Can you believe, one of the greatest military leaders in history, Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-70) was born 206 years ago on Jan 19th, 2013?
Lee opposed secession, granted freedom to slaves he inherited and, even after Virginia left the Union, was offered command of the entire Union Army by Lincoln. After agonizing, Lee declined the offer and resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, saying he could not take up arms against his state.
It took years after the War before Lee begrudgingly earned respect from Northerners, but his ability to defeat much larger armies with fewer men and equipment endeared him to those in the South. Actually, he has always been more popular, in both North and South, than Jefferson Davis! Isn’t that amazing?
In the Great State of Alabama, at least two high schools are named after him and his birthday is a State Holiday!!! Since his birthday falls on a Saturday this year, the First White House will officially celebrate on Monday, Jan 21, with a speech by Michael Howell, Minister of Pastoral Care at Trinity Presbyterian church in Montgomery, who will speak briefly about RE Lee.(We will of course be open on Saturday, the 19th, as well, as we are always open on Saturdays.)
As a special treat, Mary Ann Neely, Montgomery’s best known historian, will be signing and selling copies of her latest book on Montgomery. Also, birthday cake will be served and there will be tours of the House. . Free of charge, and as always, the public is invited. I can hardly wait!!!