Friday, January 19, 2007


History buffs take note! Today would have been the 200th birthday of General Robert E Lee. If any general in history had more fame than he is pretty unlikely. Not even General MacArthur had quite the diostinction of historical fame as this grand gentleman from the South. Choosing the Confederacy was a very difficult choice for this honorable man.Lee at first opposed the Confederacy and nearly accepted a major Union command, but when his home state of Virginia seceded he chose to join with his family and neighbors and fight for Virginia. His first major command came in June 1862 when he took over the Confederacy's premier combat force, the Army of Northern Virginia with responsibility for defending Richmond Lee's greatest victories were in the Seven Days Battles and at Second Bull Run Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville , but he suffered reverses in his two invasions of the North. Narrowly escaping defeat at the Antietam in 1862 Lee was forced to return to Virginia. He was decisively defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, with his escape routes cut off by flooded rivers. Because of a desultory chase by General George Meade Lee escaped to Virginia. There was little further action in 1863, but in spring 1864 the new Union commander, Ulysses S. Grant began a massive war of attrition with multiple battles designed to wear away Lee's army. In the Overland Campaign of 1864 and the Siege of Petersburg in 1864–65, Lee inflicted massive casualties on a foe superior in terms of men and matériel, but was unable to replace his losses and his army crumbled away. Lee was forced into defensive trenches and had no resources to mount a significant offensive. Vastly outnumbered in spring 1865 Lee was forced to flee but was soon surrounded. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th 1865, marked the end of the war. His victories against numerically superior forces won him enduring fame as an astute and audacious battlefield tactician, but his strategic decisions—such as invading the North in 1862 and 1863 and neglecting the Mississippi Valley—have generally been criticized by military historians.
In 1865, as manpower reserves drained away, Lee promoted a plan to arm slaves to fight for the Confederacy (and free them); the first black Confederate combat units were in training as the war ended, though one unit is known to have fought during the retreat from Richmond in April 1865. He blocked dissenters from starting a guerrilla campaign to continue the war after his surrender at Appomattox.
After the war, as a college president, Lee supported President Andrew Johnson s program of Reconstruction and inter-sectional friendship, while opposing the Radical Republican proposals to give newly freed slaves the vote and take the vote away from ex-Confederates. He urged reconciliation between the North and South, and the reintegration of former Confederates into the nation's political life. Lee became the great Southern hero of the war, and his popularity grew in the North as well after 1880. He remains an iconic figure of American history. Today is also the 63rd birthday of teen idol Shelly Fabres ("Johnny Angel") and the birthday of Edgar Alan Poe (Nevermore!) Personally, this car repair has been so much to bear. Now the guy who has fixed my car has gone back on his word to let me have the fixed car while I am paying for it! I simply can not understand this man's logic-- doesn't garage space in a relatively small body shop come at a premium. And of course this rental car is so damn expensive. I only hope that I make it throught this terrible hardship! Everybody, please say a prayer that I can find a solution.

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