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A Portrait in Letters (Newly Discovered Robert E. Lee)
The Washington Post ^ | July 12, 2007 | Peter Carlson

Posted on 07/12/2007 6:04:07 AM PDT by RDTF

Two old steamer trunks sit in the rare-book room at the Virginia Historical Society, looking worn and forlorn. The smaller one was once red but the paint has faded to a dull rust. The larger one is brown with a piece of tin patching a hole in the top. On one side, a name is stenciled: "M. LEE."

That's Mary Custis Lee, Gen. Robert E. Lee's adventurous eldest daughter. In 1917, she stored these wooden trunks in the "silver vault" in the basement of Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust in Alexandria. A year later, she died at the age of 83. Her trunks sat in a dusty corner of the vault for 84 years, unclaimed, until E. Hunt Burke, the bank's vice chairman, discovered them in 2002.

Burke called his high school classmate Rob E.L. deButts Jr., who is Robert E. Lee's great-great-grandson. Together, the two men descended into the vault. Burke carried a basket of old keys.

"The first one I pulled out was a perfect fit," he says.

The trunks were stuffed with Lee family papers -- a priceless cache of 4,000 letters, photographs and documents. DeButts carted them to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, which houses the world's largest collection of Lee papers. He spent a week there, sitting at a desk in the research library, reaching into Mary Custis Lee's trunks and picking out treasures and trash.

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: civilwar; dixie; history; marycustislee; robertelee; virginiahistory
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To: elfman2
“I don’t understand why it was “perverse.””
Because the war that her father led was infinitely more about keeping slaves than states rights.

Has to be one of the most ignorant statements I have read here. Unfortunately all too common. But the winners do get to write the history books, so you just don't know any better.

101 posted on 07/12/2007 10:42:49 AM PDT by lovecraft (Specialization is for insects.)
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To: RDTF
The article really underscores how complicated American race relations are and always have been, as well as the complexity of American sectional relations.

We are one indivisible nation, no matter how much some would desire to divide this antion along geographical or racial lines.

102 posted on 07/12/2007 10:43:26 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: Non-Sequitur

‘Except for the part about being outnumbered two or three to one, or about being beaten. Lee was forced to retreat and return to Viginia. His goal of attracting Maryland recruits to his army was a failure. And most importantly it showed to the European powers that the Union was not on the verge of defeat, thus ending forever what slim hope of foreign recognition there had been. By all accounts Antietam wound up being a disaster for the confederacy.’

Military historians throughout time since the battle disagree with your assertions.

While the ‘invasion’ did not acheive all that Lee had hoped, it did in fact end any Union effort that year to ‘march on Richmond’. The Union army was so staggered by the battle it lay quite for months afterwards.

Second, it shook the Union Army’s leadership to its core, caused the beginning of what can be described as a low intensity ‘mutiny’ of sorts.

Third, it gave Democrats plenty to crow about on the floors of both the House and Senate reminicent of what we are seeing from General Pelosi and Dingy Harry Reid today.

You assert it caused Europe to forget considering intervening on the CSA side. This is also incorrect, as most the major works about the era demonstrate conclusively. That didn’t come about til the following summer (1863) in the wake of Gettysburg.

Finally, about the ‘retreat’. Lee held his position along Antietam creek for another 24 hours, watching and waiting. The Union army didn’t attack, didn’t move. Given the ground itself was meaningless from a strategic viewpoint, holding it was by definition meaningless as well.

Objective people view the battle what it was, a draw. And a prime example of the failure of Union leadership that kept what should have been a year long conflict alive for four bloody years.


103 posted on 07/12/2007 10:47:25 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: Non-Sequitur

‘Except for the part about being outnumbered two or three to one, ‘

btw, that was accurate, and it was closer to ‘3 - 1’.


104 posted on 07/12/2007 10:48:24 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: GretchenM

thanks for posting that pic!


