Eisenhower on Lee

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cash

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Kind of late to the party on this one, but I'll add a few of my thoughts.

I happened to watch the discussion posted on one of the other threads - April 9 / Military Rivals: Grant and Lee - and a thought occurred to me why possibly Lee chose to fight for the CSA instead of the Union. Both had troubled relationships with their fathers, which I believe was the deciding factor for Lee's decision to side with Virginia and the Confederacy. Evidently, Lee's father, "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III was the Bernie Madoff of his day. Not only was he a swindler of sorts, and infamous for that alone, he abandoned his family. Reportedly, Lee, while attending West Point received no demerits throughout his entire attendance to the academy, which speaks volumes, as noted by one of the commentators.

In that Lee chose not to fight against his family and fellow Virginians seems to have been out of his deep sense of honor and loyalty to them, not to betray or fail them (unlike his father) in what he most assuredly saw as their time of dire need. Regardless of how we perceive his decision today, IMHO the facts based on this most esteemed aspect of his character is worth remembering and honoring.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?437856-1/military-rivals-ulysses-s-grant-robert-e-lee
What isn't generally talked about in discussions is that no matter what he chose, Lee would be fighting against family. His family, like so many others, was divided. He had a sister who was a Unionist, and his nephew was on John Pope's staff. He had a cousin who was a Union Navy admiral and another cousin who was a Union Army judge advocate. He also had a cousin who was an aide-de-camp to George McClellan.
 

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Lee's sensibilities concerning state loyalties are a lot more than 58 years old, and Eisenhower was well aware of the changing views on this subject over time, not subjecting Lee to 1950's standards.

The state sovereignty issue is long settled. The matter has been decided on the battlefield. America spent 600,000+ lives answering the question.
I was thinking more along the line that in the 21st Century fighting to preserve slavery does not sit well with many people.
Leftyhunter
 
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What isn't generally talked about in discussions is that no matter what he chose, Lee would be fighting against family. His family, like so many others, was divided. He had a sister who was a Unionist, and his nephew was on John Pope's staff. He had a cousin who was a Union Navy admiral and another cousin who was a Union Army judge advocate. He also had a cousin who was an aide-de-camp to George McClellan.
This is a great CWT thread on Robert E. Lee's family. I'll bump it.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/robert-e-lees-brothers-and-sisters.96315/
 
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I still think Ike was very eloquent in his response. He knew then, and I know now, that not everyone would agree with his response. Nonetheless, he was entitled to his opinion, as I am to mine, as we all are to ours.

I agree totally with your statement. I also happen to agree totally with Ike. The issue is, some here can't accept that a former president of the United States would and could have a positive view on Robert E. Lee...................IIRC Winston Churchill also had a positive view on Robert E. Lee, as do many millions of people. Lee was a great American, a war hero in two wars, and probably the most renown Confederate States of America military leader and probably it's greatest citizen................

Now I will sit back and listen to the few who will cry that I am not worthy or knowledgeable enough to make such a statement. I will assume they think they know me better than I know me...............lol


Respectfully,
William

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What isn't generally talked about in discussions is that no matter what he chose, Lee would be fighting against family. His family, like so many others, was divided. He had a sister who was a Unionist, and his nephew was on John Pope's staff. He had a cousin who was a Union Navy admiral and another cousin who was a Union Army judge advocate. He also had a cousin who was an aide-de-camp to George McClellan.
You know what, I never thought about it that way. Since I'm new to the ACW study, haven't even scratched the surface of what is probably well known facts. I still think, and didn't say quite adequately, that much of what R.E. Lee did in his life, as the commentators did allude to, was predicated on bringing back dignity to the Lee family name. Perhaps I'm giving him more credit that he deserves in this instance, but maybe played a large part in his decision. He did by all accounts, from what I know of so far, lead an exemplary life. I don't know much about the details of his performance in battles, mainly because I don't quite understand them very well, which might be due to the fact that I find that aspect of the war a little boring. However, I'm sure it's not, just my opinion thus far.

