By Thomas Avery White·














For 27 years I was a psychological counselor and  for 3 1/2 years I taught 3 different Living History programs, one of which was, “The Common Confederate Soldier”.

  The exponentially exploding movement to  brand Confederates as traitors, and worse, has caused me to respond  while wearing both hats.


  A cardinal rule of dealing with people is to not defend yourself  in the face of extreme emotion, but it seems “this” emotion has no sign of soon reducing.


  My lifelong study of the Civil War has caused me to be a strong advocate for the CSA(Confederate States of America)what it was, and what is was not.


  Only the topic “Jesus” has produced more books than those written about the Civil War -at last count over 1,000,000. So, in response to the claim that it was simply (sadly as do  too many Northern historians) “Good North, vs Bad South”, I submit the following: if you stumbled upon a particularly nasty long running family feud, would you only listen to the Hatfields without listening to the McCoys?


  Below is a list of a fewbooks, fully footnoted, that for many who have read only the Ken Burns type, Northern view of the Civil  War, may find somewhat unsettling, but the only truth will set us all free:
Cracker Culture-Grady McWhiney.
To Die in Chicago-George Levy
Black Slaveowners-Larry Koger
The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln-Thomas J. Dilorenzo
The Life of Johnny Reb-Bell Irvin Wiley
The War Between the States-John J. Dwyer


  Now for my explanation of why Robert E Lee was considered one of the finest Christian gentlemen that America has ever produced. Some of his strongest admirers,(including  General - later President U.S. Grant) were most of his former opponents in Blue. 


 Until recently, General Robert E Lee was 2nd only to George Washington as the most admired historical Americans.


  His birthday has been a state holiday forever in many states, and now is combined with the MLK holiday for state employees in GA.


 Professor Edwin Smith ( a black man), Director of American Studies at American University, is an authority on the role of the black Confederate soldier. According to Prof. Smith, the "canonization" of Lee began with the keynote speech celebrating Lee’s 100th birthday at Washington and Lee University on Jan. 19th 1907. 


  It may seem odd to our modern minds, but the chosen speaker was a "Yankee's Yankee,” Charles Francis Adams II, from a staunchly abolitionist family.


 Adams was the grandson of one president, John Quincy Adams, and the great-grandson of another , John Adams. 
  Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Adams was the Commander of the 55th Massachusetts all black Cavalry, which was the 1st Northern unit to enter Richmond after the capital of the CSA was abandoned by the Confederates. 


  At first, many were critical of this choice of speaker, and only somewhat calmed upon learning that the Adams and the Lee families had been friends since 1680.
 However, no one was prepared for what ensued!


 For 1 1/2 hours, Adams extolled the virtues of Robert E Lee. 
 The speech was so mesmerizing that it was printed and reprinted, in both the North and the South, and eventually around the entire world.


 Prof. Smith saids the result was effectively, " to recognize Lee as the only 'Citizen-Saint' that Americahas ever produced". 


  Lee is the only graduate of West Point never to receive a single demerit. His heroic, solitary scouting of the enemy in the war with Mexico is the stuff of legends. 


  Lincoln offered him command of the entire Union army, but he turned it down after praying continuously all night, finally realizing that he could not, "Draw my sword against my native Country" (each state was viewed as a separate but equal "country" in a loose union, until after the Civil War).


  Lee begged the South not to secede, although he and every cadet at West Point had been taught that each state had such a right. This right was actually written into the original agreement to join the Union by both Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York.
  Lee knew that secession would likely lead to war, and that the South would suffer terribly, because the North had twice the population (for soldiers), and 100 times the manufacturing capability, which is how most wars are won, by having more guns and bullets. 
  But Lee held "duty" above all things, and offered his services to his home state of Virginia, which had initially opposed secession, but had later left the Union when Lincoln ordered the invasion of the South.


  Lincoln's stated reason for invading the South was to prevent the breakup of the Union.  


  The end of slavery was never even mentioned as a war "goal" until the 3rd year of the war, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in Jan. 1863.


 Only 5-10% of Southerners even owned a slave, and the issuing of the EP  caused massive riots in the North, as was accurately depicted in the movie “Gangs of New York.”


  Even after issuing the EP, Lincoln still offered to let the Southern states keep her slaves, if they would re-join the Union. His plan was to have the Congress later pay slave owners to free them, as had been done earlier in the Northern states (slavery was legal in every original colony, and only 2 colonies had outlawed it at the time of the Constitution).


 The four slave states that fought for the North were purposely exempted from the EP!


  Lee himself said he hated slavery, but his wife had inherited many from her father. Lee refused to even list them as property on census records calling them "our people".


  Also there were more free blacks living by choice in the South than in the North, and they owned at least 10,000 slaves themselves! So the slavery issue is FAR from simple.


  Lee is considered by military experts (including Winston Churchill) to be one of the greatest generals in history, and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia the greatest army in history by many military historians. 


  After the war Lee was offered $100,000 (which would be at least 10 million today) just to use his name by an insurance company, BUT he said his name was not for sale! 


   He spent his final years developing a small college (named Washington and Lee University after his death) into a fine institution.


 It was a common story throughout the South, for children to have asked their mother at the end of bedtime stories, "Which part of the Bible is General Lee in, the Oldor the New Testament?"


Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. Rom: 14:16.



Left: Portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee, officer of the Confederate Army

Right: Robert E. Lee around age 43 when he was a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers, c. 1850

 Thomas Avery White

Robert E. Lee -A History Lesson

Thomas Avery White
Thomas Avery White
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