105 posted on 07/12/2007 11:01:07 AM PDT by RDTF (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, but Democrats believe every day is April 15th. - Reagan)
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To: All
Source

Mrs. Robert E. Lee (Mary Anna)

George Washington Custis Lee (first son of REL and MAL)

Mary Custis Lee (first daughter)

William Henry Fitzhugh Lee

Anne Carter Lee didn't allow photos to be taken of her due to having stabbed herself in the eye with scissors when she was a child. She was not blinded by the accident, however.

Eleanor Agnes Lee

Robert E. Lee, Jr.

Mildred Lee

Daughter Agnes seems to me to be the one whose facial features and inner strength, quiet and steely determination one might say, most resemble her father's. Comments from those who have studied this family in depth?

106 posted on 07/12/2007 11:06:05 AM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus)
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To: Badeye
btw, that was accurate, and it was closer to ‘3 - 1’.

Hardly. Army sizes for the battle are all over the board. Confederate estimates run from 35,000 to 50,000 with 45,000 being the most commonly quoted size. Union army runs from 80,000 to over 100,000 with somewhere between 85,000 and 90,000 probably being the most accurate. No way it was 3-to-1.

107 posted on 07/12/2007 11:06:27 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: RDTF

You’re welcome — and wasn’t she a beauty! I just posted the rest of the fam’s portraits. Quite a distinguished-looking lot.


108 posted on 07/12/2007 11:09:09 AM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus)
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To: Non-Sequitur

‘Hardly. Army sizes for the battle are all over the board. Confederate estimates run from 35,000 to 50,000 with 45,000 being the most commonly quoted size. Union army runs from 80,000 to over 100,000 with somewhere between 85,000 and 90,000 probably being the most accurate. No way it was 3-to-1.’

Psst. Using the extremes of your own numbers, 90K to 35K....gee, sure looks close to 3 -1 to me....(chuckle)

Lee claimed he had 37,000 effectives AFTER Hill ‘came up’.

McClellan claimed he was facing 200,000 troops, based on the laughable Allan Pinkerton’s insane assessment, which has always caused me to wonder if Pinkerton wasn’t in fact a Southern Sympathizer, he was so wrong then and on numerous other occasions.


109 posted on 07/12/2007 11:11:12 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: JZelle

I think Lee would of rose to greatness even if the War Between the States never happened.


110 posted on 07/12/2007 11:13:19 AM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: GretchenM

big brother was a hottie!


111 posted on 07/12/2007 11:13:32 AM PDT by RDTF (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, but Democrats believe every day is April 15th. - Reagan)
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To: All

I see the host site prohibits remote linking or even saving the photos to one’s PC to upload to tinypic.com, but if you go to the source link you can view the photos.


112 posted on 07/12/2007 11:14:23 AM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus)
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To: Badeye
While the ‘invasion’ did not acheive all that Lee had hoped, it did in fact end any Union effort that year to ‘march on Richmond’. The Union army was so staggered by the battle it lay quite for months afterwards.

I would suggest that the Seven Days battles and Second Bull Run did more to end any attempts at Richomond than did Antietam. Lee's Maryland campaign ended in less than two weeks, that can hardly be considered a success. And the Army of the Potomac under McClellan quite often lay quiet for months.

Second, it shook the Union Army’s leadership to its core, caused the beginning of what can be described as a low intensity ‘mutiny’ of sorts.

I don't know anyone who would suggest that. Three months later they were fighting at Fredericksburg.

You assert it caused Europe to forget considering intervening on the CSA side. This is also incorrect, as most the major works about the era demonstrate conclusively. That didn’t come about til the following summer (1863) in the wake of Gettysburg.

Which major works do that? Most historians that I'm aware of agree that Antietam, coupled with the Emancipation Proclamation, ended forever any chance of British intervention. And without Great Britain no other European power was willing to recognize the confederacy.

Finally, about the ‘retreat’. Lee held his position along Antietam creek for another 24 hours, watching and waiting. The Union army didn’t attack, didn’t move. Given the ground itself was meaningless from a strategic viewpoint, holding it was by definition meaningless as well.

By retreat I mean that by the evening of September 18, Lee was withdrawing and heading back home to Virginia. What would you call it?

