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Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee


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Šta je Robert E. Lee napisao Timesu o ropstvu 1858

Jednog dana u januaru, nekoliko godina prije građanskog rata, Robert E. Lee pisao je The New York Times -u, tražeći ispravku.

Čovjek koji će postati najviši general Konfederacije pokušavao je ispraviti podatke o robovima na imanju svoje žene u Virdžiniji i o posljednjim željama umirućeg robovlasnika.

Napisao je da se ljudi koji su porobljavali na imanju njegove porodice, u tadašnjoj Aleksandrijskoj županiji, "nisu prodavali na jugu", kako se izvještavalo. I nagovestio je da će ih osloboditi u roku od pet godina.

Pismo je jedno od mnogih koje je Lee napisao i koje baca svjetlo na njegove misli o ropstvu. Istoričari su se sukobili - i sukobljavaju se - oko snage njegove podrške sistemu prisilnog rada koji je držao milione ljudi u ropstvu generacijama.

Sada kada su statue Leeja i drugih vođa Konfederacije u središtu intenzivno burne nacionalne rasprave, pitanje je posebno relevantno.

"On nije bio ideolog pro-ropstva", rekao je za Lee Eric Foner, povjesničar iz građanskog rata, autor i profesor historije na Univerzitetu Columbia. "Ali mislim da je jednako važno to što se, za razliku od nekih bijelih južnjaka, nikada nije oglasio protiv ropstva."

Kada je Lee napisao svoje pismo za Times, bio je uspješan oficir vojske Sjedinjenih Država koji je djelovao kao izvršilac testamenta. Njegova supruga, Mary Anna Custis Lee, potomak Marthe Washington, nedavno je naslijedila očevo imanje, Arlington House, zajedno sa robovima koji su tamo živjeli.

U oporuci, otac gospođe Lee, George Washington Parke Custis, rekao je da bi njegove robove trebalo osloboditi pet godina nakon njegove smrti.

No, članak koji je prvi put objavio The Boston Traveller i koji je ponovno objavljen u The Timesu 30. prosinca 1857, tvrdio je da će robovi "biti predani u beznadno ropstvo ako se nešto ne može učiniti" jer nasljednici gospodina Custisa nisu htjeli osloboditi njih.

Image

Takođe je rečeno da je gospodin Custis, dok je umirao, rekao svojim robovima da ih treba odmah osloboditi, a ne pet godina kasnije.

Lee je osporio taj račun. U svom pismu za Times rekao je da "nasljednici ne žele spriječiti izvršenje" testamenta. Rekao je i da gospodin Custis, kojemu su članovi porodice "posljednjih dana stalno" posjećivali, nikada nije čuo da svojim robovima daje neposrednu slobodu.

Times je 8. januara 1858. objavio Leejevo pismo (iako se čini da je samo pismo, napisano ubrzo nakon Nove godine, pogrešno datirano 1857. godine) i rekao da mu je "drago" što je ispravljeno po tom pitanju.

Rat je došao tri godine kasnije.

Lee se pridružio secesionistima u travnju 1861. Napustio je Arlington House, a imanje su na kraju preuzeli vojnici Unije. (Mrtvi su sahranjeni na njenom zemljištu, koje će kasnije postati mjesto nacionalnog groblja u Arlingtonu.) Tokom sukoba, mnogi robovi su unajmljeni ili su pobjegli s imanja.

Godine 1862., u skladu s oporukom gospodina Custisa, Lee je podnio dokument o oslobađanju robova u Arlington Houseu i na još dvije plantaže koje je gospodin Custis posjedovao, imenujući ih pojedinačno više od 150. U siječnju 1863. predsjednik Abraham Lincoln izdao je Proklamaciju o emancipaciji, proglasivši da svi ljudi koji se drže kao robovi u pobunjenim državama „jesu, i od tada će biti slobodni“.

Od svih Leeovih pisama koje su arhivisti i povjesničari godinama prikupljali, jedno od najpoznatijih napisano je njegovoj supruzi 1856. godine. “Vjerujem da je u ovo doba prosvjetljenja malo, ali ono što će priznati to ropstvo kao institucija, moralno je i političko zlo u bilo kojoj zemlji ", napisao je.

No, dodao je da je ropstvo "veće zlo bijelom čovjeku nego crnoj rasi" u Sjedinjenim Državama, te da je "bolna disciplina koju prolaze neophodna za njihovo poučavanje".

U članku iz 1857. u The Timesu napominje se da glasovi robova nedostaju u priči o umirućim željama gospodina Custisa. Rečeno je da kada je rekao svojim robovima da će biti oslobođeni, "nijedan bijelac nije bio u prostoriji, a svjedočenje crnaca neće biti izvedeno na sudu."

Ali godinama kasnije, 1866., jedan bivši rob u Arlington Houseu, Wesley Norris, dao je svoje svjedočenje Nacionalnom standardu protiv ropstva. G. Norris je rekao da je njemu i drugima u Arlingtonu zaista rekao gospodin Custis da će biti oslobođeni nakon njegove smrti, ali da im je Lee rekao da ostanu još pet godina.

Tako je gospodin Norris rekao da su on, sestra i rođak pokušali pobjeći 1859. godine, ali su uhvaćeni. "Čvrsto smo bili vezani za postove od strane gospodina Gwina, našeg nadglednika, kojem je general Lee naredio da nas svuče do pojasa i da nam da pedeset udaraca bičem, osim moje sestre, koja je primila samo dvadeset", rekao je.

A kada je nadzornik odbio da mahne bičem, pojačao se policajac, rekao je gospodin Norris. Dodao je da je Lee rekao policajcu da "dobro položi".

Dr Foner je rekao da nakon rata Lee nije podržavao prava crnaca, poput glasačkog prava, te je uglavnom šutio o nasilju koje su počinili bijeli suprematisti tokom rekonstrukcije.

General se, međutim, usprotivio ideji podizanja Konfederacijskih spomenika, napisavši 1869. godine da bi bilo mudrije "ne držati otvorene rane već slijediti primjere onih naroda koji su nastojali ukloniti tragove građanskih sukoba. ”


Robert E. Lee

Rođen kao heroj Revolucionarnog rata Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee u Stratford Hallu, Virginia, Robert Edward Lee je izgledao predodređen za vojnu veličinu. Unatoč financijskim teškoćama zbog kojih je njegov otac otišao u Zapadnu Indiju, mladi Robert osigurao je imenovanje na Vojnu akademiju Sjedinjenih Država u West Pointu, gdje je diplomirao drugi u klasi 1829. Dvije godine kasnije oženio se Mary Anna Randolph Custis, potomak usvojenog sina Georgea Washingtona, John Parke Custis. Ipak, sa svim svojim vojničkim pedigreom, Lee nije kročio nogom na bojno polje. Umjesto toga, on je sedamnaest godina služio kao oficir u Inženjerskom korpusu, nadgledajući i nadzirući izgradnju obalne odbrane zemlje. Služba tokom rata 1846. s Meksikom to je promijenila. Kao član štaba generala Winfielda Scotta, Lee se istaknuo, zaradio tri truda za hrabrost i izašao iz sukoba sa činom pukovnika.

Od 1852. do 1855. godine, Lee je bio nadzornik West Pointa, pa je stoga bio odgovoran za obrazovanje mnogih ljudi koji će kasnije služiti pod njegovom komandom - i onih koji će mu se suprotstaviti - na bojnim poljima građanskog rata. 1855. napustio je akademiju kako bi zauzeo položaj u konjici, a 1859. je pozvan da obuzda doktor Johna Browna doktora za ukidanje Harpers Ferryja.

Zbog svoje reputacije jednog od najboljih oficira u vojsci Sjedinjenih Država, Abraham Lincoln ponudio je Leeju zapovjedništvo saveznim snagama u travnju 1861. Lee je odbio i ponudio ostavku u vojsci kada se država Virginia otcijepila 17. aprila da se nije mogao boriti protiv vlastitog naroda. Umjesto toga, prihvatio je generalsku komisiju u novoformiranoj vojsci Konfederacije. Njegov prvi vojni angažman u Građanskom ratu dogodio se u Cheat Mountain -u, Virginia (sada Zapadna Virginia) 11. septembra 1861. To je bila pobjeda Unije, ali je Leejeva reputacija odoljela kritikama javnosti koje su uslijedile. Bio je vojni savjetnik predsjednika Jeffersona Davisa do juna 1862. godine, kada mu je data komanda nad vojskom ranjenog generala Josepha E. Johnstona na poluotoku Virginia.

