Robert E. Lee Retires

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 3.26.36 PMOr at least the Al Stone version is retiring. You may have come across this fellow doing Lee impressions over the past many years at various Civil War events. I’ll admit that Mr. Stone does a pretty decent job recreating the look (though he is a little long in the tooth these days), and I’ll go out on a limb here…the sentiment of the legendary Confederate general during the war.

Stone’s past impression reflects the “true,” from a Confederate perspective, story of the War of Northern Aggression. Though Stone is retiring his Confederate gray in 2015, appropriately at Appomattox, he will continue to make a few appearances as Lee the post-war civilian. Said Stone, “It’s time to retire my impression and enjoy the twilight years with my wife and family. I propose to continue teaching the true history of the contest and maybe [make] three to five appearances each year as General Lee, the educator.”

We should remember that when the real Lee settled into his job at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia  – where he served as president for the remainder of his life – he preached a spirit of public conciliation, while privately he remained just about as bitterly partisan concerning the South, the Confederacy, and defeat as anyone. I wonder if Stone will portray the public conciliator Lee or the private bitter one. We shall see…

With compliments,

Keith

2 thoughts on “Robert E. Lee Retires”

  1. Keith,

    I am always amazed by the level of public interest in the US Civil War versus more recent conflicts, including Korea, Vietnam, World War 1. People have a fascination with Americans fighting Americans, who wouldn’t. I do think that General Lee’s decision to surrender in the way he did set a tone that helped heal the nation in some ways, but not others. In this same way I think President Lincoln, prior to his assassination, sought to bind the country back together even at the cost of compromising on some goals.

    Luke

    1. I agree with your assessment. One thing I would add…there is an enormous interest in WWII veterans these days. Especially as their ranks are thinning in great numbers.

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