The Press Has Slandered My Husband

The press has been busy spreading falsehoods about my husband.  In the daily newspaper’s they call him a traitor and an ingrate.  How can this be?  My husband gave the United States years of duty and service.  Nothing broke his heart more than to have to resign his commission. One newspaperman wrote, “Lee once professed to greatly venerate the memory and example of the great Washington. He even married the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis who never tired of writing and eloquently portraying the virtues and eminent deeds of the Father of his Country if he could have lived until now, he would have good cause to be bowed down in grief and sorrow to behold his son-in-law following in the footsteps of Benedict Arnold.”

How can someone say this about my husband who wanted nothing more than for civil war to be averted?  He did not make his decision lightly.  It taxed him greatly as it has many of his friends.  Our family has given everything it can for this country. It is not our fault that President Lincoln has assembled such an army that it could only be his intent to crush the South.

Can people not realize that the decision to fight against the army he served has cost my husband a great deal?  Friends and family alike have turned their back on him and refuse to understand.  The North has caused people to choose between the country and their state.  How can people choose between a country they have never seen all of and a state in which they have lived all their lives?  Would the press have my husband fight against his fellow Virginians?  Is it not enough that he suffers as he fights against his friends and mentors?

This war has caused grief among the entire country.  The blame should fall on those who could not compromise to save this glorious union not the men who have chosen to fight.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Press Has Slandered My Husband

  1. A. Delery

    I believe I read that Virginia (via Jefferson Davis?) responded to the charge that Lee “used” the United States to pay for his West Point education by reminding the public that each state paid to support West Point. Virginia paid its share; Lee, a Virginian, received his education. Am I correct?

    • Off the top of my head I can’t remember if it was Jefferson Davis who said that but it did reflect a general feeling that Southerners had toward any West Point obligation. Certainly the states did contribute to West Point through taxes, etc. but Northerners argued that that reasoning blurred the distinction that West Point was a federal institution and so the states were obligated to fund it. This gets into a debate over the boundaries of federalism, which, of course, is a very murky one we still argue about.

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