The above book is arguably the most thorough biography written of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Even though it’s the abridged edition, it still clocks in at 650 pages.
Lee was the son of a military man who fought in George Washington’s army. He had the privilege of obtaining a classical military education at West Point Academy. His goal was to be first in his class, which he was able to accomplish while reading voraciously on the side.
Between January 27 and May 24, [Lee] drew fifty-two books from the library. They covered a wide field—navigation, travel, strategy, biography, and history.
By the time he was 33 (the age that I am currently), he was married with four children and held a high position in the Army’s engineering corps, tasked with solving logistical problems of a growing nation.
Soon after the Mexican War, where Lee was commended with his action on the field, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Many other States followed and Lee was courted to fight by both sides. He chose the South because that is what Virginia chose—his loyalties lay with the state before the nation. The author paints a picture that Lee was fighting more for Virginia’s independence than for the continuance of slavery, a question that remains open to historical debate. He did believe in the eventual emancipation of the slaves, but will gain no favor from black people with quotes like this:
The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.
Once the Civil War was under way, Lee received nonstop criticism from both Confederate politicians and the press for his lack of leadership ability. He was actually called “Granny Lee” for being too timid on the field.
…no enthusiasm attended the announcement of the selection of Lee as commander of the army. In some quarters, “disparagement, sarcasm and ridicule” were the lot of Lee.
This is a man who has come to be seen as one of the more brilliant Generals of the Civil War and who singlehandedly extended it by over a year against the much superior Union army. It’s interesting that even historical figures before the age of the internet had committed haters.
As the battle raged beyond the furnace, men were carried beyond themselves and fought as if the fumes of gunpowder were a mysterious hashish that gave them the strength of madness.
Regardless of how well the South fought with their hearts and souls, the North could easily replace what they lost in battle while the South could not. Victory for the Union was only a matter of time, and looking back it’s clear that Lee merely delayed the inevitable.
In the book we learn that his success as a general came from taking the initiative and continuously re-adjusting his plans based on what was happening on the ground. He would enter situations with a sound plan, but once conditions changed, which they always seemed to do in war, he changed the plans accordingly. It was that simple. He never lamented bad conditions or dwelled on defeat, and he remained “undisturbed by the adverse conditions in which he found himself.” He was a master of playing the cards he was dealt, leading men to more victory than their paper strength would suggest, no doubt helped by the surprising incompetency of the Union generals.
The writing of this biography is graceful and dignified, but the battle action was far from suspenseful. The author makes a common mistake of trying to deliver too many facts, preventing you from being drawn into the prose and visualizing the battle. Therefore I can’t say it’s a page turner. Instead, it offers the development of a man who prided himself on being a gentleman during the most critical period in American history, with a vivid telling of his death and how it affected so many who saw him as an American hero.
The author obviously worshiped Lee so make no mistake that this is a glowing account, but it still reviewed his flaws and mistakes in what I think is a fair assessment of the man (I never got the feeling that I was reading propaganda). Overall it was an important but surreal book that describes a horrible war that took place on American soil between Americans.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly—the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light. The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He can not only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
Read More: “Lee” on Amazon
79 thoughts on “General Robert E. Lee: American Hero Or Slavery Apologist?”
Thanks for again putting in the effort of study so that we can just crib from you, Roosh.
Robert E. Lee’s claim that blacks are better in America (or the Confederacy) than in Africa is affirmed by the fact that none opted to return to Africa. To the contrary, Abraham Lincoln – a staunch segregationist – tried valiantly to encourage blacks to create their own country in central America (to get them out of the U.S.), but the black leaders to whom he spoke all preferred living in a country built by whites than they would build themselves. Lincoln’s speech to these black leaders is called, “Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes”. It’s readily available online.
So the modern day haters of Lee are also hating on Lincoln.
Again, factually incorrect. Many slaves returned to Africa throughout colonial slavery and implemented what they learned on other Africans(see Liberia).
“Again”? I’ve never spoken to you in my life, creepy dude.
