Robert E. Lee at 209

Robert-E-Lee2by Steve Lancaster1/18/16
January 19th is Robert E. Lee’s birthday. He was born in Virginia in 1807. The son of a Revolutionary War hero, Light Horse Henry Lee, Robert grew up in tenuous circumstances and in order to obtain an education his mother sent him to West Point. He graduated with a degree in engineering, which was the most common in those days. It was not until  after the war that a degree in military science became common. He met and married his third cousin, Mary Custis, at Arlington house in 1831. If you know any early Virginia history then you will recognize Randolph, Rolfes, Gerard, Fitzhugh and George Washington Park Custis as kin.

During the 1830s, Lee obtained the rank of 1st Lieutenant and supervised engineering work throughout the Midwest and by 1842 was promoted to captain. Captain Lee accompanied General Scott to Mexico during the Mexican War and was Bervet to Major and later to Colonel by the end of the war. In 1852 he was appointed supernatant of the Military Academy at West Point. Three years later he was assigned to a Calvary unit in Texas.

We all know his history during the War. His strategy and tactics are still studied at West Point and various War Colleges. It was an age when being an officer and a gentleman meant something and Lee was an example of how to be both. Over the weekend, members of Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, have met to celebrate not only Lee’s birthday but also the birthday of Stonewall Jackson, Jan. 21, 1824 — honors due to men who were true officers and gentlemen and being the latter made them better at the former.

In late 1865 Lee was in church and a black man went to the rail to receive communion. The church was silent. It was Lee who stood up and joined the man for communion. A seemingly small thing but symbolizing the war was over and it was time for healing. • (1408 views)

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41 Responses to Robert E. Lee at 209

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Not sure what “Bervet to Major” means. Is that a auto-complete typo?

    I’m torn on the meaning of “honorable” in regards to those who precipitated such carnage in the Civil War. It seems to me the honorable thing to do at the time was to use his prestige to urge for a non-violent solution.

    But history has come and gone and we can certainly appreciate Lee’s ability as a general and his decorum as a true Southern gentleman.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Bervet is military speak for promotion without the pay. Lee remained a captain but had the authority of a major and later col.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Okay. Thanks for the explanation, Steve. I hadn’t heard that word before. They sort of “Berveted to Nobel Peace Prize” for Obama, if you will. Promotion without merit in this case.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Brevet was sort of honorary rank, but could be used as the real thing. During the night battle of Wauhatchie in 1863, a group of mules (probably frightened by all the loud noises) somehow scared off a band of Confederates. The troops jokingly gave them the brevet rank of horses.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Brevet promotions are common during time of war when a military grows quickly. There were many brevet promotions during WWII as well.

          One of the reasons “breveting” is used is that once a conflict is over, those so promoted can be returned to their regular rank in a much reduced military.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            But the brevet rank was still available if it was a brevet in the regular army rather than volunteers. There was a case in the late 1860s where one campaign commander decided to command using his brevet rank as Brigadier General — and Custer proceeded to pull rank on him, having a brevet rank of Major General. Winfield Scott operated for years as a brevet Lieutenant General.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          Now that did not cross my mind, but you got the meaning.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I’m torn on the meaning of “honorable” in regards to those who precipitated such carnage in the Civil War. It seems to me the honorable thing to do at the time was to use his prestige to urge for a non-violent solution.

      By the time Lee decided to side with the South, there was no non-violent solution to be had. As a soldier then, once one decided to side with one’s “country” which is what a State was, one was bound by honor to defend one’s country to the best of one’s ability.

      An interesting example of one who tried to follow the line you suggest is the case of Sam Houston. He was governor of Texas when the war broke out and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. He was immediately ousted from office and the State joined battle with the North.

      He had no further political influence from that time onwards. In any case, he was already an old man and died during the war.

      Today people might say Houston was more honorable, but I am not sure this is necessarily the case. It is almost impossible for us to understand the conditions and passions at work at that time.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        By the time Lee decided to side with the South, there was no non-violent solution to be had. As a soldier then, once one decided to side with one’s “country” which is what a State was, one was bound by honor to defend one’s country to the best of one’s ability.

