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February 22, 2024 87 mins

Robert and Prop answer the final two great questions about Robert E. Lee: did he fuck that horse, and was he any good as a general?

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Media. What's visible my celebrity penises? This is Behind the
Bastards a podcast where Drake's dick just got leaked on Twitter.
I didn't see it, but I have have a celebrity
penis story for you all. If you if you watch

(00:23):
the movie Galaxy Quest, in the scene where Tim Allen's
in his house and like rummaging around his ship when
the Aliens come to like visit, and he bends over
at one point wearing a bathrobe, and you see Tim
Allen's dick. So if you have ever wanted to see
Tim Allen's penis, there you go.

Speaker 2 (00:40):
Is this is breaking news, Joe.

Speaker 1 (00:42):
Not huge stuff, not huge penis, but huge story.

Speaker 2 (00:47):
Yeah. Apparently apparently Drake.

Speaker 3 (00:50):
Drake was out here looking like a like a used
car lot, you know, just flopping the shit around.

Speaker 2 (00:57):
I missed it.

Speaker 4 (00:58):
You know.

Speaker 1 (01:00):
That's a good one. That's a good one.

Speaker 2 (01:02):
Wish wish I missed it yet. Shout out to Musk
for having lack of safety.

Speaker 1 (01:09):
Features on Twitter. This is Behind the Bastards a podcast
about famous people's genitalia. Yeah, it's also a podcast about
Robert E. Lee And actually we're about to start at
an earthquake.

Speaker 2 (01:22):
That just happened.

Speaker 1 (01:23):
Oh yeah, we just had an earthquake. Just at an
earthquake California.

Speaker 2 (01:27):
What a day? All right?

Speaker 1 (01:29):
Speaking of celebrity penises prop this is part four of
our series on Robert E. Lee and horse Man. When
you talk about Robert E. Lee, you know, the question
everyone has is did he fuck his horse Traveler?

Speaker 2 (01:45):
Right?

Speaker 1 (01:45):
This is something historians have debated about for generations.

Speaker 3 (01:48):
I mean, I'm seriously like this whole time. When we
first started talking about doing these episodes, I'm talking at
twenty twenty three, when we started doing this, that was
my first question.

Speaker 1 (01:56):
I was like, are we going to talk about the horse?
Are we gonna talk about the horse? Now? It's undeniable
that Lee held a special fondness for his horse Traveler,
which is why he loved that horse, which is why
in twenty fifteen, Funnier Die put together a commemorative flag
celebrating Robert E. Lee's love for his steed, and we're
gonna put that. We will probably have that image leader

(02:18):
our episode.

Speaker 2 (02:19):
Oh yeah, it's great.

Speaker 1 (02:22):
You know the it's the only version of the Confederate
flag that that I think has some historical value. The
stars and bars with Lee fucking Traveler right in the moment,
man pants at his ankles. Oh yeah, couldn't even get up,
couldn't even get those pants off? Yeah, good god, almighty.

(02:42):
What if this was on the hood of the General
Lee bro.

Speaker 3 (02:45):
Yeah, And my dad was still such a real one
and was like, so you need to see this your.

Speaker 1 (02:50):
Face to see some people really like horses. They so
let's get into the history of this here. Because Lee's horse, Traveler,
developed a fan following like during the war, really like
this horse is people cannot say enough about Traveler, and
that that fan following really accelerates to kind of a
ridiculous degree after the war. This kind of obsession with

(03:13):
Traveler as like the perfect horse. It mirrors this obsession
with Lee as the perfect Southern man. And it is
also a part of the Lost Cause mythology.

Speaker 3 (03:23):
Yeah, kind of like a night rider, Yes, Michael knighton
kit in the car.

Speaker 1 (03:29):
Yeah, it's the kit of the kit of being a
traitor as slavehole in truth.

Speaker 2 (03:36):
Now.

Speaker 1 (03:36):
Fitz Hugh Lee's fawning biography of his of his relative
Robert E. Lee is part of the process of canonizing
both Robert E. Lee and canonizing Traveler, an animal that
had no idea what it was doing. Let's be clear
about that. Traveler is not a bad is incapable of
understanding what it's fighting for.

Speaker 3 (03:55):
Not the topic of the Bastard episode. No, and it's
in Bystanderd here.

Speaker 2 (03:59):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (04:00):
Yeah, it's like a police dog does not realize what
it's being used, doesn't know it's doesn't know it's racist.

Speaker 2 (04:05):
Just yeah, yeah, biting people, does it? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (04:08):
Now that biography by fitz you Lee cites a letter
that Lee wrote to his daughter when she asked him
basically like, Hey, I've got an artist friend and like Traveler.
Everybody's talking about how noble and wonderful your horse is.
My artist friend wants to draw a picture of Traveler.
Would you send along a description? Now, I want you
to listen to how Roberty Lee describes his horse, and

(04:29):
you tell me if this is These are the words
of a man who is not fucking his horse.

Speaker 3 (04:34):
He's been a give fifty shades of gray, honest. Right
now he about to stand in a supermarket.

Speaker 1 (04:38):
Ye, here's Lee. If I was an artist like you,
I would draw a true picture of Traveler, representing his
fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest and short back. Strong haunches,
flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye,
small feet in black mane and dale. Such a picture

(04:59):
would inspire a poet whose genius could then depict his
worth and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat, cold,
and the dangers and suffering through which he passed. He
could dilate upon his sagacity and affection and his invariable
response to every wish of his writer. Now sure, when

(05:21):
he uses the word dilate, dilate, it could be using it.
Definition number three in the American Heritage Dictionary is to
speak or write at great length on a subject. Perhaps
that's what Lee means, but one could also read this
as him admitting that his horse could dilate on command
to the every wish of his writer, you know, to

(05:43):
make their forbidden love making easier. And this is the
interpretation of his words that I choose to take. That's
why you read original sources, kids, You learn stuff like
this because yeah, he said what he mean.

Speaker 3 (05:54):
There's definitely very much a sounded like sir mix a
lot of the eighteen hundreds on some like Baby Got Back.

Speaker 1 (06:01):
Yeah, Yeah, it's it's kind of like, you know, the
song Joelene. It's a great, great song. But also my
head cannon for the song Joelene is that the woman
singing that is less worried that her man's gonna leave
her from Joelene and more nursing a crush herself, because
you simply you don't describe a romantic rival that way. Yeah,
she's into Jolene. Yeah, and Roberty Lee is into his horse,

(06:24):
you know. Yeah, that's the only that's that's my interpretation.

Speaker 3 (06:28):
So I mean, that's the only one I'm willing to accept,
you know, already weird and yeah, well you know what,
never mind, I'm not gonna call him.

Speaker 2 (06:35):
I'm not gonna call it weird, Okay, forgive me. I'm
gonna be more tolerant. But that poor horse, Yeah, that
poor poor horse.

Speaker 1 (06:43):
Uh if only we'd had like a mister Hands sort
of situation with Roberty Lee.

Speaker 2 (06:47):
But alas.

Speaker 1 (06:49):
So, now that we've gotten the horse fucking out of
the way, it's necessary that we spend some time talking
about Lee's actual performance in battle. His personal nobility, which
I think we have deflated in the preceding episodes, is
one part of the pillar that bears him as the
central figure of the lost cosmethology. But obviously you can
be a shitty person and a great general, right. History

(07:11):
is full of bad falls. I would go so far
as to say most great generals probably sucked as human beings.

Speaker 3 (07:17):
You know.

Speaker 1 (07:19):
One of the things you have to be in order
to be a great general is willing to send a
lot of people to their deaths.

Speaker 2 (07:25):
You know, yeah, the job requires it.

Speaker 3 (07:26):
It's like being a billionaire, Like, at some point you
have to not give a shit about human value.

Speaker 1 (07:32):
We can debate, there's arguments as to like how much
of the of the Soviet death toll was necessary? Did
Zukov was he too kind of loose with the lives
of his men? But also the Nazis had to be stopped,
and at a certain point you had to just throw
lives at the problem. So, like, you know, I'm not
saying that making the decision to send men off to

(07:53):
death is necessarily a moral Sometimes it's necessary, right, But
what I am getting at is like another pillar of
lost cost mythology is this idea that Lee was not
just a noble man, which I think we busted, but
that he was the greatest field commander that the US
produced in the nineteenth century. That is law. That is
how you will Yeah, that is how you'll see him described.

(08:16):
And this is how jubil Early, one of Lee's generals,
eulogized him. Our beloved chief stands like some lofty column
which rears its head, among the highest in grandeur, simple, pure,
and sublime. Biographer Roy Blunt Junior described Lee as one
of the greatest military commanders in history, although he noted
that Lee was quote not good at telling men what

(08:36):
to do, which would seem to be a contradiction. Like
a great commander is definitionally about commanding troops. So like
Blunt is doing kind of some lost cause. Shit here,
I don't know how you he was a great commander.
He couldn't order men to do stuff though.

Speaker 3 (08:51):
Yeah, it's almost like he's a comedian, Like, yeah, our
humor is so like I think there is a possibility
that he's like kind of like cracking a joke here,
he's like greatest commander of all time.

Speaker 2 (09:00):
It wasn't really good. I like telling people what to do.

Speaker 1 (09:02):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was the greatest. I was the
greatest basketball player of my generation. I couldn't dunk or
make three pointers, you know, good it was a really
good at dribbling either, never actually played much basketball, but
telling you greatest, telling the very best.

Speaker 2 (09:18):
Yes.

Speaker 1 (09:19):
Now, the best book length summary of Lee's actual strength
and weaknesses as a commander that I have read is
Lee Considered by Alan Nolan, and it is, by the way,
really good book, very readable. I recommend it heavily. It
gives a wonderful rundown of some of the most extreme
superlatives thrown Lee's way in post lost Cause history books.

(09:39):
The nineteen eighty nine edition of Encyclopedia Americana states that
Lee was one of the truly gifted commanders of all time,
one of the greatest, if not the greatest soldier who
ever spoke the English language. The entry for Lee in
the nineteen eighty nine Encyclopedia Britannica reflects a similar judgment.
According to the nineteen eighty eight revised edition of the
Civil War Dictionary, Lee earned rank with history's most distinguished generals. Now,

(10:04):
what the kind of easiest reppost to this is like,
he lost? How you be that good of he fucking lost?
I will actually push back against that a bit, not
in Lee, but that I don't think you have to
have won your war to they claim to being one
of the greatest generals in all of history. Most contenders
for that greatest general title did conquer a lot of land,

(10:25):
did win a bunch of wars, right, Napoleon wins a
number of wars, conquers most of Western Europe, defeats multiple
nations and decisive battles. He does eventually lose, but he
wins a lot before he loses. And that's the sheer
number of field battles that he won is like a
big part of like, you can't really argue the man
was put one of the best to ever live at

(10:46):
commanding armies in the field.

