Skip to comments.Death of General Robert E. Lee
Posted on 10/11/2009 3:38:41 PM PDT by BigReb555
"Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by this nation." unquote--Dwight D. Eisenhower
(Excerpt) Read more at canadafreepress.com ...
News of the death of Robert E. Lee, beloved chieftain of the Southern army, whose strategy mainly was responsible for the surprising fight staged by the Confederacy, brought a two-day halt to Richmond's business activities. unquote
The United States flag, which Robert E. Lee had defended as a soldier, flew at half mast in Lexington, Virginia and throughout the USA.
General Lee died at his home at Lexington, Virginia at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, October 12, 1870. His last great deed came after the War Between the States when he accepted the presidency of Washington College, now Washington and Lee University. He saved the financially troubled college and helped many young folks further their education.
Some write that Robert E. Lee suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on September 28, 1870, but was thought to greatly improve until October 12th, when he took a turn for the worse. His condition seemed more hopeless when his doctor told him, "General you must make haste and get well---Traveller---has been standing too long in his stable and needs exercise."
Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Cadet William Nalle said in a letter home to his mother, dated October 16, 1870, quote;
I suppose of course that you have all read full accounts of Gen Lee's death in the papers. He died on the morning of the 12th at about half past nine. All business was suspended at once all over the country and town, and all duties, military and academic suspended at the Institute, and all the black crape and all similar black material in Lexington, was used up at once, and they had to send on to Lynchburg for more. Every cadet had black crape issued to him, and an order was published at once requiring us to wear it as a badge of mourning for six months. unquote
Read entire letter on Virginia Military Institute website at:
The rains and flooding were the worse of Virginia's history on the day General Lee died. On Wednesday, October 12, 1870, in the presence of his family, Lee quietly passed away.
The church bells rang as the sad news passed through Washington College, Virginia Military Institute, the town of Lexington and the nation. Cadets from VMI College carried the remains of the old soldier to Lee Chapel where he laid in state.
Memorial meetings were held throughout the South and as far North as New York. At Washington College in Lexington eulogies were delivered by: Reverend Pemberton, Reverend W.S. White--Stonewall Jackson's Pastor and Reverend J. William Jones. Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis brought the eulogy in Richmond, Virginia. Lee was also eulogized in Great Britain.
When all settled down, Mrs. Robert E. Lee said, "If he had succeeded in gaining by the sword all the South expected and hoped for, he could not have been more honored and lamented."
Many thousands witnessed Lee's funeral procession marching through the town of Lexington, Virginia, with muffled drums and the artillery firing as the hearse was driven to the school's chapel where he was buried.
US President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew and appreciated our nations rich history. President Eisenhower was criticized for displaying a portrait of Robert E. Lee in his office. This was part of his response; quote "Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by this nation." unquote
Robert E. Lee was the hero of the Southern people and admired both North and South of the Mason-Dixon Line. This Christian- gentleman's last words were, "Strike the Tent."
There will be a Remembering Robert E. Lee Program at Lee Chapel on Monday, October 12, 2009. For details go to:
RIP. Too bad the nation had to come to blows. Hope we never have another civil war.
It would be wonderful if all people behaved like him. I guess that is asking for too much.
R.E. Lee was born too late. He should have been one of the founding fathers.
A noble man in an unfortunate time.
Also one of the greatest Americans ever.
“Do your duty in all things;
You can not do more;
You should never wish to do less.”
~Robert Edward Lee
Lee was a fine man and probably the best military mind of his age. It is hard to respect the man judging him from today’s standards. I understand his desire not to take up arms against his own state, Virginia. However, he volunteered to lead the forces against the US in violation of his oath to uphold the US Constitution. Hard to justify.
I doubt that he understood his acts to be in violation of the Constitution. While he understood his cause was lost, it’s likely he believed he was acting in support of the Constitution, and it’s certain he was acting as he saw his duty. That’s not hard to support in any age.
I guess it all depends on how you would view an oath to the Constitution if secession voids that document. Other Virginians like George H. Thomas took the opposite view & stayed with the Union forces thought they were greatly reviled for doing so.
