Robert E. Lee for Writers.

English: Confederate General Robert E. Lee pos...

English: Confederate General Robert E. Lee poses in a late April 1865( ) portrait taken by Mathew Brady in Richmond, Virginia. Lee’s surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on 9 April 1865, soon before this portrait was taken, marked the end of the American Civil War. Dust and scratches removed by Thegreenj (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading a book about using Robert E. Lee for business.  The theme was making do with limited resources, but also being honorable.

Well, I came up with an idea.  What about for writers?  Taking his life and its different aspects.

1.  Examining yourself.  Robert E. Lee’s father was the Revolutionary War Hero Harry “Light Horse” Lee.  Dad was a bit of a wastrel and left the family high and dry.  What’s inside yourself that can hold you back?

2.  Resources.  Most of Robert E. Lee’s Army career was in the Army Corps of Engineers.  He entered the Army in the first place, because he couldn’t afford higher education otherwise.  He learned how to make do with as little as possible, when getting supplies to complete a project.  This happened even more so when he commanded the Army of Northern Virginia.  Supplies in an already cash strapped Confederacy were hard to come by.   He had to work to raise money for Washington College (Now Washington and Lee University).   He had to learn to make do, as do most writers.  We have to market our product.    We have to budget our time.


3.  Never stop learning!  After attending West Point, Robert E. Lee later became its Superintendent.  After the Civil War, he had all kinds of offers to make a lot of money by being a figurehead for various companies.  He chose to run Washington College to make a difference.  As a writer, you need to keep learning and teaching.

4.  Last but not least, be honorable!  Be the last one to speak, but stand up when needed.  As a writer act with honor, act professionally!

You may not approve of the cause he fought for.  He saw it as a bad idea, but once his beloved state of Virginia seceded from the Union, he felt he had no choice.  (He was offered command of the Union Army and would have accepted, but for Virginia.  Just another historical “What if)?”

I plan to present this at some conferences near you.  Stay tuned.


About tucsonmike

I am originally from Brooklyn, New York and now live in Tucson, Arizona. I have discovered a passion for writing. I have five books out now, with a sixth on the way. Take a look @ my book list: The Search for Livingstone An Affair of the Heart The Search for Otzi Griffith Justice in Space. Moriarty The Life and Times of a Criminal Genius Available now on Smashwords - Amazon and Barnes and Noble As to not bore my public with just "Buy my book," I am also interested in baseball, the outdoors, art, architecture, technology, the human mind and DNA. I learned Ashkenazi Jews, of which I am one, have to lowest rate of Alzheimer's in the world. Therefore, I treat my brain as a muscle needing a workout. I enjoy good food, flirtation, beautiful women (I am happily married for thirty years), so just flirting ;) I was considered autistic when I was young, trying to figure out if I have a mild form of Aspergers and learning from that. That is for future posts. You can also see I love history. Enjoy my sarcastic silly look at the world, and making History more interesting than a textbook.
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5 Responses to Robert E. Lee for Writers.

  1. You gotta be kidding. I suggest you learn whats now coming out, thanks to Lee’s slave ledgers and dirty letters — yes, Lee wrote dirty letters, to various women, for years.

    And much more importantly, he kept detail slave ledgers — prices paid, bounties paid, whippings. It would be great if the Lee family allowed them to be published, but it took 150 years for them to let one person see them for study.

    The take away is not just about Lee — it’s about the ability of Myth to be repeated, added to, endlessly until it got goofy as hell. Lee was a dirty, mean man. he had slave girls stripped and whipped while he screamed at them, he sold children, he even bought women and children that were not slaves in their entire lives, but his bounty hunters found them in the North while looking for escaped slaves, and Lee bought them too!

    Lee also had his soldiers capture free women and children in the North during the war, chained, taken back south, and sold. I’d love to know what he did with the money, — my guess is, he kept it. He was a miser and tried to make money on slaves — he was obsessed with slaves, especially slave girls.

    While the book about his papers tries to desensationalize all this, it shows more than anyone dared to imagine.

    • tucsonmike says:

      OK, I never accepted the Douglas Freeman book completely. He did own slaves. Was he a racist? In 2013 terms, no doubt. So was President Lincoln, who backed shipping the freed slaves to Africa, because he felt black and white couldn’t live together. I am not saying I don’t believe the papers. I admit, I am only using a limited part of his background. Am I surprised he kept slaves? Hardly. He did own a plantation. Never said he was perfect, though of course much of the South did. I am glad you responded. I wanted to provoke discussion. The conference, I’m submitting this for is in the South. Takes the fun out of being a writer, if it can’t be controversial. 🙂

  2. Janet L. Brook says:

    I am a direct descendant of Charles Lee (Robert’s brother) on the distaff side of the family. Yes, they owned slaves, but were in the process of freeing them before the war started. The war was never about slavery, despite the propaganda. It was always, and remains a dispute over states rights verses federal authority. The Robert E. Lee that I am familiar with was always a gentleman, who treated everyone, slave, free, black, white, or whatever, with dignity.

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