Lee je preimenovao svoju komandu u Armiju Sjeverne Virdžinije, a pod njegovim vodstvom postala bi najpoznatija i najuspješnija vojska Konfederacije. Ista se organizacija hvalila i nekim od najinspirativnijih vojnih ličnosti Konfederacije, uključujući Jamesa Longstreeta, Stonewall Jacksona i raskošnog kavalira J.E.B. Stuart. S tim pouzdanim podređenima, Lee je zapovijedao trupama koje su neprestano upravljale njihovim protivnicima odjevenim u plavo i osramotile njihove generale bez obzira na izglede.

Ipak, unatoč tome što je spriječio nekoliko pokušaja da zauzme glavni grad Konfederacije, Lee je shvatio da je ključ konačnog uspjeha pobjeda na sjevernom tlu. U rujnu 1862. godine započeo je invaziju na Maryland s nadom da će ratni fokus premjestiti s Virginije. No, kada je zapovjednik Unije George McClellan otkrio pogrešnu depešu koja opisuje plan invazije, element iznenađenja je izgubljen, a dvije vojske su se suočile u bitci kod Antietama. Iako njegovi planovi više nisu bili tajna, Lee je ipak uspio da se izbori sa McClellanom do pat pozicije 17. septembra 1862. Nakon najkrvavije jednodnevne bitke u ratu, velike žrtve primorale su Lee da se povuče pod okriljem mraka. Ostatak 1862. potrošen je na odbranu, parirajući napadima Unije u Fredericksburgu i, u svibnju sljedeće godine, Chancellorsville.

Majstorska pobjeda kod Chancellorsvillea dala je Leeju veliko povjerenje u njegovu vojsku, a poglavica pobunjenika bio je još jednom nadahnut da odvede borbu na neprijateljsko tlo. Krajem juna 1863. godine započeo je još jednu invaziju na sjever, sastavši se sa domaćinom Unije u raskrsnici grada Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Tri dana Lee je napadao saveznu vojsku pod Georgeom Meadeom u nekoj od najpoznatijih bitaka cijelog rata. Naviknut da vidi Jenkije kako trče pred njegovim agresivnim trupama, Lee je napao jake položaje Unije na uzvišenjima. Ovaj put, međutim, federalci nisu htjeli popustiti. Ratni napori Konfederacije dostigli su vrhunac 3. jula 1863. godine kada je Lee naredio masivan frontalni napad na Meadeov centar, na čijem su čelu bili Virginijci pod komandom general-majora George E. Picketta. Napad poznat kao Pickettova optužba bio je neuspješan i Lee je, shvativši da je bitka izgubljena, naredio svojoj vojsci da se povuče. Preuzimajući punu odgovornost za poraz, napisao je Jeffersonu Davisu da daje ostavku, što je Davis odbio prihvatiti.

Nakon istovremenih pobjeda Unije kod Gettysburga i Vicksburga u Mississippiju, Ulysses S. Grant preuzeo je komandu nad saveznim vojskama. Umjesto da Richmond postavi cilj svoje kampanje, Grant je odlučio usredotočiti bezbroj resursa koji su mu na raspolaganju na uništavanje Leejeve vojske Sjeverne Virdžinije. U nemilosrdnoj i krvavoj kampanji, federalni napadač je rasturio nedovoljno snabdjeveni Rebel band. Uprkos svojoj sposobnosti da natjera Granta da krv plati za svoju agresivnu taktiku, Lee je bio prisiljen prepustiti inicijativu svom protivniku, te je shvatio da je kraj Konfederacije samo pitanje vremena. Do ljeta 1864. godine, Konfederati su bili prisiljeni voditi rovovske borbe izvan Petersburga. Iako je predsjednik Davis u veljači 1865. imenovao virginijskog generala za sve snage Konfederacije, samo dva mjeseca kasnije, 9. travnja 1865., Lee je bio prisiljen predati svoju umornu i iscrpljenu vojsku Grantu u sudskoj kući Appomattox, čime je okončan Građanski rat.

Lee se vratio uvjetno kući i na kraju postao predsjednik Washington Collegea u Virginiji (sada poznat kao Washington i Lee University). Na ovom položaju ostao je do svoje smrti 12. oktobra 1870. u Lexingtonu u Virdžiniji.


Sadržaj

Vila je izgrađena po nalogu George Washington Parke Custis, ponuka i usvojenog sina Georgea Washingtona i jedinog unuka Marthe Custis Washington. Custis je postao istaknuti stanovnik područja koje je tada bilo poznato kao Aleksandrijska županija, u to vrijeme dio distrikta Columbia.

Arlington House sagrađena je na visokom vrhu na imanju od 1.100 jutara (445 ha) koje je Custisov otac, John Parke Custis, kupio 1778. godine i nazvao ga "Mount Washington" [6] ("Jacky" Custis je umro 1781. u Yorktownu nakon britanska predaja). Mlađi Custis odlučio je izgraditi svoj dom na imanju 1802. godine nakon smrti Marthe Washington i tri godine nakon smrti George Washington. Nakon što je kupio vlasništvo, Custis ga je preimenovao u "Arlington" po imanju porodice Custis na istočnoj obali Virdžinije. [7]

Gotovo odmah, Custis je počeo graditi Arlington House na svom zemljištu. Angažujući Georgea Hadfielda kao arhitekta, sagradio je vilu koja prikazuje prvi primjer grčko -preporodne arhitekture u Americi. [8] Custis je namjeravao da vila posluži kao živo sjećanje na Georgea Washingtona i mjesto za njegovu zbirku artefakata George Washington. Njegov dizajn uključivao je elemente slične onima kuće George Washington, Mount Vernon. [9]

Izgradnja je započela 1803. godine, jedanaest godina nakon što je L'Enfantov plan za budući "Savezni grad" (kasnije nazvan "Washington City", tadašnji Washington DC) odredio područje neposredno preko rijeke Potomac kao mjesto "Predsjedničke kuće" (kasnije nazvano "Executive Mansion", sada Bijela kuća) i "Congress House" (sada Kapitol Sjedinjenih Država). Custis je zgradu smjestio na istaknutom brdu s pogledom na okretnicu Georgetown-Alexandria (na približnoj lokaciji sadašnje Eisenhower Drive-e na Nacionalnom groblju Arlington), rijeku Potomac i rastući Washington City na suprotnoj strani rijeke. [8] Vila je izgrađena korištenjem materijala na licu mjesta, iako je zgradu prekinuo rat 1812. (i nestašica materijala nakon što su Britanci spalili glavni grad Amerike). Eksterijer dvorca Custis dovršen je 1818. [10]

Sjeverno i južno krilo dovršeni su 1804. Veliki središnji dio i trijem, koji predstavljaju impozantnu frontu dugačku 43 ft, završeni su 13 godina kasnije. Kuća ima dvije kuhinje, ljetnu i zimsku. Najvažnije obilježje kuće je 8 masivnih stupova portika, svaki promjera 5 stopa (1,5 m).

Gosti u kući bili su tako značajni ljudi kao što su Gilbert du Motier, markiz de Lafayette, koji je posjetio 1824. (vidi: Posjeta markiza de Lafayettea Sjedinjenim Državama). U Arlingtonu je Custis eksperimentirao s novim metodama stočarstva i druge poljoprivrede. Nekretnina je uključivala i Arlington Spring, izletište na obali Potomaka koje je Custis prvobitno gradio za privatnu upotrebu, ali je kasnije otvoren za javnost, da bi na kraju djelovao kao komercijalno preduzeće.

Custis se oženio Mary Lee Fitzhugh. Njihovo jedino dijete koje je preživjelo punoljetnost bila je Mary Anna Randolph Custis. Robert E. Lee, čija je majka bila rođaka gospođe Custis, često je posjećivao Arlington i poznavao Mary Anna dok su odrastali. Dve godine nakon što je diplomirao na West Pointu, poručnik Lee se oženio Mary Anna Custis u Arlingtonu 30. juna 1831. 30 godina Arlington House je bio dom Leesa. Veći dio svog bračnog života proveli su putujući između radnih mjesta vojske Sjedinjenih Država i Arlingtona, gdje im je rođeno šestoro od sedmero djece. Oni su ovaj dom delili sa Marijinim roditeljima. Nakon njihove smrti, Marijini roditelji sahranjeni su nedaleko od kuće na zemljištu koje je sada dio nacionalnog groblja u Arlingtonu.