Speaker 2 (10:48):
Yeah, right, absolutely put up numbers. There's another way around that.

Speaker 1 (10:51):
Yeah, And there's there's a number of generals like that.
Irwin Rommel is an example. His cult of personality is
kind of similar to Lee, right, where like there's this
at it need to like he was one of the
good Germans in that war. He was a fundamentally moral
man within an evil system. And he was also just
this genius, brilliant tactician. That is not accurate. He was

(11:11):
not as good as his historical reputation, but I think
the consensus is he was not like a bad field commander,
like he just it gets exaggerated well past the point
of rationality.

Speaker 3 (11:23):
And I would even say too, like, I mean, at
the end of the day, you got to check the scoreboard.
But you know, when it comes to something like as
complicated and messy and unpredictable as war, it's like, yeah,
there's so many other factors that factor into you know,
freaking weather, like you're saying, like this could be the weather.

(11:43):
You know, just so many things factor into it that
don't necessarily.

Speaker 2 (11:47):
Mean you were a good or bad general. It's just
things happen.

Speaker 1 (11:51):
Yeah, yeah, And because of that there are great like
the best example of a guy who lost his war
who was nonetheless rightly regarded as among the very Charles Barkley. Yeah, no,
the Charles Barkley of Carthage, Hannibal Barka right. Hannibal loses
his war against the Romans. He loses the Battle of Zama,
which is the final battle of the Second Punic War,

(12:13):
and he loses. After that, he continues to fight a
naval war against Rome for some other people, and he
loses a number of battles there. He is still universally
there's really no argument that he is one of the
most talented and skilled field generals who ever ever existed
in the history of human conflict. And there's it's because
when you look at what he actually did in the field,

(12:34):
you simply can't deny the brilliance. The Battle of cane I,
which is his like crowning moment, is basically this massive
Roman army larger than his he is able to double envelope.
He completely encircles them and massacres them to the man
at the loss of very few of his troops. It
is such a victory that if you read what German

(12:55):
generals were writing in like the early stages of World
War One, like why they were ex secuting the plans
they were executing twenty two hundred years after the Battle
of can I, all of these German generals we're talking
about wanting to do a can I, right, Hannibal bark
At was like the it was the like the high
watermark for generalship for longer than Christianity has.

Speaker 2 (13:17):
Been, long as Christianity existed. Yes, it is as long
as there's been the faith.

Speaker 1 (13:21):
He's been Yeah.

Speaker 3 (13:22):
Yeah, And I think too, like just the fact that
like history essentially, like the only reason we know what
we know is because some dude kept a diary. You know,
so if a dude like was that impressive to the
points of where somebody wrote it down, like Yo, this
Hannibal kid, the kid is a cold piece of work, y'all.

Speaker 2 (13:43):
And you know what I'm saying, and it lasts he's like,
we won, yeah, but dang god, damn. Yeah, the kid
is cold.

Speaker 3 (13:50):
Yeah, he made it all the way to now it's
just some dude' john diary right to his wife like yeah.

Speaker 1 (13:56):
Shit, yeah, this guy scary as was whooping my yeah.
And Lee gets compared to Hannibal a lot because again,
they both lose their war, but they're both seen as like, well,
they fought so well despite they were outnumbered. The other
nation had a much better industrial base. You know, it
was a doomed cause from the beginning, but they still
almost pulled it off. And that's what makes them great.

Speaker 2 (14:17):
Right.

Speaker 1 (14:18):
That's true for Hannibal. I don't think there's any realistic
I'm sure you can find some historians, but I think
the vast consensus is, yeah, the man was a fucking
genius at war. That is not true for Robert E. Lee,
And it's not true based on his very clearly documented record.

Speaker 2 (14:31):
Robert E.

Speaker 1 (14:32):
Lee was one of the first four generals named for
the Confederate States, but he was not as soon as
Virginia gets, you know, integrated into the Confederacy. He is
not the top general yet, right, He's actually below two
other generals, Samuel Cooper and Albert Sidney Johnson. And in
the early days of the war, because he's kind of
trying to give his thoughts on everything, like what should

(14:53):
we do here, what should we do here? He gets
ignored by other commanders a lot. But there's a point
where like they're looking at like Manassas, which they think
the Union is going to attack. They know the Union
is going to attack, and Lee is like, I think
we should fortify Manasses and hold it in a defensive action,
and PGT. Beauregard declines to fortify Manasses as Lead had advised,

(15:15):
and then said, counter attacks the Union advance. This is
the Battle of bull Run, and the Confederacy wins the
Battle of bull Run. So Beauregard ignores Lee's advice and
wins one of the earliest critical battles for the Confederacy.
I mean, everyone's heard of bull Run right, Yeah, that is,
he wins it doing the opposite of what Lee had

(15:37):
suggested he do. Now, you can't call this a failure
on Lee's part, right, because like that's just part of
any functional military. You're gonna you guys proposing. Yeah, but
it is an example of two commanders, because it was
I think Johnson and Beauregard at bull Run. It's an
example of two commanders ignoring Lee's advice and then winning, right,
which is certainly does not suggest like the greatest miliity

(16:00):
terry mind America ever produced. Right, Yeah, Now, Lincoln responds
to bull Run by moving Union troops into Western Virginia,
which was at the time just part of normal Virginia. Right,
We're talking about like the region, not the state, state,
the physical location, yeah, of the place. Now, this is
going to be where Lee has his first combat command

(16:20):
of the Civil War. His opponent, initially McClelland's going to
get transferred to. His opponent initially is George McClellan, and
likely McClellan is a Mexican War veteran. In fact, during
the Mexican American War, McClellan had reported to Lee as
a junior lieutenant and he and Lee are kind of
mirrors of each other in a way, and that they
both owe this sudden rise to command into like being

(16:43):
generals to the Civil War. McClellan is also like personally,
he's really sympathetic to the South. He likes Southerners better
than he likes Northerners. But he's also just not a
fucking trader.

Speaker 2 (16:56):
Now.

Speaker 1 (16:56):
Yeah, not a great general either, but he's not a trader. Yeah.
So he has some initial success in West Virginia. He
overruns another Confederate commander's forces in West Virginia right about
the same time Beauregard and Johnson win Bull Run. Now,
because the Union has suffered this defeated bull Run, but
McClelland has had this kind of smaller success. This is

(17:17):
just basic propaganda, right. Lincoln's people are like, well, we
got our asses kicked here, but like this guy saw wins,
so we really need to hype this, right. Yeah, and
this is also probably where we should pour more resources into. Right,
we had one win. Maybe if we give we put
some more men into this, we put some more power
behind this, they can crack in further.

Speaker 2 (17:36):
Right.

Speaker 1 (17:37):
So Lee gets sent to counter this Union advance, right,
and Jefferson Davis orders Lee to strike a decisive blow
in West Virginia. Lee takes command of the Confederacy's Northwest Well,
he doesn't quite take command of the Confederacy's Northwest Army,
but he's sent there, right, he's sent there, and people
who treat it as if he's going to be in
command of the army. And this causes a fever pitch

(17:59):
if it, excitement to build back in the Confederate Capitol. Now,
remember Lee had been lauded prior to the start of
the war as the best soldier in the United States, Right,
That's was the the buzz around him, And so there's
this excitement like, man, yeah, Johnson and uh and Beauregard
did great at bull Rum, But like Lee's really gonna
fucking kick there.

Speaker 2 (18:20):
Like he's gonna really start getting hot.

Speaker 1 (18:22):
Yeah yeah, yeah, Okay, So this is a big news
story that Lee's about to be, you know, finally in action,
and people at the time follow it kind of like
they follow celebrity gossip today. When he's finally sent into
the fight, his fans are so certain that he's gonna
be like huge that they write a song about him.
Oh God, who dare invade our homes and country braggarts,

(18:44):
though the villains b will dose them well with shot
and bullets, to the tune of General Lee, I don't know,
not a great song, but uh yeah whatever Lee's father.

Speaker 2 (18:55):
Yeah, yeah, I went to that one.

Speaker 1 (18:58):
So Lee's fought had once owned most of this state,
like most of West Virginia. Right when lighthorse Harry's trying
his like land buying schemes to get rich like he
this is where like his million acres are, and obviously
it does him no good. He loses it all, And
Robert E. Lee is about to make losing West Virginia
a family tradition because he follows his dance footsteps here.

(19:24):
He may have had some inkling of this when he
wrote this to his wife while traveling the countryside with
his army. What a glorious world, Almighty God has given us,
How thankless and ungrateful we are, and how we labor
to mar his gifts. He's just being a little emo there, like, Wow,
the world is so beautiful. Why are we wasting all
of our time in lives fighting this hideous war?

Speaker 2 (19:45):
O for it? Yeah in Virginia.

Speaker 3 (19:49):
Yeah, I'm saying he was making fun of the trees
in Virginia early. They'll be pretty without me, now, you
see it. Huh.

Speaker 1 (19:56):
So the army, the Northwest Army that he kind of inherit,
and we're building to like the degree to which he's
actually in command, but he kind of inherits this army.
It's in really bad shape. Again, it's still basically it's
like halfway between a militia and being turned into a
proper fighting force. Okay, shit's so primitive right now. He
doesn't have a uniform, right, he's just like wearing he

(20:17):
just guys like kind of a gray jacket that he's wearing.

Speaker 3 (20:19):
Right, Hey, guys, just pair comfy shorts, some good strong boots.
It just just a way for me to be able
to tell which one of y'all is us. Okay, So
just yeah, don't shoot me please, like you're about to ude.
It's stonewall.

Speaker 2 (20:31):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (20:32):
So he's also to make matters worse. Everyone's gotten measles.
Like the whole army is sick as hell. That's not
his fault, that happens to everybody. Yeah, I was like, yeah,
welcome to the eighteen hundreds. All of these people are
shitting themselves to death as they're fighting the civil war
and to make matters worse, and this is what really
is promised. Jefferson Davis is a fucking dipshit, right, so
he orders Lee to smash the Union forces here, but

(20:55):
he doesn't actually put him in command of this army
Right league. Lee is an advisor to the Northwest Army Right,
and so the senior officers who he's trying to give
orders to, he's not technically directly in charge of them,
and they don't want to listen to him. I think
in part they may have been aware that he was
wrong about bull run so like. And this is again,

(21:16):
this is not specifically Lee's fault, because Davis made the
bad decision to not actually put him in proper command,
but also a better general. One of the things people
will say about Lee, and we kind of mentioned this earlier,
he's actually really bad at giving direct orders to people,
and he's not good at personal conflict. You got some
of this in the last episode where he can never

(21:36):
admit that he's turning trade with friends.

