Gen. Lee should be lauded as hero

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dear Editor,

Alabama designates Mon., Jan. 18, as a state holiday in honor of America’s greatest commander, Gen. Robert E. Lee.

After several of Gen. Lee’s amazing victories, the London Times of England wrote in September 1862:

“The people of the Confederate States have made themselves famous. If the renown of brilliant courage, stern devotion to a cause, and military achievements almost without parallel, can compensate men for the toil and privations of the hour, then the countrymen of Lee and Jackson may be consoled amid their sufferings.

“From all parts of Europe comes the tribute of admiration. When the history of this war is written, the admiration will doubtless become deeper and stronger, and disclose a picture of patriotism, of unanimous self-sacrifice, of wise and firm administration, which we can now only see indistinctly.

“The details of extraordinary national effort, which has led to the repulse and almost to the destruction of an invading force of more than half a million men, will then become known to the world; and, whatever may be the fate of the new nationality, it will assuredly begin its career with a reputation for genius and valour, which the most famous nations may envy.”

Gen. Lee, who owned no slaves, would eventually surrender his barefooted, starving Confederate soldiers to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who owned four slaves throughout Lincoln’s Tax War. But like all Northern slave-owners, Grant was exempt from Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Grant’s ownership of slaves is another nail in the coffin of modern media myths about a war over slavery instead of, as Lincoln himself said, a war to collect a 40 percent import tax from Southerners under the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861.

In 1861, Lincoln’s Federalists stole and looted Lee’s home at Arlington, Va., and buried Federal soldiers just outside the front door to insult Lee. Today, Arlington is the most famous military cemetery in the United States and is designated by Congress as a memorial to Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Roger Broxton