I am writing an essay on the history of the Lees of Virginia for my father. His mother (my grandmother), Julia Margaret Lee, is the great-grandchild (10x) of Richard Henry "The Immigrant" Lee I. Revolutionary War hero General Lighthorse-Harry Lee and Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee are cousins to our family, descending from another son of Richard Henry "The Immigrant" Lee. While researching the paper I am writing, I came across the funeral message preached at Robert E. Lee's funeral. By all accounts this man was a genuine Spirit-filled man, known for his virtue and character. One can't help reading the funeral message, however, and realizing that when Christian men like Robert E. Lee feel compelled to go to war against their brothers, this world is truly living under a curse.
After the Civil War, both sides gave tribute to the gentleman soldier Robert E. Lee. He became President of a university in Lexington, Virginia that now bears both his name and that of the founder of our country--Washington and Lee University. While persuing this university's excellent collection of Lee papers, I came across the following anecdote of Robert E. Lee that spoke to my heart:
Robert E. Lee was once asked what he thought of the efficiency of a certain officer of the army. The officer in question had professed to be Lee's bitter enemy. Robert E. Lee spoke very complimentary of the officer. A friend of Lee interrupted him and said, “That man is your worse enemy!” Lee replied by saying “I was asked what I thought of him, not what he thought of me.”The world would be a better place were we all able to exhibit Lee's charitable spirit toward those who consider us their enemy.