Anyway, yeah, President Abraham Lincoln tried to get blacks to start up their own country because he said blacks and whites were incompatible. The blacks refused to go. Search “Lincoln Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes” to read Lincoln’s words. Thank you.
They didn’t “learn” slavery in the Americas. Slavery has always existed in Africa and still exists to this day.
You’ll actually find the little thing called truth doesn’t agree with you. All Africans bought on the African continent during the slave trade were already slaves.
It was not a case of whitey entrapping noble free, savages and shipping them across the Atlantic.
Africans enslaved Africans, and sold them to white customers.
@T and A Man
It’s more complicated than that.
” he said blacks and whites were incompatible.”
He was wrong. The most successful and happy American marriages that I know of are between mixed spouses.
Oh, you’re just so enlightened! Way to teach that buffoon Abe Lincoln a lesson.
One thing Lee deserves credit for is how and when he knew it was over. Other Confederates like Jeff Davis wanted to continue a full-blooded guerilla campaign, and the only reason they didn’t is that Lee opposed it. As bad as things got in the South after the war, had Lee not carried the day they would have been far worse. It also would have take the country longer to heal.
Granted Reconstruction was a DISASTER, but eventually we recovered. Had it not been for Lee, we might not have.
Ironically, if the South had, from the start, refused to meet in open battle and began a full-blooded guerrilla campaign from the get-go, they probably would have won, eventually.
Rubbish, the south had one chance to force a positive settlement, and that disappeared after the battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg.
The South by itself could never have resolved a positive settle for themselves by force of arms.
I am talking about letting the North occupy the South completely at the very beginning, and leaving it to small bands of guerrilla fighters to pick off Northern soldiers one by one when favorable circumstances allow.
It worked for the American militia during the Revolutionary War, it worked for the Vietnamese, it has worked for Afghanistan for the past 2000+ years up to and through today, and it is working for Iraq also. When it hasn’t worked, it is usually due to the guerrilla component being a minority among the local population where the local majority prefers the occupiers to the minority.
If you guys don’t think it would likely have worked for the South, you are as clueless as the current occupants in the Pentagon and White House.
Doesn’t matter how great a general he was…his endeavors and exertions end result was an attempt to keep millions in chains indefinitely. Rommel was a great general too…but I’d deface any statue of his.
rommel was a nationalist and was loyal to his country. he routinely ignored orders to execute jews and prisioners
Genghis Khans armies killed and raped hundreds on his orders. does building the largest empire ever not count anymore?
The only reason people get mad about hitler and the south is because its fresh. Thats understandable but try to have a little objectivity.
Nazi Germany/Fascist Italy/Franco’s Spain > Today’s USA
As for the CSA, if you’re a proponent of states’ rights, you have to be able to sympathize with the Confederacy. No doubt regionalism comes into play when discussing the Civil War, but the notion that things were as black and white as it is painted today is simply anti-intellectual and dishonest.
Anti-intellectual and dishonest would be terms easily applied to anyone so utterly mindless as to claim that Nazi Germany was in any way, shape or form better than the present-day US.
I can state many ways in which it is.
I don’t want to sidetrack the discussion here, of course. It can be held at another venue.
RE: Sherman and Forrest’s “genius.”
Although they were undoubtedly brilliant military men, I think that word gets thrown around a bit too freely by historians.
Napoleon, Hannibal, Alexander, and Subutai (Genghis Khan’s greatest strategist) were military geniuses.
But yes, I’d agree they were the two greatest tacticians of the Civil War, and Forrest incidentally also happened to be a dead ringer for MMA legend Chuck Liddell.
Lee wasn’t a good general. At all. He was just above mediocre. I’ll pull up some choice quotes from someone who bothered to read more than one book about the Civil War.
“Lee’s primary skills were on the defensive, and even then he was completely bamboozled by the move to Petersburg, and every time he did something to Grant it was a complete failure, where with regard to Grant, even if he didn’t have his ideas work as well as he should like, it was actually still beneficial to the Union.”
