Civil War Figures: Robert E. Lee
by findingDulcinea Staff
When Robert E. Lee accepted command of the Confederate Army, he “believed he was defending Virginia, not slavery.” Regardless of his true political beliefs, He has been considered one of the greatest heroes of the South, despite being the first Confederate general to surrender to the Union. His legacy lives on at Washington and Lee University, where Lee was president for the last five years of his life, and in the hearts of many southerners.
A letter from Lee to President Pierce confirms that while Lee was in fact, morally opposed to slavery, he was equally against the idea of abolitionists forcing owners to give up their slaves. Lee believed that end of slavery “would sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy.” He thought God would eventually end slavery and that the abolitionists had no right to interfere.