Praise For Lee And Jackson
January is often referred to as
"Generals Month" since no less than four famous Confederate Generals
claimed January as their birth month: James Longstreet
(Jan. 8, 1821),
Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19, 1807), Thomas Jonathan
21, 1824), and George Pickett (Jan. 28, 1825). Two of
these men, Lee and Jackson, are particularly noteworthy.
Without question, Robert E. Lee and
"Stonewall" Jackson were two of the greatest military leaders of all
time. Even more, many military historians regard the Lee
and Jackson tandem as perhaps the greatest battlefield
duo in the history of warfare. If
had survived the battle of
Chancellorsville, it is very possible that the South
would have prevailed at
and perhaps would even have won the War Between the
In fact, it was
Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British
armies in the
twentieth century, who
said, "In my
opinion, Stonewall Jackson was one of the greatest
natural military geniuses the world ever saw. I will go
even further than that–as a campaigner in the field, he
never had a superior. In some respects, I doubt whether
he ever had an equal."
While the strategies and
circumstances of the War of Northern Aggression can (and
will) be debated by professionals and laymen alike, one
fact is undeniable: Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson
were two of the finest Christian gentlemen this country
has ever produced. Both their character and their
conduct were beyond reproach.
Unlike his northern counterpart,
Ulysses S. Grant, General Lee never sanctioned or
condoned slavery. Upon inheriting slaves from his
deceased father-in-law, Lee immediately freed them. And
according to historians,
enjoyed a familial relationship with those few slaves
that were in his home. In addition, unlike
Abraham Lincoln and
U.S. Grant, there is no record of either Lee or
Jackson ever speaking disparagingly of the black race.
As those who are familiar with
history know, General Grant and his wife held personal
slaves before and during the War Between the States,
and, contrary to popular opinion, even
Proclamation did not free the slaves of the North. They
were not freed until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed
after the conclusion of the war. Grant`s excuse for not
freeing his slaves was that
"good help is so hard to come by these days."
Furthermore, it is well established
class for black children. This was a ministry he took
very seriously. As a result, he was dearly loved and
appreciated by the children and their parents.
In addition, both Jackson and Lee
emphatically supported the abolition of slavery. In
fact, Lee called slavery
"a moral and political evil." He also said
"the best men in the South" opposed it and welcomed its demise.
said he wished to see
struck from every slave."
To think that Lee and Jackson (and
the vast majority of Confederate soldiers) would fight
and die to preserve an institution they considered evil
and abhorrent–and that they were already working to
dismantle–is the height of absurdity. It is equally
repugnant to impugn and denigrate the memory of these
remarkable Christian gentlemen.
In fact, after refusing Abraham
Lincoln`s offer to command the Union Army in 1861,
Robert E. Lee wrote to his sister on April 20 of that
year to explain his decision. In the letter he
all my devotion to the
citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to
raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my
home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the
army and save in defense of my native state, with the
sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed .
Lee`s decision to resign his
commission with the Union Army must have been the most
difficult decision of his life. Remember that Lee`s
direct ancestors had fought in
Independence. His father,
"Light Horse Harry"
Henry Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero,
Congress. In addition, members of his family were
signatories to the Declaration of Independence.
Remember, too, that not only did
Robert E. Lee graduate from
"at the head of his class" (according to
Benjamin Hallowell), he is yet today one of only six
cadets to graduate from that prestigious academy without
a single demerit.
However, Lee knew that
South in order to prevent its secession was both
immoral and unconstitutional. As a man of honor and
integrity, the only thing Lee could do was that which
his father had done: fight for freedom and independence.
And that is exactly what he did.
Instead of allowing a politically
correct culture to sully the memory of Robert E. Lee and
Thomas J. Jackson, all Americans should hold them in a
place of highest honor and respect. Anything less is a
disservice to history and a disgrace to the principles
of truth and integrity.
Accordingly, it was more than
appropriate that the late President Gerald Ford, on
August 5, 1975
Resolution 23, "restoring posthumously the long overdue, full rights of citizenship to
General Robert E. Lee."
According to President Ford,
corrects a 110-year oversight of American history."
He further said,
"General Lee`s character has been an example to
succeeding generations . . ."
The significance of the lives of
Generals Lee and Jackson cannot be overvalued. While the
character and influence of most of us will barely be
remembered two hundred days after our departure, the
sterling character of these men has endured for two
What a shame that so many of
knowing and studying the virtue and integrity of the
great General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J.