“At Second Bull Run, Lee’s triumph was a matter of Pope’s poor tactical handling opening an opportunity to James Longstreet on the second day. At Chancellorsville, Hooker’s very plan ensured that Lee never had the chance to totally destroy his army regardless of what happened. In the Seven Days’, McClellan actually won all but one of the battles, and in Gettysburg, Malvern Hill, and the second day of the Wilderness Lee displayed an appalling wilderness to piss away lives in stupid frontal assaults that didn’t even offer actual gains, like say, the Bloody Angle did. ”
“It actually is a different situation. McClellan, I remind you, actually won all but one of the Seven Days’, so if he’d reacted to just one of his victories by deciding to attack instead of retreat, Lee would have been in a very bad situation. Pope likewise had a brilliant situation where he could have destroyed Lee’s entire army and botched it. Turning disaster into victory is a skill, but it’s a skill with a limited shelf life.”
“Well, in the SBR Campaign there’s no doubt that McClellan was hoping Pope would crack on his own, but even here Pope was able to withdraw from the field in good order, while it was his mistakes that gave Longstreet the opportunity he exploited. I’ll note again that SBR is Lee’s best campaign and best battle, and it’s perhaps the only instance in the entire war where the mythological view of the ANV holds together, while I would give Chancellorsville to be more JEB Stuart’s crowning moment of awesome. Given that the actual CS victory against Hooker there was on the second day and his actions led to it (namely seizing the one area in the Wilderness where artillery could be employed with due effect).”
Reading one book doesn’t make you an expert. At all.
Congrats, you are the most obnoxious manosphere commenter, on blogs and twitter. Please go away.
i laughed out loud…time for me to go home now, my work day is done.
Have you read anything by The War Nerd? If you’re interested in military history, or especially no-bullshit analysis of present conflict, told with brilliant accessible prose, this is the guy to read. When he’s on his game, you can almost smell the gunpowder.
“We were the most mongrel army since Darius: blacks and whites, Anglos, French and Spanish, Pirates, clerks, and Tennessee backwoodsmen all fighting together behind the cotton bales. It went bad later, sure. That’s what history does, go bad. But for that one day, the goofy fantasy that they feed you in those Pirates of the Caribbean movies—all the misfits fighting together against the Empire—was real. And victorious. It was Andy Jackson who made that happen.”
“So let’s deal with Jackson. Not an easy thing to do, because everything in American history is supposed to get judged and put in the good or bad boxes, and you really can’t do that with Jackson. Either Jackson was bad because of the way he treated the Seminole and Creek nations, or he was good because he was the first president who stood for the hardscrabble Scots-Irish peasants against the Coastal Elite (and yeah, they did talk about “Coastal elites” in those days, just like they do now). Either he was bad because he owned slaves or he was good because he fought against a centralized bank. It’s a shame we can’t just let him be what he was, an apex predator. He even looked like one, like a backwoods Dracula or a hawk with hair.”
The great late Civil War historian Shelby Foote declared there to be two geniuses that came out of the Civil War: General Sherman and Nathaniel Bedford Forrest.
@eric yep war nerd does lay down the facts
@Roosh, don’t get your jimmies rustled,
If it took the Union four years to defeat a “mediocre” general, then the Union army and its generals must really, really have sucked.
There are soldiers who are driven by ideas and aspirations, and soldiers who simply do their duty to their utmost ability…I think Lee was of the latter category. With regard to his motivations, he saw himself as a Virginian and sought to defend Virginia, and we should remember that as the Civil War began the Union took manumission and abolition off the table to appease the border states, so it’s not as though he was fighting for slavery from the outset (though it was certainly clear which side stood for slavery). That said, IIRC Lee did preside over an army that inexplicably treated black POW’s as criminals contrary to the laws of war.
In Ken Burns’s The Civil War, in the last episode an historian closes by saying this,:
“Robert E Lee was the best of men, who did the worst of things”.
Whoa, man. Ken Burns is deeeeep.
Burns varies between insightful and moronic, but that is a good quote.
…and which were those ‘worst of things’? Defending his homeland from invasion?