Speaker 2 (21:39):
Daniel Square, you got a coat.

Speaker 1 (21:40):
He's a little bit of a coward. He can't actually
stand up for himself, and so he's unable to master
this situation. I think a stronger commander, even if you're
not legally in command, just be like, look, man, I
will fucking beat the shit out of you myself if
you don't do what I'm saying right, I will have
a moment of my boys fucking cap you. You are
going to do this? You know.

Speaker 3 (22:00):
I wonder if any of the like dudes in the
ranks kind of heard how he even got it, got
the position that like he did it in kind of
like a coward way where it was like, oh, you
wouldn't even tell him no, and like you said you
was gonna you just didn't respond Like gods sound like
God sound a little soft to me, homie. Like I

(22:21):
wonder if they like caught wind of that and they
was like os flowin, got no backbone whatever.

Speaker 1 (22:25):
I think that's probably not well known to his guy. Again,
how many of them can read you.

Speaker 2 (22:30):
Know, touche touche.

Speaker 1 (22:33):
Yeah, so Lee, in order to kind of compensate for
the fact that these guys are not listening to him,
he winds up having to like carry out reconnaissance missions himself,
which is an insane thing for a.

Speaker 2 (22:44):
General general zone.

Speaker 1 (22:45):
Yeah, because like they won't listen to him, they won't
do what he needs doing. In September, he's able to
kind of get everyone to launch an attack, and he
patterns this attack after the victory that he'd won with
Scott in the Mexican War in Sarah Gordo. There's a
lot of excitement in Confederate media over the fact that
he's about to do this. The Richmond Inquirer predicts that
his victory would quote stand as a monument to his fame,

(23:08):
of which any professor of the military art, however gifted
or fortunate, might well be proud. So again, this slost
cause shit starts before he's actually done anything. And yeahs
as it adds up.

Speaker 3 (23:21):
Yeah, when I was when I was prepared for the
Lost Cause stuff, I was like, damn this, we got prequels,
like we add into a prequel to his mug And.

Speaker 1 (23:30):
As a as a decide, it's a fucking disaster. I'm
going to quote from. Lee considered here, orders and communications
went awry, and the attack fizzled. The next day, Struggling
to retrieve something from the failure, Lee looked for a
path that would the Federals and put out reconnaissance parties
all around Sheet Mountain. One of these, John Washington, a
cousin by marriage, blundered into a Union picket line, and

(23:51):
in the Fuselata bullets, Washington was shot dead. For the
first time. The war had reached into the wide circle
of Lee's relations and struck down one who's intimate asation
and for some months has been more fully disclosed to
me his great worth than double so many years of
ordinary intercourse would have been sufficient to reveal. So not
only got his cousin kill, Yeah, he gets his fucking
cousin killed awkwardly like because he winds up blundering into

(24:14):
the Union lines. Because Lee cannot take command of this
fucking army like they won't listen when he says to attack.
It is just comprehensively a disaster. Now, because this is
such a failure, the papers even start second guessing Lee.

Speaker 2 (24:30):
At this point.

Speaker 1 (24:31):
Jeb Stewart, his former student, even described himself as disappointed
in Lee. Lee chased that failure with more failures. He
became despondent, writing to Washington's family that their son was
better off dead because the Confederacy's current position is so miserable.
In short order, Lee and the Confederacy had to basically
flee everything in Virginia between the Blue Ridge Mountains and

(24:52):
the Ohio River. The ultimate result of this is the
state of West Virginia. We get West Virginia because Lee
looses it so ba badly right away. The first thing
he gets to do is loose West Virginia.

Speaker 3 (25:07):
I tend to think of the Confederacy in the professional
career length of Nirvana, because Nirvana lasted longer than the Confederations. Yeah,
and like at this point, like never mind, hasn't even dropped,
he'den already lost. Yeah, these baby wars, Yeah, you've got

(25:28):
Dave grow yet he already lost these wars.

Speaker 1 (25:31):
One of the things I will point out is that
like Rojava, the autonomous kind of quasi anarchist region in
northeast Syria that like has been independent, has number one,
won a war against ISIS, and at this point been
around almost three times as long as the Confederacy, and
like these people have no industrial base whatsoever. Yeah, yeah,

(25:55):
Like it is the degree to which the Confederacy is
a shit show. And this really shows it, right, This
isn't all on Lee, except for the fact that Lee
chose to join this shit show.

Speaker 2 (26:06):
Of a cause, right.

Speaker 1 (26:07):
They won't listen to him, His boss will not actually
give him the command he needs to carry things out,
and Lee is unable to master the situation. He gets
his fucking cousin killed and then flees West Virginia with
his tail between his legs. LMAO. Yeah, you know who
doesn't lose West Virginia.

Speaker 2 (26:24):
Oh, nigga, he's products.

Speaker 1 (26:26):
That's right, that's right. In fact, our podcast is sponsored
entirely by the state of West Virginia. West Virginia, we're
a state. We're back. So Bobby Lee, our buddy Robert,

(26:47):
is heartbroken at the loss of West Virginia and at
the general quality of the Confederate Army. It is unruly.
The militia is so unreliable. Like one of the things
he has to deal with is that when he takes
kind of command of the army, three regiments disappear like
they were militia who had shown up and then decided

(27:07):
before the fighting started, actually, we don't want to be
in the Confederacy because they're not an army. Yeah, because
it's not an army.

Speaker 2 (27:13):
It's not an army. They just go the fuck home.
This bullshit.

Speaker 1 (27:18):
One of the things he is good at he's a
competent organizational leader, and he does have a major role
to play in the fact that the quality of the
Confederate Army improves markedly.

Speaker 2 (27:28):
Right.

Speaker 1 (27:28):
Some of this is just people get experience as combat
goes on. But he formalizes a chain of command, he
sets up stuff like quartermasters, like he's a major part
of that. And this is the stuff that he's reasonably
good at, you know, like it's organizational shit. But that's
obviously important, right.

Speaker 2 (27:42):
Dwight D.

Speaker 1 (27:42):
Eisenhower, for example, is not I don't think he ever
sees a shot fired in anger. But he's like a
really competent as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, his
job is like administrative, you know, and that's necessary. You
can't win a war, a big war without it.

Speaker 2 (27:57):
You can't be a brawler only yeah you gotta have
a book.

Speaker 3 (27:59):
No.

Speaker 1 (28:00):
Yeah, this is by the way, a lot of people
the Spartan mythology is so like all based around how
great they were as fighters. That's not why Sparta when
Sparta had its period of military dominance, it was because
of how much better organized.

Speaker 2 (28:14):
They were as staily organized.

Speaker 1 (28:16):
Yes, yeah, they had they were competently organized and could
number one, survive defeats and also could like better provision
and equip their soldiers and keep them in the field
more effectively. Like it was not because they were just
all really good at one on one combat. They were
not really any better than anybody else. But they did
have a more functional state behind them. That's like, you'll

(28:39):
get the Roman Empire, right, Why did the Roman Empire?
Why was it such an unprecedented success for so long? Well,
it wasn't because they were the best at war, as
like on a battle to battle basis, they lose all
of Roman history is like they sent seventy thousand men
out and all of them died. Yeah, and then they
sent another seventy thousand.

Speaker 2 (29:00):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (29:00):
Yeah, there was a ton of them, and it was
like it was a bureaucracy. Yeah, it was an amazing bureaucracy,
because you can't have you can't have outposts all the
way in Germany and not be a bureaucracy.

Speaker 1 (29:12):
No, Like, what made them great in part is the
fact that they had this ability to they could take
a punch like a modern state can. Like back in
the day, most of their rivals, they have the army
and if the army loses, that's the army, right, like
you fucked Yeah, Rome had armies, they have an industrial base. Anyway,
we're getting off topic here, but like that is that is,

(29:35):
you know, a big part of his early job. And
this is not something he's bad at, right, He's not
the only one doing this, but this is an area
of competence for Lee. In June eighteen sixty two, he
takes command of the Army of Northern Virginia and in
an extremely effective campaign he fights off several federal offensives
and saves the capital, Richmond. This is where a lot
of like the you know, the genius Lee thing comes from.

(29:59):
And this is an efective campaign one of the things
we're building towards because I am going to make the
case I think he was bad at his job, but
he is not bad at every part of his job.
He is a competent not the best we ever produced,
but a competent field commander of armies. He orchestrates a
campaign in Pennsylvania next and an attempt to take territory

(30:22):
from the north and threaten the US capital that ends
at Gettysburg. And during this period from him taking command
of the Army of Northern Virginia to Gettysburg. He fights
ten field battles and wins six of them. That's not
a bad record. That makes him above average. And I
think if this were an if he were a normal
general in an army, if he had stayed with the Union, right,

(30:45):
and he had been under a guy like Grant or O. McClellan,
or if he had just been under somebody else for
the entire war as the Confederacy, and if he's just
like a corp commander, he would probably be remembered as like, yeah,
he was above average skill. That is not his job, right,
That's that we're building to that. So Douglas Southall Freeman
is one of like the premier Lost Cause historians, and

(31:08):
he writes a biography of Lee in the thirties that
is like kind of the foundational big not the foundational
because maybe even fitz Hughley's book, but it's one of
the most influential Lost Cause history techs about Lee. And
he summarizes Lee's first two years in command this way.
During the twenty four months when he had been free
to employee open maneuver, a period that had ended with
Cold Harbor, he had sustained approximately one hundred and three

(31:31):
thousand casualties and had inflicted one hundred and forty five
thousand holding as he usually had to the offensive. His
combat losses had been greater in proportion to his numbers
than those of the Federals, but he had demonstrated how
strategy may increase in opponent's casualties. For his losses included
only sixteen thousand prisoners, whereas he had taken thirty eight thousand,
And that sounds really good when you describe it that way.

(31:54):
But Freeman is kind of pointing out Lee's combat record
as this ratio of wins and losses, and Freeman is like,
you can't just look at it that way though, you
also have to look at what he prevented by being
in the field, right, So it's not just a matter
of like he won this many battles, he lost this many,
but it's like, what wasn't the Union able to do
because he was taking other actions that they had to
respond to. This is fair, but it's also not fair

(32:18):
to judge Lee just based on his field command performance.
After saving Richmond, he becomes basically the Confederate war leader, right,
He's not on paper you know.

