State honors Gen. Lee

Published 1:34 am Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monday, Jan. 16 as a state holiday in honor of Robert E. Lee.

One-hundred-and-fifty years ago this year, in 1862, Confederate States President Jefferson Davis gave command of the Army of Northern Virginia to General Robert E. Lee.

At the time, Federal General McClellan was just seven miles from the Confederate States Capital with over 100,000 Lincoln soldiers. It looked like the end of the voluntary union of the Founding Fathers.

Then, Lee sent General Stonewall Jackson in a diversionary action around McClellan’s right flank, while Lee attacked the center. With flintlock muskets and spears, these Confederate soldiers routed Lincoln’s huge army, driving the Federals 18 miles in a panic down the James River and capturing tons of much-needed modern weapons.

Lee’s name soon became a household word at home and abroad, thousands of Americans would name their children after him and his brilliant military strategies would be studied worldwide.

Lee’s tactics were used, as recently as 1991 in Desert Storm, when the U.S. Army’s VII Corps outflanked the Iraqi defense in a textbook replay of Stonewall Jackson’s smashing success against Joseph Hooker’s right flank at Chancellorsville in 1863.

Roger K. Broxton