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Longstreet’s Command Audition: Tennessee in the Fall of 1863 Itinerary

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

6:00 PM. Arrive at the headquarters hotel for registration and to meet your fellow students. Norm will talk informally about James Longstreet and his record before arriving in Tennessee. He will also recap the operations between Rosecrans and Bragg to date. Expect a spirited discussion, so be prepared to engage. Dinner is on your own.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

8:15 AM. Longstreet arrives with his troops as the battle of Chickamauga has been joined. He is welcomed and given immediate command of a wing of Bragg’s army. It will be a long night. We will travel to pick him up at Catoosa Station and then on to Bragg’s headquarters. We will set up his command and discuss immediate problems he faces in placing and commanding his troops. As the day dawns, he strikes only to have the war gods smile on him. An ill-timed shift in the Union lines allows his forces to split the Union army in two. While half the Union army is routed, the day will be spent on the hard-fought grounds that lead to Snodgrass Hill. We will examine how the critical wounding of John Bell Hood affected his options and command. The day ends with us in McFarland Gap. This is a great battlefield, perhaps the largest and greatest in the western theater. Lunch is provided, and dinner is on your own.

Friday, August 3, 2018

8:00 AM. Bags out as we prepare to head toward Knoxville. Today we will pick up the siege of Chattanooga and the intrigues and criticism that brought President Davis west to determine why the army is falling apart from all the command bickering. We will spend time looking at the Confederates terrain advantage. Today we feature the Battle of Wauhatchie, which does Longstreet no credit. Stops will include the National Cemetery, the site of the Walker painting of the “Battle Above the Clouds,” and Point Park on Lookout Mountain to consider Longstreet’s thoughts and actions at the night fight at Wauhatchie.

We will next stop at the Confederate cemetery at Graysville and discuss Bragg’s detachment of Longstreet to challenge Burnside in northeastern Tennessee. Did he do it to challenge Burnside or to get rid of a man whom he had found disingenuous and disloyal? Regardless of the reasons, Longstreet has failed his audition and there will be no fourth star for him.

We continue on to Knoxville and our hotel that is included in your fees. Lunch and dinner will be provided.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

8:15 AM. Bags out at 8 AM for our 8:15 departure. Perhaps the most overlooked and disappointing Civil War experience has been the battle of Knoxville between Burnside and Longstreet. Dwarfed by the massive University of Tennessee campus, most tours bypass this modern city, but it is a mistake. There is much to learn there as we consider what to make of Longstreet’s independent command.

We start the day at David Farragut’s Monument. This great southerner stayed loyal to the Union and became its greatest sailor. Known as the hero of New Orleans, he would earn laurels in Mobile Bay as well the next year. We will then move to the opening shots of the Battle of Knoxville. We will visit a nice Civil War Museum on the UT campus (which fortunately will not be in session at this time of the year).

The key terrain is Fort Sanders, and we will visit the site along with other key positions in Longstreet’s attempted conquest—he failed. We will then visit the oft-overlooked Union and Confederate cemeteries before heading to forgotten sites on the east side of the Tennessee River. En route back to Chattanooga we will stop at the Sultana Monument in Knox County—a very sad story at the end of the war. Lunch is included. We will dismiss before dinner. You will have a pretty fair and unbiased look at Longstreet’s capacity for higher command. History, of course, tells us he returns to Lee’s army to be dreadfully wounded in the Wilderness fighting and, after his recovery, he is with Lee at Appomattox. James Longstreet is a complicated and ambitious man who is fully deserving of this hard look at his potential.


Registration includes three lunches, one dinner, one breakfast, one night of lodging in Knoxville area, a reading book with maps, the academic program, support of a professional historian and tour director, and on-the-ground transportation appropriate to the registration (which will be limited to two vans: 19 people). We will also provide snacks, bottled water, and a limited selection of sodas.

Ten percent of your registration fee is a tax-deductible contribution to the BGES 25th Anniversary Capital Reserve Campaign.

Register for this program online using our secure Sutler’s Tent ecommerce site: Register for Longstreet’s Command Audition: Tennessee in the Fall of 1863.