attacks against the fortified Union position.
Fremantle congratulates Longstreet on the day’s "victory" and goes on about how clever and devious General Lee is. Longstreet laughs at the thought of a "devious" Lee and tells Fremantle that Lee succeeds because his men have faith in him, not because of any tactics. Longstreet finds himself telling Fremantle things he had long ago buried, and an inner angst against Lee comes out. After excusing himself from Fremantle’s presence, Longstreet considers this.
Longstreet then runs into Armistead. Armistead emotionally laments about his old friendship with Hancock, and Longstreet assures him that a visit between the two would be allowed. Longstreet and Armistead then head towards the campfire and the surrounding party.
"Eyes black and soft like old polished stones." (p.237)
"His eyes were dreaming, closing like small doors over a dim light." (p.238)
"Hair blazing out behind him like fire." (p.239)
"There was a rage in his brain, a bloody cloudy area like mud stirred in a pool. He was like a fighter who has been down once and is up again, hurt and in rage, looking to return the blow, looking for the opening...Feeling the swelling inside his chest like an unexploded bomb." (p.239)
"His voice was squeaky, like a dry wagon wheel." (p.240)
"Pickett’s Division: five thousand fresh men. Damn fine men. It was like being handed a bright new shiny gun." (p.242)
"A crowd beginning to trail out after him like the tail of a comet." (p.243)
"Lee penetrated to the lonely man within like a bright hot spear." (p.244)
"They moved in a lane through hundreds of people, like Moses at the parting of the Sea." (p.245) Note the Biblical allusion.
"He went into the small house...the roof closing in over him like the lid on a jar." (p.245)
"Taylor drew back in frosty reproach, as if Longstreet’s hand smelled badly of fish." (p.247)
"Fremantle...He looked like an illustration Longstreet had once seen of Ichabod Crane." (p.249)
"Hood’s black eyes stared unseeing." (p.237)
" ‘I been talking to Hood’s officers. They all said the attack was your fault and if General Lee knowed he wouldn’t have ordered it.’ " (p.240)
Irony & Humor:
" ‘General Pickett is gravely concerned, sir. He wishes to inquire if there are any Yankees left. He says to tell you that he personally is bored and his men are lonely." (p.242)
"A band struck up, oh Lord, ‘Bonny Blue Flag,’ again." (p.245)