I do believe he was known as a devoted husband and father, and loved also by the soldiers who served under his command. I think that says a lot about a man, as well.
 
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cash

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You know what, I never thought about it that way. Since I'm new to the ACW study, haven't even scratched the surface of what is probably well known facts.
Well, not all that well known. Most folks don't look into Lee's family outside his father, mother, wife, and sons.


I still think, and didn't say quite adequately, that much of what R.E. Lee did in his life, as the commentators did allude to, was predicated on bringing back dignity to the Lee family name.
That's a theory many hold.

Perhaps I'm giving him more credit that he deserves in this instance, but maybe played a large part in his decision. He did by all accounts, from what I know of so far, lead an exemplary life.
He was a man as fallible as anyone else. "Exemplary" is in the eye of the beholder. I'm not saying he was a dirtbag. He tried to do what was right as he saw what was right, and he also defined his terms in such a way as to be able to say he lived an honorable life.

The Wesley Norris story is one example where a number of people, such as Douglas Southall Freeman, aided in this by denying events for which there is some pretty good evidence. That goes on to this day.


I don't know much about the details of his performance in battles, mainly because I don't quite understand them very well, which might be due to the fact that I find that aspect of the war a little boring. However, I'm sure it's not, just my opinion thus far.
He was an outstanding general. In my view he was second only to Ulysses S. Grant. He was highly intelligent and an excellent strategist. I think he had the right ideas on what to do. He did have some shortcomings, though. For example, he didn't develop a good bench of subordinate commanders, which hurt his cause.

I do believe he was known as a devoted husband and father, and loved also by the soldiers who served under his command. I think that says a lot about a man, as well.
He was a very devoted father, son, and husband. His soldiers did love him. He was also a shameless flirt. If he were here today, he'd be flirting with every woman on the forum. :smile:
 
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He was a man as fallible as anyone else. "Exemplary" is in the eye of the beholder. I'm not saying he was a dirtbag. He tried to do what was right as he saw what was right, and he also defined his terms in such a way as to be able to say he lived an honorable life.
The other thing I'm probably not expressing very well either is that in defending him, I am in no way idolizing him, as I know we as human beings are flawed, some more than others, which is okay. We're human, which is what makes us interesting. By exemplary, I am referring to things such as his record at West Point, his reputation for not hanging out with the wild crowd at the bars, etc. His daughters loved and adored him so much that apparently they never married. He distinguished himself among his peers and commanders in the Mexican-American War. He told his soldiers after they surrendered at Appomattox that they should go and be as good a citizens as they were soldiers. He wasn't, I don't believe, self-serving or narcissistic. However, I do remember Gallagher saying that underneath Lee's calm demeanor, even long after the war was over, he was seething about losing the war, which I find an interesting tidbit.

Well, I wasn't aware of his reputation for flirting. He is one of the nicest looking of the generals, I have to say. Like I said, everyone has their faults and weaknesses. As long as he wasn't traipsing around town like Joseph Hooker, whom I understand was a bit of a lech.

Thank you, Cash, for taking the time to respond and add more to my understanding of Lee. Much appreciated.

One other thing, can you tell me how you separate the comments and answer them individually?
 
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cash

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The other thing I'm probably not expressing very well either is that in defending him, I am in no way idolizing him, as I know we as human beings are flawed, some more than others, which is okay. We're human, which is what makes us interesting. By exemplary, I am referring to things such as his record at West Point, his reputation for not hanging out with the wild crowd at the bars, etc. His daughters loved and adored him so much that apparently they never married. He distinguished himself among his peers and commanders in the Mexican-American War. He told his soldiers after they surrendered at Appomattox that they should go and be as good a citizens as they were soldiers. He wasn't, I don't believe, self-serving or narcissistic.

Well, I wasn't aware of his reputation for flirting. He is one of the nicest looking of the generals, I have to say. Like I said, everyone has their faults and weaknesses. As long as he wasn't traipsing around town like Joseph Hooker, whom I understand was a bit of a lech.