But it follows modern American narratives in which one side is good and the other is cartoonishly evil. Hence the “Hitler of the Year” proclamations that always nicely dovetail with US State Department objectives.
I think the historian suggested his generalship of the Army of Virginia led directly to the many deaths experienced by the Confederate Armies. This was the opinion of an Historian, take it up with her, she is still alive.
Or the worst of men who did the best of things. Or a few good things, at least?
General J.F.C. Fuller makes the argument that Grant was a far superior general to Lee (Lee, after all, lost a higher proportion of the men in his service than any other general in American history, not a sign of greatness).
It’s worth thinking about.
So slavery, to him, was “painful discipline”? More like “forced intellectual subjugation” and “institutional oppression.” What a thoroughly devious statement–especially for one whose life centered around the attainment of power.
Cry about it
Nah. I’d prefer to point out his blatant hypocrisies to any minorities absentmindedly accepting his apologies as genuine assertions. Also; winning.
@ anonymous (the one who didn’t write, “go cry about it.”),
Why do the minorities think it’s anything other than pathetic to demand apologies from the majorities? If a Beta came up to an Alpha and said, “You must apologise for making me look shit. And while we’re at it, give me one of your girlfriends,” what would you think? Yeah, that’s what white people (who aren’t brainwashed pussies) think.
You misunderstand. Who is demanding any sort of apology? My purpose was to point out how I find it reprehensible for a man to publicly apologize for something he clearly feels no remorse for. I have no patience for that.
American Hero and slavery apologist. There, I fixed it. You’re welcome.
Jk. About the dr part, I mean. I’ll read this later.
“The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically”
Nothing has changed, there are 50 murders EACH DAY in South Africa, no wonder everybody wants to leave.
That is well out of control no matter how u measure it
Ah yes, because the middle passage was such a healthy experience…..
It was. There was no profit in throwing corpses overboard.
I wonder how many of them, just before they died, wished they had stayed in Africa. I imagine all of them, and everyone around them, wished exactly that.
I wish all the filthy animals had stayed in Africa, too.
Of course, you apparently have yet to realize the inherent stupidity in defending the proponents of slavery while at the same time wishing that Africans never came to the Americas. Perhaps if you gave the issue the slightest bit of thought for the first time in your life, you might disabuse yourself of this laughable nonsense. That would, however, require a capacity for thought.
“Of course, you apparently have yet to realize the inherent stupidity in defending the proponents of slavery while at the same time wishing that Africans never came to the Americas.”
If you had the capacity for thought, you would appreciate that one can properly and rationally admire a brave, skillful, and honorable general like Lee regardless of one’s opinion about the cause for which he fought.
Yes, and if you look at my post on the original article, you’ll see that’s exactly what I did. I recognize Lee’s quality as a military leader and the honor he displayed after the war, that much is obvious, but once that is established it is perfectly reasonable to examine how ugly the CSA’s cause became in the course of the war. No matter how valiant and brilliant the soldiers defending it were, the slavery of the south was an odious thing.
Why is the choice hero OR slavery advocate?
It is perfectly possible to be both!
I think he was a good general, but I remember reading he could have run the war if he followed up on once of his victories and marched on D.C., but decided against it.
Not to brag, but my immigrant ancestor’s traveling companion was Robert E. Lee’s paternal ancestor.
Several of my cousins were officers in his staff, including one who was his aide and was present at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. Some other notable characters from this group are Gen John Thompson, inventor of the “Tommy Gun” ,and Gen George C. Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during WWII. I have in my possession a letter written in 1906 by a Kentucky pastor to my g-grandfather’s cousin talking about his cousin in Kentucky, “Col. Thompson, who was invited to write a chapter for Encyclopedia Brittanica on small arms…” some 12 years before he invented the Tommy Gun.
My line migrated from Va. to Kentucky, then Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, where my g-grandfather fought on the Union side. Found some great material on him in the National Archives, including a field surgeon’s report and his resignation letter due to his wounds received during one of the early skirmishes.
