"Lee and his Generals" Photograph

John Hartwell

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I wouldn't be surprised if this photo has appeared here before, but I am unfamiliar with it. Taken, at White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, in August of 1869.
The men were meeting there to discuss aid for "the orphaned children of the Lost Cause". This is the only from life photograph of Lee with his Generals in existence, during the war or after.

Left to right standing: General James Conner, General Martin Witherspoon Gary, General John B. Magruder, General Robert D. Lilley, General P. G. T. Beauregard, General Alexander Lawton, General Henry A. Wise, General Joseph Lancaster Brent Left to right seated: Blacque Bey (Turkish Minister to the United States), General Robert E. Lee, Philanthropist George Peabody, Philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran, James Lyons (Virginia)
 

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John Hartwell

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Massachusetts-born philanthropist George Peabody was invited to join the discussions because two years earlier he had set up the Peabody Education Fund with a $3.5 million bequest, to help support free public education in the former Confederate states (plus West Virginia). Though praised by the likes of Grant, Farragut, Hamilton Fish, and Henry Wilson, more radical figures attacked him as a war profiteer, and a "secret sympathizer" with secession, who wanted to "mollycoddle" former rebels. After the charges were investigated, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Whether he contributed more than advice and moral support to the "orphaned children of the Confederacy" effort, I don't know -- it wasn't one of his many major philanthropies.
 
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rebelatsea

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I was interested to, see how the photographer carefully arranged the subjects so that the head heights of both rows almost but not quite formed the same gentle line, or maybe it was just coincidence.
 

James N.

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Great Photo. Peabody looks like he really didn't want to be there. There is no record of him donating.
Massachusetts-born philanthropist George Peabody was invited to join the discussions because two years earlier he had set up the Peabody Education Fund with a $3.5 million bequest, to help support free public education in the former Confederate states (plus West Virginia). Though praised by the likes of Grant, Farragut, Hamilton Fish, and Henry Wilson, more radical figures attacked him as a war profiteer, and a "secret sympathizer" with secession, who wanted to "mollycoddle" former rebels. After the charges were investigated, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Whether he contributed more than advice and moral support to the "orphaned children of the Confederacy" effort, I don't know -- it wasn't one of his many major philanthropies.
Thanks to @John Hartwell for posting this and reminding me that I had found out the answer to a question somebody here asked, now some time ago. While visiting Lee's office in the Lee Memorial Chapel on the Lexington campus of Washington and Lee back in April, I remembered that when a period photo of it had been posted on the forums the question was asked WHO the portrait over the mantel was - of course, it was Peabody, indicating that Lee must've regarded him highly. Here's the photo I took on the occasion to "remind" me (it obviously hadn't, not until now at least), sorry it's blurry:
DSC05580.JPG
 
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RochesterBill

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Interesting photo but not exactly a stellar lineup.

Only two of them were ever more than brigadiers, (and almost all being named such near the very end of the war), only 3 ever led anything more than a brigade (even briefly) a couple served almost entirely out west (ie not under Lee except theoretically when he was given overall command) and most of them were part of this charity effort primarily due to their post war careers.

To call them "Lee's generals" except in a very generic sense is a bit of a stretch.
 

Rebforever

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Interesting photo but not exactly a stellar lineup.

Only two of them were ever more than brigadiers, (and almost all being named such near the very end of the war), only 3 ever led anything more than a brigade (even briefly) a couple served almost entirely out west (ie not under Lee except theoretically when he was given overall command) and most of them were part of this charity effort primarily due to their post war careers.

To call them "Lee's generals" except in a very generic sense is a bit of a stretch.
General Lee was the General of the Armies although late getting there. They would have qualified for that. Who knows how or why he picked them. Probably some kind of deal in the works.
 

John Hartwell

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General Lee was the General of the Armies although late getting there. They would have qualified for that. Who knows how or why he picked them. Probably some kind of deal in the works.
Probably their money and/or their influence with moneyed people. Given the cause, that would be the smart thing to do.
 
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O' Be Joyful

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This may add some background. I just happened to stumble over it doing a search.

General Robert E. Lee (1807-70) and Philanthropist George Peabody (1795-1869)
at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, July 23-Aug. 30, 1869.

By Franklin and Betty J. Parker

Introduction. In the first post-Civil War years the hot spring health spas of Virginia were the first gathering places of southern and northern elites.

It was at the Greenbrier Hotel, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, the most popular of the hot spring spas, that Robert E. Lee and George Peabody met by chance for a few weeks during July 23-August 30, 1869. This rare meeting marked a symbolic turn from Civil War bitterness toward reconciliation and the lifting power of education.

Historical circumstances had made both Lee and Peabody famous in their time, Lee's fame more lasting; Peabody's, strangely, soon forgotten. Yet when they met in 1869 Peabody was arguably better known in the English speaking world, more widely appreciated.

For Lee. age 62, hero of the lost Confederate cause, it was next to the last summer of life.
For Peabody, age 74, best known philanthropist of his time, it was the very last summer
of life. They were the center of attention that summer of 1869 at "The Old White." They
ate together in the public dining room, walked arm in arm to their nearby bungalows,
were applauded by visitors, and were photographed together and with others of
prominence.


https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED444917.pdf
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED444917.pdf
So as this notes there may be other photos of them together, somewhere

 

byron ed

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A civilian's salute, not a military one as none of them is in uniform -- and to all of them, not just one of them (as Lee himself would have it) -- and for their current cause (the children), not their failed one (the Confederacy).
 

byron ed

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I was interested to, see how the photographer carefully arranged the subjects so that the head heights of both rows almost but not quite formed the same gentle line, or maybe it was just coincidence.
It could be just the photographer's informal attempt to divide the rows evenly, providing enough chairs for about half of them.

btw, I love the idea of Lee wearing a jaunty thatched summer hat. It's perhaps an indication that Lee preferred to "de-militarize" himself, at least in the summer. Many CW vets retained a military-style slouch hat year-round.
 
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It could be just the photographer's informal attempt to divide the rows evently by who had a hat. "Those with hats please be seated" (though one yet chose to stand).

btw, I love the idea of Lee wearing a thatched summer hat, the type we see in barbershop quartets. It's perhaps an indication that Lee preferred to "de-militarize" himself, at least in the summer. Many CW vets retained a military-style slouch hat year-round.
just between us, probably has a lot more to do with status and age
 


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