Interesting and provocative posts. Lee was a highly effective general commanding, who through a combination of nerve, persistence, and a capable force of troops and officers in the ANV was able to maintain a threatening shield in northeastern Virginia for over 2 years. Thus, he provided the Confederacy with a cushion of time in the hopes that the northern will to fight would collapse, and/or European intervention would help gain southern independence. But those scenarios were simply beyond the capacity of Lee and his men to control, despite his best efforts. Notwithstanding his admirable command abilities, there is much to criticize about his generalship, including a reliance on direct assaults that led to a diminishment of manpower, and northern forays in Maryland and Pennsylvania that were based more on hope than realistic military planning. Lee was known to be a "gentleman" in the sense of personal propriety and devotion to family and the cultural milieu he was raised in. For better or worse, we can begin to understand his motivations and actions regarding secession, resignation from the US Army, slavery, and his post-war attitude by examining his past history.