        Ouch, Mr. Kung. You’re thinking like a Libertarian. Certainly back then one much more identified with one’s state, perhaps especially in the South. But they were not separate countries…a point libertarians believe. The compact of the Constitution changed that.

        And Lee most certainly could have attempted the peacemaker role. 99.9% of the conflict was still to come. Why is there this mindset (as there was in WWI) that if a firecracker so much as goes off, you have to align with one side or another and the sooner the better?

        Hindsight is always 20-20, of course, but as a Westerner who has no dog in the old prejudices of North-vs-South, it always struck me as being more than a little condescending to hold Robert E. Lee up as a great figure. He could have, and should have, done better. And what if he has caused his side to win? Think of the horrors of that.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          In reply to Scott and Lincoln’s offer of command of Union forces Lee is reported to have said, “My home is Virginia, the government of my home is in Virginia. I can not invade my home.”

          Had the South won the war the following 25 years would have been a divided continent with reunification sometime in the 80s or 90s. The idea of a republic would have been more secure. Slavery regardless of who won was going to be over with the end of the war. It is possible that the Progressive era would never have happened and Wilson would never have been president.

          Much of what social and political conservatives desire would still be practiced. There would be no, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18th amendments.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          James Longstreet mentioned in his memoirs that many northern officers admitted that if their state had seceded, they would have gone with their state. And, of course, there were many Southerners who chose to stay with the Union, including George Thomas, Jesse Reno, John Gibbon, and a large array of Kentuckians (Thomas L. Crittenden, a corps commander in the Army of the Cumberland, was the son of Senator John Crittenden and the brother of Confederate Major General George Crittenden). (Most were from the upper South.)

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Ouch, Mr. Kung. You’re thinking like a Libertarian

          Au contraire! I am just explaining the rationale behind a choice such as Lee’s. And I don’t think Southerners of that time could be described as libertarian. Loyalties were local. That is simply the way things were. This was particularly the case in the South which had been much less influenced by immigration than the North. There was nothing like the influx of foreigners into the South that occurred in the North. Those new immigrants would not have had local loyalties anything like those of Southerners.

          As to Lee’s acting as peacemaker, he could have tried that, but it should not be forgotten that he was not the mythic figure he later became. I have absolutely no doubt that he would have been about as successful as Sam Houston was in Texas and Sam Houston was a legendary figure in Texas.

          Furthermore, Lee was not actively involved in fighting until June of 1862 when he took over the Army of North Virginia. Prior to that he had been an advisor to Jeff Davis and something like a staff officer.

          I do not think any credible accusation can be made that Lee pushed for war or was keen on it happening. But it is clear that once he made his choice and was charged with command, he acted to the best of his ability.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            There was a Kentuckian who said that he was for his state if it came to a war between states, for his county if the state broke up, for his town if the county broke up, and ultimately his side of the street.

            Immigrants were much more numerous in the North, but there were still some in the South. Some (such as most of the Texas Germans) favored the Union (in their case, due to their opposition to slavery). Others (such as Pat Cleburne) chose the Confederacy.

            Lee definitely opposed war, but he saw defending his state as his duty. He started as top military adviser to Virginia Governor Letcher. (Isham Harris in Tennessee chose Gideon Pillow, which one historian suggested helps explain why the Army of Tennessee fared so much worse.) Later he was sent to command tin northwestern Virginia, and after that the southern Atlantic defenses.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              There are still radical differences between some of the states — enough to make some of them seem like separate countries — although that has obviously diminished, if only because so many people move around and because of the culture driven by the homogenizing (always downward, of course) mass media.

              But I was listening to Rush just now talk about Trump’s dishonest criticism of Cruz’s criticism of New York. Goodness gracious. New Yorkers are whacked. As Rush said, they’ve elected a guy (Cuomo, I think) who thinks the police are the problem, not the criminals. And although those on the Left (as I heard from someone else) think we like Trump because of some “authoritarian” impulse, New York is the place that regularly elects authoritarians liberals who want to tell you how large of a soft drink you can buy.

