Though the Union won the war, Lee has been revered by many while others debate his tactics

Lee was cut from Virginia aristocracy. His extended family members included a president, a chief justice of the United States, and signers of the Declaration of Independence. His father, Colonel Henry Lee, also known as “Light-Horse Harry,” had served as a cavalry leader during the Revolutionary War and gone on to become one of the war’s heroes, winning praise from General George Washington.

Saved from being hanged as a traitor by a forgiving Lincoln and Grant, Lee returned to his family in April 1865. He eventually accepted a job as president of a small college in western Virginia, and kept quiet about the nation’s politics following the war.

“What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!”
-Robert E Lee

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/robert-e-lee-quotes#sthash.Q5tfxmWV.dpuf

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April 9th 1865: The American Civil War ends

On this day in 1865, 150 years ago, Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, thus ending the civil war that had ravaged America since 1861. Sectional tensions over slavery, which had existed since the nation’s founding, came to boiling point with the election of the anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. The outraged Southern states feared the government would attempt to emancipate their slaves, whose labour provided the basis for the Southern economy, and thus seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Hopes for peace were dashed when shots were fired upon the Union Fort Sumter in April 1861, and the nation descended into civil war. The Confederacy, largely led by General Lee, initially had great success and defeated the Union in key battles including at Manassas and Fredericksburg. However, the Union’s superior resources and infrastructure ultimately turned the tide of war in their favour, crushing the Confederates at Gettysburg and with the destruction of Sherman’s march to the sea. Lee surrendered to Grant when hope of Confederate victory was lost, though Grant - out of respect for Lee and his desire for peaceful reconciliation -  defied military tradition and allowed Lee to keep his sword and horse. While more armies and generals had yet to surrender, Lee’s surrender essentially marked the end of the deadliest war in American history, which left around 750,000 dead. Union victory ensured the abolition of slavery, opening up questions about what was to be the fate of the four million freedpeople. These debates, as well as how to treat the seceded states and how to negotiate their readmission into the Union, defined the challenges of the postwar Reconstruction era. The Civil War remains a pivotal moment in American history and in many ways, 150 years later, the nation is still struggling to unite the sections and cope with the legacy of slavery. 

“The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”
- Grant upon Lee’s surrender

150 years ago

Rare, civil war-era photo shows confederate general Robert E. Lee’s slave, Selina Gray, the pic (with two of her eight children), surfaced on eBay. 

Mary Lee (Robert’s wife) fled Arlington House in Arlington, Virginia, at the start of the Civil War. She gave Gray the keys to the mansion, and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years.

Gray is famously credited with saving numerous heirlooms from marauding Union soldiers belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house.Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children. The photograph was spotted on the Internet auction site eBay by Park Service volunteer Dean DeRosa. The seller, in England, had found the photo in a box of “unwanted” pictures at a British version of a yard sale.

A Park Service statement said that its nonprofit partner, Save Historic Arlington House, bid on the photograph and, “against stiff competition,” won.

The Private Thoughts of Robert E. Lee

What were Lee’s real feelings about the Confederacy and slavery?

For her newly published biography, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters, historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor draws on a cache of previously unknown Lee family papers, discovered in 2002 in two sturdy wooden trunks that Lee’s daughter stored in a Virginia bank about a century ago.

How he treated his father-in-law’s slaves-Lee’s wife inherited 196 slaves upon her father’s death in 1857. The will stated that the slaves were to be freed within five years, and at the same time large legacies—raised from selling property—should be given to the Lee children. But as the executor of the will, Lee decided that instead of freeing the slaves right away—as they expected—he could continue to own and work them for five years in an effort to make the estates profitable and not have to sell the property.

What happened after that?-Lee was considered a hard taskmaster. He also started hiring slaves to other families, sending them away, and breaking up families that had been together on the estate for generations. The slaves resented him, were terrified they would never be freed, and they lost all respect for him. There were many runaways, and at one point several slaves jumped him, claiming they were as free as he. Lee ordered these men to be severely whipped. He also petitioned the court to extend their servitude, but the court ruled against him and Lee did grant them their freedom on Jan. 1, 1863—ironically, the same day that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2007/06/24/the-private-thoughts-of-robert-e-lee

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/10/rare-civil-war-era-photo-shows-confederate-general-robert-e-lees-slave-selina-gray/

The Second Confederate Jack (1863- 1865)

Most people look at this flag and think it is a symbol of racism due to the fact that the Confederate States of America practiced slavery. What they fail to realize is that it is also called the “Rebel Flag,” and it’s called this for a reason.