Great man and a patriot (back ten, states’s rights were assumed to be a valid political theory)-but what was he thinking at Gettysburgh?
Honor and duty in Lee’s age were paramount. So I agree that he believed he was doing his duty. He knew, by resiging his commission and taking up arms against the US, however violated his oath.
I believe he did, based on a letter he wrote to his son in January 1861. However he made the decision to go with his state and he never wavered. You have to respect him for that.
Your comment on Ike is so true, so very true.
Ironic that a man who hated war probably extended the Civil War for years because of his military genius and capacity for leadership. If he had accepted Lincoln’s offer to command the Union forces the war would have been over the first year.
At Gettysburg, he did not know what he faced. The calvary was not available to him to report where the Union Army was and which portions he faced. There were also two new corps under new corps commanders.
And ironic that a general, US Grant, that hated blood-shed defeated him by not backing down from horrible lose of live through out 1864.
I didn’t post about Lee; I posted about DDE.
“(back ten, statess rights were assumed to be a valid political theory)”
According to the Constitution it still is.
Elitist, statist, Democrats and other liberals have been working hard to eradicate it but the individual rights of soverign states is still in the Constitution for all to read.
You will like this thread.
W&L was my daughter's second choice for college - she was admitted there but wound up going to her first choice, Davidson College. Personally, I might have gone with W&L, but I'm not my daughter, she's much shyer and more gentle than I.
When we toured the school I was very impressed with the beautiful Lee Chapel. His faithful horse is interred just outside the side door, and when we walked past somebody had left a bouquet of carrots on his headstone.
I had the inestimable honor of meeting him once, when I was 18. What a man. His warning to the ages about the military-industrial complex was right on target. Washington has become a monster, both in terms of government power over the lives of citizens and in terms of the cluster of government agencies, high-tech and defense industries crowding all around it, driving real estate values to insane heights, clogging all the roadways for a 60-mile radius and driving out the kind of creativity that comes from ordinary people living in safe neighborhoods doing grassroots development of small businesses. It has become the most financially-intense, lawyer-ridden zone in the country, worse than LA or NY.
Me too, but I’m afraid that this nation is too politically fractured to avoid it.
It was a toss-up between W&L and Hampden-Sydney for me. I went with Hampden-Sydney because W&L was about to go coed (back in the mid-1980s). W&L is a wonderful school and I had a lot of good friends who went there. Lee Chapel is a very moving place to visit.
I’m with you here. A fine general and a great man but if not for his fateful decision, doubtless many thousands of lives would have been spared.
Great thread. General Lee was one of the finest Americans to ever live.
General Lee was a true gentleman and in my opinion a soldier without equal. In the LSU library there is a painting of him astride his horse Travler. Knowing the destructive behavior of the PC nuts, I doubt if the painting is still there. Maybe someone out there knows.
Both wonderful schools. You just can’t beat a small, Southern liberal arts (in the true classical sense) college to prepare for life.
Frances Lightfoot Lee signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation
Do you have a link for that letter somewhere? I’d be interested in reading it.
I have a pretty good library of vintage Americana textbooks, with titles like “Great Americans” or whatever. Seems there has been a de-emphasis on instilling excellence in our young, outside of sports at least. Gen. Lee wouldn’t “make the cut” today, I Suppose. One problem with that tack, when glaring holes appear in certain areas most people get curious. I started to read Grants memoirs and biographies, stuff about Jefferson, Lincoln, and Lee. It’s just a small part of a decent, rounded education.
Lee said after the war that he had searched the history of great military leaders throughout the world and found no equal to Grant.
Grant had to deal with Lincoln and Halleck as well as command four or five armies spread all over the eastern USA.
Grant admired Lee greatly.
To this day, Grant and Lee’s military genius are studied.
“The only way to whip an army is to go out and fight it.”-Hiram Ulysses Grant.
These two great men-Grant and Lee, saved the union.
Difficult time and it probably played hell on is mind. Given what Lee saw was happening politically to the UNITED STATES (his beloved country and state), it was probably not taken lightly in his own mind.