              I wouldn’t want to live amongst those kinds of kooks. And reading the excellent book (I forget which at the moment), one can appreciate the ordered, country-gentleman oligarchy of the South. Had they not stuck a gun in their mouth and adopted slavery, a lot of these issues would be simpler and some of the old country gentlemen could be better appreciated.

              But they did put that gun in their mouth. It was a cancer that eventually had to be cut out.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Actually, slavery was legal everywhere in the new nation except Vermont. But there were few enough slaves in most of the north (except for a few places, such as the Hudson valley) that it was easy to ban it (usually by banning it for future children; New Jersey still had a slave or two as late as 1860).

                I read an article on that authoritarian business. The authoritarianism was divined based on 4 questions about children’s discipline, so it’s no surprise that conservatives were twice as likely to be “authoritarian” as liberals.

                I think it’s NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio who considers police the threat, though such views are becoming increasingly standard among Democrats. Governor Cuomo a few years ago basically said New York has no room for “extremists” such as pro-lifers.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Actually, slavery was legal everywhere in the new nation except Vermont.

                Amazingly, this is often forgotten. Ship owners in New England made money transporting slaves. They also made money on shipment of commodities such as rum and molasses from the Caribbean which was all produced by slaves (except for Haiti which gained its independence in 1804).

                The Southern gentlemen were, in fact, part of a long history of slave owning.

                If I recall my history correctly, many of the delegates at the constitutional convention thought slavery in the USA was on its last legs and would die a natural death. What gave slavery a new lease on life was Whitney’s cotton gin which enabled what had been marginal land to be profitably cultivated. This coincided, more or less, with the phenomenal growth of the textile industry in England which sucked up, virtually all, the cotton the South could supply. History is like that.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Consider the words from “Molasses to Rum to Slaves” from 1776 (an excellent dissection of New England hypocrisy): “Whose fortunes are made in the triangle trade?” That song is the main reason I got the soundtrack to the musical.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          And Lee most certainly could have attempted the peacemaker role. 99.9% of the conflict was still to come

          I think it is probably difficult to ask someone who had spent his whole life in the military to act out of character. Once the decision was made, he saluted like a good soldier and went to war.

          Contrast this type of thinking to that of Edward Cole’s, who became the second governor of Illinois.

          Cole was a Virginian who knew Jefferson, Monroe and even worked for Madison as his secretary while Madison was president. Cole grew up in a wealthy slave owning family yet was strongly opposed to slavery. When he received his inheritance, he sold his land, loaded his slaves into wagons and sent them out of Virginia and told them he would meet them at a certain place. Once he met them, he freed them all and gave them farms to settle. (Note: his brother had also freed some slaves, but these asked to come back as they could not survive. This type of problem vexed many of the founders who did not like slavery, but were worried that the freed slaves could not take care of themselves.)

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    In late 1865 Lee was in church and a black man went to the rail to receive communion. The church was silent. It was Lee who stood up and joined the man for communion. A seemingly small thing but symbolizing the war was over and it was time for healing

    I would think it symbolized more than just that.

    I love (not) the way modern American historians have tried to make out that Grant was a better general than Lee.

    Even immediately after the war, it was generally agreed that Lee was superior to Grant. That this irritated old Grant enormously is clear from Grant’s autobiography.

    Lee’s greatest military mistake was Gettysburg. One wonders what would have happened if he had listened to Longstreet.

    During the war, Lee was often disabled due to what was thought to be a back problem. After the war, it was discovered that the problem was not his back but heart disease.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      I agree that Gettysburg was a mistake. The movie Gettysburg draws out the differences between Longstreet and Lee. This is the place where Lee missed Jackson the most. Had Jackson suggested the end around flanking maneuver and setting up a defensive position at Union Mills Maryland; Lee would have gone for it and the outcome would have been different.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    When we lived in Greece, I periodically read excerpts from my father’s copy of Lee’s Lieutenants. What happened to that after his death I don’t know; I later bought a copy in a used book store. I was lucky enough to get Freeman’s 4-volume biography of Lee at a library book sale (40 cents a volume). Not surprisingly, I also have a lot of other material about Lee, including one by him. (He edited his father’s account of Southern operations during the American Revolution, and included his own biography of Light-Horse Harry.)

