He was a foe without hate

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Bee

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Do you doubt for a second that had the South won its independence, history books in southern schools today would have a different interpretation of the war than what schools teach today?
I don't know if anyone can top the PR work that Jubal Early did in the years after the war. His narrative was the prevailing history until Dunning & Co. picked up where he left off. Not bad for the losing side!
 

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The claim of Lee's allegedly saying, "I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them" comes to us from J. William Jones.

https://books.google.com/books?id=KeQhNwQev2kC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=Lee+But+I+have+never+cherished+toward+them+bitter+or+vindictive+feelings,+and+have+never+seen+the+day+when+I+did+not+pray+for+them&source=bl&ots=v8cEAn8QZm&sig=KhRqWuhKCRYIngTO-Yg5dvjiN4U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiugMfhlvzXAhUBmuAKHT6WCnIQ6AEIUDAH#v=onepage&q=Lee But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them&f=false

Let's look at the tale:

Lee Pray For Them-1.jpg
Lee Pray For Them-2.jpg


If we look at this carefully we see there is no way Jones could have known what Lee said. Lee accompanied the preacher to the door and this alleged quote was said only to the preacher with no one else around them. The preacher isn't the one who related it. Jones is. Note that Jones doesn't say where he got the story.

It's most likely from Jones' imagination.

Lee's letters reveal quite a bit of bitterness toward his enemies. The fable that he never referred to the Federals other than as "those people" is also blown apart by just reading what the man wrote. He usually called the Federals "the enemy."

Here's one example: After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lee wrote bitterly to the confederate Secretary of War, “In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leave us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death, if we would save the honor of our families from pollution, our social system from destruction, let every effort be made, every means be employed, to fill and maintain the ranks of our armies, until God, in his mercy, shall bless us with the establishment of our independence.” [Robert E. Lee to Secretary of War James Seddon, 10 Jan 1863] Notice how he views emancipation as a “savage and brutal policy,” leaving the confederacy “no alternative but success or degradation worse than death.” To Lee, emancipation threatened “the honor of our families” due to “pollution.” This is the standard fear of free blacks marrying white women.

He referred to Federals as "the enemy" in writings as early in the war as April 1861 and continued throughout.
 

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FINALLY. Appears I do have some dim idea of how posts on the forum work.

Its a popular claim because for the most part, its holds true, not 100% but enough to justify its popularity. Do you doubt for a second that had the South won its independence, history books in southern schools today would have a different interpretation of the war than what schools teach today?
It does not hold true, as anyone who reads history would know.

We don't have to imagine anything. All we need to do is look at Civil War history as written. Anyone who has looked at Civil War historiography can see much of the history was written by the losers. Look up Jubal Early and the Southern Historical Association.

Go to the local bookstore and see how many histories of the Vietnam War on the shelves were written by Vietnamese historians instead of American historians.

Are there no histories of the Napoleonic Wars written by French historians? Or will the claim be made that French historians have no ability to research primary sources themselves and instead simply parrot what English historians wrote?

Are there no histories of World War II written by German or Japanese historians? Or again, will the claim be made those historians have no ability to research primary sources themselves and are chained to the interpretations of American, British, and Russian historians, many of whom disagree?
 
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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Do you doubt for a second that had the South won its independence, history books in southern schools today would have a different interpretation of the war than what schools teach today?
The paucity of understanding of the real facts of the war among those who profess to defend the confederacy leads me to doubt southern schools teach a version that would be in any way different from what would have been taught.
 

CowCavalry

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So he followed the Dr. to the door and stated "earnestly", earnestly does not mean quietly.
I don't see anything in your quoted sources that would dispute the claim Lee made that he prayed for his enemies. I doubt he prayed for their victory though.
 
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Aussie Billy Sherman

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I think Lee wins the 'dead guy with the most words stuffed into his mouth before the coffin lid was closed' contest! You could fill a library with letters he didn't write, causes he didn't support, things he didn't say, people he never met...the list disappears over the horizon with him and the horse he rode out on.

p s
This obfuscation - from miscellaneous sources for miscellaneous reasons - is a large part of why we now have a harder time than we should sorting out who Lee really was.
I think Lincoln and Lee are pretty even in that contest. The amount of erroneous quotes I've seen attributed to Lincoln online is truly staggering.
 

Aussie Billy Sherman

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I could not agree more. In studying this awful period in American history one thing does stand out about most of the "leaders" both North and South who did not let their worse selves emerge after the surrender. From Lincoln's "Let 'em down easy" to Grants very willing cooperation with the dead President's wishes these men were for the most part absolute American heroes. With very few exceptions generals North and South did not let the bitter defeat or magnificent victory cloud what had to be done to rectify and redress those hard four years. Yes Reconstruction created all manner of pain and suffering for the South but for the most part hands of peace were extended and accepted by most of these men and I think we probably don't credit and cannot them enough for that effort.
I believe that they were truly "noble" as I would define the term and thank God that they were--for all our sakes. Without that individual nobility we surely would have suffered so very much more.
One of the few examples I've of real animosity from an officer to another officer was the Confederate who told Chamberlain how much he hated those of the North. But I can understand that there were heated feelings still at that point.
 

Aussie Billy Sherman

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I don't know if anyone can top the PR work that Jubal Early did in the years after the war. His narrative was the prevailing history until Dunning & Co. picked up where he left off. Not bad for the losing side!
Yes and that Lost Cause narrative has certainly prevailed over society ever since. Look at Hollywood for instance. There's been a ton of movies where the story is told from Southern perspective with the North as evil.
 
