Lee's Legacy


Jul 28, 2015
New York City
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.


Sergeant Major
Nov 12, 2016
His duty was to the US and Virginia and the best way to fulfill that duty was to put down the rebellion as quickly as possible. Scott and Thomas are just to name a few Virginian officers who did not betray Virginia by standing with the US.
Pre and Post war there is much to admire about Lee but not his decision to resign his US commission and join the likes of Henry Wise and hot heads. Scott was right biggest mistake of Lee's life.


Oct 22, 2012
This thread is over 18 years old with about 18 responses.

Lee was a traitor, blah, blah, blah.

He quit his job, publicly and went to the other side, so to speak. That's not what Benedict Arnold did and I don't even know why this discussion goes on about Lee.

But please, carry on.


Feb 10, 2021
Of course Lee was a great general. But so was Grant. Without Grant, the confederacy likely would've won independence. Without Lee, the confederacy would've fell much earlier than 1865.