Custises su intenzivno razvijali imanje Arlington. Veći dio strmih padina istočno od kuće postao je kultivirani engleski krajobrazni park, dok je veliki cvjetnjak sa sjenicom izgrađen i posađen južno od kuće. Zapadno od kuće Arlington House, visoka trava i nisko autohtono bilje spustili su se niz padinu u prirodno područje blisko rastućeg drveća Custises nazvano "Grove". [11] Otprilike 18 metara zapadno od cvjetnjaka, "Grove" je sadržavao visoka stabla brijesta i hrasta koji su činili krošnju. Neformalni cvjetnjak zasađen je ispod drveća i održavale su ga kćerke Custis. [12] Nije jasno kada je "Grove" počeo da se razvija, ali to je bilo u toku najmanje 1853. godine. [12]

Nakon smrti George Washington Parke Custis 1857. godine, ostavio je imanje Arlington Mary Custis Lee za njen život, a odatle najstarijem sinu Leesa, George Washington Custis Lee. Imanje je zahtijevalo mnogo popravki i reorganizacije, a Robert E. Lee, kao izvršilac Custisove oporuke, uzeo je trogodišnje odsustvo iz vojske kako bi započeo potrebna poljoprivredna i finansijska poboljšanja.

U aprilu 1861, Virdžinija se odvojila od Sjedinjenih Država. Robert E. Lee dao je ostavku na svoju dužnost u vojsci Sjedinjenih Država 20. aprila 1861. godine i pridružio se vojsci Konfederativnih država. [13] S Arlington Houseom na uzvišenju iznad glavnog grada, vlada Sjedinjenih Država je znala da mora zauzeti vilu ili biti ostavljena na neodrživom vojnom položaju. [14] Iako nije htjela napustiti Arlington House, Mary Lee je vjerovala da će njezino imanje uskoro zauzeti savezni vojnici i 14. maja je ostavila rodbinu, nakon što ju je upozorio njen mladi rođak William Orton Williams, koji je tada služio kao pomoćnik generala Winfielda Scott. [15] [16] [17] Trupe vojske Sindikata zauzele su Arlington bez protivljenja 24. maja [18]

U junu 1862. 37. Kongres Sjedinjenih Država donio je zakon koji je nametnuo porez na imovinu na svu zemlju u "ustaničkim" područjima Sjedinjenih Država. [19] Izmjene statuta iz 1863. zahtijevale su da se ti porezi plaćaju lično. [16] [20] Ali Mary Lee, oboljela od teškog reumatoidnog artritisa i iza linije Konfederacije, nije mogla osobno platiti porez. [20] Nekretnine Arlington zaplijenjene su zbog neplaćanja poreza. Prodano je na dražbi 11. januara 1864. godine, a američka vlada je osvojila nekretninu za 26.800 dolara (danas 453.095 dolara). [16] [21]

Tijekom rata, trupe vojske Unije posjekle su mnoga stabla na imanju Arlington, posebno ona sjeverno i istočno od Arlingtonove kuće u i blizu Fort Whipplea (sjeverno od kuće) i Arlington Springsa (u blizini rijeke Potomac). Međutim, ostalo je nekoliko velikih stabala, posebno onih u šumovitom području (sada poznatom kao Arlington Woods) zapadno od kuće. [22]

Do početka 1864. godine, vojna groblja Washington, DC i Alexandria, Virginia, brzo su se popunjavala ratnim mrtvima. Glavni intendant američke vojske Montgomery C. Meigs predložio je korištenje 200 jutara (81 ha) imanja Arlington za groblje. [13] Ratni sekretar Sjedinjenih Država Edwin M. Stanton odobrio je 15. juna 1864. osnivanje vojnog groblja, čime je stvoreno Arlingtonsko nacionalno groblje. [16] [23] Meigs je vjerovao da je, budući da je Lee počinio izdaju u odluci da se bori protiv Unije, [24] poricanje Leea korištenja vile nakon rata bio grub oblik pravde. [25] Meigs je odlučio da bi se veliki broj ukopa trebao dogoditi u blizini Arlington Housea kako bi se učinilo neživotnim. Policajci su trebali biti sahranjeni pored glavnog cvjetnjaka južno od kuće, a prvo sahranjivanje ovdje je izvršeno 17. maja. [26] Meigs je naredio da dodatna ukopa započnu odmah u krugu kuće Arlington House sredinom juna. [26] Kada su se službenici Sindikata okupirali u dvorcu, žalili se i privremeno zaustavili sahrane, Meigs je prekršio njihova naređenja i dao zakopati još 44 mrtva oficira uz južnu i istočnu stranu glavnog cvjetnjaka u roku od mjesec dana. [26]

U rujnu 1866. godine posmrtni ostaci 2.111 vojnika Unije i Konfederacije koji su poginuli u Prvoj bitci na Bull Run -u, Drugoj bitci na Bull Run -u i uz rijeku Rappahannock sahranjeni su na nekadašnjem mjestu "Grove", jugoistočno od vile, ispod spomenika Nepoznatog građanskog rata. [13] [27]

Robert E. Lee nije pokušao posjetiti niti vratiti svoju titulu Arlingtonu prije svoje smrti 1870. Mary Lee je umrla 1873. godine, posjetivši kuću samo još jednom, nekoliko mjeseci prije njene smrti. Previše uznemirena zbog takvog stanja, odbila je ući i izašla je nakon samo nekoliko trenutaka. [27]

U aprilu 1874., najstariji sin Roberta E. Leeja, George Washington Custis Lee, podnio je tužbu protiv vlade Sjedinjenih Država na okružnom sudu u Virginiji kako bi vratio svoju imovinu. [18] [28] Custis Lee bio je general -major u građanskom ratu i zauzele su ga snage Unije u bitci kod Sailor's Creeka 6. aprila 1865. (vidi David Dunnels White). Porota je utvrdila u korist Custisa Leeja [29], što je dovelo do opsežnih žalbi obje strane. 1882. Vrhovni sud Sjedinjenih Država presudio je u korist Lee in Sjedinjene Države protiv Leeja, 106 U. S. 196. Sud je većinom glasova 5–4 utvrdio da je nekretnina „nezakonito oduzeta” 1864. godine i naredio da se vrati. [30] [31] [32] Ali Lee je bio manje zainteresiran za dobijanje nekretnine nego za novčanu naknadu za njenu vrijednost. Nakon nekoliko mjeseci teških pregovora, Lee i savezna vlada dogovorili su se o prodajnoj cijeni od 150.000 USD (4.166.250 USD u 2020. USD). [33] [27] Kongres je donio zakon o financiranju kupovine 3. marta 1883. Lee je potpisao vlasništvo nad 31. ožujka, a prijenos naslova zabilježen je 14. svibnja 1883. [33] [27]

Generalna skupština Virginije 1920. promijenila je ime okruga Alexandria u okrug Arlington kako bi se okončala stalna zabuna između okruga Alexandria i nezavisnog grada Alexandrije. Ime Arlington odabrano je da odražava prisustvo imanja Arlington. [34]

4. marta 1925. godine 68. Kongres Sjedinjenih Država donio je javnu rezoluciju 74, koja je odobrila obnovu vile Lee na nacionalnom groblju Arlington, Virginia. [35] Ratno ministarstvo tada je počelo obnavljati Arlington House, a Odjel vojske nastavlja upravljati s više od polovice prvobitne plantaže od 1.100 jutara (450 ha), kao Arlingtonovo nacionalno groblje. Međutim, nekoliko godina nakon što je Kongres usvojio odobrujuće zakone, Ratno ministarstvo, koje je bilo odgovorno za upravljanje kućom i zemljištem, u velikoj mjeri je ignorisalo zakone. Suprotno zakonu koji odobrava, Odjel je, uglavnom na insistiranje Charlesa Moorea, direktora Komisije za likovnu umjetnost Sjedinjenih Država, opremio i protumačio Vilu "prvoj polovici republike". Ova odluka djelomično se temeljila na popularnosti pokreta kolonijalnog preporoda koji je još bio popularan 1925. Vila je obnovljena u razdoblje George Washington Parke Custis i nije prihvaćen namještaj proizveden nakon 1830. godine. Ovaj pristup je negirao Leeovu ulogu i prisustvo u Arlingtonu.

