Heroism, integrity, character and courage personified...

Stiles/Akin

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#1
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Heroism, integrity, character and courage personified...

Members, several of you might already know this story. I have just learned it and am still unable to take it in fully.

After the General’s surrender and the conclusion of stacking of arms at Appomattox, Union Lt. Samuel C. Lovell of the 4th Mass. Cavalry was assigned with 16 troopers under his command, to accompany General Lee back home to Richmond, or until Lee relieved him of this assignment, thereby effectively putting Lovell and his men under Lee’s command.

After a short distance through Union lines, Lee reined in Traveller and told Lovell that he was in friendly country and to accompany the party further would be a hindrance to Lovell’s more important military duties.

With tears in his eyes, the Lee shook Lovell’s hand, saluted and bade him farewell and God bless.

Who...?

Whoever in the history of man...has ever shown more tact, grace, integrity, kindness and humanity in more challenging circumstances...?

None may answer that call.

There is only one-

The Gray Fox.

Heroism, itself, personified.

-Source, ‘Diary of Lt. Samuel C. Lovell’, as cited in, ‘Lee: The Last Years’, by Charles Bracelen Flood.

 
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#4
The word "Noble" comes to mind! I think anyone who disagrees with what you wrote up above is sort of jealous that no one even came close on their side.
No intention to derail this thread but I disagree with this. There are many people who hold Grant or Lincoln to being every bit as "Noble" as Lee, if not more so. My only comment on this thread.
 

JeffBrooks

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#5
Robert E. Lee is the Hector of American history.

Like Hector, he was an excellent military leader, beloved by his men and feared and respected by his enemies. Like Hector, he was a model of personal behavior and a fine father, husband, and son. Like Hector, he was driven by a sense of duty and fought to protect his homeland.

Yet the cause he served was unjust. The Trojans would not return Helen, though Hector rightly thought this was wrong. Similarly, the South could not abide even the possibility of a threat to slavery and so seceded, though Lee rightly thought this was wrong. Both men fought with the strong belief, perhaps the subconscious certainty, that the ultimate doom of their cause was sealed from the beginning.

For all its bravery, the gods decreed that Troy had to fall and be destroyed. It had to happen, if the Greeks were to rise to their proper place in the grand order of things. Similarly, Lee and the Confederate cause had to be defeated if America was to meet its own historical destiny and take its proper place in the world.

We can admire him, but we can't look away from the fact that Lee was an enemy of the United States and, had his cause triumphed, the United States would have been shattered and the sickening evil of slavery would have continued.
 
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Ole Miss

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#8
Jeff
"Like Hector, he was an excellent military leader, beloved by his men and feared and respected by his enemies. Like Hector, he was a model of personal behavior and a fine father and husband. Like Hector, he was driven by a sense of duty and fought to protect his homeland."

Homeric simply Homeric! One if the finest comparisons of Lee that I have ever read, insightful very insightful.
Regards
David
 
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#11
Heroism, integrity, character and courage personified...

Members, several of you might already know this story. I have just learned it and am still unable to take it in fully.

After the General’s surrender and the conclusion of stacking of arms at Appomattox, Union Lt. Samuel C. Lovell of the 4th Mass. Cavalry was assigned with 16 troopers under his command, to accompany General Lee back home to Richmond, or until Lee relieved him of this assignment, thereby effectively putting Lovell and his men under Lee’s command.

After a short distance through Union lines, Lee reined in Traveller and told Lovell that he was in friendly country and to accompany the party further would be a hindrance to Lovell’s more important military duties.

With tears in his eyes, the Lee shook Lovell’s hand, saluted and bade him farewell and God bless.

Who...?

Whoever in the history of man...has ever shown more tact, grace, integrity, kindness and humanity in more challenging circumstances...?

None may answer that call.

There is only one-

The Gray Fox.

Heroism, itself, personified.

-Source, ‘Diary of Lt. Samuel C. Lovell’, as cited in, ‘Lee: The Last Years’, by Charles Bracelen Flood.

I say amen to that. Thank you for this post.

DSC_4225.jpg
 

cash

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#13
When we remember Former U.S. Army Colonel [the last legitimate rank he held] Robert E. Lee, we should remember all aspects of him.

We should remember he rented people to others, thus making money off of other people's bodies. When it seemed as though people he owned might get their freedom, he took steps to ensure they would not be freed. In 1849, Lee was in Baltimore, MD and expressed concern that the slaves he brought with him might be lost. As he wrote to Mary, “the abolitionists are very active here & opportunities great [for flight]. That is the experience of all that have brought their servants here.” [R. E. Lee to Mary Custis Lee, 25 Sep 1849] Lee made sure he brought the slaves back with him when he returned to Virginia. [Michael Fellman, The Making of Robert E. Lee, p. 64] We may also have some evidence of Lee still owning at least one slave during the war in a letter he wrote to his wife in the middle of 1863, well after all the Custis slaves were supposed to have been manumitted: “Tell Mr. Caskie I gave directions for the man he wrote about to be sent under guard, & to be delivered to the Sheriff of Richmond. I hope it was done. I sent a message to him to that effect in a letter to you. I fear it has been miscarried.” [R. E. Lee to Mary Custis Lee, June 11, 1863]

A month after taking a solemn oath to support the United States against "any opposers whatsoever," with the United States at war with "an opposer," instead of supporting the United States he turned his back on the United States and eventually would join that "opposer," thus committing treason against the United States by levying war on the United States.