Quite a bunch of characters. It’s funny to look at their photos and see the same damn facial expression and creased brow that my father has. During my searches met some old retired schoolteacher who had a daguerrotype of my 2-great-grandfather, taken around 1850. Looks just like my old man.
My mother was illegitemate as was her mother and her grandmother. My father was adopted at birth by a couple I suppose where she couldn’t have kids. His adopted father was a sargeant in WW1 and died in a concentration camp in 42.
I feel proud of your family
Great review, Roosh. You have said it before, and the point bears repeating: as men, it is critical for us to read biography and history. For in so doing, we acquaint ourselves with the actions and struggles of the great men of the past. This helps guide our conduct, and provide for us the role models and code of conduct that is so sorely lacking for modern American men.
And this is why the Romans and Greeks rightly believed that an education in history, philosophy, biography, rhetoric, languages, and music (yes, music) was vital in conditioning a leader of men. We should emulate this model…to truly realize the return of kings, in a literal sense, we should focus our efforts in this direction.
As for Lee himself, he remains for me a mysterious figure. His concept of loyalty to his state over his nation seems alien to us now; as a general, he has been widely praised, but I do think his strategic vision was flawed. It would seem that a guerrilla-type strategy would have been more practical, considering the Confederacy’s resources, but in practice Lee seemed unable to resist huge Napoleonic set-piece battles (like Gettysburg). Historians can argue this one forever, I suppose.
In any case, Roosh’s lesson to us here is: as men, and as the standard-bearers of a new concept of what it means to be a man in today’s America, we must continue to study, to read, and to expand our knowledge. He has already stated that we need to be reading at least two books per month. Minimum. It is this knowledge base that will serve us well in our coming struggle with feminism and misandry. There is much at stake in this struggle….our very identity as men, I believe. They have taken note of us, and are beginning to sharpen their blades. Knights, be warned.
Lee had no choice. The south could not have gained a favourable outcome without European intervention. They ONLY way for that to occur was for great Britain and/or France to ‘feel’ compelled, via their respective polities not being politically opposed, to offer (impose) mediation.
The south needed to impose some great political, strategic or economic disruption. The only way that could occur, especially in light of New Orleans being captured so early, was to capture a city like Philadelphia. As I stated earlier, I believe that chance was lost after Antietam.
Guerilla warfare would have just seen the like of Sherman impose more pain, in a longer and slower fashion. The south had one shot, it was a long shot, and Lee was probably the best man for the job. it failed.
I too am of the opinion however that Lee’s reputation is over-rated, and Grant’s is under-rated. I consider Grant amongst the greatest of American generals.
Lee’s stupidity lost the war for the South. Did you know his orders still exist, that had his sharpshooters kill his OWN soldier who ran during battle? Makes you wonder how they got those suckers to charge suicide fashion for Lee. Contrary to the myth, Lee’s men did NOT adore him, because 90% plus deserted, in fact, his biggest problem was the desertion of his own soldiers from 63 on. And these were guys supposedly fighting for Lee – hello — myth time is over, Lee’s men deserted, and not just late in the war.
Lee’s lunacy at Gettysburg was criminal, but Davis liked Lee because Lee always, always, kissed Davis butt.
Another thing you don’t know, Lee was in charge of the earth works around Richmond, without which the war ends in a year. Lee was personally in charge — and used 5-10 thousand slaves to do the digging. Southern Myth Makers have tried to pass the “King of Spades” name Lee was given then, as a jest by his men, because they had to dig. Nonsense, it was a joke by newspapers because Lee was King of thousands of SLAVES – spades was term for SLAVES. Counties all over Virginia were ordered to send Lee slaves to use in the “building of earth defenses” for which the slave owner was paid 16 dollars. Not all counties would comply and newspaper editors chastized counties that didnt send enough SPADES to do the digging for Lee.
Add up the facts, not the myth. Massive use of slave labor, massive desertions by his own soldiers. Incompetent destruction of his own true believers, orders to his soldiers to shoot other soldiers on HIS side if they ran during battle. Oh, do you know who else issued such orders? Stalin.
