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Monday, September 10, 2012


Moving this to soon.     Work in Progress. 

"Hang on Lee lovers -- this could be a bumpy ride." 


If Elizabeth Pryor could go back in time to  tell Robert E Lee one thing, it might be this: "Please, please General Lee, burn your slave ledgers."



Lee kept, apparently, very detailed slave ledgers.

And hundreds of letters -- some of them to and from bounty hunters. Lee kept those.  Yes, Lee used bounty hunters-- and slave auctions.

In those papers -- remember, in Lee's own handwriting -- are confirmation of things no one could have dreamed of for the last 50 years.  

For the last 50 years, there has been this stupid (yes stupid) myth of kind or honorable slave owners, epitimized by Lee. 

If Lee was  "one of the good ones" -- the bad ones must have been hell on earth.  Because at Lee's slave farm (that is what Lee owned - a slave farm, we will not use euphemism here) things were horrible for slaves -- so bad that according to Lee's own papers, the slaves said he was "the worst man" we ever saw.  

 The natural tendency for almost every "history teacher"  is to yap about "Well, Lee was not as bad as some say, and not as good as some say".   Let's forget that crapola BS.

Lets' learn what Lee did.  Who he tortured, why, who he bought, and why, who he sold, and why, would be a good place to start.  So let's start there.


Slavery -- contrary to what some say - was a violent enterprise.  Lee for example, not only had slave girls whipped,  he also sold them away from their family for more punishment -- and used various means of torture, as you will see.  The whip -- and after the whip, he had salt applied to their fresh wounds, according to eyewitnesses before the Civil War, and after the Civil War.

Pryor told you that, and more, but in a very very careful way.



Carefully -- very carefully.

As you will see, Pryor was a tad careful how she related this information.  Her goal was not to shock the public, or even knock the halo off Lee's head.

Her goal seem to be to praise Lee as much as possible, and minimize her news about torture, rapes, bounty hunters, buying and selling women (which he did) and use of slave auctions.

She opened her book with in typical style of the goofy biographies we have always read about Lee --excessive flattery, comparing Lee with Richard the Lionhearted, and his touching letter to his children about the family.

Yet euphemisms  aside, Pryor does tell us things that refute virtually the basic myth of Robert E Lee.


We need to start over -- and this time, show things like who Lee had tortured, why, and what he boasted of at the time.

Show the prices, the payments to bounty hunters.

Show the names and ages of the girls he bought illegally (yes illegally)  that bounty hunters caught  in the North (yes North) that were not slaves  until Lee made them so.

Show the names -- and photos -- of all white looking slave girls Lee owned.  As you will see, Lee owned white looking girls -- which means, he owned white girls.  You are white if you look white.  And Lee owned (as you will see) that Lee, per his own papers, white looking slave girls.

QUESTION: Who was the first person outside the Lee family to be able to study Lee's slave ledgers?


ANSWER: Elizabeth Pryor, shown above with Lee's papers.




Thanks to 150 years of Lee myth -  students have far greater chance to know the name of Lee's pet chicken  (Pearl) than to know about who Lee tortured -- and why.

Most of us today could think-- what else could we learn about Lee?

Don't we have over 200 books on his life? Maybe over a million articles written about him-- how brave he was, how religious, how anti slavery.

Dont we have children tour not just the chapel he is buried in, but tour the place his HORSE is buried in? 

And never once a mention of the names of the slave girls Lee had captured, never once a mention of the names of the "others"  Lee bought from bounty hunters.

Strange -- don't you think?  A  many buys women from bounty hunters, writes it down in his own slave ledgers, and all those teachers, all those student tours, all those "experts"  telling us how amazing Lee was,didn't even hint at such things.


Maybe the reason all these "historians"  didn't tell us about Lee's slave ledgers,  his purchase of kidnapped women,  the torture of slave girls, etc,  (even though Lee wrote such things down in his own slave ledgers)......

  is that no one told them about the slave ledgers- and what Lee actually did.

Until now.


Didn't he write a letter to his wife against slavery?

Don't we know every tiny bit about him -- his pet chicken, his food, his letters to his wife.  His prayers, his thoughts, his genius? 

We know he was brave, a patriot, hated slavery, right?

And how his men loved him?  

How his servants loved him "most of all."

He never owned a slave!   And he freed his wife's slaves as soon as possible.  Right?

