Skip to comments.A Portrait in Letters (Newly Discovered Robert E. Lee)
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
I agree, pretty cool stuff!
What do you think is a moral justification for slavery? As long as it elevates them to some level deserving of rights? Should there be federal slave regulation overseeing their education for the day theyre eventually freed, (you know, along divine guidelines)? Or should there be some kind of private PETS (People for the Ethical Treatment of Slaves)?
Oh who cares If someone politicked it into The Bible, you think its Gods law and how how your slaves are treated is between you and your God, right?
But my God (objective reality) shows that rejection of slavery in principle is beneficial to my social environment and therefore to my life, and that anyone promoting it under any circumstances is foolish at best, and that Im morally required to support legislating slave holding away.
And since I can promote and defend my belief way better than you can promote yours, you're SOL.
Also unmentionable nowadays was the fact he was very religious and humble. I've read Lee's previously published diaries and letters to his wife -- there can be no doubt of his character.
Was Robert E. Lees daughter, in some perverse way, a forerunner of Rosa Parks?
I dont understand why it was perverse.
Its not. The ‘perversity’ is found in the WaPo’s description of it.
Just finished reading the entire article (had to stop and get some lunch). My wife and I are heading to Gettysburg next week, she’ll be facinated by this as you and I are.
‘His military brillance, his character, his love of his country, Virginia are all unmentionables. Ask a teenager about Lee today, most of never heard of him.
And thats the way it is.’
Teenager responding to the question of who Robert E Lee was;
‘Oh I know! That the guy that built the car for the Dukes of Hazard!’
‘It’s kind of interesting that General Lee’s estate has become the closest thing we have to sacred ground in America. I think he’d be proud of it today.’
Given his view of the ‘sacred ground of home, Virginia’ I doubt it.
He’d still be infuriated they turned his ancestrial home into a graveyard, no matter how it was justified after the fact.
Please add me to your CSA ping list.
If there is a CW ping list, I’d greatly appreciate being added to it.
that's what happens to a government that acts KNOWINGLY UNlawfully. it's called: PUNISHMENT.
and they get a whitewashed but overwhelming indoctrination into civil rights figures..
I'll take the true Biblical G-d over Jefferson's false "gxd of nature" any day.
Please note that as one whose ancestors fought against slavery, it hardly flatters my personal ego to learn that they were wrong.
“Among the calamities of war the hardest to bear perhaps is the separation of families and friends.”
Simply said but IMO, a great new Robert E Lee quote is discovered - among others.
(in article, 1st page, 3rd pararaph from bottom)
I claim that because it's true. The Federalists were this country's original conservatives and Jefferson and his party supported the Jacobin Revolution. And need I remind you that George Washington was a Federalist who signed Hamilton's bank into law?
You claim to be a theocrat who supports slavery in the right condition? No doubt about it, youre a yank through and through...
Since I understand you use the term "yank" to describe anyone who believes in a universal objective morality that all men should be compelled to live by (as opposed to a world of henotheistic nations, each creating its own distinct and "equally valid" worldview), then yes, I am a yank. So were the original chr*stian missionaries who converted your heathen ancestors. I guess that makes them "bolsheviks," right?
Yep, you're a "palaeo" through and through. And that's not a compliment. Perhaps you should consider sending money to Cindy Sheehan's congressional campaign?
The utilitarian (and ultimately secular) "civilizationist" defense of religion is an insult to everyone who actually believes in G-d.
What a buffoon. Is it time for me to run you off this thread? Shall we all?
Met a junior high school teacher who kept a small picture of Gen. Lee on his desk. Said the kids all think it’s his grandaddy.
Thanks for the ping SB
Fascinating. I read a book once which covered the origins of the Lee family when they first emigrated to America. They made their fortune from tobacco and were large land owners. IIRC, there were 7 sons who inherited large swaths of property, etc. The entire family has an interesting history.
Sure thing StoneWall Brigade - some great posts on the thread today.
I am sorry that my typing skills are not up to your high standards, but that hardly disqualifies my arguments.
Sheesh. How many closet atheists who use G-d for His "social utility" in sustaining European civilization do we have on this forum?
Thank G-d I live in the Fundamentalist, Bible Belt South and not the old, high-church, social utilitarian "civilizationist" South.
Why don't you do that?
I bet you don't believe in the "rapture." That wouldn't help "western civilization," would it? And the salvation of the individual soul? How does that help sustain Western European Man in his noble task of upholding chr*stianity against all those b*ddhist Blacks and hindu Mexicans? Shoot, since the "second coming" would make "European Civilization" superfluous, you probably don't even believe in that.
Since you reject univeral morality as "bolshevist do-gooding," why don't you put your money where your mouth is and convert to the pagan religion of your ancestors?
And I'll take Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Marshall, and Webster over Jefferson, Randolph, and Calhoun any day of the week, thank you.
so let me guess...you are a know-it-all thread hijacker that has to prove he is not insecure by posting insulting, assuming, long winded rambles about nothing?
Pathetic buffoonery at it’s best.
Reading some of this stuff is really confusing.
From one side of their mouth posters claim that you can’t support the troops if you don’t support the war (cause). From the other side of their mouth it is claimed that you can support a slave holding general but don’t support the cause (slavery).
Yeah, Hitler almost conquered Europe with strokes of brilliant military moves....if you’ll just ignore that little thing with the Jews.
Also, all those slaves singing on the plantation were really happy; certainly happier than any Negro today.
Vast majority of our posters are intelligent, “fair” minded, and harshly critical when it is called for (why I am a member). A few on these threads only provide fodder for the DBM ....and guess who is going to be quoted on CNN.
Excuse me, but one poster implicitly attacked the very notion of morality. Please excuse me for not realizing that "morality" is not a conservative concept.