The Confederacy was formed because the people in those states felt that they were being made second-class citizens by the existing government. Just because slavery was part of the Confederate way of life, it doesn’t mean that the nation was representative of racism. The Confederacy and its flag were, and still are, a symbol of rebellion against an unfair, intrusive government.

Photograph Of Robert E Lee’s Arlington House Taken In 1861 (Corbis)

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia

The land was once a 1,100 acre plantation owned by George Washington Parke Custis. His only surviving child, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married Robert E. Lee in 1831. Arlington was home to the Lee family for nearly thirty years, prior to the Civil War.

Robert E. Lee considered Arlington House home for 30 years, from the day of his wedding until the start of the Civil War. But he never owned it, or any other home.

http://www.nps.gov/arho/index.htm

To the man standing on the corner holding the sign that said
“God hates gays.”

I’ve never seen,
exactly
who it is that you paperclip your knees,
meld your hands together and pray to
But I think I know what he looks like:

I bet your God is about 5’10”.
I bet he weighs 185.
Probably stands the way a high school diploma does when it’s next to a GED.
I bet your god has a mullet.
I bet he wears flannel shirts with no sleeves,
and says words like “getrdun.”
I bet your god—I bet your god—I bet your god watches FOX news,
Dog the Bounty Hunter, voted for John McCain, and loves Bill O’Reilly.
I bet your god lives in Arizona.

I bet his high school served racism in the cafeteria
and offered “hate speech” as a second language.
I bet he has a swastika inside of his throat,
and racial slurs tattooed to his tongue
just to make intolerance more comfortable in his mouth.
I bet he has a burning cross as a middle finger and Jim Crow underneath his nails.

Your god is a confederate flags wet dream
conceived on a day when the sky decided to slice her own wrists,
I bet your god has a drinking problem.
I bet he sees the bottom of the shot glass more often than his own children.
I bet he pours whiskey on his dreams until they taste like good ideas,

Probably cusses like an electric guitar with Tourette’s plugged into an ocean.
I bet he yells like a schizophrenic nail gun,
damaging all things that care about him enough to get close.

I bet there are angels in Heaven with black eyes and broken halos
who claimed they fell down the stairs.

I bet your god would’ve made Eve without a mouth
and taught her how to spread her legs like a magazine
that she will never ever ever be pretty enough to be in.

Sooner or later you will realize that you are praying to your own shadow,
that you are standing in front of mirrors and are worshipping your own reflection.
Your God stole my god’s identity and I bet he’s buying pieces of heaven on eBay.

So next time you bend your knees,
next time you bow your head
I want you to
tell your god—
that my god
is looking for him.

youtube

This unassuming house in Petersburg, Va., has an odd history. It was constructed from the tombstones of Union soldiers who had besieged the city in 1864. The Union soldiers who died while attacking the Confederate-held city were buried near where they fell. Apparently to save on maintenance, nearly 2,000 marble headstones were removed from Poplar Grove Cemetery and sold to a Mr. O.E. Young, who assembled them into a two-story house in the 1930s.

The tombstones face inward, so “as the owner lay in bed the names of the dead stood about his head,” Headley wrote in Architectural Follies in America (1996). Later they were plastered over so visitors wouldn’t be freaked out – or accidentally see their great-grandfathers’ name.

The last word must be left to the lady living next door to the Tombstone House, who confessed “Ah dont rightly see what all the fuss was about. They was jist Union boys.”

