Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

Happy Robert E. Lee Day! Today is the 200th birthday of one of the finest men ever to walk American soil. Today we honor him and praise the Lord for the example we have in men such as he was.

Most well-known for his role as general of the army of Northern Virginia during the War of Northern Aggression, Lee also served in the Mexican-American war and in various capacities at West Point and Washington College (later Washington and Lee College). Lee was a faithful Christian soldier and unlike many of his northern counterparts, acted nobly and principally in his leadership role as general. Compare him, for example, to the likes of William T. Sherman or Ulysses S. Grant of whom 19th century English historian/author G.A. Henty writes:

[Grant’s warfare tactic]… was a terrible programme and involved an expenditure of life far beyond anything that had taken place. Grant’s plan, in fact, was to fight and to keep on fighting, regardless of his own losses, until at last the Confederate army, whose losses could not be replaced, melted away. It was a strategy that few generals have dared to practise, and fewer still to acknowledge. — from With Lee in Virginia, G.A. Henty

stars-and-barsAlthough the war was lost, the integrity of his character and the memory of his Christian nobility will never be forgotten. He acted with courage and did not act pragmatically when facing seemingly impossible odds. His unflinching trust in the sovereignty of God can be a lesson to each of us. To end the post… not only my favourite quote by Lee, but one of my very favourites by anyone:

The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope. —Robert E. Lee