Heroism, integrity, character and courage personified...

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Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
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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 and husband. 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.
Well said.

I might add that Lee had an overdeveloped sense of class loyalty, believing that the financial/social interests of his friends and relatives were the same as the interests of his country.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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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.
Who says that's a good trait? In March of 1861 he took an oath to support the United States, not Virginia, against "all opposers whatsoever." He turned his back on that solemn oath when he resigned instead of supporting the United States when the United States was at war against an "opposer." Prior to his resignation he had taken oaths to support the United States but he had never taken an oath to Virginia.

* 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
He thought it was bad for whites, but he thought it was necessary for blacks.

and yes he did wish to send blacks back to Africa
His wife did.

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).
So?

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.
Well, so he claimed. He also wanted to deport all the blacks out of Virginia.

* 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.
He was the only commander who demonstrated he could successfully command an army.

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.
Though we're often told Lee was the most noble man of any time. If that's the case, then he should stand up to scrutiny using 20th-21st Century American values.
 

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
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Who says that's a good trait? In March of 1861 he took an oath to support the United States, not Virginia, against "all opposers whatsoever." He turned his back on that solemn oath when he resigned instead of supporting the United States when the United States was at war against an "opposer." Prior to his resignation he had taken oaths to support the United States but he had never taken an oath to Virginia.



He thought it was bad for whites, but he thought it was necessary for blacks.



His wife did.



So?



Well, so he claimed. He also wanted to deport all the blacks out of Virginia.



He was the only commander who demonstrated he could successfully command an army.



Though we're often told Lee was the most noble man of any time. If that's the case, then he should stand up to scrutiny using 20th-21st Century American values.
Your views on Lee are different from mine but you did admit in one post that there is much to admire about Lee and acknowledging every part of it.
 
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cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Your views on Lee are different from mine but you did admit in one post that there is much to admire about Lee and acknowledging every part of it.
Yes, there is. He was an excellent leader and a very good general. He lived by what he considered to be a code of honor, though depending on that code that could be a bad thing. There were things he would not do because they violated what he believed to be honorable. He was honest when he felt it was in his interest to be honest. He shouldered the blame for defeat at Gettysburg, at least at first when it counted most for his men. He did what he could to stifle conflict among his subordinates.
 

Paul Yancey

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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.

General Lee lived by a self imposed code of high moral conduct. As to the question of whether or not the cause for which he fought was noble and just is I believe strictly a matter of personal opinion. I do not believe that it was manifest destiny that the South should lose the war. One can only speculate as to how things would be different if the South had achieved independence. That he fought for a cause in which he believed and the high standards by which he lived his life is enough, in my eyes, to consider him a great man.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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As to the question of whether or not the cause for which he fought was noble and just is I believe strictly a matter of personal opinion.
In my opinion, slavery is wrong, and fighting to keep it is wrong. I don't know what you think, but I do understand there are a few on this forum who don't think it was so bad.

That he fought for a cause in which he believed and the high standards by which he lived his life is enough, in my eyes, to consider him a great man.
Fighting for a cause in which a person believes doesn't make that person a great person. I could point to numerous causes throughout history that were reprehensible, and I could point to numerous reprehensible people in history who fought for causes in which they believed.
 
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JCK

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[QUOTE="cash, post: 1969134, member: 45"
He was responsible for the deaths of more American soldiers than any other single enemy the United States ever had.
That would be Lincoln!!!!!!!
 

Paul Yancey

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In my opinion, slavery is wrong, and fighting to keep it is wrong. I don't know what you think, but I do understand there are a few on this forum who don't think it was so bad.



Fighting for a cause in which a person believes doesn't make that person a great person. I could point to numerous causes throughout history that were reprehensible, and I could point to numerous reprehensible people in history who fought for causes in which they believed.
The war was fought for many reasons. It was about much more than the issue of slavery. Does not the fact that so many people on this forum are divided as to the causes and righteousness of the Civil War go a long way in itself in answering one of the great questions of all history - Why exactly was the Civil War fought? Think about it.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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The war was fought for many reasons. It was about much more than the issue of slavery. Does not the fact that so many people on this forum are divided as to the causes and righteousness of the Civil War go a long way in itself in answering one of the great questions of all history - Why exactly was the Civil War fought? Think about it.
The secessionists identified slavery as the reason they wanted their independence. The so-called "many reasons" is postwar apologia. There's an axiom on this forum that states, "at the bottom of every rabbit hole is the slavery pony."
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
[QUOTE="cash, post: 1969134, member: 45"
He was responsible for the deaths of more American soldiers than any other single enemy the United States ever had.
That would be Lincoln!!!!!!!
No, Lincoln was responsible for the nation and it's continuance.

Lee fought on the side that wished to destroy the nation for one of the worst reasons a people ever fought for.

Loyalty to our ancestors does not mean we should be loyal to their mistakes.
 

ucvrelics

Major
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Happy Birth Day General. Yes he did have his weaknesses and he knew it.

"I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God." General Robert E Lee
 
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Paul Yancey

Private
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The war was fought for many reasons. It was about much more than the issue of slavery. Does not the fact that so many people on this forum are divided as to the causes and righteousness of the Civil War go a long way in itself in answering one of the great questions of all history - Why exactly was the Civil War fought? Think about it.
The secessionists identified slavery as the reason they wanted their independence. The so-called "many reasons" is postwar apologia. There's an axiom on this forum that states, "at the bottom of every rabbit hole is the slavery pony."
I make no apologies. None needed
 

Lubliner

First Sergeant
Joined
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Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Actually, many men attained greatness and fame by the Civil War, and I hold many on both sides in high esteem. I cannot replace the crown of Lincoln in his own glory with 'noble'. Lincoln and Grant had their own cause which was noble. A nobleman is entirely different and befitting of Lee, just as Honest Abe befits himself. Lee's nobility is in part due to perceiving the consequence of his act in rebellion, and unapologetic for it. Acceptance in defeat put a jewel in the crown.
Lubliner.
 
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