Godine 1955. 84. kongres Sjedinjenih Država donio je Javno pravo 84-107, zajedničku rezoluciju koja je vlastelinstvo označila kao "Dvorac Custis-Lee" kao stalno sjećanje na Roberta E. Leeja. Rezolucija je naložila sekretaru unutrašnjih poslova Sjedinjenih Država da u prostorijama podigne spomen -ploču i da ispravi vladine evidencije kako bi ih uskladili sa oznakom, "čime se osigurava primjenjivanje ispravnog tumačenja njene istorije". [36] Postepeno je kuća namještena i protumačena za vrijeme Roberta E. Leeja kako je navedeno u izvornom zakonodavstvu.

Služba Nacionalnog parka dobila je nadležnost nad zgradom i oko 28 hektara (11 ha) susjednih vrtova (za razliku od groblja) počevši od 10. juna 1933. [37]

1972. godine 92. Kongres Sjedinjenih Država donio je javno pravo 92-333, zakon koji je izmijenio javno pravo 84-107 tako da je vlastelinstvo proglašeno "Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial". [38]

Jedna od manje poznatih priča o Arlington Houseu tiče se porodice Grey, koja je pomogla u očuvanju naslijeđa George Washington Parke Custis, kao i porodice Lee. Selina Norris Grey, kći Leonarda i Sally Norris, bila je druga generacija robinja u Arlingtonu. [39] 1831. Selina se udala za Thorntona Greya, roba iz Arlingtona, i na kraju je imala osmoro djece koja su odrasla u Arlingtonu. S početkom građanskog rata, porodica Lee morala je napustiti svoj dom prije nego što su došle trupe Unije i zauzele imanje. Iako je Selina bila lična sluškinja gospođi Lee, ona i njena porodica su ostavljeni, prije nego što je otišla, gospođa Lee je ostavila ključeve kuće Selini i odgovornost za zaštitu blaga u domu. Nekoliko ovih blaga uključivalo je cijenjene porodične stvari koje su nekada pripadale prabaki gospođe Lee, Marthi Custis Washington i predsjedniku Georgeu Washington. [39]

Nekoliko mjeseci nakon što je general Armije Unije Irvin McDowell zauzeo kuću 1861. godine, Selina je shvatila da je nestalo nekoliko dragocjenih naslijeđa zbog vojnika koji su pljačkali imovinu. Kad je otkrila da su nestali i neki od vašingtonskih relikvija, odmah je generalu McDowellu dostavila popis nestalih predmeta i uvjerila ga da značaj prikupljanja zahtijeva njegovo učešće. Prvo je osigurao tavanske i podrumske prostore kako bi spriječio daljnju krađu, a zatim je preostale Leejeve naslijeđe otpremio u Ured za patente u Washingtonu na čuvanje. [40] Dok je Selina zaslužna za spašavanje naslijeđa i blaga Arlington Housea, njena djeca su kasnije zaslužna za pomoć pri obnovi doma, kao i za davanje tačnih detalja o rasporedu kuće, ličnim pričama o porodici Lee i pomoći konzervatorima početkom dvadesetog veka.

Tokom velikih restauratorskih napora u Arlington House -u od 1929. do 1930., porodica Grey je dala još jedan važan doprinos istoriji okruga Arlington i nacije. Četiri Seline i Thorntonove kćeri dale su ključne detalje o kući i njenom namještaju, a njihov doprinos pokazao se ključnim za autentičnost projekta. [40] Služba Nacionalnog parka je 2014. godine dobila rijetku fotografiju Seline. [41]

Proširenje Nacionalnog groblja Arlington Uredi

1995. godine, službenici Ministarstva unutrašnjih poslova Sjedinjenih Država i Ministarstva vojske Sjedinjenih Država potpisali su sporazum o prenošenju iz Arlington Housea, Memorijala Robert E. Lee, u vojsku dijela Arlington Woodsa, koji se nalazio u Odjelu 29 NPS -a na Nacionalnom groblju Arlington između Arlington House -a i Fort Myer -a. [42] Prijenos imovine, koji je uključivao 12 hektara (4,9 ha) zemljišta NPS -a, namjeravao je omogućiti groblju povećanje prostora za sahrane. [43] [44]

Ekolozi su izrazili zabrinutost da će sporazum rezultirati djelomičnim uništavanjem 24 hektara (9,7 ha) ostataka povijesno važnog nasada autohtonog drveća. [45] Ipak, Kongres je u septembru 1996. donio zakon kojim se odobrava transfer. [43] [46]

5. juna 2013., nakon što je pregledalo 100 komentara javnosti koje je primilo o nacrtu procjene utjecaja na okoliš (EA) za projekt proširenja groblja, Inženjerski korpus vojske Sjedinjenih Država objavio je konačni EA i potpisan Nalaz bez značajnog utjecaja (FONSI ) za projekat. [47] [48] Konačni EA je naveo da je od 905 stabala koje je potrebno ukloniti 771 stablo zdravo domaće drveće promjera između 6 i 41 inča. [49] [50] Projektom bi se uklonilo približno 211 stabala s manje od 2,63 hektara (1,06 ha) površine koja sadrži dio šume stare 145 godina koja je stajala unutar granica povijesnog okruga za koji postoji Nacionalni registar Obrazac za nominaciju Historijskih mjesta za Arlington House opisan je 1966. godine. [49] [51] Oko 491 drveće će biti uklonjeno sa područja drveća starog približno 105 godina. [49] Na javnoj raspravi 11. jula 2013. godine, Nacionalna komisija za kapitalno planiranje odobrila je lokaciju i planove izgradnje projekta. [52]

Studije, oštećenja i restauracije Edit

Od 2003. do 2007. godine, Nacionalna služba za parkove provela je arheološka iskopavanja dvije gospodarske zgrade koje su nekada držale prostorije za roblje Arlington Housea. [53] 2009. godine, Park služba je objavila izvještaje koji su opisivali istoriju konaka robova i nalaze iskopavanja, kao i prijedloge za obnovu četvrti. [54]

Od 2007. do 2013. godine, Arlington House je podvrgnut svom prvom renoviranju od 1925. godine. [55] Tokom tog perioda, službe Nacionalnog parka postavile su namještaj ove kuće na izložbu na Nacionalnom istorijskom lokalitetu Friendship Hill u blizini Point Mariona u Pensilvaniji. [56] Park služba je nakon završetka obnove održala ceremoniju ponovne posvete i vratila namještaj kući. [57]

Arlingtonova kuća pretrpjela je značajna oštećenja u potresu u Virdžiniji 2011. godine, pa je bilo potrebno zatvoriti stražnje hodnike i gornji kat do ocjene arhitekture. [58] 17. jula 2014., filantrop David Rubenstein donirao je 12,5 miliona dolara Fondaciji Nacionalnog parka (ogranak Službe za nacionalne parkove koja prikuplja sredstva putem privatnih doprinosa) za sanaciju Arlington Housea, njegovih gospodarskih zgrada i zemljišta. Ovaj 30-mjesečni projekt namijenjen je obnovi vile, zgrada i terena na način na koji su izgledali 1860. Projekt će popraviti temelje oštećene potresom i dodati novu unutrašnju rasvjetu i moderan sistem za kontrolu klime. Zvaničnici službe Nacionalnog parka rekli su da će vjerovatno zatvoriti Arlington House i robne kuće na nekoliko mjeseci 2016. godine, tokom kojih će većina posla biti obavljena. [59]

1919. izgrađena je replika za kratkotrajni univerzitet Lanier u Atlanti, koju je dizajnirao arhitekta A. Ten Eyck Brown. Još uvijek stoji na 1140 University Drive NE, a u njoj se nalaze vjerska škola Ben H. Zimmerman i škola u Canterburyju. [60] Arlington Hall, dvotrećinska replika Arlington Housea, sagrađena je 1939. godine u parku Robert E. Lee u Dallasu u Teksasu. [61]

Fasada stare upravne zgrade na nacionalnom groblju Arlington podsjeća na fasadu Arlington House. Zgrada se nalazi 150 metara zapadno od kuće Arlington House. [62]


Robert E. Lee Povijest i recept za kolače

Zove se i general Robert E. Lee Cake. Jedan od najpoznatijih južnoameričkih kolača svih vremena. Pravljenje ove torte definitivno je rad ljubavi jer to nije jednostavno. U starim južnjačkim kuharicama postoji mnogo recepata i mnogo verzija (ovaj kolač bio je izuzetno popularan u devetnaestom stoljeću). Čini se da se dvije vlasti ne slažu oko sadržaja jaja u kolaču (u rasponu od osam do deset jaja). Glazura takođe varira sa svakim receptom.