    West Point was as much an engineering school as anything else, but I don’t know that a degree would be called an engineering degree. Of course, academia operated very differently in the 19th century. Graduating cadets would choose their field, and the Army would then match this (starting with the highest-ranking cadets) with openings. So, generally, the top cadets (like Lee) would become engineers (though the #1 in 1829 became an instructor at West Point); my father would later be one of those (in 1945). Generally, the choice was followed by artillery, then cavalry, and finally infantry (though Johnston chose infantry).

    The 2 cavalry regiments were intended by the Secretary of War (Jefferson Davis) as elite units. The 1st Cavalry had some top northern officers, whereas the 2nd was southern. Its colonel was Albert Sidney Johnston, its lieutenant colonel was Lee. (Note that colonels were often detached for other duties, such as handling courts martial, so that lieutenant colonels often led them in the field. For example, in 1876 the colonel of the 7th Cavalry was Samuel Sturgis, and its field commander was its lieutenant colonel, Custer.) The initial majors were William J. Hardee and George H. Thomas (a Virginian whose sisters repudiated him when he chose the Union over his state), though later one was replaced by Earl Van Dorn.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Timothy (continue from above…we’ve run out of reply room), I’ve certainly come to understand that the South was often walloped over the head for slavery when the northern states were making big bucks off of the molasses trade, for example. There was one degree of separation.

    In modern times we have to decide for ourselves whether or not we want to be slaves of the government. And the same types of arguments are being made, about how we’re better off with a wise and benevolent caretaker, etc. We are all on a government plantation of sorts, which is one way to view our dumbed-down government school system. Just as there was no incentive to educate blacks, so there is no incentive for the government to create an informed populace.

    The Civil War has come and gone and I have no problem praising General Lee. But I think an honest appraisal requires that we note that he fought skillfully for a very dubious cause.

    I read an article on that authoritarian business. The authoritarianism was divined based on 4 questions about children’s discipline, so it’s no surprise that conservatives were twice as likely to be “authoritarian” as liberals

    The anti-authoritarian conceit of liberals is one reason they are for open borders. Saying “no” — that is, acting like an adult — is not part and parcel of the liberal mindset. But it’s perfect for the forever juvenile mindset where the “authoritarian” parent is abolished….except when it is in the form of government which then is somehow okay.

    Yeah, it might have been de Blasio that Rush was talking about. But he did mention some of the screwball views of Cuomo as well. What a sad commentary on the once great Italian race.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      To show how nutty DeBlasio is, his real name is Wagner or something like that. He apparently took his mother’s maiden name for political reasons. What a dick!


        Yes, it was “Warren Wilhelm”. Some Conservative cannot resist the opportunity to call this dim-witted Marxist “Kaiser Wilhelm”.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A few decades ago, Reason had an article about George Fitzhugh, an antebellum Virginian who supported both slavery and socialism and pointed out the similarities between them. Similarly, the New Guard (published by the YAF) had a cartoon about a plantation owner putting up signs for an escaped slave and wondered why he left given all his benefits (I think free health care was one of them).


      “In modern times we have to decide for ourselves whether or not we want to be slaves of the government.”

      Indeed, Brad, and if we are really past the Tipping Point and can’t win elections any more because the Democrats have so rigged the game (and should it come down to Cruz v. Hillary we’re going to have a very good test of that question) so that some form of secession become the only way freedom can be maintained in any part of the country, it will be the figurative North that is being forced to secede from the figurative South. A point I hope to make in a future ST article is that the South’s secession in 1861 was unjustified not because the Federal Government may never be resisted, but because their reason for doing so was not only the continuance of slavery but its expansion into the west.

