Tuesday, May 28, 2013

while the other blogposts mature in the blog cellar...

...here's a neat post by Patheos' resident Catholic historian Patrick McNamara.  Longstreet is a fascinating character;  it's not surprise that he figures prominently in Michael Shaara's Killer Angels (the basis for the movie Gettysburg).  Longstreet stood outside the Virginia aristocracy running the Confederacy (and its main army, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia).  Longstreet also grasped what the Civil War demonstrated quite bloodily:  the then-current Napoleonic fad of achieving military victory through massive frontal assault, almost like an ancient Greek phalanx, was doomed when facing the increasing technological sophistication of infantry rifles.  European generals didn't figure this out until they'd burned through troops between 1914 and 1918.  However, the future was foretold in the hot afternoon of July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg.  Longstreet saw it all happen--even before it happened, if you've read Shaara's novel--and then gave the order to charge anyway.  He was a soldier, after all.

And later in life--perhaps because of his work in New Orleans, perhaps because of his experiences working with Catholics in the war, or perhaps he'd seen Catholic sisters serve as hospital nurses to both Union and Confederate wounded--he converted to Catholicism.  A great story, and many thanks to Dr. McNamara for drawing this to our attention.

Two things:  1)  Of course, Longstreet's conversion probably actually confirmed the stereotypical link between Catholicism and the Confederacy in the minds of northern Protestants like Thomas Nast and the American Protective Association.  Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion and all that...

2)  Lots of posts started over the past couple weeks and they'll get completed soon.  Patience please...

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