- Jul 25, 2013
I'm sure next time you'll use less power. Now go back to class
A quote that does not fit Lee's character, especially after the war. I'm no fan of R.E. Lee, but I will never believe he said this!"If I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand."
In checking I saw it was to Eliza Mackay instead of Markie Williams, and he used "torpedo cracker" instead of "fire cracker."I find it hard to believe that he actually said this.
Yes, it's a fabricated quotation.A quote that does not fit Lee's character, especially after the war. I'm no fan of R.E. Lee, but I will never believe he said this!
This was posted on this BB some time back:
From R. E. Lee: A Biography
by Douglas Southall Freeman
published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934
Footnote 7 in Chapter XXI
T. C. Johnson: Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, 498 ff. Doctor Dabney was not present and received his account of the meeting from Governor Stockdale. The latter told Dabney that he was the last to leave the room, and that as he was saying good-bye, Lee closed the door, thanked him for what he had said and added: "Governor, if I had foreseen the use these people desired to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox, no, sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand." This, of course, is second-hand testimony. There is nothing in Lee's own writings and nothing in direct quotation by first-hand witness that accords with such an expression on his part. The nearest approach to it is the claim by H. Gerald Smythe that "Major Talcott" — presumably Colonel T. M. R. Talcott — told him Lee stated he would never have surrendered the army if he had known how the South would have been treated. Mr. Smythe stated that Colonel Talcott replied, "Well, General, you have only to blow the bugle," whereupon Lee is alleged to have answered, "It is too late now" (29 Confederate Veteran, 7). Here again the evidence is not direct. The writer of this biography, talking often with Colonel Talcott, never heard him narrate this incident or suggest in any way that Lee accepted the results of the radical policy otherwise than with indignation, yet in the belief that the extremists would not always remain in office. For these reasons the writer is unwilling to quote this doubtful testimony in the text.
I find no reason to believe that Reverend Dabney would lie about Stockdale telling him this, and also cannot think of a reason to doubt Stockdale. If you choose to doubt the authenticity of that (quote), then here's my favorite Lee quote for you...
"... 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."
- R.E. Lee, in a letter to his son, G. W. Custis Lee (23 January 1861).