      I believe I can demonstrate that the nature of the basic social compact in a free nation implies that some form of secession is justified whenever the government begins to seriously infringe on basic liberties and resists all appeals to mend its ways.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Getting rid of metro New York City, New England (New Hampshire would be worth keeping, but that is geographically unfeasible), New Jersey, and California (and maybe Oregon as well) would make the country a lot better, though one must remember that there are plenty of social conservatives throughout the country who remain happy to be leeches. But at least cultural Marxism in the remaining portion of America would be greatly weakened.

        But all of this is likely irrelevant in the long run if we fail to learn from The Camp of the Saints. A first world country will never survive being overrun by third worlders. Europe is learning this (though the elites refuse to see it, which includes the media, so a reversal may no longer be possible), as well as the few Americans who pay enough attention.


          Indeed, Tim, that is very true. We cannot survive continuing mass immigration, whether legal or illegal, as you and I and Selwyn Duke and probably everyone else here at ST have been saying.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Tim’s comments about people not caring about politics applies here.

            The first four articles I wrote at ST dealt with this problem in a lot of detail. They took me a hours to research and write. But fewer people have looked at these than have looked at some pieces that took me about 30 minutes to write.

            Be that as it may, we have to keep plugging away on the subject.

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The Civil War has come and gone and I have no problem praising General Lee. But I think an honest appraisal requires that we note that he fought skillfully for a very dubious cause.

    I know how popular it has become to explain the Rebellion exclusively on slavery. No doubt, Lincoln’s election and the Republicans’ stance on slavery brought things to a head, but it was more complicated than that.

    Only something like 8% of families in the South owned slaves. And the percentage who owned 50 or more was less than 1%. If broken down to individual numbers, less than 5% of Southerners owned a slave. So the vast majority of Southerners had no material interest in maintaining the institution of slavery. So why did they fight?

    Cultural and historical differences played a part. The question of States’ Rights was not only one of slavery. The South had felt put upon for many years. . They saw the Westward expansion as only increasing the imperious actions of Northern politicians to the great disadvantage of the South. And one must never underestimate the power humiliation has in stirring up strife. I am not saying the South was right or smart, clearly they weren’t.

    Once the North marched into the South, and there is no denying the war took place in the South, Southerners decided to fight. As I have mentioned before, when Yankee officers asked one poor Confederate soldier (who owned no slaves and had nothing) why he was fighting them, his reply was, “because y’all are down here.”

    I should probably say that I do think the institution of slavery was paramount in the minds of the powerful people who initially pushed so hard for secession. I believe they pushed their agenda simply for monetary reasons. They saw the potential wealth they would lose and wanted to insure they would hold on to what they had. I do not believe this is what motivated the vast majority of Southerners who followed these crooks to destruction.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      We often refer to Yankees as hemorrhoids, uncomfortable when they come down, painful until they go back up.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I appreciate your fine assessment, Mr. Kung.

      I’m not a Yankee or a Southerner. I’m a Left Coaster. I’m a somewhat (honesty demands) normal person living in an area of outright rebellion against common sense. Oh, it makes one almost pine for the days of a simple Mason-Dixon line where there was a nice geographic boundary you could stand on either side of. You might not like either way of life, but at least either was contained.

      Now liberalism runs amok like anthrax sprinkled from a jumbo jet. It’s here. It’s there. It’s everywhere and no one is safe from it. You can’t be sure where you’ll encounter it. In cities, surely, for that is what Ted Cruz was talking about when he mentioned “New York Values.” New Yorkers have every right to be proud of their state and their city. But it wasn’t Leftist values that built what they have and it is Leftist values (as with Detroit) that threaten to disintegrate it.

      One of the most amusing aspects of this is that Trump is a New York liberal who, amazingly, is on the right side of the issue (at least rhetorically) of immigration, illegal or otherwise. He is right to want to halt all immigration from Muslim countries. But this is not a “New York Value.” The Empire State Building is something to be proud of. But today’s “New York Values” are on par with Sodom and Gomorrah. And it’s ironic that Islamic Jihadists knocked down a couple New York buildings in 2001 because this is how they view the West. And yet today’s “New York Values” fully supports turning a blind eye to this fact.

