Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Here's What Robert E Lee Thought About Confederate Monuments
The violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, in which one woman was killed and dozens more injured, stemmed from a protest led by white nationalists over the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
However, "it's often forgotten that Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments," Jonathan Horn, a Lee biographer, told PBS.
After the Civil War, Lee received several letters requesting support for the erection of Confederate memorials, according to Horn.
In June 1866, he wrote that a monument of one of his best generals, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, wasn't "feasible at this time."
In December of that year, he wrote of another proposed Confederate monument: "As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that, however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt, in the present condition of the country, would have the effect of retarding instead of accelerating its accomplishment, and of continuing if not adding to the difficulties under which the Southern people labor."
Not only did Lee oppose Confederate monuments, "he favored erasing battlefields from the landscape altogether," Horn wrote.
He even supported getting rid of the Confederate flag after the Civil War ended. He didn't want it flying above Washington College, of which he was president after the war.
"Lee did not want such divisive symbols following him to the grave," Horn wrote. "At his funeral in 1870, flags were notably absent from the procession. Former Confederate soldiers marching did not don their old military uniforms, and neither did the body they buried.
According to Horn, Lee's daughter wrote, "His Confederate uniform would have been 'treason' perhaps!"
"Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker," Horn told PBS. "He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive."
More from Business Insider:
- GETTYSBURG: Here's how the Civil War's most important battle was fought
- The US Air Force can create ice storms and sandstorms inside this 'torture chamber' for aircraft
- Chinese traders furious after UN sanctions cut off North Korean seafood supply
- The Chinese government is limiting overseas investment in property
- Why Spain has become a target for terrorists
Two military bases in Florida and one in Arizona will see heat indexes over 100 degrees four months out of every year if steps aren't taken to reduce carbon emissions, a new study warns.
This Veterans Day, two post-9/11 veterans-turned congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation to have a memorial commemorating the Global War on Terrorism built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Between 500 and 600 U.S. troops are expected to remain in Syria when all is said and done, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said on Sunday.
Milley's comments on ABC News' "This Week" indicate the U.S. military's footprint in Syria will end up being roughly half the size it was before Turkey invaded Kurdish-held northeast Syria last month.
Democratic contender and Navy vet Pete Buttigieg pledges to create better, more 'veteran-centric' VA
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — On Veterans Day, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is proposing a "veteran-centric" Department of Veterans Affairs that will honor the service of the men and women of the military who represent "the best of who we are and what we can be."
Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said service members are united by a "shared commitment to support and defend the United States" and in doing so they set an example "for us and the world, about the potential of the American experiment."
Democratic contender Bernie Sanders vows to rebuild the VA and improve healthcare services for veterans
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders promised on Monday to boost healthcare services for military veterans if he is elected, putting a priority on upgrading facilities and hiring more doctors and nurses for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
To mark Monday's Veterans Day holiday honoring those who served in the military, Sanders vowed to fill nearly 50,000 slots for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at facilities run by Veterans Affairs during his first year in office.
Sanders also called for at least $62 billion in new funding to repair, modernize and rebuild hospitals and clinics to meet what he called the "moral obligation" of providing quality care for those who served in the military.