Marse Robert

He was a Caesar without his ambition; a Frederick without his tyranny; a Napoleon without his selfishness; and a Washington without his reward.

John William Jones on Robert E. Lee

Great Americans fought on both sides of the Civil War, and one of the greatest of Americans, of his time or any time, was Robert E. Lee.

Always outnumbered, with troops often dressed in rags, ill-fed, ill-supplied, he led his men to magnificent victories in the Seven Days, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.  Fighting another great general, Grant, he achieved a stalemate in 1864 against an army that had more than a two-to-one advantage, and prolonged the life of his country by almost a year.  A fighting general with a propensity for taking huge risks, he was also a humane man with unfailing courtesy for both friend and foe.  A true Christian, he did his best, in turbulent times, to live the teachings of Christ.

In regard to the great issues of his day, he was opposed to secession as he indicated in this letter to his son “Rooney” on January 29, 1861: “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for ‘perpetual union’ so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession.” When Virginia seceded however, he decided that he had no choice but to fight in her defense.

As to slavery,  before the Civil War Lee condemned it in private correspondence, viewing it as an unmitigated evil. While not an abolitionist he hoped that Christianity and education would eventually end slavery. (more…)

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Published in: on May 23, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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