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April 2nd 1863: Richmond Bread Riots

On this day in 1863, a riot occurred in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, which saw starving, working-class women demanding support from the city government. By 1863, citizens of the seceded Southern states were feeling the effects of Northern blockades, the diversion of supplies to soldiers on the front line, and rampant inflation. These conditions were exacerbated in Richmond by a harsh winter and overpopulation, and were not helped by Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s call for Southerners to fast. Hungry women in Richmond, organised by Mary Jackson and Martha Fergusson, initially intended to take their complaints to Virginia’s governor, arranging to gather at Capitol Square on April 2nd to meet him. When they were refused audience, the women decided to take matters into their own hands. They descended on the capital demanding food, raiding government warehouses and stores, looting bread and other foodstuffs; it was one of the largest disturbances seen in the wartime South. The riots only ended when President Davis personally addressed the crowd and threatened to call troops. Local authorities were particularly keen to downplay the riot and prevent further outbreaks to ensure they could not be used as Union propaganda and undermine the already flagging Confederate morale. Around sixty men and women were arrested, but the demands of the rioters were partially acknowledged and the city resolved to expand poor relief in Richmond. The event has received particular attention from historians as evidence of the political actions of working-class Confederate women.

“Bread or blood!”

October 12, 1870: Robert E. Lee Dies

On this day in 1870, Robert E. Lee, the leading general of the Confederate Army, died at 63 in Lexington, VA after suffering a massive heart attack . Lee was the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War (1861-65) which was the most successful of the Southern armies.

His surrender to Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse in April of 1865 signified the end of the Civil War in the Union’s favor.

Browse American Experience’s “Lee the Man” photo gallery for a timeline of Robert E. Lee’s personal history.

Photo: Portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee, officer of the Confederate Army (1863) (Julian Vannerson/Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons).

War Views – Army of the Potomac – The Way They Cook Dinner In Camp

During the civil war there were four items that caused the most food-related fights within the ranks: bread, meat, apples and pickles

Documents record that soldiers were court martialed, beaten almost to death, and even shot over apples as they went foraging. These were desperate times when large numbers of men often lived just this side of starvation for long periods of time.“

According to Hardee’s Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, written by a U.S. Army officer from the South before the war, the rations for a soldier during this time usually included:

  • 20 oz. pork or beef (Beef was either fresh or salted, and pork was always salted.)
  • 12 oz. hard bread in camp or garrison or 16 oz. of hard bread at sea, on campaign, or on the march
  • 1 oz. compressed cube of desiccated mixed vegetables or a 1.5 oz. compressed cube of desiccated potatoes if supplemental foods were unavailable

This would be supplemented by (per 100 rations):

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The Confederates of Brazil,

Every year in the State of Sao Paolo, in the City of Americana, Brazil, the locals host a festival called the Festa Confederada.  The women wear American Antebellum style dresses while the men often dress as Civil War Era Confederate soldiers.  They eat Southern food, they dance to Southern music, and they fly the Stars and Bars (Confederate flag).  On occasion they may even have a Civil War re-enactment.  The only thing they lack is a heavy Southern drawl as most of the people are native speakers of Portuguese.

An oddity to find in South America for sure, there is a logical explanation to this madness.  It all goes back to April of 1865, when Union forces occupied the South and forced the Confederacy to surrender, there were many who were not willing to give in to the Union.  Many others had their land confiscated or their property totally destroyed by the war.  Many had nowhere to go.

That year Emperor Dom Pedro of Brazil wanted to encourage the cultivation of cotton in Brazil, and he knew of thousands of people with the resources and expertise to do it.  He began to offer special insentives for immigrants from the former Confederacy to move and settle in Brazil.  This included subsidies on travel, cheap land, and tax breaks.  More importantly in Brazil slavery was still legal and would not be abolished until 1888.  

Between 1865 and 1875 ten to twenty thousand former Confederates made a home at Americana, Brazil.  There they set up a community that was an almost exact copy of the pre-Civil War antebellum South.  Because of their culture and heritage, they became known as the Confederados. At first the Confederados were a very insular group, interacting little with the Brazilians and fiercely maintaining their own culture.  However the third generation descendants of the Confederados began to break with tradition, intermingling with the Brazilians and eventually intermarrying with them.  Today Confederado decedents are little different from regular Brazilians, except perhaps when they host their Festa Confederada.  

Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida, home to the fighting Confederate Rebels, is named after a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and confederate general. It has been since 1959, when administrators changed the name to show their defiance to school integration laws enforced by Brown v Board of Education. But town residents, fed up with kowtowing to racial extremists, are looking to change that.

One Jacksonville resident launched a Change.org petition that has so far garnered over 150,000 signatures, asking the Duval County School Board to change the name.