Reassessing James Longstreet at Gettysburg with Cory Pfarr


Hi all - I am very pleased to welcome Mr. Cory Pfarr to the show. Cory works for the Department of Defense and is an American History author whose main interests span America's Revolutionary to Civil War years. He is the author of "John Quincy Adams's Republicanism: 'A Thousand Obstacles Apparently Stand Before Us'" (Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014) and Longstreet at Gettysburg: A Critical Reassessment (McFarland Publishers, 2019). He has also written articles for North & South Magazine and Gettysburg Magazine, and has appeared on the Pennsylvania Cable Network and C-SPAN American History TV. He lives in Pikesville, Maryland with his wife and three kids.

You may remember a few weeks back I reviewed Cory’s book on James Longstreet. If not, you can read it HERE. You’ll note that I agreed with some points but was troubled with others…and so I am stoked that Cory and I got to talk some things out. In the end…I think we have more common ground on our ideas about James Longstreet’s performance at Gettysburg and the way he’s been reviewed by both his peers at the time and by historians ever since.

We discuss:

  • Why Cory thinks historians and others have been unfair in their treatments of James Longstreet at Gettysburg

  • The Lost Cause tradition and its legacy

  • Michael Shaara’s Killer Angels, the film, Gettysburg, and popular takes on James Longstreet

  • Longstreet’s From Manassas to Appomattox

  • Why Cory has a bone to pick with academic historians

  • The problem with speculation…enter Helen Longstreet but E.P. Alexander too…and don’t forget folks like Lafayette McClaws

  • Was it the Confederates’ fight to win?

And here’s one last thing I would like to say on the matter. Cory and I disagree on some stuff. And you know what - we still had a great conversation about it anyway. This is proof positive that two people in disagreement can have a rational and civil discussion. Imagine what would happen if we all respected each other and carried on accordingly. I know…it’s damn near impossible with some folks. But I think that most of us are well intentioned, well meaning people who seek to resolve disagreement in good faith. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

I would love to keep the conversation going…so buy Cory’s book, follow him on Twitter, Insta, and Facebook, and comment comment comment.

And please, don’t forget to subscribe to The Rogue Historian Podcast on Apple Podcasts or your favorite app so you never ever ever ever miss a show. That would be dumb.

With compliments,