Speaker 3 (32:29):
Yeah, this kind of solidifies and dignata. Dudes believe in it.

Speaker 1 (32:32):
Yeah he is, though, Yeah, Like you have to view
because he is effectively the guy orchestrating the Confederate primary
Confederate war strategy, and he is in command of like
the center of their army and making decisions about how
to try and win this thing. You have to analyze
his level of competence not as what did he win
and lose in individual battles, but how well did he

(32:55):
do actually prosecuting a war. And I think that is
where the only responsible the only conclusion you can come
to is he was bad at it. He was a
bad general because of the job he is taking is
not just as a field commander. It is the commander
of Confederate forces trying to orchestrate a victory, which he
fails at doing.

Speaker 3 (33:16):
Yeah, it's interesting going back to your point about like
had he taken the job in the Union army, it
might have played to his strengths more. Yeah, and may
have gone down in history, like you said, in like
a better scenario for himself because it played to his strengths.

(33:37):
It's like you're not asking you to do something you're
not good at.

Speaker 1 (33:40):
His early successes get him promoted. Essentially, he's put in
a position because he's like the winningest general the South
has for a while. He's put in a position where
he's far in excess of his capabilities. If he had
always if he had stayed a core commander and someone
else was telling him, this is the broad someone like Grant,
who is good yeah at grand strategy, had been telling him, like,

(34:01):
you know, I want you to command this the left
wing of our army in this battle. He would have
been fine, I think, because he was not incompetent at
that sort of thing. But he regularly needed to be overruled.
He had terrible instincts about a lot of things. And
in the book Lee Considered, Alan Nolan makes this eloquent
assessment about how this fact that like, you can't view

(34:22):
Lee as a field commander because he was overall the
guy in strategic command of the Confederacy gets ignored in
analysis of Lee quote his campaigns and battles are typically
considered almost as disembodied, abstract events, unrelated to the necessities
and objectives of the war from the standpoint of the South,
and without regard to whether they advanced or retarded those
necessities and objectives. It is as if a surgeon were

(34:44):
to be judged on the basis of his skillful, dexterous,
and imaginative procedures, incisions, and sutures without regard to whether
the operation actually improved the patient's chances for survival.

Speaker 3 (34:54):
That's a quote, that's a call quote. Listen, man, this scar,
the scar from my surgery. It's beautiful, curvy, it's so gorgeous.
The heart didn't work, but yeah, but the scar, yeah,
barely see it.

Speaker 2 (35:08):
Mm hmm.

Speaker 1 (35:09):
Yeah, Like wow, look at the quality of these sutures
on my dead cousin.

Speaker 2 (35:14):
Yeah, telling you man, the heart failed.

Speaker 1 (35:17):
Still, But to properly analyze Lee and his level of
competence and success, we have to accept one thing first off,
that is going to be hard for some people. The
Confederacy could have won, right, This is the thing A
lot of people are.

Speaker 2 (35:32):
Like, oh, it was always hopeless.

Speaker 1 (35:33):
Look at how much bigger the industrial base, the population
base of the Union is. I think that's very silly.
I think that ignores some really crucial facts. And to
be clear, when I say victory, I'm not talking about
like some counterfactual where the Confederacy conquers the North. Right, Yeah,
and I'm like that was ever in the cards. Victory
is a succession. Yeah, yeah, they continue to exist, right,

(35:55):
the Confederacy continues to exist and the war ins right,
That's that's what I mean by victory. That was within
their capabilities. A big problem people make is like they
get kind of like video game brain about this, where
they're just sort of like looking at the assets of
each side and like a ledger and like, well, yeah,
they never could have won this. The Civil War wasn't
a video game. Public opinion was a huge factor in

(36:18):
how this war was going to go, and in the North,
public opinion teetered for large pieces of the war. It
was not impossible that Lee could have done enough damage
to force Lincoln to come to the table because the
people of the Union were not willing to continue fighting. Right,
that was possible. There were strategies that the Confederacy could

(36:39):
have taken that might have secured this ending, and Lee
did not take them. Historian Bell Wiley is one of
the first people to make this case as a ripost
to the lost Cause narrative, and it's key to the
lost Cause narrative that you believe they couldn't have won, right,
It's a noble doom struggle. He did the best anyone
could have done, but it was unwinnable because that means

(37:00):
that he couldn't have done better than he did, and
that is bullshit. That's why you have to repost this.
And I'm going to quote from Bell Wiley here. The
North unquestionably had an immense superiority of material and human resources,
but the North also faced a greater task. In order
to win the war, the North had to subdue a
vast country of nine million inhabitants, while the South could
prevail by maintaining a successful resistance. To put it another way,

(37:23):
the North had to conquer the South, while the South
could win by outlasting its adversary. By convincing the North
that coercion was impossible or not worth the effort, the
South had reason to believe that it could achieve independence.
That it did not was do as much, if not more,
to its own failings as to the superior strength of
the foe.

Speaker 2 (37:39):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (37:41):
Again, like I always have to come back to reality,
and like you're still fighting about my people, and I
think that this is where like a lot of my
history knowledge kind of falls in into like the role
that like black regiments played in making sure that this
ended the way it did. And it's like their own

(38:03):
ignorance and racism shooting them in the foot, like the
fact that you were so racist and could not even
think of the idea of fighting alongside a person of color, right,
and then the obviousness of African Americans like black people
at the time being like, which one of y'all are

(38:24):
going to set us free?

Speaker 2 (38:25):
We'll fight for y'all.

Speaker 3 (38:27):
So a union man, I guess I'm a union man,
Like I don't care what the fuck you actually believe.
All I know is I ain't going back to this
goddamn plantation, you know. So if that's the case, then shit,
give me one of them, give me one of them things,
you know what I'm saying. And the Union having sense enough,
which I believe again is like all hell, sweet brother

(38:49):
of Frederick Douglass, you know, who was such a huge
influence on Lincoln to get to move Lincoln from like
saving the universe.

Speaker 2 (38:57):
Universe, that's what we think about, right.

Speaker 3 (39:00):
Saving the Union to an abolitionist is a lot of
times the effects of Frederick Douglass and then him being
like we're humans too, and we're willing to fight for
our own freedom, like you understand, We willing to die
for this shit too, Like give them some fucking guns, maam. Like,

(39:20):
and that playing such a role in the in the
in the Union's victory being a thing, but also to
your point, could have also swayed the northern public.

Speaker 2 (39:32):
Who wasn't any less racist. They just was like, Slavery's
clearly wrong, you know what I'm saying.

Speaker 3 (39:38):
So like him enlisting black soldiers could have also played.

Speaker 2 (39:44):
Against the Union's winning, is what I'm saying.

Speaker 1 (39:47):
Yeah, Yeah, it was. Yeah, there were a number of
ways in which, like it could have been fucked so
and I think that's that is so important to accept
it because number one, a lot of people in the Union,
Lincoln and Grant chief among them, had to make the
right calls to win, and also Lee had to make
the wrong calls to lose.

Speaker 3 (40:07):
You know.

Speaker 1 (40:07):
Yes, Alan Nolan quotes analysis from four different historians who
carried out an in depth review of Confederate defeats, basically
analyzing all of the times the Confederacy lost in the field,
and they concluded, quote, no Confederate army lost a major
engagement because of the lack of arms, munitions, or other
essential supplies. And this again there's this big argument that like, well,

(40:29):
they just didn't have they couldn't didn't have the industrial
base necessary to win. The reality is the Confederacy actually
some of the people in the Confederacy who did their
fucking job were the people who were responsible for creating
an industrial base to sustain the war effort. The Confederacy
created a very effective industrial base given the poor state,
not an objective sense, but given how shitty it was

(40:52):
at the start of the war, Right, they had weapons.
What they did not have was men, right, And so
when you're in that position, yeah, we've got guns, We've
got enough guns, right for the number of men we've had,
But we just don't have enough men.

Speaker 2 (41:06):
Right.

Speaker 1 (41:06):
That was the thing that the Union had on them.
And I do know prop we've talked around this, I
am focusing purely on matters of like strategy of what
could have happened, rather than the moral dimensions, just because
like that's not a factor and winning or losing right facts,
I'm just because it's just the only way to like
kind of analyze this. But the industrial base was sufficient

(41:28):
for the number of men that they had. When you
know then that your primary issue is you don't have
the man power, right, Yeah, the most sane tactic, if
you want to give yourself the best chance to win,
is to set up a grinding defense, right, force the
North to bleed for every square inch of territory it takes.
At this point, weapons have advanced a significant degree. We

(41:51):
have rifles, right, so not muskets that you can't accurateate
like you can hit, you can snipe. We have cannon
with like much better shells that are accurate at a
much longer range. The Confederacy could have set up like
we're talking like World War One style like static defenses
and may basically adopt the strategy of if we can

(42:14):
bleed them white, they will lose public support for the war.
Lee is not willing to do that. He becomes obsessed
with the idea that we have to end the war quickly.

Speaker 2 (42:25):
Right.

Speaker 1 (42:26):
His attitude is and you can see why he feels
this way, that we have to end the war quickly
because of how much bigger their industrial base is. Hey, everyone,
Robert here, I wanted to be clear. Lee's not trying
to like take DC because it's far too fortified for
that to be a realistic possibility, but he's hoping that
kind of by consistently advancing in that direction, he can
pull Federal troops from other theaters, which will allow Confederates

(42:48):
to make gains there, and that if he defeats a
Union army right at basically the gates of the capital,
that that will have kind of the morale impact on
the populace that he's looking to have and help force
an end.

Speaker 2 (43:00):
To the war.

Speaker 1 (43:01):
And defensives always cost more lives than defensive operations. Right,
the attacker should always have numeric superiority because of this. Right,
you can offset this in some ways, right, if you
can get their firstest with the mostest. Right, it doesn't
matter that your army has less men if you have
more men at the point where it matters, right, And
that's what Lee is trying to do. But by doing
that he kind of throws away the option of like, well,

(43:23):
if from the beginning our goal had been to cost
as many lives of the North as possible, maybe a
year or two of like nightmarish casualties and much less
losses from the Confederacy. Lincoln, Yeah, Lincoln loses that popular
support you know wow. Now, there is some debate among
scholars as to whether or not this should be considered

(43:44):
the Confederacy's official grand strategy, because they never lay out
and say, like Jefferson Davis never says, this is our strategy.
One school of thought is that the official strategy of
the Confederacy was a defensive weight out the clock option,
and Lee was not acting in concert with the overall plan.
Other historians will argue, well, Lee was obviously the one

(44:05):
orchestrating the Confederacy's grand strategy. One historian notes that his
basic shortcoming was his failure to map an overall strategy.
So basically Lee had an overall strategy that we can
see from his actions he was pursuing, but he never
straight up wrote that out or tried to get the
rest of the state organized around it, which is another
failure as a subarate general.