Tradicionalno se vjerovalo da je kolač Robert E. Lee omiljen generalu građanskog rata koji je predvodio trupe konfederacije u građanskom ratu, iako je to teško potvrditi. Većina izvora datira prvu pisanu verziju kolača Roberta E. Leea 1879. godine, a general Lee je umro 1870. godine. Referenca u knjizi The Robert Family Lee Cooking and Housekeeping Book (1997.) od Anne Carter Zimmer sugerira da recept jer je kolač sa citrusnim slojem bio poznat u porodici Lee, ali nikada nije zapisan.

Ovaj kolač, kolač od naranče i limuna, vjerovatno je napravljen u čast Roberta E. Leeja (1807-1870), vrhovnog zapovjednika snaga Virdžinije tokom Američkog građanskog rata. Za neke južnjake on je gotovo božanska figura, a za druge paradoks.

Nakon rata Leeju je skoro suđeno kao izdajicu, ali su mu samo ostala suspendirana građanska prava.

1879 – U kuharici, Domaćinstvo u Staroj Virdžiniji Doprinosi dvjesto pedeset Virdžinijskih zapaženih domaćica, istaknutih po vještini u kulinarstvu i drugim granama domaće ekonomije, uredila Marion Cabell Tyree:

Robert E. Lee Torta
Dvanaest jaja, pune težine u šećeru, pola težine u brašnu. Ispecite ga u tepsijama debljine žele kolača. Take two pounds of nice “A” sugar, squeeze into it the juice of five oranges and three lemons together with the pulp stir it in the sugar until perfectly smooth then spread it on the cakes, as you would do jelly, putting one above another till the whole of the sugar is used up. Spread a layer of it on top and on sides. – Mrs. G.


Gen. Robert Lee Cake

10 eggs.
1 pound sugar.
1/2 pound flour.
Rind of 1 lemon, and juice of 1/2 lemon.

Make exactly like sponge cake, and bake in jelly-cake tins. Then take the whites of two eggs beat to a froth, and add one pound sugar, the grated rind and juice of one orange, or juice of half a lemon. Spread it on the cakes before they are perfectly cold, and place one layer on another. This quantity makes two cakes. – Mrs. I. H.

1890 – The General Assembly of Virginia passed a law to designate Robert E. Lee’s birthday (January 19th) as a public holiday.

1904 – The legislature added the birthday of Stonewall Jackson to the holiday, and Lee-Jackson Day was born.

1984 – President Ronald Reagan declared the day in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Virginia, who since 1978 had celebrated King’s Birthday in conjunction with New Years Day, made the change and simply tacked him onto Lee-Jackson Day. Thus Lee-Jackson-King Day was born.

2000 – Virginia Governor, Jim Gilmore, proposed splitting Lee-Jackson-King Day into two separate holidays, with Lee-Jackson Day to be celebrated the Friday before what would become Martin Luther King Day. The measure was approved and the two holidays are now celebrated separately. Virginians still observe Robert E. Lee Day by partying and making this famous cake.


Robert E. Lee’s Tactics During the Civil War

Although Lee’s purported “tactical genius” was trumped by Grant’s “superior talent in grand strategy,” Lee is famed for his tactical management of battles. He was the tactical victory in several 1862–63 battles and generally performed well on the tactical defensive against Grant in 1864. However, Robert E Lee Tactics proved fatally defective. His tactical defects were that he was too aggressive on the field, he frequently failed to take charge of the battlefield, his battle plans were too complex or simply ineffective, and his orders were too vague or discretionary.

Problems with Robert E Lee’s Tactics

The first problem was that Robert E Lee’s tactics, like his strategy, were too aggressive. Bevin Alexander pointed out that in 1862 alone Lee had “an obsession with seeking battle to retrieve a strategic advantage when it had gone awry or he thought it had.” Thus, at Beaver Dam Creek (Gaines’ Mill), Frayser’s Farm (Glendale), Malvern Hill, and Antietam, he resorted to “desperate, stand-up, head-on battle” that resulted in great losses. “This fixation was Lee’s fatal flaw. It and Lee’s limited strategic vision cost the Confederacy the war.” Elsewhere Alexander concluded, “Lee never understood the revolution that the Minié ball had brought to battle tactics. . . . This tendency to move to direct confrontation, regardless of the prospects of the losses that would be sustained, guaranteed Lee’s failure as an offensive commander.”

Although sometimes creative (particularly when Stonewall Jackson was involved), too often those tactics failed to adequately consider the advantages new weaponry gave to defensive forces. Rifled muskets (ones with grooves rifled in their bores to spin bullets for accuracy) and bullets which expanded in the bores to follow the grooves (Minié balls) greatly increased the accuracy and range of infantry firepower (from 100 yards to between 400 and 1,000 yards), thereby providing the defense with an unprecedented advantage. Fuller called the Civil War “the war of the rifle bullet,” and rifle bullets (primarily Minié balls) accounted for 9 0 percent of the about 214,000 battlefield deaths and 469,000 wounded during the war. This advanced weaponry made assaults increasingly difficult.

Despite the fact that seven of eight Civil War frontal assaults failed, Lee just kept attacking. Battles in which Lee damaged his army with overly aggressive tactics include the Seven Days’ (particularly Mechanicsville, Gaines’ Mill, and Malvern Hill), Second Manassas, Chantilly, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, the Wilderness, and Fort Stedman. Archer Jones pointed to Lee’s periodic misplaced elation when he refused to “quit while he was ahead,” and cited Malvern Hill, Chantilly, the end of Chancellorsville, and Pickett’s Charge as examples.

The North had more advanced weaponry and had it earlier in the war. Its Model 1861 Springfield rifle, with an effective range of 200–400 yards, could kill at a distance of 1,000 yards or more. Most infantrymen (especially Federals) had rifles by sometime in 1862, Union cavalry had breech-loading (instead of muzzle-loading guns) repeating rifles by 1863, and even some Union infantry had these “repeaters” (primarily Spencer rifles) in 1864 and 1865.

Demonstrating this trend, Rhode Islander Elisha Hunt Rhodes experienced an improvement in weaponry during the war. In June 1861 he was first issued one of many muskets that he described as “old-fashioned smooth bore flintlock guns altered over to percussion locks.” Late the following month, when other Rhode Islanders’ enlistments expired after First Bull Run, Rhodes’ unit members traded their smoothbore weapons for Springfield rifles. Three years later, in July 1864 in the Shenandoah Valley, Captain Rhodes wrote: “I have forty of my men armed with Spencer Repeating rifles that will hold seven cartridges at one loading. I have borrowed these guns from the 37th Mass. who are armed with them and have used them for some time.”

Appreciation of the great reliance upon rifles by both sides in the conflict can be gleaned from the following estimates provided by Paddy Griffith in his thought-provoking Battle Tactics of the Civil War. He estimated that the Confederate Government procured 183,000 smoothbore muskets and 439,000 rifles and that the Union obtained 510,000 smoothbores and an astounding 3,253,000 rifles, including 303,000 breechloaders and 100,000 repeaters. The increased effectiveness of breechloaders, rather than muzzleloaders, was demonstrated by Union cavalry on the first day at Gettysburg (July 1, 1863) and by Union defenders on the second day at Chickamauga just two months later.

Musketry and the new lethal force of rifle power accounted for as many as 80 percent of the Civil War’s battlefield casualties. The improved arms gave the defense a tremendous advantage against exposed attacking infantry or cavalry. Use of trenches from 1863 on further increased the relative effectiveness of infantry defenders’ firepower. Similar improvements in artillery ranges and accuracy also aided the defense. Rhodes, for instance, wrote on February 14, 1862: “The 4th Battery ‘C’ 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery came over [to Washington, D.C.] from Virginia this morning and exchanged their brass guns for steel rifle cannon.” The old smooth-bore cannons had ranges of 1,000 to 1,600 yards while the new rifled artillery had ranges of 4,000 to 6,000 yards.

