So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that Slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that, I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained. May 1 1870
Who is the person who is responsible for you not having a Southern drawl, Why is that? “Thereupon Alexander (Porter) proposed, as an alternative to surrender, that the men take to the woods with their arms, under orders to report to governors of their respective states.
"What would you hope to accomplish by that?" Lee queried.
It might prevent the surrender of the other armies, Alexander argued, because if the Army of Northern Virginia laid down its arms, all the others would follow suit, whereas, if the men reported to the governors, each state would have a chance of making an honorable peace. Besides, Alexander went on, the men had a right to ask that they be spared the humiliation of asking terms of Grant, only to be told that U. S. "Unconditional Surrender" Grant would live up to the name he had earned at Fort Donelson and at Vicksburg.
Lee saw such manifest danger in this proposal to become guerillas that he began to question Alexander: "If I should take your advice, how many men do you suppose would get away?"
"Two-thirds of us. We would be like rabbits and partridges in the bushes and they could not scatter to follow us."
"General," said Longstreet (Pete) to Lee, as the rider approached, "unless he offers us honorable terms, come back and let us fight it out."
If Lee would have taken their advice the Yankee like Government fight insugerents would have eventually sued for peace.
The idol of the South to this day, Virginian Robert E. Lee had some difficulty in adjusting to the new form of warfare that unfolded with the Civil war, but this did not prevent him from keeping the Union armies in Virginia at bay for almost three years. The son of Revolutionary War hero "Light Horse" Harry Lee-who fell into disrepute in his later years attended West Point and graduated second in his class. During his four years at the military academy, he did not earn a single demerit and served as the cadet corps' adjutant. Upon his 1829 graduation, he was posted to the engineers. Before the Mexican War, he served on engineering projects in Georgia, Virginia and New York. During the war, he served on the staffs of John Wool and Winfield Scott. Particularly distinguishing himself scouting for and guiding troops, he won three brevets and was slightly wounded at Chapultepec.
In 1859, he was called upon to lead a force of marines, to join with the militia on the scene, to put an end to John Brown's Harper's Ferry Raid. Thereafter he served again in Texas until summoned to Washington in 1861 by Winfield Scott who tried to retain Lee in the U. S. service. But the Virginian rejected the command of the Union's field forces on the day after Virginia seceded. He then accepted an invitation to visit Governor John Letcher in Virginia. His resignation as colonel, 1st Cavalry-to which he had recently been promoted-was accepted on April 25, 1861.
Later in the month, in a daring move, he left a small force in front of Richmond and crossed the Chickahominy to strike the one Union corps north of the river. In what was to be called the Seven Days Battles the individual fights-Beaver Dam Creek, Gaines' Mill, Savage Station, Glendale, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill-were all tactical defeats for the Confederates. But Lee had achieved the strategic goal of removing McClellan's army from the very gates of Richmond.
This created a new opinion of Lee in the South. He gradually became "Uncle Robert" and "Marse Robert.” With McClellan neutralized, a new threat developed under John Pope in northern Virginia. At first, Lee detached Jackson and then followed with Longstreet's command. Winning at 2nd Bull Run, he moved on into Maryland but suffered the misfortune of having a copy of his orders detailing the disposition of his divided forces fall into the hands of the enemy. McClellan moved with unusual speed and Lee was forced to fight a delaying action along South Mountain while waiting for Jackson to complete the capture of Harpers Ferry and rejoin him. He masterfully fought McClellan to a stand still at Antietam and two days later recrossed the Potomac.
Near the end of the year, he won an easy victory over Burnside at Fredericksburg and then trounced Hooker in his most creditable victory at Chancellorsville, where he had detached Jackson with most of the army on a lengthy flank march while he remained with only two divisions in the immediate front of the Union army. Launching his second invasion of the North, he lost at Gettysburg.
Lee returned to Richmond as a paroled prisoner of war, and submitted with the utmost composure to an altered destiny. He devoted the rest of his life to setting an example of conduct for other thousands of ex-Confederates. He refused a number of offers which would have secured substantial means for his family. Instead, he assumed the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, and his reputation revitalized the school after the war. Lee's enormous wartime prestige, both in the North and South, and the devotion inspired by his unconscious symbolism of the "Lost Cause" made his a legendary figure even before his death.
I can think of four distinct events that show how Lee was revered.
At the last Confederate reunion (1932) in Richmond, Virginia and where the men were always given the best rooms, food and treated like heroes, they were no where to be found. They were later found on Monument Avenue saying they wanted to sleep with the old man one more time.
Another, the Army was marching by picture twenty to thirty thousand men marching four abreast, the noise cat calls, tromping, wagons creaking. To stop causes a chain reaction it is a MAJOR problem to alter speed up or slow down. The men learned Lee was sleeping near by and took it on themselves to make a three mile detour.
Still again, At the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse Lee's greatly outnumbered army was threatened with being cut in two. Only Gordon and his men could prevent this from happening. Lee was prepared to lead the charge of Gordon's men when Gordon rode up and said, in a voice loud enough for his men to hear: "General Lee, this is no place for you. These men behind you are Georgians and Virginians. They have never failed you and will not fail you here. Will you boys"? "No, no, no, we'll not fail him," the men cried. Then they took up the chant, "Lee to the rear”, and Gordon seized Lee's horse's bridle and ordered some men to take Lee to the rear. Some believe that Gordon's success in turning back the Federals at this, the Bloody Angle, gave the Confederacy an additional year of life. Clearly, he inspired his men by his reaction to Lee's attempt to lead the charge.
Lastly, General Gordon states “GENERAL LONGSTREET'S forces and mine at Appomattox, numbered, together, less than 8000 men; but every man able to bear arms was still resolute and ready for battle”. Crying they surrounded Lee begging for the chance to go on fighting that they would not let him down again they would break out.
The Lee Memorial Ode
by James Barron Hope
Not Arthur and his
In the Poet’s Song
More earnest than those
Who followed Robert Lee
God Bless Our Southern Soldiers, You and yours along with the Southern People.