He was responsible for the deaths of more American soldiers than any other single enemy the United States ever had.

He considered the Emancipation Proclamation to be a "brutal policy."
"In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed [the Emancipation Proclamation], which leaves 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." [R. E. Lee to James Seddon, 10 Jan 1863]

He's saying here they have to have a victory to keep their "social system from destruction." That tells me slavery was one of the things he was personally fighting for.

He said he regarded the master-slave relationship as the "best that could exist" between whites and blacks in the same country.

So when we remember Former U.S. Army Colonel Lee, let's remember the real man, not the marble statue.
 

cash

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#14
Then we should also remember George Washington....
by the time of his death, 317 slaves lived at Mount Vernon,[4] including 123 owned by Washington, 40 leased from a neighbor, and an additional 153 "dower slaves." While these dower slaves were designated for Martha's use during her lifetime, they were part of the estate of her first husband Daniel Parke Custis, and the Washingtons could not sell or manumit them.[5] As on other plantations during that era, Washington's slaves worked from dawn until dusk unless injured or ill; they could be whipped for running away or for other infractions.


Visitors recorded varying impressions of slave life at Mount Vernon: one visitor in 1798 wrote that Washington treated his slaves "with more severity" than his neighbors, while another around the same time stated that "Washington treat[ed] his slaves far more humanely than did his fellow citizens of Virginia."[6]

Though Washington considered himself benevolent as a slave master, he did not tolerate suspected shirkers, even among those who were pregnant, old, or crippled. When a slave in an arm sling pleaded that it kept him from working, Washington demonstrated how to use a rake with one arm and scolded him, saying, "If you use your hand to eat, why can't you use it to work?" He would ship stubbornly disobedient slaves, such as one man named Waggoner Jack, to the West Indies, where the tropical climate and relentless toil tended to shorten life. Washington urged one of his estate managers persistently to keep an 83-year-old slave named Gunner hard at work to "continue throwing up brick earth". When the Potomac River froze over for five weeks in 1788, and with nine inches of snow on the ground, Washington kept them at exhausting outdoor labor, such as sending the female slaves to dig up tree stumps from a frozen swamp. After his own heading out during this unusually frigid weather to inspect his farms, Washington wrote in his diary that, "finding the cold disagreeable I returned".[7]
This isn't a thread about George Washington. If it were, I would agree we should remember all the aspects of him, the real man and not the marble statue.

Edit to add: And I need to point out there is no comparison between Former U.S. Army Colonel Lee and George Washington. George Washington never fought to continue slavery. George Washington never committed treason against the United States. George Washington was a true example of dignity and tact. George Washington was a winner, not a loser.
 

Ole Miss

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#18
Lee was a flawed figure who knew of his own faults and did not try to excuse or defend his foibles. Shortly before his death Lee stated that it was best for the Confederacy and Virginia in particular to have lost the War and rejoined the Union.
"So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I have rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be great for the interests of the south. So fully am I satisfied with this, as regards especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained."

He was a man to be admired for many qualities who made a fateful choice to side with the Confederacy and the defense of Slavery. This stigma still follows him to this day and complicates any effort to praise him for his virtues.
Regards
David
 

cash

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#19
Happy birthday Mr. Lee. I look at you as the person, and not the uniform(s) you wore, and have won my admiration.
I agree there is much to admire about Lee. My point is that we should remember everything about him, as well as other historical actors, instead of picking and choosing what we want to remember.
 

BlueandGrayl

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#20
Look not everything about Robert E. Lee is perfect per se but at the very least he had some good traits:
* Standing by with his state: Robert E. Lee was opposed to secession and was at least pro-Union prior to Fort Sumter and even he was offered command of the Union Army but Lee felt more loyalty to his state and didn't want to violent suppress it.
* Acknowledging the bad parts of slavery: Now Lee was no abolitionist nor an egalitarian but at least he knew that slavery was not a great institution in a famous 1856 quote and yes he did wish to send blacks back to Africa but keep in mind this was a very common view among most Northerners also (they also viewed slavery as being the collective responsibility of the states). By the time slavery had officially ended in the United States after the Civil War, Lee actually rejoiced in its abolition and believed that it was for the best for the Reconsturction-era South.
* His command record: Now yes, not everything decision in battle was perfect but he was the most important Civil War Confederate General especially in the Eastern Theatre where he was responsible for victories in the Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days Battles as well as Second Manassas/Bull Run II and going into Maryland in which Edmund Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg invaded Kentucky and there was almost an independent Confederacy.

People should know that well the 18th-19th century was very and I mean very different from that of the 20th-21st century America you'd be very hardpressed to find someone who would have thought the same way as the latter did.
 

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