It’s time we got a few facts about about Lee– a man who tortured slave girls, sold children, used massive slave labor in war,and there is more vile stuff on this guy. NOt at all like the myth
Much of history is constructed propaganda. Every nation has its identity narrative. The actual truth on the ground is often something different.
Lee should have learnt from Quintus Sertorius, who carved out Spain as his own fiefdom in the second roman civil war. He set up a stable government whilst Rome was in chaos and frequently destroyed larger Roman armies even those commanded by the yet to be heralded Pompey The Great.
Just nit-picking, but it’s not “West Point Academy” it’s the United States Military at West Point. Anyway, keep writing great stuff. This is becoming my favorite site to visit.
Made an ass of myself, “United States Military Academy at West Point”
In Lee’s defense, the question must be asked, “what’s wrong with slavery?”
In America today, Blacks consume more natural and public resources than they create or provide. They are not an asset to the United States. A net loss, in fact.
So why shouldn’t we re-institute slavery? Blacks would be happier re-enslaved.
They could continue to play basketball and eat fried chicken.Their labor wouldn’t be too onerous or demanding. It would I think most blacks would welcome re-enslavement.
Those who do not could return to Africa.
Actually not that off-the-wall idea. That’s pretty much what a lot of illegal immigrants from South America do: work for slave wages, or go back home. Thing is, the blacks should, by all fairness, be offered a free trip home. Short term cost, long term gain. 😉
What’s wrong with slavery is that the foundation of such a society is built on fear, violence and misery, what’s wrong is that it denies the humanity of a great part of the population. And no, they wouldn’t be happier, they’d hate it because no one likes losing their freedom. Much better to create a society that pursues happiness rather than runaways. This is basic stuff, you see.
Morals aside, slavery kept the south industrially retarded, and helped them lose the war because the aristocracy was perfectly happy cranking out raw material instead of making actual technological progress.
There’s a ton of romanticism about the southern cause, and sometimes even life style, but the North East puritans got it right with their keen eye to industrial development.
Or some of us blacks would fight back, because blacks have guns too now. Thank god for the 2nd amendment.
He read Voraciously, not vociferously– not sure if any one less caught it, but it hasn’t bchanged yet— check out the definitions
You left out the earlier part of the quote (taken from a letter to his wife, so it is very likely an honest, candid statement of his opinions):
“In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country.”
It is perfectly possible to be opposed to the legal protection of slavery, while still believing in the natural superiority of the white race in terms of practical abilities, intelligence, etc.
The first is a matter of ethical reasoning, and the second (whether accurate or inaccurate) is an issue of observable, statistical fact.
There’s nothing inconsistent in saying that (a) slavery should never have happened, and (b) that it also benefited those who were brought over here, and their descendents, in terms of their quality of life. If anything, it only speaks to how bad it was (and is) in Africa.
There is nothing in Lee’s writing that suggests that, despite the fact that overall the quality of life of American blacks was (and is) better than many African blacks (at that time, and now), he also thought it was a moral good to practice slavery. He clearly opposed it.
What are you out of your frigging mind? Lee not only defended slavery – he defended the torture of slaves — and practiced what he preached. He had slave girls whipped — had them chased, for months, caught,jailed, stripped, tied up and whipped. After the whipping part of the torture — according to newspapers before the civil war — Lee had the girl tortured by salt brine. Witnesses, not me, said it was done to add PAIN. Pain, Lee wrote, was necessary for their instruction.
Lee had not frigging clue if slaves were better off here — was he ever in Africa? SO by that logic, you can be taken as a slave, your children sold, you and your children whipped and tortured, because some guy said you are better off as his slave? Are you out of your mind?
Blacks were better off as slaves? People seem to forget that they were brought here to not for their benefit, but for the profit of others. If the Arabs and Europeans hadn’t pillaged Africa looking to steal its wealth, it wouldn’t be the Third World backwater it is today like Europe was back then.
Minor quibble: “Soon after the Mexican War, …, South Carolina seceded from the Union.”
Soon? More like a dozen years.
Did this book glide over that portion of his life?
