Like many of you, I had relatives who fought on both sides of the American Civil War. Were such a war to erupt today—a war conceived in geography and ideology, in industry and tradition—it would no doubt fizzle before the first weeks’ headlines
Today’s wars are fought in the media—wars conceived by morality, political correctness, heritage, and ethics. The relativism of today pales in comparison to the kindred spirit of yesteryear.
That said, I’d like to introduce you to a man whom, though thrown into the crevasse between devotion and conviction, climbed his way clear to follow a higher calling—to walk a painful path with one hand on the Bible and the other raised in surrender to God’s will.
General Robert E. Lee. You’ve heard of the man. He was the son of Revolutionary leader, “Light-Horse Harry” Lee and son-in-law of George Washington’s adopted grandson. Lee and his wife lived on an inherited 1,100-acre Washington estate directly across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.
FROM HOME SCHOOL TO WEST POINT
Cultivated in the hothouse of home schooling, Lee excelled at West Point, and then distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War. Lincoln so highly respected Robert E. Lee, that, when war seemed imminent, he offered him the Field Command of the United States Army. Lee struggled all night, the decision bearing heavily upon him, finally surrendering to his obligation to his home state of Virginia. Upon his resignation from the U.S. Army, he told his sister in a letter: “I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.”
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SLAVERY ISSUE?
Yes, Lee had slaves early in life and they spoke highly of him. One of his servants said of him, “I was raised by one of the greatest men in the world.” He set all his slaves free ten years before the war and all of them remained on his plantation years after the war. A couple even accompanied him throughout his War service. Upon his death, Lee left one of his servants more than $300 to further his education. He said this to his wife:
“Slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country . . .
The doctrines and miracles of our Savior have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small part of the human race, and even among the Christian nations what gross errors still exist!”
Watch for PART TWO of Looking for General Lee in my next blog post.
History, Civil War, War of Northern Aggression, War Between the North and South, Robert E. Lee, Confederacy
America’s God and Country, Amerisearch, Inc, copyright 2000