Lee and Reconstruction

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War Horse

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Sep 4, 2014
Lexington, SC
Here is another view Lee had after the war just move on...

Summary: The paper prints Robert E. Lee's note declining an invitation to join officers on the battlefield of Gettysburg to mark troop positions for posterity. Lee and a number of Democratic newspapers believe that the battle of Gettysburg and the strife accompanying the Civil War are best left forgotten.

Full Text of Article:
The widely heralded meeting of the officers, (U.S and Confederate,) who took part in the battle of Gettysburg, to mark the operations of both armies on the field, by enduring memorials of granite, has proven, as many expected a great farce. But few of the prominent Northern officers were present and only two Confederate officers of minor grades. The Hotel man did not make as much as he expected, when he got up the idea.

Gen. Lee was invited and forwarded the following reply:

Lexington, VA., August 5, 1869.

Dear Sir--Absence from Lexington has prevented my receiving until to-day your letter of the 26th ult., inclosing an invitation from the Gettysburg Battle-field Memorial Association, to attend a meeting of the officers engaged in that battle at Gettysburg, for the purpose of marking upon the ground by enduring memorials of granite the positions and movements of the armies on the field. My engagements will not permit me to be present. I believe if there, I could not add anything material to the information existing on the subject. I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered. Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee.

The New York Herald and other Northern papers were down on perpetuating the memory of Gettysburg. The Democratic Watchman, (Pa.) expresses their sentiments in short, which for its succinctness and pith, we copy below:

"Another big fuss at Gettysburg. A lot of officers are there for the purpose of fixing definitely the positions occupied by the troops on the first day's battle. Better take Gen. Lee's advise and let the darned thing die out of remembrance."

I completely understand why Lee would want the memory of Gettysburg to die. Wouldn’t you, if you were he?

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