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TN Valley Civil War Round Table, March 13: “A Want of Confidence - Longstreet's East Tennessee Campaign”, by Dorothy “Dot” Kelly


Thursday, March 13, 2014


In the fall of 1863, Confederate General James Longstreet and the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia were sent to the Western Theater to join General Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee as the Federals pushed past Chattanooga. After the Confederate success at Chickamauga, the Federals retreated to Chattanooga and the Confederates laid siege. Early in November Longstreet and the First Corps were detached and sent to Knoxville with instructions to dislodge or destroy the Federal Army of the Ohio under General Ambrose E. Burnside. The Federal army had invaded and liberated the divided eastern portion of Tennessee only two months earlier, cutting the important rail connection with Virginia and the Eastern Theater. Longstreet and Burnside had faced each other a year earlier at Fredericksburg with devastating results for the Federals. At Knoxville, the tide turned and General Longstreet found his attacking troops repulsed at the Battle of Fort Sanders. Longstreet's court martial charge of "...a want of confidence" against subordinate Lafayette McLaws reflects his own indecision and lack of confidence in his troops and in himself during the campaign and the resulting loss at Knoxville. This meeting's to feature a presentation by Dorothy "Dot" Kelly. She's attended the University of Tennessee and Walters State Community College, is published, and has twice served the Knoxville Roundtable as President. She's the current Program Chair. Kelly's also served as a Founding Board Member and President of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association.

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