Despite these significant new advantages held by the defense, during battle after battle, Lee frontally attacked and counterattacked with his splendid and irreplaceable troops. Military historian Bevin Alexander asserted that Lee’s obsession with seeking battle and his limited strategic vision lost the war. The short-term results of Lee’s overly aggressive tactics were his troops’ injury, death, and capture the long-term results were dissipation of the South’s finite resources and loss of the war.

Lee was not alone in failing to adequately compensate for the new effectiveness of defensive firepower, but, as the leading general of a numerically inferior army for almost three years, he could not afford to make that mistake. In fact, Lee lost 20.2 percent of his soldiers in battle while imposing only 15.4 percent losses on his opponents. This negative difference in percentage of casualties (4.8 percent) was exceeded among Confederate generals only by Lee’s protégé Hood (19.2 percent casualties minus 13.7 percent difference) and by Pemberton, who surrendered his army at Vicksburg. For example, neither Joseph Johnston (10.5 percent casualties minus 1.7 percent difference), Bragg (19.5 percent casualties minus 4.1 percent difference) nor Beauregard (16.1 percent casualties minus 3.3 percent difference) sacrificed such percentages of their men in unjustified frontal assaults as did Lee. Lee’s statistics substantially improved when he generally went on the defensive—finally and much too late—after the Battle of the Wilderness in early May 1864.

In addition to his aggressiveness, Lee had other tactical problems. His second problem was his failure to take charge on the battlefield. Lee explained his approach to a Prussian military observer at Gettysburg: “I think and work with all my powers to bring my troops to the right place at the right time then I have done my duty. As soon as I order them into battle, I leave my army in the hands of God.” To interfere later, he said, “does more harm than good.” “What Lee achieved in boldness of plan and combat aggressiveness he diminished through ineffective command and control.”

The third problem with Robert E Lee’s tactics was his propensity to devise battle plans which either required impossible coordination and timing or which dissipated his limited strength through consecutive, instead of concurrent, attacks. For example, the Seven Days’ Battle was a series of disasters in which Lee relied upon unrealistic coordination and timing that resulted in Confederate failures and extreme losses. Again, the second and third days at Gettysburg featured three uncoordinated attacks on the Union line by separate portions of Lee’s forces when a simultaneous assault might have resulted in an important Confederate breakthrough or seizure of high ground.

Lee’s fourth tactical problem was that his orders often were too vague or discretionary, an issue discussed more fully below. The pre- Gettysburg orders to Stuart and the Gettysburg Day One orders to Ewell are examples of this problem. In Philip Katcher’s words, “Lee’s failure adequately to order his generals to perform specific actions or discipline them if they failed was probably his greatest character defect. . . . One of his staunchest defenders [Fitzhugh Lee] agreed: ‘He had a reluctance to oppose the wishes of others or to order them to do anything that would be disagreeable and to which they would not consent.[’]” Almost a century ago, George Bruce concluded, “Every order and act of Lee has been defended by his staff officers and eulogists with a fervency that excites suspicion that, even in their own minds, there was need of defense to make good the position they claim for him among the world’s great commanders.”


About the author

Helen Andrews is a senior editor at The American Conservative, i autor BOOMERS: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster (Sentinel, January 2021). She has worked at the Washington Examiner i National Review, and as a think tank researcher at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Yale University. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, First Things, The Claremont Review of Books, Hedgehog Review, and many others. You can follow her on Twitter at @herandrews.


Robert E. Lee Jr.: The Legend’s Last Son Followed the Family to War

In a modern painting entitled "Chance Meeting," artist Dan Nance portrays an encounter between General Robert E. Lee and his youngest son and namesake on the Second Manassas Battlefield. (Painting by Dan Nance)

Colin Woodward
August 2019

After serving as a junior officer, ‘Rob’ Lee wrote a renowned chronicle of his father’s life

IT WASN’T EASY LIVING in the shadow of the Confederacy’s greatest general, but Robert E. Lee Jr. had an interesting and accomplished Civil War career. He fought in the artillery and cavalry and rose to the rank of lieutenant. He later became one of his father’s greatest chroniclers through the publication of Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee in 1904.

Robert Edward Lee Jr. was the sixth of his parents’ seven children. The youngest of three boys, he was born October 27, 1843, atArlington Plantation, the home of his mother, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee, daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted grandson of George Washington. Rob’s other grandfather was Revolutionary War cavalryman “Light Horse” Harry Lee.

Robert E. Lee Jr. poses as a toddler with his mother, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee. (Virginia Museum of History and Culture)

The family’s military tradition had its challenges. As a Regular Army officer, the elder Lee was gone for long periods conducting engineering work on military defenses in Virginia, New York, Maryland, and Georgia. When the Mexican War broke out, Captain Lee served as an engineer in Winfield Scott’s forces. In Recollections and Letters, Rob said his earliest memory of his father was of him returning home from Mexico after an absence of nearly two years. According to Rob, his father didn’t recognize him and kissed Rob’s playmate by accident. It would not be the last time Rob’s father failed to recognize his son.

As was true of the other Lee children, Rob received an excellent education. He first attended school in Baltimore, while his father was serving at Fort Carroll. When Robert E. Lee moved to West Point, N.Y., in 1852 to serve as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, Rob followed. Rob remembered his father helping him with Latin and teaching him how to ride a horse. But Rob wrote, “I saw but little of my father after we left West Point” in 1855, when the senior Lee was ordered to St. Louis in preparation for his next assignment out West, chasing Comanche warriors across the hot and arid Texas plains.

Despite his father’s absences, “it was impossible to disobey him,” Rob recalled. “My mother I could sometimes circumvent and at times took liberties with her orders…but exact obedience to every mandate of my father was a part of my life and being.” From November 1857 to February 1860, Robert E. Lee returned to Arlington to settle the estate of George Washington Parke Custis. Young Rob had another couple of years to enjoy with his father.

In contrast to his father and brothers, Rob was not interested in pursuing a military education. He attended the University of Virginia, which in the prewar period was a raucous, all-male institution where students drank, shot pistols, and broke things. Rob might have been

Robert Jr. grew up at Arlington Plantation while his father was stationed at army posts for long periods. This June 28, 1864, photo shows Union troops occupying the Lee home. (Kongresna biblioteka)

full of youthful energy, but like his father, he was also religious. In May 1860, he underwent a spiritual conversion. “How are you getting along with your God,” he wrote his sister Mildred in January 1861. “O! my sister,” he said, “neglect not him. I have suffered much from neglecting him.”

When the Civil War broke out, Rob—not yet 18 years old—was an eager volunteer. In the spring of 1861, young men from the University of Virginia organized military companies, and Rob became a commissioned officer in the “Southern Guard.” He marched with this unit all the way to Winchester before Governor John Wise ordered the students back to Charlottesville. In December 1861, Rob wrote there were only 50 students left at the university—down from 650 the previous year—because so many had enlisted in the Confederate Army.

Rob grew up in a thriving slaveholding society, and his racial views reflected that reality. In January 1862, a few months before he reenlisted, Rob visited White House plantation, the home of his brother William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, better known as “Rooney.” Rob wrote to Mildred that “the most delightful thing about the place is the set of negroes. They are the real old Virginny kind, as polite as possible devoted to their master & mistress, who are devoted to them & who do every thing for them.”

Robert Jr.’s older brothers, Maj. Gen. William Henry Fitzhugh “Rooney” Lee, left, and Maj. Gen. Custis Lee also served in the Army of Northern Virginia. Both were captured by Union troops. (From left: Library of Congress Heritage Auctions)

On March 28, 1862, Rob joined the Rockbridge Artillery as a private, and with that unit experienced his first fighting in the Shenandoah Valley. During the first few weeks of his service, the Confederate Army was in a difficult moment of transition. In April, the Confederate Congress passed a controversial conscription act, the first in American history. The act drafted men from the ages of 18 to 35 and kept them for three years or until the end of the war. The act led to the reorganization and consolidation of regiments. “The whole army seems very much dissatisfied,” Rob wrote to his father on April 23. He noted there were “a good many desertions among the militia & the valley men who refuse to leave their homes behind them.” Rob himself was not discouraged, and he looked down on those men of wavering patriotism.

