Post-War Lee

MikeyB

Corporal
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Lee experts! Had two questions for the forum.
1) In the post-war years, would you characterize Lee as being bitter towards the USA? What did his writing and post war career suggest?
2) Did Lee live a comfortable and wealthy post-war life? Or did he struggle? Were his means his own, or did he depend on generosity from Southern admirers?

Mike
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Why did he look for his us citizenship to be reinstated? Was there any particular reason.
Inquiry 'I did not know that he lost his citizenship.I do know that that there were attempts to bring him to trial for treason.If one reads the Article 3 section3rticlee Constitution it would appear as though that Congress or the Courts would have been busy bringing all former Congress both central and state with high ranking military officials to trial on TREASON charges.May be that is one reason that they did not do so with Davis his cabinet nor Lee and his generals,Would someone with a understanding of the Constitution explain Article IV Section 2 no mention of slave just persons then slave were considered persons? Thank you
 

eeric

Private
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Lee experts! Had two questions for the forum.
1) In the post-war years, would you characterize Lee as being bitter towards the USA? What did his writing and post war career suggest?
2) Did Lee live a comfortable and wealthy post-war life? Or did he struggle? Were his means his own, or did he depend on generosity from Southern admirers?

Mike
1) No, and he didnt write much at all so who can say what he thought, but there is very little of his public thoughts.
2) " or did he depend on generosity from Southern admirers?"

Yes

"bitter towards the USA?"

Maybe a bit but he wasnt hanged as is what often happens in these situations so I would guess some relief that he could carry on
totally unmolested, so kind of a win for him, but happy? Not at all. Who could be in that situation.
 

Rank and File

Corporal
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Location
California
I wonder if hanging Davis, and/ or Lee, cabinet members, major Southern generals would have produced a better Reconstruction, or would the South have been so mad as to create guerrilla war that went on for years/ decades.
 

KianGaf

Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Inquiry 'I did not know that he lost his citizenship.I do know that that there were attempts to bring him to trial for treason.If one reads the Article 3 section3rticlee Constitution it would appear as though that Congress or the Courts would have been busy bringing all former Congress both central and state with high ranking military officials to trial on TREASON charges.May be that is one reason that they did not do so with Davis his cabinet nor Lee and his generals,Would someone with a understanding of the Constitution explain Article IV Section 2 no mention of slave just persons then slave were considered persons? Thank you

https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/piece-lee

Found this in the national archives.
 

CowCavalry

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
I wish to retract my statement on #2 : ) because it is unsupported. In fact he turned down one lucrative offer to be the figurehead of an insurance company.
Thank you, as a matter of fact he turned down multiple lucrative offers.
 

KianGaf

Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I wonder if hanging Davis, and/ or Lee, cabinet members, major Southern generals would have produced a better Reconstruction, or would the South have been so mad as to create guerrilla war that went on for years/ decades.

I think creating martyrs is never a good thing politically, I reckon the let them off light policy was for the best.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
It seems that Lee maintained mostly a policy of public silence after the War. I have seen sources that reveal Lee had been asked by high level authorities to go public and speak against the ex-Confederate inspired militant domestic terrorism against southerner white and black Unionists after the War but he heartlessly refused. I assume this tells us he had bitterness in his heart that was only disclosed in private.
 

CowCavalry

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
It seems that Lee maintained mostly a policy of public silence after the War. I have seen sources that reveal Lee had been asked by high level authorities to go public and speak against the ex-Confederate inspired militant domestic terrorism against southerner white and black Unionists after the War but he heartlessly refused. I assume this tells us he had bitterness in his heart that was only disclosed in private.
You make a lot of assumptions.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
In 1866, Grant thought Lee was "behaving badly":

"Some of the rebel generals are behaving nobly and doing all they can to induce the people to throw aside their old prejudices and to conform their course to the changed condition of things. Johnston and Dick Taylor particularly are exercising a good influence,' but, he added, 'Lee is behaving badly. He is conducting himself very differently from what I had reason, from what he said at the time of the surrender, to suppose he would. No man in the South is capable of exercising a tenth part of the influence for good that he is, but instead of using it, he is setting an example of forced acquiescence so grudging and pernicious in its effects as to be hardly realized."​
 

CowCavalry

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
In 1866, Grant thought Lee was "behaving badly":

"Some of the rebel generals are behaving nobly and doing all they can to induce the people to throw aside their old prejudices and to conform their course to the changed condition of things. Johnston and Dick Taylor particularly are exercising a good influence,' but, he added, 'Lee is behaving badly. He is conducting himself very differently from what I had reason, from what he said at the time of the surrender, to suppose he would. No man in the South is capable of exercising a tenth part of the influence for good that he is, but instead of using it, he is setting an example of forced acquiescence so grudging and pernicious in its effects as to be hardly realized."​
What was Grant basing this statement on? The fact that Lee, never a political animal, did not go on a public speaking tour to denounce the former CSA? He returned to his home, found employment as the president of a small college, applied for a pardon, lived up to the requirements of his parole, and urged that all other ex Confederates do the same. He turned down multiple hugely lucrative business opportunities to use his name because he did not feel he could accept payment w/o services rendered.

" He had been superintendent of West Point earlier in his military career, and more importantly, he had a very recognizable name in 1865. The college, mired in financial difficulties, needed a prominent person to help raise funds. At first Lee hesitated, but on the advice of friends and family he eventually accepted the position. He wrote to the trustees that he believed, "it is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony...... Lee's personal involvement with many of his students reflected his desire to create a new generation of Americans. In response to the bitterness of a Confederate widow, Lee wrote, "Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans."

One wonders what else Grant expected from a man who had lost practically everything including his health during a war he did not wish to participate in.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
What was Grant basing this statement on? The fact that Lee, never a political animal, did not go on a public speaking tour to denounce the former CSA? He returned to his home, found employment as the president of a small college, applied for a pardon, lived up to the requirements of his parole, and urged that all other ex Confederates do the same. He turned down multiple hugely lucrative business opportunities to use his name because he did not feel he could accept payment w/o services rendered.

" He had been superintendent of West Point earlier in his military career, and more importantly, he had a very recognizable name in 1865. The college, mired in financial difficulties, needed a prominent person to help raise funds. At first Lee hesitated, but on the advice of friends and family he eventually accepted the position. He wrote to the trustees that he believed, "it is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony...... Lee's personal involvement with many of his students reflected his desire to create a new generation of Americans. In response to the bitterness of a Confederate widow, Lee wrote, "Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans."

One wonders what else Grant expected from a man who had lost practically everything including his health during a war he did not wish to participate in.
I'm not sure a 'public speaking tour' was necessary. But maybe some public remarks or letters to newspapers, encouraging acceptance of blacks as citizens and condemning vigilantism against freedmen. I think his behavior could be described as quiet and bitter.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
As a general rule, Lee favored reconciliation with the North, encouraged southerners to be loyal US citizens, and refused to get involved in any of the post war controversies that developed. He chose to become president of Washington College, not because it was financially lucrative (it wasn't), but because he wanted to help educate a new generation of young southern men and impart his values of duty and honor.
 

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