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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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So he followed the Dr. to the door and stated "earnestly", earnestly does not mean quietly.
I don't see anything in your quoted sources that would dispute the claim Lee made that he prayed for his enemies. I doubt he prayed for their victory though.
Jones wasn't even there. Jones was in Lexington. This supposedly happened in Richmond. It's most likely a fabrication.
 

Aussie Billy Sherman

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The claim of Lee's allegedly saying, "I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them" comes to us from J. William Jones.

https://books.google.com/books?id=KeQhNwQev2kC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=Lee+But+I+have+never+cherished+toward+them+bitter+or+vindictive+feelings,+and+have+never+seen+the+day+when+I+did+not+pray+for+them&source=bl&ots=v8cEAn8QZm&sig=KhRqWuhKCRYIngTO-Yg5dvjiN4U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiugMfhlvzXAhUBmuAKHT6WCnIQ6AEIUDAH#v=onepage&q=Lee But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them&f=false

Let's look at the tale:

View attachment 169485 View attachment 169486

If we look at this carefully we see there is no way Jones could have known what Lee said. Lee accompanied the preacher to the door and this alleged quote was said only to the preacher with no one else around them. The preacher isn't the one who related it. Jones is. Note that Jones doesn't say where he got the story.

It's most likely from Jones' imagination.

Lee's letters reveal quite a bit of bitterness toward his enemies. The fable that he never referred to the Federals other than as "those people" is also blown apart by just reading what the man wrote. He usually called the Federals "the enemy."

Here's one example: After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lee wrote bitterly to the confederate Secretary of War, “In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leave us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death, if we would save the honor of our families from pollution, our social system from destruction, let every effort be made, every means be employed, to fill and maintain the ranks of our armies, until God, in his mercy, shall bless us with the establishment of our independence.” [Robert E. Lee to Secretary of War James Seddon, 10 Jan 1863] Notice how he views emancipation as a “savage and brutal policy,” leaving the confederacy “no alternative but success or degradation worse than death.” To Lee, emancipation threatened “the honor of our families” due to “pollution.” This is the standard fear of free blacks marrying white women.

He referred to Federals as "the enemy" in writings as early in the war as April 1861 and continued throughout.
That's a good point about what Lee called the Northern armies. I recently finished reading Gray Fox: Robert E Lee and the Civil War. Its a fine book with much excerpts from Lee's own writings. I was amazed at the prolific use of "the enemy".
 
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CowCavalry

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Are there no histories of the Napoleonic Wars written by French historians? Or will the claim be made that French historians have no ability to research primary sources themselves and instead simply parrot what English historians wrote?
Certainly they have, and they are much different than the histories that they would have written had Napoleon been ultimately victorious.
 

CowCavalry

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Here's one example: After President Abraham Lincoln issued the Final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lee wrote bitterly to the confederate Secretary of War, “In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leave us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death, if we would save the honor of our families from pollution, our social system from destruction, let every effort be made, every means be employed, to fill and maintain the ranks of our armies, until God, in his mercy, shall bless us with the establishment of our independence.” [Robert E. Lee to Secretary of War James Seddon, 10 Jan 1863] Notice how he views emancipation as a “savage and brutal policy,” leaving the confederacy “no alternative but success or degradation worse than death.” To Lee, emancipation threatened “the honor of our families” due to “pollution.” This is the standard fear of free blacks marrying white women.
The notion that this letter was written in response to the emancipation proclamation is recent and convenient for current consumption; the original editors of the O.R. credited Lee's letter to Seddon in response to a series of orders issued in Western Virginia by Gen. Robert H. Milroy.

The recent interpretation does not square with Lee's willingness and support for the proposal to admit slaves into the southern armies, arm them and provide them with their freedom.
 
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Rebforever

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I don't know if anyone can top the PR work that Jubal Early did in the years after the war. His narrative was the prevailing history until Dunning & Co. picked up where he left off. Not bad for the losing side!
I am glad you like General Early. Basing this on observation you post about him quite a lot. Not only was he a terrific writer, but a Magnificent General!!
 
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CSA Today

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That's a good point about what Lee called the Northern armies. I recently finished reading Gray Fox: Robert E Lee and the Civil War. Its a fine book with much excerpts from Lee's own writings. I was amazed at the prolific use of "the enemy".
It was the second bloodiest war of the nineteenth century, I would be amazed if the participants hadn't referred to the opposing side as the enemy.
 
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Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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The notion that this letter was written in response to the emancipation proclamation is recent and convenient for current consumption; the original editors of the O.R. credited Lee's letter to Seddon in response to a series of orders issued in Western Virginia by Gen. Robert H. Milroy.

The recent interpretation does not square with Lee's willingness and support for the proposal to admit slaves into the southern armies, arm them and provide them with their freedom.
I've seen the specious claim put forward by those who can't understand context that it referred to Milroy. If one can understand English and what happened during that time period, one can tell he's obviously referring to the EP.
 

leftyhunter

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The notion that this letter was written in response to the emancipation proclamation is recent and convenient for current consumption; the original editors of the O.R. credited Lee's letter to Seddon in response to a series of orders issued in Western Virginia by Gen. Robert H. Milroy.

The recent interpretation does not square with Lee's willingness and support for the proposal to admit slaves into the southern armies, arm them and provide them with their freedom.
As @ForeverFree has pointed out many times from the Confederate regulations to enlist black soldiers, in no way was serving in the Confederate Army a guarantee of eventual emancipation.
Wanting to arm slaves week's before Appamatox speaks of desperation not a willingness to Grant freedom to slaves.
Leftyhunter
 
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