Look Alike Historians bring a message from the Past
The officers and members of the 16th Regiment South Carolina Volunteers Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 36 welcomed guests from as far away as Germany and Hungary to their annual Lee-Jackson Banquet.
Robert Edward Lee was born January 19, 1807, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was born January 21, 1824.
The beloved General Lee, having been the Commandant at West Point, was offered command of the Union Army by the Lincoln Administration, declined and chose to defend Virginia instead. He survived the war, became a college president and led the former Confederacy in the healing process and return to the union.
General Jackson, a graduate of West Point also, was wounded at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and died eight days later from the wounds. Both Lee and Jackson are textbook examples of excellent combat generals. Jackson was a brilliant tactician and Lee is known worldwide as the greatest military leader the world has known.
For more than one-hundred years, and prior to the Obama Administration, the character and leadership qualities of Lee were taught in all United States military academies and war colleges.
The words of President Dwight Eisenhower provide a glimpse of the reverence military officers who know the true history of General Lee have for the great man. Eisenhower had a portrait of Lee hanging in his White House office. When asked why, he answered in a letter:
“General Robert E. Lee was in my consideration, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our nation. He believed unswervingly in the constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America. He was thoughtful, yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in God. Taken all together, he was noble as a leader and as a man., and unsullied as I read the pages of our history.
“From Deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s character would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.
“Such are the reasons that I proudly display the picture of this great American on my office wall.”
There are divisive groups today and throughout history who stir up hatred among Americans by rewriting history and attacking the honor of Robert E. Lee and the troops he led. The Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1906 were given a charge by aging Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee. It concluded with these words:
“Remember it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.” Members of the 16th Regiment, SCV are committed to that duty.