In May at Front Royal, Va., Confederates routed a much smaller force of Federals under Colonel John Reese Kenly. Rob wrote of overrunning Federal camps and the men helping themselves to bacon, sugar, coffee, and other luxuries. We “got all kinds of sweetmeats,” Rob wrote his father, “the most delicious canned fruit of all Kinds ginger cakes by the barrels sugar candy & all Kinds of ‘nick nacks.’” Rob said he made a “hearty meal” of “bread & butter ginger cakes & sugar wh[ich] helped me out, for I was nearly starved.” The young artilleryman said the Confederate damage amounted to $100,000.

Victory did not erase the harsh realities of war. Rob saw one of his friends badly wounded in the face at Front Royal. As for himself, he was exhausted. “I think I have been through as hard a time as I ever will see in this war,” he told his father. “For twenty four days we have been marching & this is the fourth day we have rested Through rain mud water woods up & down mountains & for two weeks half starved.” The hard fighting, though, energized him. “I am now as hearty as a buck feeling better than I ever did in my life,” he reassured his father.

Rob did not see General Lee again until the Seven Days Battles. By then, his father had been put in command of the Army of Northern Virginia and was fighting to drive Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac from the outskirts of Richmond. Rob remembered that by then, “short rations, the bad water, and the great heat, had begun to tell on us, and I was pretty well worn out.”

At the Second Battle of Manassas, Rob, serving as the “No. 1” man in charge of ramming artillery rounds down his cannon’s barrel, was again in the thick of combat. “My face and hands were blackened with powder-sweat,” he recalled, “and the few garments I had on were ragged and stained with the red soil of that section.” Rob encountered his father on the battlefield and managed to get his attention. “Well, my man, what can I do for you?” he remembered his father saying. “Why, General don’t you know me?” Rob replied. Once his father realized who he was talking to, he was “much amused at my appearance and most glad to see that I was safe and well.”

After the war Robert Jr. settled at Romancoke, a plantation on the Pamunkey River, but struggled as a farmer and missed his family in Lexington. (Robert E. Lee and the Southern Confederacy, 1807-1870. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897)

Shortly after Second Manassas, the Army of Northern Virginia headed north toward the Potomac River and Maryland. During the busy days of marching, Rob recalled he “occasionally saw the commander-in-chief, on the march, or passed the headquarters close enough to recognise him and members of his staff, but as a private soldier in Jackson’s corps did not have much time…for visiting …. ”

His next opportunity to talk to his father came on September 17, the day of the notorious Battle of Sharpsburg. During that bloody fight, when 23,000 men became casualties, Rob remembered that “our battery had been severely handled, losing many men and horses. Having three guns disabled, we were ordered to withdraw, and while moving back we passed General Lee and several of his staff, grouped on a little knoll near the road …. Captain Poague, commanding our battery, the Rockbridge Artillery, saluted, reported our condition, and asked for instructions.”

The general listened to Poague’s report and told him to take his damaged guns to the rear, but to prepare his remaining cannon for more action. As he talked to Poague, Lee’s eyes drifted over the battle-worn men on the battery, once again apparently not recognizing his youngest son. Rob recalled that he approached his father, said hello, then asked, “General, are you going to send us in again?” Replied the commander, “Yes, my son, you all must do what you can to help drive these people back.”

By the fall of 1862, Rob, his father, and his brother and cavalry officer Rooney had survived several bloody campaigns, but the family suffered loss all the same. In October, his sister Annie died of disease in North Carolina, where she had fled to escape the ravages of war in Virginia. “I shall never see her any more in this world,” Rob wrote of Annie.

As much as possible, the family tried to stay together. Rooney was promoted from colonel of the 9th Virginia Cavalry to brigadier general and leadership of North Carolina and Virginia troopers. Rob became a lieutenant and one of Rooney’s staff officers and remained optimistic about the Confederacy’s future. “I think we’ll whip old Burnside badly when we meet him,” he wrote in late November 1862. Events proved him correct. Lee’s forces soundly defeated Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside in December at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Months of relative inactivity followed. Rob fought at Chancellorsville on May 1-3, 1863, but he did not march north with the Army of Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg Campaign. That might have been because Rooney was wounded at Brandy Station on June 9 and captured soon thereafter and sent to a Northern prison, where he languished for months. With his brother out of the army, Rob worked for a while with the Ordnance Department in Richmond.

Rob was not depressed by the news of his father’s July defeat at Gettysburg. Later that month, he told his mother that “the men & officers are in very good spirits & very desirous of establishing their fame firmly, which they think has been a little shaken at Gettysburg.” By then, Rob had rejoined the cavalry, serving in Colonel John R. Chambliss’ 13th Virginia Cavalry, and he defended his fellow horsemen against accusations that the cavalry “never does anything.” “Truth is we do all the hard work of the Army,” he said, noting there was “freedom in this branch which is delightful.”

Rob remembered that at the time of the 1864 Overland Campaign, morale was still high in the Army of Northern Virginia. He wrote, “it never occurred to me, and to thousands and thousands like me, that there was any occasion for uneasiness.” The men of the Army of Northern Virginia “firmly believed that ‘Marse Robert’…would bring us out of this trouble all right.” Rob was wounded at the May fighting near Spotsylvania, but he recovered and rejoined his command. In a July 1864 letter to his sister Agnes, he wrote of soldiers getting plenty to eat, and he was impatient to “turn our horses out on the fine grass in Maryland & Pennsylvania.”

Charlotte “Lottie” Taylor Haxall married Robert Jr. in November 1871 but died of tuberculosis in September 1872. (Beaux and Brains of the 60’s, G.W. Dillingham Co, 1909)

During the Petersburg siege, on August 15, 1864, he was wounded slightly in the arm at the Second Battle of Deep Bottom. The wound took Rob out of action for three weeks.

By 1865, Rob’s outlook had grown darker and he was pessimistic about his future. “I don’t know whether I shall ever see you again,” he told his sister, Mildred. But he could still be funny, warning Agnes in March: “Don’t let Sheridan get my trunk,” referring to Union Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan.

In the final days of the war, Rob had a horse shot from under him, an event he remembered happening on April 2 or 3. Thankfully for him, he was cut off from the rest of the army. He said he was “surprised” when he heard of the news of the surrender. He rejoined his command and accompanied the remnants of the Jefferson Davis government to Greensboro, N.C. That was as far as he made it. He eventually returned to Richmond and was paroled in May 1865.

With the South devastated, Rob tried his hand at farming. He settled in King William County, Va., roughly 40 miles east of Richmond. As the owner of “Romancoke,” he ran a small plantation on the Pamunkey River. The estate was left to Rob in 1857 by his grandfather, George Washington Parke Custis. At Romancoke, Rob—far from his family in Lexington—found himself a lonely bachelor and struggling farmer.

Unlike his oldest brother Custis, who became president of Washington and Lee University, and Rooney, who later became a U.S. congressman, Rob kept a low profile after the war and his racial views had not progressed beyond condescending references to African Americans. In February 1866, he told a sister about “Old Coon,” a black woman helping him keep house. A year later, he dismissed the plight of the freed people of the South, saying, they were “stirred up by baptizing & politics,” but added “that theory would never be demonstrated by Cuffee.”

He still received advice from his father. “You must have a nice wife,” the elder Lee told him in August 1867. “I do not like you being so

lonely. I fear you will fall in love with celibacy.” General Lee traveled to Romancoke several times to see his bachelor son. Rob apparently cared little about entertaining, and after one trip General Lee decided his son needed a proper set of silverware. The general last visited Rob in the spring of 1870.

The news of his father’s death on October 12, 1870, hit Rob hard. After the general’s death, he lamented his own “selfishness & weakness” and praised his father for the “example of true manliness he set me all through his life.” In contrast, he felt he had “done so little for him.”

Rob’s uncertain finances, the shabbiness of his estate, and the fact that he was far from family and city life slowed his prospects of finding a wife. After a long courtship, in November 1871 he married 23-year-old Charlotte Taylor Haxall, but the marriage to “Lottie,” as she was known, proved brief. She died of tuberculosis on September 22, 1872. “I try to believe that all is for the best,” he wrote after her death, “but it is very hard—hard to believe, harder still to feel so.” A year later, Rob lost his mother, who had suffered from debilitating ill health. A few weeks before her death, Rob’s sister, Agnes, had also died.