Go back to reading your Origin of Species.
you mean the DU
look pal, that wasn’t me, and you personally attacked my religeous beliefs. Enough already and get lost.
I have a book of some of Lee's letters. Found in a store in Kennesaw, I believe. (Wildman's Trading Post? Does that ring a bell with anyone?)
I had it rebound and gave it to my daddy and when he died, Mama gave it back to me.
If I recall correctly, the exchange of posts between us was begun by you. I only got into this thing when some "palaeo" henotheist attacked morality. I did not respond to you, I responded to him. Then you chime in to tell me you're going to run me off this thread? What am I to assume but that you are also opposed to objective, universal morality?
And if your "chr*stianity" is purely utilitarian and culturally determined, then you don't have a religion to attack!
Just caught this at the source link:
“Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this article in print and on the Web incorrectly identified the subject as Mary Lee Custis.”
The article is about Mary Custis Lee.
LOL, my ancestors on one side were French Huguenots. The original Calvinists.
Yep, you're a "palaeo" through and through. And that's not a compliment.
Good. A compliment coming from a nut would disturb me
The utilitarian (and ultimately secular) "civilizationist" defense of religion is an insult to everyone who actually believes in G-d.
Oh I believe in God alright (there's an 'o' in the middle of the word) but freedom under Christ doesn't require me to live under the law as you would desire. You want to set up a nation of religious law. And there's nothing in the Bible, the Constitution, nor any of the Framers (even that worthless bum Hamilton) that would advocate that.
post 75 was clearly to me and any one can see that. I do hope you are thrilled that you have successfully ruined this enjoyable thread.
My original post (#37) was a direct response to the poster who attacked morality. I never posted a thing to you until you inserted yourself.
What a dishonest person you are. And you call yourself an admirer of General Lee?
what year was it printed?
‘you mean the DU’
You are sooo right. However, most people will not venture there without protective garments.
Sadly, a few here wrap themselves in a ‘conservative’ guise to further their ‘darker’ unspoken views. These views are so transparent that the brighter members of the DBM easily pick up on them and paint the entire forum with this brush.
First of all, Alexander Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution (which Jefferson was not). He was also the principal author of the Federalist Papers, without which the Constitution would probably have never been adopted at all. Naturally the people who opposed the adoption of the Constitution advocated "strict constructionism" once they lost that fight! And I note your refusal to come to terms with the fact that George Washington was a Hamiltonian Federalist?
Second, your ancestors would not have been Calvinists or chr*stians of any sort if at some point in the past some "trouble-making moralizers" hadn't told them that their traditional religious beliefs were objectively wrong and should be rejected in favor of what the missionaries saw as the true religion.
And third, your remarks about the law are so much nonsense. You yourself believe in law. John Calvin believed in the law. If you didnt' believe in G-d's Law, you wouldn't be opposed to "gay marriage." No, Calvinists believe in the Law and the obligation to live by it (John Calvin himself obligated even the "lost" to attend services, although he didn't permit them to participate in them); they just don't think it should have any bearing on what happens to you after you're dead. In essence you're bound by the law (as Calvinists conceive it) during life, after which you go are either saved or damned depending on whether or not you are among the elect. But you are certainly bound by G-d's Laws!
Abortion and "gay marriage" are wrong because they violate G-d's Laws, not because they are contrary to local custom! Do you think the British should have allowed hindus in nineteenth century India to burn widows after the death of their husbands? That was their local custom!
Unfortunately, "palaeos" seem to have the strange idea that they are anarchists and that "G-d's Law" is somehow the source of the perverse "morality" of Communists and liberals. It is not. That's like blaming Communism on millenarianism/messianism (you don't do that too, do you?). Liberals and Communists love law, all right, they just hate G-d, and therefore oppose His Laws. How can any conservative who believes in the almost unlimited human potential for evil believe that morality is a spontaneously developed "local custom" and that "law" can only coerce immorality?
The conservative coalition has some mighty disparate elements, but none so disparate as Fundamentalists and Civilizationists. And I have news for you--in the current South civilizationists are highly outnumbered by Fundamentalists, and I pray to G-d that will always be the case!
I've got people like this in my own family. When my grandparents moved out of their house into a rest home unfortunately I wasn't there. I fear probably a lot of letters, etc. that could have added more to my family's history was tossed out like last week's paper.
But imagine, letters and memorabilia from literally two different eras. It's one thing to see them in a museum but that she kept them. Like a personal connection to the beginning.
I don't recall. Posting from work. I'll try to find it when I get home and post back.
The real pleasure I get from reading that sort of period stuff - and I hope this doesn't sound petty - is that the people writing it were literate and for the most part that despite the hundred and a half years between, what you understand is precisely what they meant to express. I don't think you could say that about most modern newspapers, and those folks are paid to write that stuff.
Lee cutting his own stars off is an act rich in possible symbolisms and interpretations. Perhaps in one of those letters he mentions it, but what little I know of the character of this most private man suggests not.
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.
And all attempts at Christian antinomianism founder on Paul's epistles.
Known as "Daughter" or "Sister" to her family, Mary spent her most of her life traveling around the country and later the world. During the out break of the Civil War she was at home. She helped to pack up and leave Arlington house the beloved home of her mother and her childhood. Mary managed to get herself stuck behind enemy lines for close to a year, which grieved her father sorely. She was independent and outspoken for a woman of her time. Mary never married but did have many suitors. The most famous of which is JEB Stuart. Even though nothing came of the romance while at West Point they remained good friends until his death in May of 1864.
You gotta wonder just how poor their health was, living into their 80’s.
There's plenty of people here at FR who'll accuse you of being racist if you you mention any positive attributes of Lee as well. I'm just surprised to scroll down this far without someone flaming Lee & anyone who said any good thing about Lee.