Objective people view the battle what it was, a draw.

More objective people consider it at best a tactical draw for the confederacy but over all a strategic defeat.

113 posted on 07/12/2007 11:15:49 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: Badeye
Psst. Using the extremes of your own numbers, 90K to 35K....gee, sure looks close to 3 -1 to me....(chuckle)

Using the other extreme 80,000 to 50,000 isn't even two to one...(snicker)

114 posted on 07/12/2007 11:18:07 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: TheInvisibleMan
You are sooo right. However, most people will not venture there without protective garments.

People are converting to Mormonism just to lurk on DU?

115 posted on 07/12/2007 11:19:55 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (As heard on the Amish Radio Network! http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1675029/posts)
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To: JZelle

No one thinks Al Gore is hip. LOL


116 posted on 07/12/2007 11:21:31 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: Non-Sequitur

Psst. Using the extremes of your own numbers, 90K to 35K....gee, sure looks close to 3 -1 to me....(chuckle)
Using the other extreme 80,000 to 50,000 isn’t even two to one...(snicker)

Great. Ping me when YOU make up your mind.

I already know the data involved, intimately.


117 posted on 07/12/2007 11:25:31 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: Non-Sequitur

http://www.stonewallbrigade.com/afterthebattle07.htm

Here NS I thought you might want to check this out seems like a great event to be held at Fredericksburg this fall


118 posted on 07/12/2007 11:36:58 AM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Badeye
I already know the data involved, intimately.

Apparently you know data that nobody else seems to know, even historians like Stephen Sears and James McPhearson who have written whole books on the subject.

119 posted on 07/12/2007 11:40:45 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: Non-Sequitur

Shelby Foote.

When you make up your mind, ping me. Til then you aren’t offering up anything of interest too me.


120 posted on 07/12/2007 11:42:14 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: GretchenM

sometimes they are up, sometimes not.


121 posted on 07/12/2007 11:42:54 AM PDT by RDTF (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, but Democrats believe every day is April 15th. - Reagan)
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To: StoneWall Brigade

I donated through the CVBT. Nice to see more than one organization is involved with protecting the battlefield.


122 posted on 07/12/2007 11:58:22 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: wideawake
Thanks for pointing out that Hamilton's Federalists, defenders of the Constitution and of the new Federal government, as well as opponents of the French Revolution, were the original American conservatives.

And all attempts at Christian antinomianism founder on Paul's epistles.

Thanks wideawake.

If you go back far enough in this thread you will see that I entered to counter an assertion that Lee was a hero because he opposed the federal government's disruption of local custom in the name of objective morality.

There isn't a better way to understand "palaeoconservatism" than its utter rejection of objective universal religious truth (corrosive of "immemorial local custom"). And unfortunately, most professional neo-Confederates loudly invoke this anti-morality, equating moralism with liberal meddling and the messianic Kingdom of G-d on earth with manmade hells.

What kind of Southerner prefers H. L. Mencken to Jonathan Edwards, sees a straight line between Cotton Mather and Ted Kennedy, can't tell the difference between Lenin and Calvin Coolidge, or prefers staid liberal episcopal services to the "puritan religious ferment" of good old Southern Fundamentalist revivals? Not the Fundamentalist Biblicist Southerner of the present day. I'm afraid the post-Bellum Bible Belt South has much more in common with Puritan New Engand than it does with King Charles (either one) or the Byrds of Colonial Virginia.

123 posted on 07/12/2007 12:03:59 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ("Ve`attah, hirgu khol-zakhar bataf; vekhol-'ishah yoda`at 'ish lemishkav zakhar harogu!")
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To: Non-Sequitur

Indeed


124 posted on 07/12/2007 12:07:49 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The only thing you have done is make a complete fool of yourself
125 posted on 07/12/2007 12:20:00 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The only thing you have done is make a complete fool of yourself
126 posted on 07/12/2007 12:20:04 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The only thing you have done is make a complete fool of yourself
127 posted on 07/12/2007 12:20:06 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Zionist Conspirator
The only thing you have done is make a complete fool of yourself
128 posted on 07/12/2007 12:20:06 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: lovecraft
" Has to be one of the most ignorant statements I have read here. Unfortunately all too common. But the winners do get to write the history books, so you just don't know any better."