To him Virgina embodied the United States he knew. The historical actuality he believed in was that Virginia was the United States whose soldiers had fought for from the beginning of the the Unions inception.
He believed he was fighting for both. Don't be so hard on Lee or his place in the history of the United States he deeply believed in and fought for. To Lee Virginia and the United States were one in the same.
Agreed 100% on both counts.
I am getting very concerned.
Without a free media and an educated population willing to consider the nation's best interests, I don't think wise governance is very likely.
I think he loved his state of Virginia above all. I read once that he was trying to keep the fighting out of Virginia the summer of Gettysburg so that Virginians could grow their crops so desperately needed. Also read he was suffering severe angina during the Battle, that he wrote about feeling disconnected from what was happening, giving nonspecific orders to his generals. I think he was a great man.
Unfortunately, Light Horse Harry was less of a man of character than Robert.
Timing is everything.
Jefferson, Luther Martin, et. al were right. Hamilton, Adams and the Federalists were wrong (Washington will alwyas get a pass from me.)
The relevant quote is here:
"The South, in my opinion, has been aggrieved by the acts of the North, as you say. I feel the aggression, and am willing to take every proper step for redress. It is the principle I contend for, not individual or private gain. As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate p421no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a recourse to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for 'perpetual union' so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and save in defence will draw my sword on none."
It can be found in Freeman's biography of Lee Link
"I think Ulysses S. Grant is vastly underrated as a man and as a general. I know people think this and that about his drinking habits, which I think have been exaggerated way out of line. The fact is, he never demanded more men or material from the war department, he took over an army that had a long history of retreating and losing. That army had no confidence in their fighting ability and Grant came in as a real outsider. He had so many disadvantages going into the 1864 campaign, now 100 years ago. But he met every test and rose to the occasion unlike Ive ever seen in American history. He was a very tough yet very fair man and a great soldier. Hes not been given his due...Grant devised a strategy to end the war. He alone had the determination, foresight, and wisdom to do it. It was lucky that President Lincoln didnt interfere or attempt to control Grants strategic line of thinking. Lincoln wisely left the war to Grant, at least in the concluding moves after he came east. Grant is very undervalued today, which is a shame, because he was one of the greatest American generals, if not the greatest."
Earlier in 1956, when Richard Nixon told Eisenhower that it was common knowledge Stonewall Jackson was the greatest Civil War general, followed by Lee, Eisenhower interrupted him:
"I wouldnt say that, Dick. In fact I think its not a very reasoned opinion. You forget that Grant captured three armies intact, moved and coordinated his forces in a way that baffles military logic yet succeeded and he concluded the war one year after being entrusted with that aim. Id say that was one hell of a piece of soldiering extending over a period of four years, the same time we were in the last war.
Obviously Eisenhower admired both men. And there was much to admire about each of them.
The dissing of Grant is all part and parcel of Southen mythology to cover up the fact that they lost a war (which they had little chance of winning anyway). Southern historians practically invented historical revisionism as we know it today, per Alan Bloom and yours truly.
Grant made war on civilians Lee did not!
You forgot Sherman!
Both sides waged war on civilians. Most wars are waged on civilians to one extent or another, and rebellions tend to be harder on civilians than most. And if it was Southern civilians that tended to get hit harder, well having started the war the confederacy found that they could not keep the war from coming home to them. They have nobody to blame but themselves. And if you cared to look at other rebellions througout history you would see that the South suffered less than virtually any other losing people.
I know, I know, "Ahh shucks, jla, I just do what I can".
Ignorance of the situation on the first day of Gettysburg is one thing but not listening to his commanders (Longstreet in particular) on subsequent days was just plain stubborn arrogance. He had come to believe his own press and for a leader that can be fatal. A gifted general, yes but that is in comparison with the union political yahoos who were put up against him. When he encountered “that drunk” Grant as his adversary he found he was up against someone who had his own failings, did not worry so much about what others thought of his decisions and who did not believe Lee to be infallible. Lee’s really notable actions were in his efforts to bring about reconciliation after the war. He was a model of leadership in that respect.