Speaker 3 (44:27):
For sure, you're supposed to get us on board. Yeah,
where we going get us hyped up?

Speaker 1 (44:32):
That probably would mean something. You're also like, you're just
going to throw lives at this when that's what we
have the least of as opposed to trying to maintain
our strength. You know, wow, Lee, Yeah, how are we
supposed to do this.

Speaker 2 (44:46):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (44:46):
Now, a big part of the loss caused lore is
that the major fuck ups on the Confederate side were
made by lesser generals around Lee. Right, he was perfect.
It was all of these subordinates who bungled his plans
and cost of the war, right, you know, that was
the thing he just could. He didn't have enough good men.
Stonewall Jackson was great, but then he gets shot by

(45:06):
his own guys, and you know, Alan Nolan points out
that this ignores a lot of Lee's agency. Quote Connolly
and Jones, who are two other historians, correctly state that
although President Davis asserted unity of control over the Confederate
war effort, there was a large measure of autonomy for
department commanders. The notion that Lee had little power they
describe as one of the great myths of the Civil War.

(45:29):
In point of fact, it was Lee, not Davis, who
proposed and initiated the movements of Lee's army, movements that
brought on its battles, including the Maryland Campaign in Gettysburg,
and he had complete tactical control of that army. So again,
part of this is a failure of like Davis is
not exercising the control he technically should be exercising in
order to like actually have a cohesive war plan. But Lee,

(45:52):
having this big army that is effectively the center of
the effort, is exercising grand strategy, but is not act
like informing anybody. And because he is in such control,
you have to look at how well he did, and
you have to see his failures as his not as
failures of the broader system or of his subordinates. So

(46:13):
both ways, dude, Yeah, you can't have it both ways.
And we're going to talk about Gettysburg and Lee's biggest
failure in tactical control of an army. But first here's
some ads.

Speaker 2 (46:30):
All right.

Speaker 1 (46:31):
So the definition Alan Nolan uses of grand strategy is
the use of engagements to attain the objects of war.
And he cites this piece of writing by Lee as
the closest Lee came to citing an overall strategic vision.
If we can defeat or drive the armies of the
enemy from the field, we shall have peace. All our
efforts and energy should be devoted to that object. And

(46:51):
that is a failure. That's a fuck up, because that
is not how you win. As the Confederacy, you don't
win by so vague. It's really vague. One thing, it's like, yeah,
you win by beating the enemy.

Speaker 3 (47:03):
Yes, as you know, didn't say I played basketball. This
is our game. We just gonna score more points than them.

Speaker 1 (47:09):
What this shows Lee doesn't understand modern war. One of
the reasons I think Grant is objectively a better general.
Grant understands modern war. He knows what war is going
to Grant is one of the people who first sees
what war is going to be like in the twenty
first century, and he carries out a strategy based on that.
Lee is still stuck in this will you win war
by driving your enemy's armies from the field, And like,

(47:31):
how did Vietnam beat the US? Did they did they
smash our armies? No, we won every single pretty much
every single field engagement.

Speaker 2 (47:40):
Every thought on that one. Yeah, And it.

Speaker 1 (47:41):
Doesn't matter because you can win. Battles are not what
wins wars. Strategy is what wins wars. Right, You can
win a war losing every battle if you exact enough
of a toll from the enemy that they stop being
willing to fight you, right, And Lee doesn't understand that,
and that is a failure. You know. His attempts to
achieve this plan start with the Chancellorsville campaign, which he

(48:03):
wins despite being out numbered and attacking an entrenched enemy.
Lee defenders will cite this long odds win as proof
of his genius. And this is a I think, a
competently carried out battle, but if you view it within
the overall strategy the Confederacy had to use in order
to win, this is a fuck up.

Speaker 2 (48:21):
Right.

Speaker 1 (48:21):
Lee describes it as a triumph most honorable to our arms,
but it costs him twenty one percent of his army,
which is a higher percentage. Again, people point out, like, well,
he killed more. You know, he was outnumbered and he
still killed more of them they killed of him, And
it's like, yeah, but the Union lost a lower percentage of.

Speaker 2 (48:40):
You understand numbers.

Speaker 1 (48:41):
Vellas's that's what the Confederates. That the Confederacy can jink
around and move and capture material to make up some
of that manufacturing capacity, they cannot make up the lack
of men. And that's what he's throwing away. Despite losing
this hideous chunk of his army, he carries on the offensive,
harassing needs retreating army. Just to be clear here, meat
is not in command at Chancellorsville. He's like one of

(49:04):
the Union generals who is leading a chunk of the army.
He is going to be in command at Gettysburg. And
the rest of the stuff about Lee harrying him and
harassing his retreating troops is accurate. I just kind of
didn't say clearly what was going on here. Mead, who
has lost this battle, doesn't like give up or panic
or he shows his medal here. Right, Lee reforms his army,

(49:26):
and Lee tries to go Mead into attacking He basically
like once Mead reforms, Lee tries to entrench his forces
in the hope that Mead will attack him and he
can bleed them white. Right by having his guys on
the defensive, he can, And Mead doesn't take the bait.
He refuses to be tricked by Lee, and so the
Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia

(49:48):
jockey about for a while trying to get into better position.
Lee really wants to be on the defensive because then
he'll lose fewer men, But eventually he has to contend that,
like Mead is not an idiot, Meads not going to
let him do that, and so in July of eighteen
sixty three, Robert E. Lee decides to execute an attack
on beads entrenched forces at Gettysburg. Now, before this fateful battle,

(50:11):
we know that Lee was writing to Davis about how
bad the manpower crunch was and about how it harmed
Confederate chances. His gamble at Gettysburg was that if he
could destroy the Army of the Potomac, it would shatter
the Union's will to fight. Right, We'll never know if
that would have been the case. The Union could have
rebuilt another army, could have like, you know, done that thing.

(50:32):
But also there's a decent chance that if the Army
of the Potomac has wiped it out, yeah, people might
like that might end the Union's willingness to actually keep
prosecuting the war. Not impossible, right, it's almost DC Yeah, yeah, yeah,
you're close.

Speaker 2 (50:46):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (50:46):
So Gettysburg takes place July first through the third, eighteen
sixty three, and this is the battle that ultimately decides
the Confederacy's fate. This is the high water mark for
the Confederacy. This is what destroys Robert E. Lee's shot
at being George Way Washington right. Yeah, Now, the battle
starts with a huge Confederate fuck up j E. B. Stewart,
I like calling him Jeb. His scouting failed to identify

(51:09):
Mead's proper position, and the Army of Potomac actually gets
behind Lee between him and his supply lines. That is
Lee being out general by Mead. Like these are wars
of maneuver, right, that's part of what determined skill. Mead
cuts off his supply line, and the fact that Lee
lets himself get in this position represents a strategic failure,
you know, that is him being out general. Still, when

(51:32):
he attacks on July first, he nearly routes meads vanguard.
The Union position is only saved from like losing access
to the high ground because of a major general named O. O. Howard,
who had been one of Lee's students at West Point.

Speaker 2 (51:46):
Oh.

Speaker 1 (51:46):
Howard had actually been kind of the nerdy kid at
school and Lee had like defended him from bullies, which
is an interesting like beside bit that like this guy
winds up thwarting his aims and thanks to Howard, the
Union is able to save their position and did on
the high ground. Now, so because this vanguard doesn't get
completely routed basically meads army is stationed on a bunch

(52:08):
of hills, set up dug in with guns and artillery.
This is a bad situation to attack. You do not
want to attack an enemy that has the high ground.
I don't think I need to explain why, but like
it's it's a it's like the worst thing you can
do in a war like this. Yeah, have you been
there Gettysburg?

Speaker 2 (52:25):
Yeah?

Speaker 3 (52:25):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, getting the getting a feel of the land,
like and like you said, like the idea of like
the high ground and just pitch if you could picture it.
You're just like, yeah, bro, it's a bad move, homie, Like, yeah,
like you're you.

Speaker 1 (52:41):
If you're confused about it, like even taking not taking
into account that while you are advancing towards the high
ground you're getting shot the whole time. Yeah, I want
you to put on like forty to fifty pounds of
gear and a rifle and run up a hill and
then think about trying to stab a man to death
immediately afterwards.

Speaker 3 (53:02):
First of all, at number one and number two, who's
watching you run up?

Speaker 1 (53:05):
Yeah, who's watching you run up? And who is not
out of breath?

Speaker 2 (53:08):
Yeah? Who's sitting there?

Speaker 3 (53:09):
It's just like, hey, hey, hey, come you already, Yeah,
let me finish the cigar first.

Speaker 1 (53:14):
Yeah, and keep in mind like ifeah, maybe you know,
if you're in great shape, sure you can do that, right,
modern people, modern nutrition, modern like you can train for
a situation like that. These guys all have fucking rickets.
They're all sick of shit. You know, they've been marching
in the field like they're not at their best health
wise anyway. You know, like it's such a bad idea.
Despite this being a terrible position to attack from, Lee

(53:37):
felt like he had the numbers right right now, because
you know, Mead's whole army isn't you know that these
armies are maneuver and getting in the position and stuff.
Lee's got. Feels like I've got more men at the
critical point right now than Mead does. If I don't
attack now, I'm going to lose that advantage, and so
he orders the attack now. One of his core commanders,
James Longstreet, is like, this is a bad idea, Please

(54:00):
don't order the attack, and Lee responds to him, the
enemy is there, and I am going to attack him there.
This would prove to be a terrible mistake, as this
article for Smithsonian Magazine makes clear Lee didn't know that
in the night, Mead had managed by forced marches to
concentrate nearly his entire army at Lee's front, and had
deployed it skillfully. His left flank was now extended to

(54:21):
Little Round Top, nearly three quarters of a mile south
of where Lee thought it was. The disgruntled long Street
never won to rush into anything, and confuse to find
the left flank further than expected, didn't begin his assault
until three point thirty that afternoon. It nearly prevailed anyway,
but at last was beaten gorrily back. Although the two
pronged offensive was ill coordinated and the Federal artillery had

(54:42):
knocked out the Confederate guns to the north before Ewell attack.
Ewele's infantry came tantalizingly close to taking Cemetery Hill, but
a counter attack forced them to retreat. On the third morning,
July third, Lee's plan was roughly the same, but Meade
seized the initiative by pushing forward on his right and
seizing Colp's Hill, which the Confederates held, so Lee was
forced to improvise. He decided to strike straight ahead and

(55:04):
meets heavily fortified mid section, Confederate artillery would soften it up,
and Longstreet would direct a frontal assault across a mile
of open ground against the center of Missionary Ridge. Again
Longstreet objected. Again, Lee wouldn't listen. The Confederate artillery exhausted
all its shells ineffectively, so was unable to support the assault.
Which has gone down in history is Pickett's charge because

(55:25):
Major General George Pickett's division absorbed the worst of the
horrible bloodbath that turned into and this is that's a
series of fuck ups, right. That is Lee being out generaled,
being beaten fair and square. It's not that they don't
have the material. It's not that they don't eat at
this point like they used the men, but like they

(55:47):
make a series of bad calls. Pickett's charge bleeds the
confederacy of the skilled troops that it needed to have
any chance of victory. Gettysburg on the whole is kind
of like what kills any hope they might have had
it When.