So the losers couldn't write books? Every rationalization of historic crimes sinks to calling their opposition “ignorant” or worse.

Prior to the war, Southern states' supposed concern with states' rights didn’t restrain them from imposing federal demands that Northern states return runaway slaves. And early in the war, Alexander Stephens said slavery [rather than states' rights] was “the cornerstone of the Confederacy". He changed his mind later. And for all the confederacy's supposed concern with states' rights, their constitution denied states the right to interfere with federal protection of slavery. In other words - states 'rights extended only so far as to protect a state’s right to legalize slavery, not their right to outlaw it within their state borders.

If I lost a war for something as evil as slavery, I might find some comfort in attempts to wrap it in some noble cause too. But I hope I wouldn’t get sucked into believing it 150 years later and calling disbelievers ignorant.

And please don’t send me links to states' rights claims or I’ll just follow them up with links to holocaust deniers (giving each the equal attention they deserve).

129 posted on 07/12/2007 12:23:06 PM PDT by elfman2 (An army of amateurs doing the media's job.)
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To: elfman2
My great great grandfather fought for states rights and the cause of freedom the largest slave owner in his county was a
Unionists he owned 95 slaves did not free his slaves till about the end of war put that in your pipe and smoke it!
130 posted on 07/12/2007 12:27:54 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: RDTF

Indeed.


131 posted on 07/12/2007 12:34:07 PM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus)
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To: elfman2

The south fought for states rights and the casue of freedom

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/cw62.shtml

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/cw31.shtml

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/cw22.shtml


132 posted on 07/12/2007 12:55:34 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Non-Sequitur
There's a very interesting book which just came out called "Enough Blame to go Around" which examines in detail Jeb Stuarts actions during Gettysburg and who was to blame for Jeb's disappearance during the one of the most important battles of the war. Lee does not come out well which I expected given the vague open ended orders he gave Jeb at the begining of the campaign. This points to a major defect in Lee's generalship - a poor staff and an inablility to communicate clear orders to subordinates. Combine this with Lee's tendency to delegate enormous responsibility to his Corps commanders in a battle and it was often a reciepe for disaster. Conversely, it was said of Grant by his generals after the war that it was impossible to read on of his orders and not know exactly what he wanted you to do.

We see this failure of Lee again during the first day of Gettysburg. His order to Ewell to take cemetary hill "if practicable" was inexcusable. Lee had plenty of intelligence at that point to make the call instead of passing the buck. One cannot concieve of Grant ever telling one of his commanders in the heat of battle to accomplish an objective "if practicable".

133 posted on 07/12/2007 12:55:48 PM PDT by joebuck
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To: stainlessbanner

” deButts showed him what he’d just picked out of the trunk: an envelope containing three cloth stars — general’s stars — that Lee cut off his Confederate uniform after he surrendered at Appomattox”

Wow!.......


134 posted on 07/12/2007 12:56:19 PM PDT by LeoWindhorse
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To: StoneWall Brigade
"My great great grandfather fought for states rights and the cause of freedom the largest slave owner in his county was a Unionists he owned 95 slaves did not free his slaves till about the end of war put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

And in a century, people will be claiming that their “great grandfather fought for [Islamic] states rights” with al Qaeda. And some people will actually smoke that crap.

At least one of my great grandfathers also fought in the Confederacy, but I'm not as susceptible to their propaganda 150 years later.

135 posted on 07/12/2007 12:57:58 PM PDT by elfman2 (An army of amateurs doing the media's job.)
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To: StoneWall Brigade

And if you believe that... http://tinyurl.com/347l3k


136 posted on 07/12/2007 1:01:40 PM PDT by elfman2 (An army of amateurs doing the media's job.)
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To: Badeye

A pseudo historian on FR on another thread tried to discredit Shelby Foote b/c he was born in the South. I’ve heard it all now.


