Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee by J Steven Wilkins
Read: December 27 - December 29
Format: Hardback 332 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: Robert E. Lee
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
"Any man honored by both his enemies and his compatriots is a man worthy of our closest attentions" and Robert E. Lee is definitely a man worthy of attention. Even to this day, Northerners and Southerners maintain that his character was above reproach.
Historians of his day as well as those of current day, respectfully and unequivocally state virtues that made him the man he was - spiritualism, devotion to family, courage, dedication to duty, self-control, self-denial - the list goes on and on.
Realizing that Lee embodied these incomparable traits, how was he drawn to become the focal point of the Confederacy's battle for independence? The inner core of Robert E. Lee was a Virginian. Throughout his early life, his dedication to duty - whether it be the care of his ailing mother, his own family, or military service (he never received a demerit while attending West Point) - Robert E. Lee always put duty above all else. So that when his native state seceded from the Union, Lee felt compelled to go with her. He wrote to his sister "With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native state, with sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword."
Lee's military genius was recognized by both North and South. It is frequently commented that if Lee had been in command of the Northern forces (a position offered to him and which he declined), the Civil War would have ended in 6 months, possibly a year at most. He took command of the Virginia forces and immediately increased discipline, ended favoritism, instituted work details, improved supply service, and removed incompetent officers in such a way as not to disgrace them maintaining their support to duty.
As commander of the forces, when errors occurred in combat, he was the first to assume the responsibility rather than identifying others to blame. His men saw only the nobility of the man even in treatment to his enemies. It is unfortunate that such a great man will always be remembered as the general a losing cause rather than the man of principle and dignity that he truly was.
I thought that this was a tremendous book detailing the dignity and service of this great man. I would recommend it to anyone looking to see how a military man could also be a man of peace and gentility.