Friday, January 15, 2010

Did He Say It?

When I traveled to Tennessee in the summer of 2007, I met a man who provided me with an interesting quote by General Lee. The man worked in a Civil War relics shop near Shiloh National Park. He told me that Robert E. Lee, bemoaning the results of Reconstruction, had said,"If I had known it would be this way, I would have kept fighting."

Last Wednesday, Noah Andre Trudeau, the author of a recent book on Lee, came to speak at the New York Civil War Roundtable. During the question time, I asked him if Lee had made the above-mentioned statement. Trudeau said no, though Lee had expressed his misgivings about Reconstruction.

That should have settled my mind but it didn't.

A fellow member of the Roundtable commented on this blog and gave me an account and a cite of a similar quote by Lee in 1870 (thank you for the information). Lee apparently stated that he would have preferred to die fighting at Appomattox than see the results of Reconstruction.

So now I'm confused. Who's right?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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