Myths about Quotes from Generals Lee and Grant

Since we are coming up on the 154th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse (April 9), I thought I’d re-run this early post from 2011. It was written by Gary Adams our first guest blogger:
 
My name is Gary Adams and I run a Face Book group by the name of Southern Heritage Preservation. Don’t allow the name to fool you– our goal is that of  Cicero: “THE FIRST law of the historian is that he shall never dare utter an untruth. The second is that he shall suppress nothing that is true. Moreover, there shall be no suspicion of partiality in his writing, or of malice.”  After what Southroners call “the war,” events and remarks were recorded by various sources that “usually” ensured the event and quote were correct, but that was not the case during the ear in question.  We take these stories and adages and examine them and have found more than a dozen to be false and many more questionable.  If you enjoy Civil War history, please feel free to join us.  
 
“Tell Hill he must come up … Strike the tent.” were reported as the last words of General Robert E. Lee. There are suggestions that Lee’s autobiographer, Douglas Southall Freeman, embellished Lee’s final moments.  Lee suffered a stroke on September 28, 1870. He died two weeks later, on October 12, 1870, shortly after 9 a.m., from the effects of pneumonia. Lee’s stroke had resulted in aphasia, rendering him unable to speak. When interviewed, the four attending physicians and family members stated “he had not spoken since 28 September…”.  We had to dig through the obituary and newspaper interviews to collect this material. 
Many Southron love to post this statement attributed General Grant: “If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side.”  They argue that this proves the war was not over slavery. While I personally agree, this is not proof as indeed, it is political lie.  We managed to track it down to a comment made by a political opponent running against Grant for President.  Here is the reference to the original newspaper and documentation. The quotation is but another myth.  (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F20813F7355C1A7493C2AA1783D85F468784F9)
 
I would like to thank Mary Theobald for allowing me to address her audience and to thank you for taking the time to visit her site.  
Gary Adams, President SHPG
Advertisements

4 Responses to Myths about Quotes from Generals Lee and Grant

  1. MEM says:

    Unsubscribing to this blog (which I read through a Feedbin subscription feed). Highly disappointed in Gary Adams’ comment that he agrees that the Civil War was not about slavery. The vast majority of legitimate scholars at respected educational institutions agree that the Civil War absolutely erupted over slavery. The fact that Mr. Adams buries this ignorant and inappropriate opinion in “fact” doesn’t make it ok. Unfortunately, I view this type of so-called ‘opinion’ as no different than that of holocaust deniers. Sad that this Ms. Theobald allowed this to be published in what has been to date a reasonably interesting blog.

  2. MEM says:

    Did the person who ‘republished’ Gary Adams entry even take five minutes to investigate this man or his so-called group “Southern Preservation Heritage”? The group has connections with racist hate groups and hate rallies.The ‘Facebook’ group contains horrendously racist and ignorant posts. The organization engages in horrific revisionist history. These people are NOT historians. Quit giving them a voice and DO YOUR HOMEWORK!! If you can’t take five seconds to verify the legitimacy of a guest poster on the topic of history, then you have no business attempting to educate others on history! SHAME ON YOU!!

    • Mary Miley says:

      I am well aware of the nature of this group. I was also impressed with the historical honesty of the author in his analysis of myths concerning these two Civil War generals and thought it deserving of inclusion. Did you disagree with the content, as opposed to the author’s connections?

      • MEM says:

        What part of the historical honesty were you impressed with? The place where Gary Adams engages in revisionist racist history by suggesting that the Civil War was not about slavery? As for historical accuracy, the Nazis could also be historically accurate. Are you going to quote them too? How about white supremacists? I bet you could find a few correct historical quotes from Adolf Hitler. Are you going to give him legitimacy by quoting him as well? The fact that you are well aware of this group’s “hate” connections and decided to give them a ‘plug’ on your site tells me all I need to know about who you are and the kind of people you want to associate with.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: