Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XII: Lee's Opinion upon the Late War: Shuns controversy and publicity

The Document

An interesting view of my father's desire to keep himself from public attention is shown by his correspondence with an English gentleman, Mr. Herbert C. Saunders. The connected interview states his opinions on several points which are valuable. The copy of these papers was kindly furnished me by Mr. John Lyle Campbell, the Proctor of Washington and Lee University:

"Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, January 19, 1900.

"Capt. Robert E. Lee, West Point, Virginia.

Dear Capt. Lee: I inclose the copy promised you of the papers found in General Lee's desk. The paper seems to have had his careful revision, as there are a good many passages stricken out and a good many insertions in what seems to me undoubtedly to be his handwriting; and I was very much interested in the changes that he made, as they were most characteristic of him--toning everything down, striking out adjectives, turning phrases from a personal to a general character, and always adding simplicity and force to the original. It seems to me most likely that he was a first disposed to allow the publication, but declined at last, on August 22d, the full limit of time indicated in Mr. Saunders's letter. I am Yours truly,

"(Dict.) Jno. L. Campbell."

Corresponds with an Englishman, Herbert C. Saunders

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How to cite this article

Lee, Robert E. jr., The Recollections & Letters of Robert E. Lee, webpage created by Rickard, J (8 June 2006),

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