Speaker 3 (56:01):
You yeah, when you okay, this is a I mean
this this comparisons on the struggle bus, for sure. But
when you are like you're outflanked, you're outnumbered, and you're
about to get jumped like the everyone knows, don't let
nobody get behind you. Like, if somebody gets behind you.

Speaker 2 (56:23):
You're done.

Speaker 3 (56:23):
You know what I'm saying, Like, get yourself to a
position to where you can see everyone, right, get as
many blows as you can get in, and then get
out of there, because you can't. It's out of your control.
But for you to think that you're some sort of
like movie character and you're gonna karate chop all these

(56:44):
guys is just absurd.

Speaker 2 (56:46):
That's not real. You can't. You watch too many movies,
like it's not true.

Speaker 3 (56:51):
So so if you're in a position where Yo homie
is telling you, hey, hey, cut eight, they done already
spun the block on you. They around the back, bro
like they're coming down the alley Like you what he
gets out of here? Fucking run Yeah, get the fuck out,
DoD Like you can't take this.

Speaker 2 (57:09):
No, man, they gonna feel this. They gonna have to
see me. I'm like, okay, you.

Speaker 3 (57:13):
Know what I'm saying, Like you about to get your
ass kicked, like you cannot.

Speaker 2 (57:16):
They've gotten behind you.

Speaker 3 (57:17):
If they got behind you, got side, you ain't got
the two arms, Like this is not No, he gonna
leave lumped up. Okay, all right you yeah, yes, you
lumped up the guy in the middle. Okay, you feel
better now, yeah, now go home. Lee lumps up Mead.

Speaker 1 (57:35):
But like he loses a third of his army in
this battle, right yeah, and this is the Confederacy never
again remain regains momentum or the ability to mount a
serious offensive because he does this reckless attack. He bleeds
his army to the point where like it's never going
to be as effective again, and that hobbles the whole

(57:56):
Confederate effort as opposed to, like what he should have
been doing the whole time was doing what Mead did
most days at Gettysburg, just finding good defensible positions and
shoot the fuck out of them, you know, just fall
back and wait. Yeah, yeah, he doesn't. He chooses not
to do that.

Speaker 3 (58:12):
Steven Seagal like I'm gonna go Chuck Norris this thing, man,
I'm going like nah, man, Like yeah, album, I'm not
even yeah.

Speaker 1 (58:20):
Yeah, there's a lot more battles that, like, maybe it's
unfair of me that I'm not talking about some of
the genius moves that he makes. Is he There's some
things he's very good at when it comes to being
a field commander. There's some things his army is very
good at, but it doesn't matter because his job is
not to be great at those little things. His job
is to win the war. I don't care, doesn't I

(58:43):
don't look. Look, look, look, Sophie.

Speaker 2 (58:45):
I don't care.

Speaker 3 (58:45):
How many triple doubles you got? Where's the banner?

Speaker 2 (58:48):
Yeah? Literally literally, where's the banner? Like you know what
I'm saying. So I'm like, if you ain't got no rings?

Speaker 3 (58:57):
Okare how many points you scored today?

Speaker 2 (59:00):
That's the facts. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (59:01):
And there's two things. First off, while he has some
competences as a field commander in tactical matters, he's not
as good as people say. Mead comprehensively outmaneuvers him, not
even talking strategy. Mead beats him in generalship. But also,
like Grant, he never I'm always frustrated, like how little
credit Grant gets. He was described to me as like

(59:23):
he's just he was just a butcher. He won because
he was just willing to blindly throw troops into a
meat grinder. First off, Grant has his excellent campaigns that
you can read. He's not perfect. He makes his share
of mistakes, but he gets a chance to show his
quality in tactical matters, and he is not. He has
some very good skill there. But Grant understands what modern

(59:44):
war wins.

Speaker 2 (59:44):
His strategy.

Speaker 1 (59:46):
This both his willingness to like, all right, well there
are sometimes where we just need to throw men at guns,
but also this strategy of like we are going to
Grant understands what total war is going to mean and
that this is the future of industrialized conf and like, well,
what we're going to do is destroy their industrial base
and their agricultural base. We are going to burn the

(01:00:07):
country out from under them. That is strategic thinking. That
is Grant knowing what war he's fighting, and Lee never
fucking does.

Speaker 3 (01:00:18):
Yeah, Grant, it's always it's it's it always like works
against you when you have when you're playing from a
position of you feel you have something to prove because
I'm being careful with how I say this, but like
it's because you actually don't have any self confidence. Yeah, Like,
so you're actually really trying to prove it to your

(01:00:38):
your own self worth, and when you play from that,
you're not stable, like and and if you already like
and it clearly he knows his cause isn't just so
there's like there's you're gonna make dumb ass mistakes because
you you're not right in ahead. So I feel like,
you know, you take somebody like you lissens as Grant
who obviously like I ain't got no ulysses posters on

(01:01:01):
my wall like this niggame my hero. But I will
say he could fall back and say, well, let me
think about this for a little bit, Like I have
time to think this too, because I know who I am.
I understand my position. I don't give a funk a
by child's glory like week in a Witness.

Speaker 1 (01:01:18):
Yeah, Grant is never fighting the war to like make
a name for himself. Yeah, grand Daddy issues it. Yeah Yeah,
Grant just understands what needs to be.

Speaker 2 (01:01:27):
Done, does it. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:01:30):
Lee's defenders are down so bad when it comes to
explaining the disaster that was Gettysburg that rather than like
analyzing that because it's just bad for them, they have
to focus on how stoic and eloquent Robert E. Lee
was in defeat, which is one of my favorite.

Speaker 2 (01:01:46):
Bits of cope.

Speaker 1 (01:01:47):
I'm going to quote from Smithsonian Magazine here, as the
minority who hadn't been cut to ribbons. Streamed back to
the Confederate lines, Lee rode in splendid calm among them, apologizing,
it's all my fault, he assured stunned privates and core.
He took time to admonish mildly an officer who was
beating his horse. Don't whip him, Captain, it does no good.
I had a foolish horse once, and kind treatment is

(01:02:09):
the best. Then he resumed his apologies. I am very
sorry the task was too great for you, but we
mustn't despond. Shelby Foote has called this Lee's finest moment,
but generals don't want apologies from those beneath them, and
that goes both ways. After midnight, he told a cavalry officer,
I never saw troops behave more magnificently than Pickett's division
of Virginians. Then he fell silent, and it was then

(01:02:31):
that he exclaimed, as the officer wrote it down, too bad,
too bad, oh, too bad, Like that is so lame,
just like at first this like, oh you know, it's
my fault is and it is his fault. But liked
the fact that the fact that like his defenders take
this like this was his finest moment, Well, you have

(01:02:53):
to view it as his finest moment because he didn't
fucking win. Yeah right, He's just so magnanimous in defeat.
He got tens of thousands of men killed pointlessly. Why
is the fact that he was humble pretended to be
humble about it good?

Speaker 2 (01:03:08):
I don't get it, dude.

Speaker 3 (01:03:09):
Like, of all the things they could have told themselves,
like the effort you had to go through to create
the lost cause, which of course grew over time, but
I'm like it seemed to be more simple, eloquent for
him to just be like, ah, man, general Lee dog,
he didn't know what the fuck he was doing. That's
why we lost. Yeah, Like you could have just said that,
and like that might have Actually, then you wouldn't have

(01:03:30):
to like make up some other fantasy stuff.

Speaker 2 (01:03:32):
You could just be like, oh, man, he ain't know
what he was doing. Like you could have just said that. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:03:38):
Sure, Jim put his hand into the disposal and turned
on the blades and it cut his entire hand to ribbons,
and that was really dumb. But he had such a
stoic look on his face the whole time. You know,
I really respect the way he ground his hand into
hamburger meat so absurd now that article gives us a
more comical look at Lee than guy's like foot tended

(01:03:59):
to want to accept quote. For months, Lee had been
traveling with a pet hen meant for the stewpot. She
had won his heart by entering his tent first thing
every morning and laying his breakfast egg under his spartan cot.
As an army of Northern Virginia was breaking camp and
all deliberate speed for the withdrawal, Lee's staff ran around
anxiously crying where is the hen. Lee himself found her

(01:04:19):
nestled in her accustomed spot on the wagon that transported
his personal materiel, worried about his fucking hen. You've just
gotten like fucking tens of thousands of men killed and maimed,
and your stupid fuck up worried about your goddamn hen.

Speaker 2 (01:04:32):
You lose your guy?

Speaker 4 (01:04:34):
Yeah, this is he's such a loser. This your man
like es y'all dude, this is y'all's due. Yeah, okay,
this is your boy. Huh yeah, words out got you.
In the end, Lee failed. After almost two years of
feudal slaughter, he finally found himself checkmated by Grant. His
fighting retreat started with sixty four thousand men. By April ninth,
eighteen sixty five, he had less than ten thousand defectives

(01:04:56):
in the Army of Northern Virginia. His casualty this like
I think sixty four thousand casually something like that, cost
the Union sixty three thousand men. This is a ratio
that technically favors him, but not to a degree that
is impressive or noteworthy. The so called greatest American field
commander of the nineteenth century, as Lost Cause histories claim,

(01:05:18):
was defeated in the field by both Lee and Grant.
Now there were some in Lee's command who had advocated
that he take his army into a guerrilla struggle. Lee
rejected this, telling his artillery commander the men would become
mere bands of marauders, and the enemy's cavalry would pursue
them and overrun many wide sections they may never have
occasion to visit. We would bring on a state of
affairs it would take the country years to recover from.

