General Longstreet and Me: Refighting the Civil War

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General Longstreet and Me: Refighting the Civil War

by Louis D. Rubin
Southern Cultures, Vol. 8, No. 1: Spring 2002

"If only someone hadn't wrapped Lee's marching orders around a couple cigars and then dropped them on the way to Maryland for General McClellan to find in 1862. . . . If only history hadn't happened as it did."

Reading Tony Horwitz’s Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, with its account of the vicissitudes of the battlefield reenactments and reenactors of the long-ago war, causes me to confront the fact of my own Confederate past. Although I never affected authentic battle garb, dined on rancid bacon and parched corn, or exchanged black-powder volleys with imitation Bluebellies, there was a time when I too fancied myself a latter-day Wearer of the Gray and viewed the Fall of Richmond as a replication of the Fall of Man. As my friend and long-ago teacher the late C. Vann Woodward remarked in later years, “You had a bad case of it.”