Robert lee and abraham lincoln relationship

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robert lee and abraham lincoln relationship

Lee: How History is Distorted to Preserve Legends . as monuments to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate heroes are being defaced by And yet, when it came time for Abraham Lincoln to play his role as King George III. Lincoln offering command of the Union Army to Lee is a very popular myth. Actually, the General in Chief of the union army when Lincoln was inaugurated, was. In a new biography, Robert E. Lee, Roy Blount, Jr., treats Lee as a man of of Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves, and we have the image of Robert E. Lee's for his education, for his profession, for his marriage, and for the Confederacy.

A little too harsh an assessment, do you think? Not really when all the relevant facts are examined. Despite having sworn an oath of allegiance to defend our nation and Constitution against all threats, Lee unceremoniously decided to resign his commission from the U. He then proceeded to take up arms with the Confederacy, a loose collection of rebellious Southern states who were committed to preserving the enslavement of millions of African-Americans.

Of slavery, Lee was far from the progressive racial thinker many of his apologists have painted him to be.

Robert E. Lee

Hundreds of thousands on both sides died as a result, including an astonishing 51, casualties during the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg in Still, sympathetic biographers dismiss such casualty figures as mere inconvenient truths. To them all that matters is that Lee was a military genius and a man of believed deep religious and moral conviction. The lives of his own soldiers evidently mattered less to him than his own degenerate belief in Confederate honor.

Alas, Lee was never held accountable for these regrettable command judgments after the war. Perhaps it broke many years before the war. He only wanted a Virginia farm—no end of cream and fresh butter—and fried chicken. Not one fried chicken or two—but unlimited fried chicken. One thing that clearly drove him was devotion to his home state.

robert lee and abraham lincoln relationship

But if she secedes though I do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolutionthen I will follow my native State with my sword, and, if need be, with my life. When Lincoln called on the loyal states for troops to invade the South, Southerners could see the issue as defense not of slavery but of homeland.

Robert E. Lee - Wikipedia

A Virginia convention that had voted 2 to 1 against secession, now voted 2 to 1 in favor. Army commission he had held for 32 years. The days of July, still stand among the most horrific and formative in American history. Lincoln had given up on Joe Hooker, put Maj. Lee had actually advanced farther north than the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, when he learned that Meade was south of him, threatening his supply lines.

So Lee swung back in that direction.

Lincoln, Grant, and the Trouble with Robert E. Lee | HistoryNet

On June 30 a Confederate brigade, pursuing the report that there were shoes to be had in Gettysburg, ran into Federal cavalry west of town, and withdrew. It was almost a rout, until Maj. Howard, to whom Lee as West Point superintendent had been kind when Howard was an unpopular cadet, and Maj. Winfield Scott Hancock rallied the Federals and held the high ground.

Excellent ground to defend from. James Longstreet, who commanded the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, urged Lee not to attack, but to swing around to the south, get between Meade and Washington, and find a strategically even better defensive position, against which the Federals might feel obliged to mount one of those frontal assaults that virtually always lost in this war. Still not having heard from Stuart, Lee felt he might have numerical superiority for once.

robert lee and abraham lincoln relationship

To get there Longstreet would have to make a long march under cover. Longstreet mounted a sulky objection, but Lee was adamant. It nearly prevailed anyway, but at last was beaten gorily back. So Lee was forced to improvise. Confederate artillery would soften it up, and Longstreet would direct a frontal assault across a mile of open ground against the center of Missionary Ridge.

Before Gettysburg, Lee had seemed not only to read the minds of Union generals but almost to expect his subordinates to read his. He was not in fact good at telling men what to do.

His usually cheerful detachment patently covered solemn depths, depths faintly lit by glints of previous and potential rejection of self and others.

Making Sense of Robert E. Lee

It all seemed Olympian, in a Christian cavalier sort of way. As a father Lee was fond but fretful, as a husband devoted but distant.

As an attacking general he was inspiring but not necessarily cogent. At Gettysburg he was jittery, snappish.

robert lee and abraham lincoln relationship

He was 56 and bone weary. He did have rheumatism and heart trouble. He kept fretfully wondering why Stuart was out of touch, worrying that something bad had happened to him.

robert lee and abraham lincoln relationship

He had given Stuart broad discretion as usual, and Stuart had overextended himself. And he had not sent word of what he was up to.

Light-Horse Harry, had defined himself. A bond of implicit trust had been broken. Loving-son figure had failed loving-father figure and vice versa. In the past Lee had also granted Ewell and Longstreet wide discretion, and it had paid off.

Evidently he just got his blood up, as the expression goes. And why should Lee expect his imprudence to be any less unsettling to Meade than it had been to the other Union commanders? Acouple of hundred Confederates did break the Union line, but only briefly.

Someone counted 15 bodies on a patch of ground less than five feet wide and three feet long. It has been estimated that 10, Johnny Rebs made the charge and 5,—roughly 54 percent—fell dead or wounded. As a Captain Spessard charged, he saw his son shot dead.

He laid him out gently on the ground, kissed him, and got back to advancing. He took the time to admonish, mildly, an officer who was beating his horse: I had a foolish horse, once, and kind treatment is the best.

Altogether at Gettysburg as many as 28, Confederates were killed, wounded, captured, or missing: Perhaps it was because Meade and his troops were so stunned by their own losses—about 23,—that they failed to pursue Lee on his withdrawal south, trap him against the flooded Potomac, and wipe his army out.

For months Lee had been traveling with a pet hen. Meant for the stewpot, she had won his heart by entering his tent first thing every morning and laying his breakfast egg under his Spartan cot. After Gettysburg, Lee never mounted another murderous head-on assault.

He went on the defensive. Grant took over command of the eastern front andmen. Lee had his men well dug in.