      So you go, Ted. “New York Values” are a mess and this, perhaps more than anything, is the reason to be very suspicious of Donald Trump.

      As for General Lee, if we could revive him today and turn him loose against “New York Values” I would be singing his praises.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Did you notice Cruz’s “apology” for “New York values”? He apologized to New Yorkers — for their misgovernment by the likes of Cuomo and de Blasio. It’s sort of like the corrections that Slick Times (a 1990s anti-Clinton satirical magazine) used to run.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Yes, I read a good article by Christopher Chantrill this morning that went into that. It includes an excerpt of Cruz’s apology:

          I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been let down by liberal politicians in that state.

          I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of New York who have been denied jobs because Governor Cuomo won’t allow fracking…

          I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-second amendment New Yorkers who were told by Governor Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

          I apologize to all the small businesses who have been driven out of New York city by crushing taxes and regulations.

          I apologize to the millions of unborn children, many African-American and Hispanic, whose lives have been taken by politicians who relentlessly promote abortion on demand with no limitations.

          I apologize to all of the African-American children who Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools that were providing a lifeline to the American Dream.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Cruz’s error was in failing to make it clear he meant the values of the New York (especially Manhattan) elites.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I find this whole discussion a bit strange. It is common knowledge that different places in the country have different values. One must only look at the voting records of New York as opposed to Texas to see each place, has different values.

              One encounters this is real life.

              Years ago, I was in New York for business. I was having dinner with colleagues from our NY office and their wives. The woman sitting to me was a stereotypical NYer, aggressive, loud, know-it-all, liberal, condescending and arrogant (how’s that for NY values?)

              During the course of the meal she warmed to me and clearly let me know that she was very impressed with me, (even questioning herself out loud if she should introduce her daughter to me).

              She could not get over the fact that I was from Texas and finally could not help herself. I will never forget her getting serious and asking me, “do you find you have much in common with most Texans?”

              Without missing a beat, I replied, “I find I don’t have much in common with most Americans!”

              I do believe she got my message.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I recall many jokes in MAD Magazine over the years about the rudeness and lack of empathy of New Yorkers — and that’s published out of New York City. For that matter, I think the movie The Out-of-Towners was based on such cultural differences.

                And that’s even without taking into account abortion, guns, and homosexuality. As one commentator said Cruz should have asked, “Why did Hillary Clinton move to New York and run for the Senate there instead of in Arkansas?”

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I just finished James Longstreet’s “From Manassas to Appomattox” and damn if we didn’t lose again!!!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      An interesting book. Of course there’s an aspect of covering his rump, as there usually is in such memoirs, or indulging in grudges (e.g., against certain Virginia officers, especially Jubal Early and A. P. Hill). But I found especially interesting his argument that most northern officers would have gone with their states if theirs had seceded instead.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I didn’t get the feeling that he held anything against A.P. Hill. His main targets seemed to be Early and Ewell. Of course, he mentioned some others as well. And who could blame him as they spread many lies about his war-time service.

        Most interesting to me is his take on Lee and Jackson. I think much of his criticism of Lee is deserved. Clearly Lee made a huge mistake and Gettysburg.

        What most people today do not know about Lee is that he was nagged by significant health problems throughout the war. Longstreet mentions sciatica and rheumatism. And it would be difficult for Lee’s decisions and efficacy not to be effected by these.

        As I recall, the rheumatism turned out to be heart disease which killed Lee a few years after the war.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Hill served under Longstreet until they got into a feud after the Seven Days, and this may have contributed to their lack of coordination at Gettysburg. But it’s true that his real bête noir was Early. Some of his comments are very dubious (but the same can be said of some of Early’s criticisms of Longstreet, whose decision to go Republican after the war made him very unpopular with the Lost Cause).

          Glenn Tucker, in his account of Gettysburg, suggests that Lee was afflicted by diarrhea there. It certainly affected him badly in the Overland Campaign of 1864.

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