Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another Look at Robert E. Lee

The information in the post is taken from an article in U.S. News Secrets of the Civil War.  The present and interview with an historian, Elizabeth Brown Pryor, who wrote a book based on Lee papers discovered in 2003.  She sees Lee as an enigma.  A stoic military man, but also a family man who swims with his children and studied parenting books.  He flirted with women, but was faithful to his wife Mary Anna Custis Lee.  He inherited slaves from his father-in-law with the legal stipulation that the be freed at a certain time.  Lee saw slaves as property.  He petitioned the court to extend the time he could keep his slaves.  However the court ruled against him and he released his slaves.
Lee had the view that he had to join the Confederacy because he couldn't fight against his family and friends.  In truth Lee had family and friends who fought for the North as well as the South.  Lee agonized over his decision for some time. 
Lee could not self appraise his performance after the war, it was too close.  He wrote in some papers a bitter attitude, but showed forbearance in public.  His wife lost her properties which became part of Arlington Cemetery.  He was a disappointed and heartsick man in his old age.

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