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Honoring President Robert E. Lee


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In this program, I trace the history of General Lee's time as president of Washington College (now Washington & Lee University) from October 1865 until his death in October 1870. He spent his time rebuilding this small college, as he worked to bring the divided nation together.

Published in: Leadership & Management
  • Robert E. Lee's birthday is January 19, which is celebrated in many Southern States. I am avaiable to give this presentation to any person or historical group which is interested.
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Honoring President Robert E. Lee

  1. 1. Honoring President Robert E. Lee By William S. Connery
  2. 2. Every Republican candidate running for President from 1868 until 1900 had been a Union officer in the War Between the States, starting with …
  3. 3. Lieutenant General U.S. Grant (1869-77)
  4. 4. Major General Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-81)
  5. 5. Major General James A. Garfield (1881)
  6. 6. Brigadier General Benjamin Harrison (1889-93)
  7. 7. Brevet Major William McKinley (1897- 1901)
  8. 8. If the Confederacy had won its independence, the odds are that Robert E. Lee would have been elected its Second President.
  9. 9. 9 April 1865 General Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to General U.S, Grant at
  10. 10. The CSS Shenandoah was roaming the Pacific Ocean and would destroy half of the New Bedford whaling fleet in the Bering Sea in June 1865!
  11. 11. The only Confederate ship to circumnavigate the globe, the Shenandoah would not haul down its flag until docking in Liverpool in November 1865!
  12. 12. GENERAL ORDERS No. 9. HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, April 10, 1865 After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard-fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them. But, feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection. With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous considerations for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell. R. E. Lee, General
  13. 13. Some of the destruction Lee would have seen coming into Richmond
  14. 14. Arlington House with Invading Union troops
  15. 15. Agnes, Mildred and Mary Lee. Lee’s surviving daughters. None of them married.
  16. 16. General Lee’s residence at 707 E. Franklin Street in Richmond
  17. 17. Four days after Easter Sunday, April 20, 1865, Mathew Brady paid a visit to General Lee in Richmond.
  18. 18. Brady sent an assistant into the house to speak with Mrs. Mary Lee.
  19. 19. This photograph is one of six images that Mathew Brady took of Robert E. Lee upon his arrival home
  20. 20. General Lee, flanked by his son (Custis) and adjutant (Col. Walter Taylor)
  21. 21. Colonel Mosby’s last raid was on April 10 in Fairfax County.
  22. 22. Channing Smith Mosby Ranger
  23. 23. Capt. George Wise (here as member of Congress in 1891). He had a difficult question for General Lee in 1865.
  24. 24. General and former Virginia Governor Henry Wise. He was at first not pleased with his nephew’s decision.
  25. 25. President Gerald Ford restored General Lee’s U.S. citizenshipOn 5 August 1975 at Arlington. ”Although more than a century late, I am delighted to sign this resolution and to complete the full restoration of General Lee's citizenship.”
  26. 26. Lexington Judge John Brockenbrough. With $50 and a borrowed suit, he went from Lexington to Derwent, to offer the presidency of Washington College to Robert E. Lee.
  27. 27. Washington College of Lexington, Virginia, as it appeared in 1865.
  28. 28. Washington College had not suffered the fate of VMI because of its connection to General Washington
  29. 29. General Wm. N. Pendleton, Episcopal minister before and after the War. He wrote to Lee: “My hope that it might accord with your views of duty & with your tastes to accept the important trust.”
  30. 30. In a letter to Beauregard in October 1865, Lee compared his recent situation as a ‘traitor’ to General Washington, who originally fought in support of the British Empire and later fought against it.
  31. 31. As a college president, one of Lee’s duties was to raise funds. Cyrus McCormick, a son of Rockbridge County, responded to Lee’s appeal to give financial help to Washington College
  32. 32. Lee responded to Sir John that the South accepted the de facto results of the War and the extinction of slavery, but felt that an overly powerful Federal Government would prove to be “aggressive abroad and despotic at home.”
  33. 33. Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
  34. 34. In 1868, the Herald recommended Robert E. Lee as Democrat Candidate for U.S. President! “For this soldier baffled our greater Northern armies for four years; and when opposed by Grant was only worn down by that solid strategy of stupidity that accomplishes its object by mere weight.”
  35. 35. Grant and Colfax was the Republican ticket for 1868. They beat …
  36. 36. … Horatio Seymour, who had been governor of New York and F.P. Blair, Jr., who had been a Union general. Blair’s father …
  37. 37. … Francis Preston Blair, Sr., had offered Lee the leadership of the U.S. Army in April, 1861, which Lee had refused.
  38. 38. On May 1 1869 two Presidents met at the White House: U.S. Grant and R.E. Lee.
  39. 39. One of the last known Photographs of
  40. 40. Agnes Lee accompanied her father on his trip through the South – March, April 1870
  41. 41. Colonel Mosby, a few years after the War. He met Lee in Richmond in March 1870 and later wrote, “the general was pale and haggard, and did not look like the Apollo I had known in the Army.’
  42. 42. The Mosby House in Warrenton. The Gray Ghost’s home after the War. His wife Pauline died in the upper-right room.
  43. 43. General Pickett asked John Mosby to escort him to see President Lee in March 1870. The meeting was short and strained. Afterwards he said to Mosby “that man had my division slaughtered at Gettysburg.” To which Mosby replied, “Well, it made you immortal!”
  44. 44. Anne Lee was the only Lee child to die during the War. Her father called her “the purest and best” of his children.
  45. 45. As President Lee headed south, an unknown telegrapher tapped out four words: “General Lee Is Aboard”!
  46. 46. Lee launched himself toward the South as a tourist. He would be welcomed almost as a god.
  47. 47. In Augusta, Lee spent hours in line at the Planter’s Hotel greeting guests. This young man wriggled through the crowd and stood for hours next to Lee.
  48. 48. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston together in Savannah GA in April 1865
  49. 49. On September 28, 1870, Lee suffered a stroke. He died two weeks later, shortly after 9 a.m. on October 12, 1870, from the effects of pneumonia. According to one account, his last words on the day of his death, were "Tell Hill he must come up. Strike the tent", but this is debatable because of conflicting accounts and because Lee's stroke had resulted in aphasia, possibly rendering him unable to speak. His office has been kept the way he left it.
  50. 50. Some of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s final words were: “Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front!” Likewise, on his deathbed, Lee said, “Tell Hill he must come up!”
  51. 51. Crowds of mourners gather outside the newly opened Lee Chapel for Lee’s funeral in October 1870.
  52. 52. "Recumbent Statue" of Robert E. Lee asleep on the battlefield, by Edward Valentine. Located in the Lee Chapel in Lexington, VA, it is often mistakenly thought to be a tomb or sarcophagus, but Lee is actually buried underneath the chapel.
  53. 53. Kappa Alpha Fraternity established at Washington College. Founded to create a lifetime experience, which centers on reverence to God, duty, honor, character and gentlemanly conduct as inspired by Robert E. Lee.
  54. 54. G.W. Custis Lee became President of Washington College after the death of his father . It was renamed Washington and Lee University.
  55. 55. Coat of Arms for Washington & Lee University. It combines the CoA of the Washington and Lee Families.
  56. 56. “From deep conviction I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained. “Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American in my office.” President D.D. Eisenhower – Aug. 2 1960
  57. 57. “Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.”