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A TRIBUTE TO LEE AND JACKSON
Jan. 20, 2006
January is often referred to as "Generals Month" as 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 Jackson (Jan. 21, 1824), and George
Pickett (Jan. 28, 1825). Two of these men, Lee and Jackson, are
Without question, Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson were
two of the greatest military leaders of all time. Even more, the Lee
and Jackson tandem is regarded by many military historians as
having formed perhaps the greatest battlefield duo in the history of
warfare. If Jackson had survived the battle of Chancellorsville, it is
very possible that the South would have prevailed at Gettysburg
and perhaps would even have won the War Between The States.
In fact, it was Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British
armies in the early Twentieth Century, who said, "In my opinion,
Stonewall Jackson was one of the greatest natural military geniuses
the world ever saw. I will 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
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, Jackson enjoyed a familial relationship
with those few slaves which were in his home. In addition, unlike
Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, neither Lee nor Jackson ever
spoke 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 even Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not
free them. 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
Of course, Lincoln's views on slavery and the black race are
widely known (at least by those familiar with history). In fact, if
Lincoln were alive today, he would no doubt be identified as a
For example, in an 1858 debate Lincoln said, "I will say, then, that
I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in anyway
the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I
am not, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of
Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry
with white people, and I will say in addition to this that there is a
physical difference between the white and black races which I
believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of
social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live,
while they do remain together, there must be the position of
superior and inferior. I, as much as any other man, am in favor of
having the superior position assigned to the white race." Lincoln
routinely made such comments.
Contrast the sentiments of Lincoln and Grant to those of Robert E.
Lee and Thomas Jackson. For example, it is well established that
Jackson regularly conducted a Sunday School 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.
Furthermore, 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. Jackson said he wished to see "the
shackles 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 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 wrote, "With all
my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty as an
American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to
raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I
therefore have 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 America's War For
Independence. His father, "Light Horse Harry" Henry Lee, was a
Revolutionary War hero, Governor of Virginia, and member of
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
West Point at the top of his class, he is yet today the only cadet to
graduate from that prestigious academy without a single demerit!
However, Lee knew that what Lincoln was about to do 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.
© Chuck Baldwin
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