(01:05:40):
And as for myself, you young fellows might go bushwhacking,
but the only dignified course for me would be to
go to General Grant and surrender myself and take the consequences.
And this is the first time he makes a good
call in this war where he's like, it's done. It
took him way too long, but he does.

Speaker 2 (01:05:58):
So it is a long time ago.

Speaker 1 (01:05:59):
But yeah, all right, man, Yeah. So, contrary to the
opinions of Wiserman, Lincoln's successors opted for a conciliatory response
to the traders who survived. Lee, along with Jefferson Davis
and other major Confederate officers, was subject to some restrictions
after the war, but these are all eventually lifted. The

(01:06:20):
primary long term consequence for Roberty Lee of losing is
that he and Mary never get Arlington back, and this
brings us to one of the more amusing parts of
the Roberty Lee saga. Once Mary had forfeited the property
for failing to pay her taxes, it went up for auction.
The US government was the Adam Sandler in this incident.
To return to our happy Gilmour comparison, yes, and makes

(01:06:42):
the only bid. They get a good deal, about twenty
five percent under the assessed value of the property. Arlington
is first used as a cemetery two years after the
US buys it, when Quartermaster of the Army. Montgomery Meeks
turns to it in desperation from the Smithsonian Magazine. The
first soldier laid to rest there was Private William Christman,
twenty one, of the sixty seventh Pennsylvania Infantry. He was

(01:07:05):
buried in a plot on Arlington's northeast corner on May thirteenth,
eighteen sixty four. A farmer newly recruited into the army,
Christman never knew a day of combat. Like many others
who would join him in Arlington, he was felled by disease.
He died of peritontitis in Washington's Lincoln's General Hospital on
May eleventh. His burial was soon followed by other soldiers

(01:07:26):
men who were quote too poor to be embalmed and
sent for burial.

Speaker 2 (01:07:29):
Wow.

Speaker 1 (01:07:30):
It is perhaps fitting then that one of the first
jerky steps this country took towards a quality happened when
poor free white men were buried across the field from
a graveyard for slaves and freedmen of the Leaf and
Custis families. Right, this is one of the first things
that happens with Arlington is you have poor white men
buried in the same place, in.

Speaker 2 (01:07:51):
A place, Yeah, got a start somewhere.

Speaker 1 (01:07:54):
I guess. Yeah. The need for burial space only increased
as the summer of eighteen sixty, war On and Meeks
recommended that the land around Arlington Mansion be turned into
a national cemetery. A separate chunk of the property was
turned into a village for newly freed former slaves. So
like there's like a little town there for people who

(01:08:14):
have just gotten freed on the former custus property. And
this is done out of spite. Yeah, it's totally done. Yeah.
Meegs is not just doing this because it's necessary. He's
doing this because fuck Robert E. Lee. Yeah, exactly. Quote
Meeg's evicted officers from the mansion, installed a military chaplain
and a loyal lieutenant to oversee cemetary operations, and proceeded

(01:08:36):
with new burials encircling Missus Lee's garden with the tombstones
of prominent Union officers. The first of these was Captain
Albert H. Packard of the thirty first Main Infantry, shot
in the head during the Battle of the Second Wilderness.
He was laid to rest where Mary Lee had enjoyed
reading in warm weather, surrounded by the scent of honeysuckle
and jasmine. By the end of eighteen sixty four, some
forty officers graves had joined his and in short order

(01:09:00):
Meigs adds the remains of more than two thousand unknown soldiers,
many of them knew immigrants, whose first act, after a
arriving to this nation in total poverty, was to fight
and die in the cause of liberty. These men were
buried in Mary Lee's former garden as well, which is
you know, a purposeful.

Speaker 3 (01:09:16):
Move yeah, yeah, a symbol for for yeah generations to
come yep.

Speaker 1 (01:09:23):
By October of eighteen sixty four, the war had claimed
Meegs's son as well. He was shot while scouting in
the Shenandoah, and while he was not buried in Arlington,
his loss deepened Meegs's commitment that Arlington should never return
to the Lee's possession. When Roberty Lee is surrendered on
April ninth, eighteen sixty five, Meegs wrote this, the rebels
are all murderers of my son and the sons of

(01:09:45):
hundreds of thousands. Justice seems not satisfied if they escaped
judicial trial and execution by the government which they have
betrayed and attacked, and those people loyal and disloyal that
they have slaughtered, and I agree with them. We should
have killed all these guys. Yeah, we should have exec
acted Lee. We should have executed Davis. It was the
only ethical thing to do. We didn't do it, and
that's a lingering mistake. It remains a mistake to this day.

(01:10:08):
That said, Meegus in his actions ensures some sort of
vengeance to Roberty Lee. Not enough, but it's something. Lee
lives another five years after the Civil War, and he
is unfortunately widely respected both as a symbol of white
supremacist rebellion and as a symbol of the attempt at
unity after the Civil War. That said, he never sees

(01:10:30):
Arlington again lost cause. Historians paint this last chapter of
his life as a crucial period for the United States.
As biographer Douglas Freeman claimed, Lee the Warrior became Lee
the Conciliator within less than five months from appomatics, he
was telling Southern men to abandon all opposition, to regard
the United States as their country, and to labor for

(01:10:51):
harmony and better understanding. Seldom had a famous man so
completely reversed himself in so brief that time, and never
more sincerely, And it's true true that Lee regularly expressed
advocacy for reunification. His last job was as president of
Washington College, and we can view this as his consolation prize.
He doesn't get to be the George Washington of a

(01:11:12):
new country, but he gets to run a college named
after him. Yeah. In a letter accepting the job, he stated,
I think it is the duty of every citizen, in
the present condition of the country to do all of
his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony,
and in no way oppose the policy of the state
or general governments directed to that object. It is particularly

(01:11:33):
incumbent on those charged with the instruction of the young
to set them an example of submission to authority. Interesting,
I'm like.

Speaker 3 (01:11:44):
You had a chance, you could have This could have
gone so different.

Speaker 1 (01:11:49):
And it is also not accurate to say that he
was this this configure of conciliation as we're building towards right.

Speaker 2 (01:11:57):
He was not.

Speaker 1 (01:11:58):
We have to see that statement he just made in context.
Reconstruction had just begun and it faced tremendous and often
violent resistance. Lee did on paper, in some of his
public statements, seemed to oppose insurgent attempts to fight reconstruction,
but his heart had not changed, and in private he
complained to his friend and fellow General EGW. Butler, we

(01:12:21):
are obliged to confess that, notwithstanding our boastful assertions to
the world for nearly a century, that our government was
based on the consent of the people, which we claimed
was the only rightful foundation on which any government could stand.
It rests upon force as much as any government that
ever existed. And while that's true, what about your keeping slaves?
And what about the enforcement of a racial hierarchy? Right like,

(01:12:44):
Lee doesn't care about the fact that the government enforces
it shit through violence. He's just angry he lost. You know,
he and his friends were worse at doing violence. In
rampant correspondence with influential friends around the country, Lee harangued
the North for what he viewed as it unconstitutional imposition
on the South. His reputation as a uniter is based

(01:13:05):
on a couple of public statements and at odds with
his actual behavior. In eighteen sixty six, the old Colonel
for he was never made general in the army of
a recognized nation, was interviewed by the Duke of Argyle.
Here he sketched out the early dimensions of what became
Lost Cause mythology. The relations between the negroes and the
whites were friendly formerly and would remain so if legislation

(01:13:28):
be not passed in favor of the blacks in a
way that will only do them harm. Yeah, friendly, friendly,
Do I need to reread the quotes of you whipping
people like yeah, yeah, friendly.

Speaker 2 (01:13:40):
Yeah, yeah, I cannot wait.

Speaker 3 (01:13:44):
I cannot wait for when we get to do the
Lost Cause stuff and that and the role that that actual.

Speaker 2 (01:13:51):
Yeah well, I mean like sick. Most black people liked it,
like that was.

Speaker 3 (01:13:57):
Fine, fine for you guys came out there and told
them they were slaves.

Speaker 1 (01:14:01):
They didn't even know now. Alan Nolan goes on to
summarize Lee then continued that the North was raising up
feelings of race and argue that laws in behalf of
the blacks would not work to their advantage and would
keep alive bad blood in the South against the North.
The Southeast stated should be left alone. The contrary, course

(01:14:22):
was provocative of Southern hostility. He continued, The Southerners took
up arms. Honestly, surely it is to be desired that
the goodwill of our people be encouraged and there should
be no inciting them against the North. And what he's
saying here is it's not fair we lost, and even
though we did, we should get to act like we won. Yeah, right,
well just leave us alone. That can you not just

(01:14:44):
pretend we won? No, you lost, you lost.

Speaker 3 (01:14:48):
Yeah, and they're trying to do like whoever smelted delted racism? Yeah,
they're like yeah, yeah, like you know who only talks
about racism is racist? So yeah, you shouldn't have came
Downren told him that.

Speaker 1 (01:15:00):
Yeah, like by trying to enforce laws letting black people vote,
you're the ones being violent.

Speaker 2 (01:15:05):
Yeah, right, no, that is what you're Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:15:08):
It's got it. It's so the same as the shit
people say today.

Speaker 2 (01:15:13):
Right. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:15:14):
Anyway, Lee did not keep his activism private. In eighteen
sixty eight, Union General William Rosecranz, a Democrat, commissioned the
writing of a letter that would lay out the supposed
views of the Southern people about their defeat and what
should come after. It complained that although Southerners had no
unfriendly feelings towards the government anymore, their rights were being

(01:15:34):
infringed by laws enforcing black civil rights. This they insisted
was not due to racism or their desire to enforce
a racial hierarchy. They have grown up in our midst
and we have been accustomed from childhood to look upon
them with kindness. This change in the relation of the
two races has brought no change in our feelings towards them.
They still constitute an important part of our laboring population.

(01:15:56):
Without their labor, the lands of the South would be
comparatively unproduct and without the employment which Southern agriculture affords,
they would be destitute of a means of subsistence and
become paupers dependent upon public bounty. It's such a no,
we don't hate them. We need them to do the
work that we're not going to do. We just don't
want them to have any rights.

Speaker 3 (01:16:17):
Listen, But like, okay, hear me out, if they don't
have to work our fields, Deman, we have to.

Speaker 1 (01:16:27):
Yeah, And that's not fair.

Speaker 2 (01:16:29):
That's not fair.

