By J. C. Tumblin, O.D., Past President, Knoxville Civil War Roundtable
Copyright 1998 by J. C. Tumlbin All rights reserved.
CHILDHOOD, YOUTH, AND WEST POINT YEARS (1821- 1842)
James Longstreet was born the fifth child of James and Mary Ann Dent Longstreet, on January 8, 1821, in the Edgefield District of South Carolina. His mother had traveled to her mother-in-law’s home for his birth. Both of his parents, owners of a cotton plantation near present-day Gainesville in the Piedmont section of northeastern Georgia, were descendants of families dating to the colonial period — James born in New Jersey, Mary Ann in Maryland. The future general always regarded Georgia as his home, as he came there within weeks of his birth and spent the first nine years of his life there. It had required hard physical labor and resilience to carve a farm out of the forest and wilderness that had been the frontier only a few years previous. Under the tutelage of his older brother and sister, William and Anna, young James rode horseback, hunted, fished, and developed the strong physique that would characterize him throughout life. He also developed self-confidence, self-reliance, and a work ethic.