Robert Edward Lee was an American Civil War general. He was appointed the overall commander of the Confederate States Army. He was a strong and successful commander and commanded a large army in a difficult campaign. However, he was not without controversy. This article will discuss his ambivalence, from his plan to seize Culp’s Hill to his treatment of enslaved people.
robert e lee’s ambivalence
Robert E Lee was an American general who fought in the American Civil War. During his long military career, he opposed slavery and secession. He later advocated reconciliation between the North and the South while president of Washington College, which later became Washington and Lee University. However, his ambivalence came to light when his Army of Northern Virginia invaded Pennsylvania and kidnapped fugitive slaves for their former masters. Even though Lee warned his troops to avoid barbarism and violence against the unarmed, he didn’t prevent the kidnappings.
Lee’s strategy of war entailed high risk and limited resources. His intention was to destroy the enemy’s army and to intimidate Northerners. By using ferocious tactics at each battle, he hoped to completely annihilate the Union army. While these theatrical victories inspired the Southern public, his method of warfare did not prove as successful against railroads and improved weaponry.
his plan to seize Culp’s Hill
On April 4, Lee’s plan to seize Culpe’s Hill was thwarted when a Confederate reconnaissance party encountered a Union picket line on the east slope. The Confederates lost several soldiers during the reconnoitering mission. As a result, Lee was unable to turn the Union’s right flank and penetrate the Union’s center.
Union reserves were sent to the left to shore up the Union’s defenses. However, the 12th Corps had misunderstood the order to send reinforcements. As a result, brigades led by Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Kane and Col. Charles Candy departed to reinforce the Union’s left. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. George S. Greene’s men were holding the long defensive line on Culp’s Hill.
Lee’s plan to seize Culpe’s Hill was based on a few assumptions. Union Major General George Gordon Meade had forecast a heavy Confederate assault on July 2 and that this attack would weaken the Union center. Lee also believed that the Confederate assaults on July 2 were disjointed and uncoordinated. As a result, Lee had to improvise.
his treatment of enslaved peoples
The controversial issue of Robert E Lee’s treatment of ensnared peoples has polarized opinion and history. Although he is often referred to as an “emancipator,” his actions put him on the darker side of slavery. His actions included sending enslaved peoples south and breaking up slave families, which went against social norms and endangered the future of legally freed slaves.
The history of slavery and the treatment of enslaved peoples in the United States is well documented. Although Douglas Southall Freeman asserted that Lee said little of consequence about slavery, Lee actually wrote hundreds of letters and took part in the institution. Moreover, his strong opinions were reflected in his letters. As a result, a rich cache of information has been discovered about Lee’s treatment of enslaved peoples.
The Civil War polarized the nation, and Robert E Lee exhibited both sides of the conflict. While he was a staunch opponent of secession, he was also opposed to slavery. When he was president of Washington College, which would later become Washington and Lee University, Lee advocated for reconciliation between the North and South. However, in 1863, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia invaded Pennsylvania. During the invasion, some of Lee’s units kidnapped fugitive slaves and returned them to their former masters. Though Lee urged his soldiers to avoid such barbarism, he did not do enough to stop the kidnappings.
In the same way that Lee had extreme aversions to both slavery and the Confederacy, he also exhibited great courage in times of need. His leadership exemplified the virtues of caution and vigilance, but it was also a reaction to the political realities of the day.
Lee set up a two-part offensive that included a frontal assault across a mile of open ground. One part of his corps was to encircle the Union right flank while another would strike the enemy’s left flank. This plan was controversial, and Longstreet objected, but Lee was adamant in his conviction.
After a series of Confederate victories in Virginia, Lee sought to build on this success by taking the war across the Potomac River. However, his bold maneuverings did not end well, and he was forced to retreat from Maryland after the Battle of Antietam. The three-month operation refocused the war’s attention from Richmond to the Potomac frontier. It was also Lee’s grand debut as a field commander.
Although Lee never directly defended the upper crossings, he was aware of their weakness. His left flank had a smaller advantage than his center of mass. In addition, he anchored his left flank away from the creek to keep the Hagerstown Pike under his control.