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Robert E. Lee Event on Saturday

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Sons of Confederate Veterans are honoring the life of General Robert E. Lee on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the State Archives building in Montgomery.

The group announced in a statement, “Come Celebrate ROBERT E. LEE DAY January 21st at the Archives auditorium we will celebrate Robert E. Lee Day. The event will begin at 9:15 am with music by the Tallassee String Band. Our featured speaker will be Rev. John Killian. After the program we will go to the Confederate monument at the capitol building or you can tour the flag conservation Building. 624 Washington Ave, Montgomery, Al.”

General Lee’s birthday is actually on January 19, 1807; but the state celebrates it on a Monday with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. King’s birthday is actually January 15.

Southern Historical protection group said in a statement: The State of Alabama honors Robert E. Lee the great commanding general of the Confederate Army whose government was formed in Montgomery, Alabama on January 11, 1861. Recognized as a State holiday.

Robert E. Lee was born in Virginia, the son of Revolutionary War General “Light Horse” Harry Lee. Lee graduated from the military academy at West Point and went to distinguished career as an America military officer who played a key role in the Mexican-American War, fighting Indians in Texas, as commandant of West Point, and defeating John Brown’s attempted slave insurrection. His promotion to Colonel was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and he was offered a key command defending Washington D.C. After the Southern states (including Alabama) seceded and formed the Confederate States of America, Lee was one of the first five full generals named in the Confederate Army. He was named the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia after General Joseph E Johnston was wounded. Under Lee’s command the Army of Northern Virginia won a series of victories that likely extended the American Civil War. Major battles where Lee was the field commander included: the Seven Days Battles, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. Lee was finally given a promotion to General-in-chief of Confederate Forces in January 31, 1865. Lee was finally forced to surrender the capital of the Confederacy (Richmond, Virginia) after a lengthy siege on April 2, 1865. Lee extricated his army from that fight and was marching it south to link up with General Johnston’s Army of Tennessee when General Ulysses S. Grant’s much larger Army of the Potomac finally caught up with them near Appomattox Court House. Lee surrendered rather than see his army destroyed on April 9, 1865. Lee later was President of Washington College (now known as Washington and Lee). Lee died in 1870.

Generations of southerners have extolled the virtues of General Robert E. Lee and his life has been heavily studied by serious historians and Civil War buffs alike. In more recent times the high esteem that many southerners have given Lee and the “Lost Cause” have been attacked by liberals. There is currently an effort by some on the left in the legislature to de-link Robert E. Lee day and Martin Luther King Day. Gov. Robert Bentley (R) recently expressed openness to such a proposal. Bentley has been widely criticized by southern history groups for his decision to remove the Confederate flags from the First Whitehouse of the Confederacy and from the Confederate Veterans Memorial.

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April is Confederate History Month

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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