Speaker 1 (01:16:32):
Lee doesn't just sign this letter, he actively pushes other
former Confederates to sign it as well. And while that
letter is obviously racist as fuck, what Lee said in
person is even worse. Alan Nolan recounts one incident during
a visit of Lee to his cousin Thomas Carter. In
discussing farming, Lee advised Carter not to depend on labor

(01:16:52):
for the ninety or so blacks who still lived on
the place the government would, Lee said provide for them.
Carter should employ white people, and then drew a comparison that,
like many racist comments since Delton, stereotypes and completely disregarded
the cause and effect where race is concerned. I have
always observed that wherever you find the Negro, everything is
going down around him, and wherever you find the white man,

(01:17:13):
you see everything around him improving. And I think that's
funny from a man who led his side to a
defeat so bad that its cities were burnt to the
fucking ground. Was everything going down around you at the
in eighteen sixty five? How was the South doing, Bobby Lee,
after you and your friends were in charge for five years?
Was it all improving?

Speaker 2 (01:17:34):
Yeah?

Speaker 1 (01:17:36):
Yeah, just watching Sherman Burness crops and going, wow, we've
really improved the South. Things are looking up for us now.

Speaker 3 (01:17:44):
Listen, man, this had been so much better, like we
were in charge.

Speaker 5 (01:17:47):
It's such a funny thing for him, specifically to say,
like you guys were in charge and you destroyed your
entire culture.

Speaker 2 (01:17:58):
Yeah, and I should let me be in charge. Wait what.

Speaker 1 (01:18:02):
Hir? Yeah, so all of this is infuriating. I do
think it punctures the myth that Lee was this great
uniter after the war. But because of how infuriating this is,
I want to end us on a happier note. The
end of the winding story of Robert E. Lee's supposedly
beloved plantation Arlington, his wife Mary Lee wrote to one

(01:18:24):
friend that the occupation of her family land enraged her
is so much that she could not write quote with
composure about it. She howled she was particularly angry that
the graves of poor men quote are planted up next
to the very door without any regard to common decency.
If justice and law are not utterly extinct.

Speaker 2 (01:18:42):
In the US, I will have it back.

Speaker 1 (01:18:45):
And again this is part of like there, these are
poor men, how dare they bury them on my family land?

Speaker 2 (01:18:50):
Oh? My god, have you no manners?

Speaker 1 (01:18:54):
Yeah?

Speaker 2 (01:18:54):
Like word, that's what you worried about? Okay.

Speaker 1 (01:18:58):
Bobby Lee tries in secret to get this property back
for his wife's family. He asks a lawyer friend to
find a path for him to take retake possession and
stop the government from burying soldiers there. Robert Poole writes
quote Lee made a clandestine visit to the old estate
in the Autumner winter of eighteen sixty five. He concluded
that the place could be made habitable again if a

(01:19:19):
wall was built to screen the graves from the mansion.
But Smith Lee made the mistake of sharing his views
with the cemetery superintendent, who dutifully shared them with Meegs,
along with the mystery visitor's identity. While the Les worked
to reclaim Arlington, Meegs urged Edwards Edwin Stanton in early
eighteen sixty six to make sure the government had sound
title to the cemetery. The land had been consecrated by

(01:19:41):
the remains buried there and could not be given back
to the Lees. He insisted, striking a refrain he would
repeat in the years since. Yet the Lees clung to
the hope that Arlington might be returned to the family,
if not to Missus Lee, than to one of their sons.
The former General was quietly pursuing this objective when he
met with his lawyers for the last time in July
eighteen seventy. The prospect does not look promising he reported

(01:20:02):
to Mary and I I love Meigs. I love that
he's like he sees how important this is to them
and is like, well, I can't make the government kill them,
but I can damn sure make sure they never get
to step foot in that fucking house again. I also
love Mary's like their cousin Smith is like, well, we
can make the property. We just have to build a
wall between the graves of all those deady.

Speaker 2 (01:20:25):
Walk outside.

Speaker 3 (01:20:27):
Yard.

Speaker 2 (01:20:27):
It's wall.

Speaker 1 (01:20:28):
It's such a just and the degree of what a
disgusting person to be, like, well, I can't. You can't
expect me to look at poor men's graves, the men
who died fighting for liberties graves like I can't. How sickening,
what a bad imagine.

Speaker 2 (01:20:44):
How bad you could miss the point? Yeah, just like
take the l, like just just.

Speaker 3 (01:20:51):
Take the l and yeah, yeah, shout out megs did
being like be it like, oh word, hey homie, I
don't know how it is to tell you it this
Saint jo Land. Yeah you are not just out of yes,
like we broke up. Stop texting me like we're not together.
It's not show Land as a matter of fact, like

(01:21:11):
it like good thing means had like some kooth because
at that point I'm burying somebody like in the living room.

Speaker 2 (01:21:18):
Yeah, I'm like, all right, you know you're not getting
a picture. Mm hmmm.

Speaker 3 (01:21:21):
Put put this coffee right here on your porch where
you catch the vapors and drink your sweet tea. Actually,
no shade on sweet tea. That's one of the most
things that fact has ever given us.

Speaker 1 (01:21:32):
Roberty Lee Guys October twelfth, eighteen seventy. Now some will
argue that this was the tragic result of a night
of furious love making with this horse traveler. Some historians
say it's likely that it was caused by a stroke
in September that debilitated and he died of pneumonia.

Speaker 2 (01:21:48):
Who is success stroke if you know what I mean.

Speaker 1 (01:21:51):
Yeah. Now, the one mercy we have here is that
his stroke caused of him to have a phasia. So
we don't know his last words because he wasn't really
able to talk after he was thankfully right. Yes, one
claim is that he was like giving orders to his
old subordinates to advance. You know, we don't really know
what if he actually got anything out, though by the

(01:22:13):
time he died his myth was well established. Frederick Douglas
expressed rage that the hagiographic reaction to his passing even
in northern media, quote, we can scarcely take up a
newspaper that is not filled with nauseating flatteries of lee,
from which it would seem that the soldier who kills
the most men in battle, even in a bad cause,
is the greatest Christian and entitled to the highest place

(01:22:36):
in heaven. And uh yeah, I feel you.

Speaker 3 (01:22:40):
Feel you there, fred Oh, Freddy, Freddy with the Afro
bro You're keeping it real because it's like this is
it's so infuriating.

Speaker 2 (01:22:48):
Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:22:50):
Afterwards, Mary was left alone in her quest to regain Arlington.
She formally begged Congress to not just revisit federal ownership
of the property, but to put together a plan to
remove the bodies of the dead men interred there. Effectively,
she wanted to desecrate a cemetery, yes, filled with the
brave men her husband had killed with his treason. The
proposal lost fifty four to four. Oh of course, it

(01:23:13):
is yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:23:18):
You shouldn't have married him.

Speaker 3 (01:23:19):
Okay, he's like, this was my daddy's house.

Speaker 2 (01:23:23):
His dumb ass. It's like, ma'am, that is your husband.

Speaker 1 (01:23:27):
Mm hmm, that is your husband, so shameful, yes, boohoo.
So the media farer over her attempt to consecrate or
to or he attempt to take back Arlington. This is
what consecrates it as a symbol of the Union, right,
and like that is part of why, like to this day,
it's the military cemetery. It's where you can be buried

(01:23:49):
if you were a veteran. Freedmen continued to stay on
the property for decades. They had children, and they built
lives for themselves and houses built by the army. Meigs
also remained, but twenty years, turning the property into a
temple for the honored dead. Mary Lee would see it
only one more time in eighteen seventy three. She like
visits to like just kind of look at it one

(01:24:10):
last time, and she expressed the feeling that it had
been so changed that she no longer recognized the place.
So I'm glad we got to stick that knife in.

Speaker 2 (01:24:18):
Her own guest. Yeah before you yeah, yeah, before you died.

Speaker 1 (01:24:21):
The Lee family does. Eventually, there's like court cases and
it's it's determined that because she made a good faith
attempt to pay the government hadn't been entirely legal, So
we have to the government has to pay the Lee
family like one hundred and fifty grand, which I think
is bullshit. But they don't ever get the property back,
and so that's as close to a happy ending. That
and the fact that they lost the war as you

(01:24:43):
ever get on this show.

Speaker 2 (01:24:44):
So this could have gotten much worse.

Speaker 1 (01:24:46):
Yes, Yeah, there we go. Man, that is behind the bastards.

Speaker 2 (01:24:51):
Robert motherfucking e Lee. Yep, what a guy, man.

Speaker 3 (01:24:55):
I dude, some people were just so obviously a tool
that you're just like.

Speaker 2 (01:25:02):
Are we still talking about this guy? He's such a tool. Yeah,
he sure was.

Speaker 1 (01:25:08):
But now he's dead and now he's well Prop, that's
the that's the show.

Speaker 3 (01:25:14):
Yeah, is that the Anderson.

Speaker 2 (01:25:16):
Ye dog outside and now she's all yeah, she got
all Rottweiler on us represent mm hmmm what do you think?

Speaker 3 (01:25:27):
Oh?

Speaker 1 (01:25:28):
She said, fuck Robert E.

Speaker 3 (01:25:29):
Lee.

Speaker 2 (01:25:29):
I'm glad he's dead and thank you.

Speaker 1 (01:25:34):
Well Prop, you got anything the plug?

Speaker 3 (01:25:37):
Yeah, man, prop hip hop dot com. There's some poetry,
some music, clink you to hood politics, will PROP the
podcast on cool Zone Media where we're really giving y'all
a business man and and uh, yeah, it's good times.

Speaker 2 (01:25:55):
I'm glad to be a part of his.

Speaker 1 (01:25:57):
Yeah, well, we are glad to have you, and we
are glad to be done talking about Robert E.

Speaker 2 (01:26:02):
Lee.

Speaker 1 (01:26:02):
So check in next week where you will have a
bastard that's not fucking Roberty Lee. Yeah, because we did
him and he's dead.

Speaker 3 (01:26:10):
Yes, and we're going to do a Lost Cause episode specifically,
right yeah, no, that's on my feet.

Speaker 2 (01:26:15):
Ye yeah you guys.

Speaker 3 (01:26:17):
Yeah, like we've been talking about around like what it like,
we're going to do show all the politics that's like, okay,
this is the Loss Cause, these are the six points,
this is how it grew, this why is not dead yet? Yep?

Speaker 1 (01:26:30):
Check that out. So check it out. You can get
the ad free version of this show if you go
to cooler Zone Media and you can find my book
After the Revolution wherever books are sold. Just type it
into Google with ak press or type it into whatever
you use Amazon. I don't care ask a bookseller, you know. Anyway, Goodbye,

(01:26:51):
We're done.

Speaker 2 (01:26:52):
Gooses Behind the Bastards is a production a cool Zone Media.
For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website Coolzonemedia
dot com or check us out on the iHeartRadio app.
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