Thank you, Cash, for taking the time to respond and add more to my understanding of Lee. Much appreciated.

One other thing, can you tell me how you separate the comments and answer them individually?
There are a few theories about why his daughters never married, including the fact that there was a large shortage of single men of their age after the war.

Lee did have some self-serving moments, but they are few.

When you hit the "Reply" button you'll see the previous post with some bracketed words before and after it. It starts with a bracket then QUOTE= with the person you are replying to, the post number, and the member number with a closed bracket. It ends with a bracketed "/QUOTE"

If you want to break things up you put a bracketed "/QUOTE" after the first section you want to quote. Then you copy the first bracketed section and paste it in front of the next part you want to quote, ending that part with a bracketed "/QUOTE." Repeat for as many sections as you wish to quote and reply.
 
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I wonder if Lee's daughters could find no men to live up the example of their father. An interesting question either way. Everyone has an opinion about Lee, but Eisenhower who was an important military figure in our time had an opinion people would read. Lee is a very fascinating person. This is a very good thread to read. I have no stake in this, but it remains an interesting read.
 
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One other thing, can you tell me how you separate the comments and answer them individually?
If you want to break things up you put a bracketed "/QUOTE" after the first section you want to quote. Then you copy the first bracketed section and paste it in front of the next part you want to quote, ending that part with a bracketed "/QUOTE." Repeat for as many sections as you wish to quote and reply.
Another way to do it is to simply highlight the section you wish to quote.

Then the "+Quote / Reply" button will appear.

If you want to respond to just that one section, you can just hit "Reply".

If you want to respond to various sections but break it up, then hit "+Quote". Continue to do that for each section you'd like to quote ~ it'll make a little list for you, all nice and neat. Then, in your Reply box, be sure to hit "Insert Quotes". A box with your highlighted quotes will pop up and basically ask, "Wanna insert these?"

Okay, it doesn't ask it exactly that way, but that's what it means.

Select "Quote These Messages".

(I almost typed "Quote These Massages". :laugh: )
 
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I wonder if Lee's daughters could find no men to live up the example of their father. An interesting question either way. Everyone has an opinion about Lee, but Eisenhower who was an important military figure in our time had an opinion people would read. Lee is a very fascinating person. This is a very good thread to read. I have no stake in this, but it remains an interesting read.
That's the impression I got about Lee's daughters, that he was a tough act to follow.

I did find the Eisenhower letter about Lee to be thoughtful and sincere, and very good reasons to be in admiration of him. Very nice thread...
 

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I agree totally with your statement. I also happen to agree totally with Ike. The issue is, some here can't accept that a former president of the United States would and could have a positive view on Robert E. Lee...................IIRC Winston Churchill also had a positive view on Robert E. Lee, as do many millions of people. Lee was a great American, a war hero in two wars, and probably the most renown Confederate States of America military leader and probably it's greatest citizen................

Now I will sit back and listen to the few who will cry that I am not worthy or knowledgeable enough to make such a statement. I will assume they think they know me better than I know me...............lol


Respectfully,
William

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I fully agree with and endorse your stated opinions with special emphasis on your third sentence.
 
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@TracyM61, I like President Eisenhower's comments about General Lee and tend to agree with them. Lee was indeed an outstanding general. He was also highly intelligent and a great military strategist. In our world today, it seems it is less acceptable to remember him for the war he fought, but perhaps he can still be respected and admired for the war that he ended.

As for his flirting, he was very adept with the ladies. :wub:
 

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Seems that the thread is beginning to drift away from Eisenhower's views on Lee into a discussion of Lee's family. Before this thread is derailed:
(1) @Eleanor Rose has provided a link to an existing thread where Lee's siblings are being discussed.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/robert-e-lees-brothers-and-sisters.96315/

(2) For a discussion on Lee's family, please find an appropriate thread or start a new one.
 
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