In 1875, Rob departed for England with his sister Mildred. He stayed there for a year. Rob eventually moved from Romancoke to Washington, D.C., where he worked in the insurance business. In March 1894, Rob married Juliet Carter, the daughter of Colonel Thomas H. Carter, a Virginian who had served in the Army of Northern Virginia’s artillery.

Rob and Juliet had two daughters, Anne Carter (1897-1978) and Mary Custis (1900-1994). In 1904, Rob published Sjećanja i pisma generala Roberta E. Leeja. The book included transcriptions of his father’s letters, recollections of his spoken words, and anecdotes drawn from Rob’s memories of those of his older siblings. The book was well received and remains essential reading for Lee scholars.

Robert Jr. eventually moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked in the insurance business and married a second time. In 1904, Robert Jr. published Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee. (Virginia Museum of History and Culture)

Rob died on October 14, 1914, and he is buried with his family in the Lee crypt in Lexington. Robert E. Lee biographer J. William Jones wrote of him, “No braver or more chivalric man ever lived, and his death is lamented by his surviving comrades of the war, and by a host of friends.”

In many ways, Robert E. Lee Jr. was a typical Confederate soldier. He was an unmarried enlisted man in his 20s who fought in the ranks and a defender of the racial status quo. He survived the war, though he saw many of his friends and comrades killed.

In other ways, his life was atypical in that he was the son of the Confederacy’s greatest warrior and a member of one of the South’s most celebrated and elite families. An unsuccessful farmer after the war, the ex-Rebel moved, ironically, to the federal capital of Washington, D.C., to seek better financial opportunities.

Rob’s career may have been humble compared with others of his generation, but his letters provide an important link between the pre- and postwar South, and he was the liveliest and funniest writer of any member of his family. Njegovo Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee remains an important source on his famous father.

Colin Woodward is the author of Marching Masters: Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army During the Civil War. He lives in Richmond,
where he is host of the history and pop culture podcast “American Rambler.” He is revising a book on country singer Johnny Cash.


Unlocking History: Treasures Of Robert E. Lee Discovered

Stumbling across long-forgotten steamer trunks crammed with family memorabilia can excite the history buff in anyone. But when the trunks belong to Mary Custis Lee, the eldest daughter of General Robert E. Lee, and contain a treasure trove of documents and artifacts about her father and other members of her illustrious family spanning more than two centuries, that’s when historians take notice. And now, this collection is open to the public.

The discovery occurred in 2002, as Robert E. L. deButts, Jr., the great-great-grandson of Robert E. Lee, conducted family research. A commercial and securities lawyer in New York who bears a striking resemblance to the formidable general with his flinty eyes and broad expanse of forehead, deButts had queried Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust in Alexandria, Virginia, to see if they retained any financial records of his great-grandaunt, Mary Custis Lee. After the Civil War ended, Mary spent much of her life traveling abroad, and used the bank as a permanent address. As the officers of the family-owned bank checked their inventory, they decided to look in their rarely used “silver vault,” which safeguards items too large for safe-deposit boxes. A pair of dusty wooden steamer trunks caught their eye, the larger one bearing a piece of tin patching and the unmistakable stenciled letters, “M. Lee. ”

DeButts came south immediately and together they unlocked the trunks, unopened at least since Mary Custis’ death 84 years before, and discovered more than 4,000 yellowed letters, postcards, documents, photographs, and artifacts. DeButts brought the contents to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, which houses the nation’s largest collection of Lee papers, and started sorting. Turns out, says Lee Shepard, the Society’s senior archivist, that Mary Custis “was the unofficial family archivist and also a bit of a pack rat.” One envelope contained three cloth stars of gold thread, identified in a note as those that Lee cut off his uniform after his surrender to Grant at Appomattox.

The earliest letter in the trunks dates to 1694, a letter from John Custis II, the family’s first English immigrant, to merchants back home discussing the tobacco crop and the shipbuilding business on the Eastern Shore, valuable details, says Shepard, for future researchers. Also amidst the letters is an unusual 1766 manifest of 266 African American slaves owned by John Parke Custis, the stepson of George Washington. There are accounts from the 1760s and 1770s kept by George Washington an 1860 letter from Robert E. Lee to the Secretary of War about relations between Mexico and the U.S. an 1872 letter from a former slave at Arlington House to Lee’s wife postcards and mementos from around the world acquired by Mary Custis and the correspondence of Lee’s mother-in-law, Mary Fitzhugh Custis, an anti-slavery activist in the upper South.

The letters written by Robert E. Lee add exciting new dimensions to the man, showing a complexity of character and emotional conflict rarely associated with someone too often portrayed as a stone icon, notes Elizabeth Brown Pryor, a Lee biographer and the first scholar to read dozens of the private and revealing missives. “This material shows him not as a simple Christian gentleman but as far more complex, problematic, witty, wickedly funny, and baffled at times.” She read two dozen letters from Lt. Robert Lee to his fiancée, Mary Custis—all delightfully colored by the irreverence and passion of an impatient young man.

There are family letters that give life to Lee’s experience in the Mexican War. His grief over the loss of Arlington House is palpable in a Christmas 1861 letter to his daughter Mary: “I should have preferred it to have been wiped from the earth, its beautiful hill sunk, & its sacred trees burned, rather than to have been degraded by the presence of those who revel in the ill they do for their own selfish purposes.”

The collection also includes several hesitant attempts by Lee to chronicle his military actions in the Civil War. The documents contain few battlefield secrets—their most revealing aspect, says Pryor, is Lee’s avoidance of candid assessment, evidence perhaps either of optimistic resilience or delusion. He wrote his daughter on September 23, 1862, just after the Sharpsburg campaign. “We had two hard fought battles in Maryland and did not consider ourselves beaten as our enemies suppose. We were greatly outnumbered and opposed by double if not treble our strength and yet we repulsed all their attacks, held our ground and retired when it suited our convenience.” Brave words in the wake of a campaign that caused a quarter of his army to desert—and enabled Abraham Lincoln to seize the moral high ground and issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

At other times, Lee’s letters are unselfconscious and expressive. Early in the war, as the South’s fortunes surged, Lee wrote a sentimental Christmas letter to Mary: “I send you some sweet violets that I gathered for you this morning while covered with dense white frost that glistened in the bright sun like diamonds and formed a broche of rare beauty and sweetness . . . “

Anguish creeps in as the war progresses, especially when he hears in November 1862 of the death of his 23-year-old daughter Anne of typhoid fever. He wrote his wife, “In the quiet hours of night when there is nothing to lighten the full weight of my grief, I feel as if I should be overwhelmed. I had always counted if god should spare me for a few days of peace after this civil war had ended, that I should have her with me. But year after year my hopes go out and I must be resigned.”

Grim foreboding comes in the Lee’s handwritten original draft of the 1863 General Order notifying his troops of the death of General Stonewall Jackson, the brilliant Confederate tactician upon whom Lee depended. Generals usually dictated orders, says Shepard, so the fact that he handwrote this one indicates that he understood the full import of Jackson’s death for the Southern cause.

According to Pryor, perhaps the most significant Robert E. lee materials in the trunks are unfinished post-war essays he wrote on the government, war, and the evils of majority rule. The traditional view of Lee holds that he held no rancor in his heart after the war and altogether transcended the whole cataclysmic experience of war, perhaps an impression given by the great dignity in which he carried himself. These essays, however, expose Lee’s bitter struggle to reconcile himself to defeat and its disastrous results for the South, as well as his oral dilemma over having chosen that side.

What comes through most strongly in Lee’s writings is his humanity. In a letter to his wife-to-be, long before the Civil War would rip him and the nation apart, Lee’s words are those of a love struck young engineer who can’t wait to see her. In his letter of September 11, 1830, he rather comically describes the reaction of his family members to news of his engagement. “Both parties gradually approached the place where I was standing, and just as the storm seemed ready to burst upon my innocent head I bolted from the house & took refuse in the laundry. I just escaped in time, for hardly had I closed the door, when the whole building rung with the shouts and clamour of the enraged combatants.”

Most of Lee’s 21 love letters to Mary are published in a special edition of the Virginia Historical Society’s Časopis za istoriju i biografiju Virginia (Vol. 115, Issue 4, 2007). See also Elizabeth Brown Pryor’s Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters (Viking 2007).


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