Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Chat with General R. E. Lee

This past Saturday was 8 April.  This was the 152nd anniversary of the Weekend of the US Civil war surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.  We live about 30 min from there, and LOVE historical things.
We didn't find out about it until the Friday before, but we had thought about going over anyway, so it was an easy decision.

It was fantastic... so fantastic I can't tell you about the whole day in just one blog post, so I'll make it a two-parter (or maybe 3).

This particular anniversary aligned exactly with the original event in terms of days of the week and proximity to Easter.  Though the original would be impossible to replicate, they did a marvelous job of setting things up.  All the BIG players were there:

  • General R.E. Lee
  • General H. U. Grant (more about his name next post)
  • General Joshua Chamberlain (a Professor)
  • General Rawlins
  • Major Spears
  • General Seth Williams
  • And lots more.
As you might imagine, if you know me, General R.E. Lee was the man I most wanted to meet.  Each actor was dressed appropriately right down to General Grant's mud-covered boots.

I had two conversations with General Lee.  The first one I asked my most burning question.  An U of AL, American Studies professor had once remarked, "People so admire General Robert E. Lee and his expertise, but never consider that his military skill resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths."

Think about that.  A legitimate point?  Not really. I am certain the man making that bogus point had NEVER been even close to being a part of any military unit.

The US military does NOT make policy, pass laws, or decide who to battle- that is done by the politicians.  However, once it is decided, every military leaders goal is crystal clear:  keep your men alive and kill or capture the enemy.  The better you achieve those two simple goals, the better you have done your job.  My American Studies prof would never grasp that so I never bothered to explain it to him.

But, Saturday I posed this to General Lee.  He looked solemn and gave a similar reply.  His view was that the US Government was taking illegal action in dictating what states could/could not do.  The violation of what, to him, was clear legal US principles, gave him no choice but to resign his commission with the US Army and take up arms to defend what he felt to be Constitutional principles.  Every Officer of the US military swears to support and defend the Constitution of the USA, and General Lee was, without doubt, a man of honor.  He was fighting for what he believed in, and he was going to keep as many of his men alive as he could.

Enough said.

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