The only way to know what the hello you are talking about re Lee — is to forget all the nonsense you think you know. Virtually none of it is true.
Lee’s hand written slave ledgers and personal letters make a mockery out of Lee “scholarship” He was very cruel to his slaves, exceedingly so. He had girls whipped, and sold children. He screamed at slaves as they were whipped, and wrote sexually explict letters to women for years — he could turn on and off that religious fakery like a light. He would brag about sex tricks, and his son’s sexual ability.
Do you know what Richmond papers called Lee early in the war? King of Spades. Contrary to myth, it was not because he had his soldiers dig so much, it was because he used 5000 slaves or more, to build the massive earth works that kept the war going so long. Newspapers at the time said the SLAVES were building the earth works under Lee’s “direction”. Since Lee had slave girls whipped during peace time, and was enthusiastic about that, hard to imagine what he did to slave men during war time when his life depended on their speed and endurance.
Yes, I know all about the Lee biographies, including by fraud Douglass Southall Freeman who should be dug up and slapped. He was well aware he was lying his ass off. Freeman insisted Lee’s “servants” ( he would hardly call them slaves” loved Lee — bullshit. There was a constant ongoing and violent struggle between Lee and the slaves – including female slaves. Lee immediately used force and whipping, when he took over control of his wifes slaves.
And by the way, Lee owned in OWN slaves, it’s a total fraud that he just managed his wifes. Plus, Lee ignored repeated orders from VA courts to free the slaves, and at least once went into VA courts, DURING THE CIVIL WAR, to appeal their orders.
Lee regularly got rid of slaves, apparently he sold them when he felt like it, rented them out, and routinely separated the mother from the child.
Know what Lee did and THEN read that vile letter about torture of slaves — slaves “must endure” painful discipline, and pain was necessary for their instruction.
By the way, Lee didn’t even write that letter using his own voice, he copied it almost word for word from a book that was out, that he would know of, but his wife would not. Lee used very religious sounding words when he wrote her — she was into religion like he was into the slaves. It’s not clear, what he was responding too, but it seems he was explaining to her why he was whipping the slaves. They were never whipped before he got there. And one of the first things he did — whipping.
Lee’s father had a slave woman hung for knocking down a white man — so Lee didn’t see himself as cruel. IN fact, Lee tried to convince his wife the slaves were lucky, and he was the one burdened by slavery.
If someone told you the facts about Lee, without all the BS myth, and you never heard of him before, you would assume he was a sociopath. Because he was a cruel man, who inflicted pain and seemed to enjoy it, and justified it no matter what.
Where are all of the original source historical documents you reference as proof of Lee’s personal involvement in the whipping and selling of slaves? I’d like to see them, if they exist…. You sound very bitter towards Lee. Do you have the same feelings of bitterness towards the Black Africans that sold their fellow blacks into slavery in the first place?
Much of the nonsense in the preceding comment comes from Elizabeth Pryor’s flawed biography of Lee – a rather weak attempt at reconstructing Lee. For a rebuttal/review of Pryor’s book and poor history, this review by Brion McClanahan (who holds a doctorate in history from the University of South Carolina) would be worth your time:
Fuck, I’m so sick of hearing about how great Lee was. Yeah, he was a damn good tactician, but his success was largely due to poor leadership of Union generals who couldn’t grasp Lincoln’s concept of total war. Furthermore, the Union generals were largely incompetent at anything but drilling. It wasn’t until Sherman with his tactical brilliance and Grant with his dogged determination that the US forces actually fought the war.
Lee was far from infallible. First, he invaded Pennsylvania when his job was to merely hold the CSA together; an invading army difficult to support under the best of conditions and Lee was outnumbered, outgunned, outsupplied, etc. Second, the casualties were already taking a toll on the number of troops available to him and it was unlikely that any victory would do more than offer a fleeting PR boost. As it stood, Lee got his ass handed to him and even his commanders admitted so. Just look at Pickett’s charge. Lee ordered that action even after it was apparent he had lost; he simply couldn’t conceive of defeat and his ego wrote checks that his men had to cash with their lives.