137 posted on 07/12/2007 1:04:40 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: elfman2

There were many African Americans who took up arms in the Confederate Army and fought for there homes and for the casue of states rights and freedom

http://civilwarhistory.com/_/blacks/Black%20in20%Gray.htm

http://www.civilwarhistory.com/_/blacks/Historic%20References.htm

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/blc57.shtml

Amos Rucker, Black Confederate

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/blc35.shtml


138 posted on 07/12/2007 1:11:39 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: Alex Murphy

‘People are converting to Mormonism just to lurk on DU?’

I read somewhere that if you make a necklace out of garlic cloves and wear it around your neck while you browse there you should be protected. Doesn’t hurt to have a silver cross nearby either.


139 posted on 07/12/2007 1:16:27 PM PDT by TheInvisibleMan
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To: joebuck
This points to a major defect in Lee's generalship - a poor staff and an inablility to communicate clear orders to subordinates. Combine this with Lee's tendency to delegate enormous responsibility to his Corps commanders in a battle and it was often a reciepe for disaster.

In fairness to Lee that had always been his style, and when he had Longstreet and Jackson as his corps commanders it wasn't a problem. In the few weeks prior to the Gettysburg campaign Lee had reorganized his army into three corps. So he had two new subordinate corps commanders and many of his division commanders had new corps commanders they reported up to and were trying to establish working relations with. It was not an ideal situation all around.

There is an equally interesting book recently released called "Retreat From Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign" by Kent Masterson Brown. In addition to laying out in detail exactly what it took to get an army and its supply trains from point A to point B, it shows just how desperate Lee was to retain all the supplies he had gathered from the civilian population during his campaign. To the point where he left thousands of wounded behind to fall into the hands of the Union army because the wagons that might have carried them were used to move goods instead.

140 posted on 07/12/2007 1:16:55 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: elfman2

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/cw88.shtml

Anti-Semitism By THE UNION In The Civil War. General Order #11


141 posted on 07/12/2007 1:17:00 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: StoneWall Brigade
The south fought for states rights.... State's right to do what?

... and the casue of freedom.

For 2/3rds the population anyway.

142 posted on 07/12/2007 1:20:24 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: StoneWall Brigade

Well that “must” prove it then! They couldn’t possibly have been fooled, you know, with all their access to alternative information and all... http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370190

I don’t have patience for this. Formulate a thoughtful rebuttle of each of the three inconsistencies I presented in #129 or take that kind of nonsense to some mentally-challenged guilt-ridden apologist.


143 posted on 07/12/2007 1:22:55 PM PDT by elfman2 (An army of amateurs doing the media's job.)
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To: derllak

Many ladies in those days enjoyed decades of poor health :-).


144 posted on 07/12/2007 1:23:15 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("A dependence on mass immigration is always a structural weakness and should be understood as such.")
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To: Non-Sequitur
The biggest Slave Owner in my great great grandfathe’s county was a Unionist he owned 95 slaves
145 posted on 07/12/2007 1:23:49 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: StoneWall Brigade

I suggest you pick up a copy of the current edition of “North & South” magazine. There is a great article in it that puts to rest the whole notion of legions of black confederates fighting valiantly for the South...and the idea that what service blacks did provide was respected by the white soldiers or politicians.


146 posted on 07/12/2007 1:25:34 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

So...if you were the King of the United States, what parts of the Constitution would you keep, and what parts would you throw out?

That is essentially what this whole (weird) argument is about.


147 posted on 07/12/2007 1:26:13 PM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: elfman2

http://www.dixieoutfitters.com/heritage/cw84.shtml

Yankee Atrocities Against Blacks


148 posted on 07/12/2007 1:27:08 PM PDT by StoneWall Brigade
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To: billbears

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Pack rats, thank heaven for em. :)


149 posted on 07/12/2007 1:27:12 PM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: StoneWall Brigade
The biggest Slave Owner in my great great grandfathe’s county was a Unionist he owned 95 slaves

What county was that?

150 posted on 07/12/2007 1:27:35 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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