That's all true -- right?




Virtually every child in Virginia is taught about Lee's letter to his wife -- that supposedly proved Lee was "violently" against slavery.

Uh - not so much.

First of all we now know of hundreds of other letters by Lee -- to bounty hunters for example -- that show Lee not only bought slaves, but he had bounty hunters capture and torture (torture is the right word) slave girls for trying to escape.

And much more.  Lee wrote it all down. 

 In his own ledgers, his own letters. And Elizabeth Pryor wrote a profoundly important book about what Lee wrote at the time.

Pryor --  a Lee devotee -- loved Lee, and worked with the Lee family and Virginia Historical Society.  She wrote in a way that was pleasing to them.


Pryor  did not  write candidly --nor did she pretend to.
 She never said it was candid -- in fact the subtitle was a give away -- a "portrait"  of Lee through his personal papers.

In a way Pryor she wrote two books at one time.  On the surface it seems Lee, while he tortured slave girls, was like other slave owners, and by golly he sure wrote nice letters to his children.

Pryor said he "had every right" to protect his property, in reference to the "discipline"  which turns out to be torture, literally torture.

By use of the silly, even absurd, euphemism for torture, for rape, for buying kidnapped women from bounty hunters, Pryor "tells you"  but does not spell it out clearly.

 While she did expose the horrors- -the rapes, the tortures, the killings even-- she did so in "careful" language.

And she refused (or the Lee family refused --who knows) to actually show anything horrific from his slave ledgers or bounty hunter letters.  Instead, she "relays"  the horrors, in a careful way -- as you will see, sometimes in Orwellian double speak nonsense (like "Lee's slaves did not completely agree with his theory of labor management). 

Still, as careful as she was in HOW she told it, she did tell it, in as soft and sweet way as anyone ever revealed tortures, rapes, and killings. 



In any honest study or discussion of slavery, there is one overarching truth.

Slavery was based on violence, spread by violence, and maintained by violence.

If anything, Lee was more cruel, not less cruel.

In the South, for example, it was a crime, punishable by public torture and prison, for those who SPOKE openly or tried to PREACH against slavery. 

Let me repeat that because most have no idea.   The South did not "ban" certain books. You could be arrested and tortured of owning a book the local judge considered "incendiary" -- which meant anything that could "dissatisfy"  as slave!

As if slaves were going to get these books, anyway. 

Mail was searched, ships were searched - and you did not even have to read the book -- or pamphlet -- but just have it in  your house, and you could be tortured in public and sent to prison!

That's the only reason slavery could continue in the South, and we should teach that.  If the people had free speech about slavery (remember, even preachers could be arrested for preaching against slavery).   Slave owners and slave power did not want, as happened in the North, that slavery be exposed as cruel, that slave owners be exposed as rapist and hateful.  


Men -- white men -- were tortured and killed for refusing to agree with slavery -- did you know that?

will be hard for Lee lovers to grasp any of this--if we can use that term -- or even for US history teacher who spread the BS in their class and demanded the studs know the BS well enough to repeat it on test. And here is a hint -- he was not only for slavery, he was for 
he torture of slaves.

And that letter to his wife that "proves"  Lee was "against slavery  -- read the whole thing.   Lee defended the torture of slaves -- claimed God knew and intended slaves feel "painful discipline".     

Wait till you find out about the painful discipline -- even of girls so small, that Lee's regular overseer refused to whip her.

Lee then had a bounty hunter whip the girl, and screamed at her as he had her tortured.

Let me repeat this -- he paid to have this girl captured.

He then paid to have her whipped.

And he screamed at her during the torture.


Thanks to 150 years of Lee myth -  students have far greater chance to know the name of Lee's pet chicken  (Pearl) than to know about who Lee tortured -- and why.

Lee also wrote that "abolitionist" were on an evil course,  "trying to destroy the American church."

  If that was not enough, Lee claimed, in writing, that slavery was a "spiritual freedom".

Spiritual freedom = slavery.  The founding fathers, Lee wrote idiotically, fought for this freedom.  The freedom to enslave.

Slaves were the fortunate ones, slavery was God's plan, and only GOD can end it.  Man should not try to end it -- God will end slavery in His time,  perhaps 2000  years.   

And how did Lee figure that whole "do unto the least of these principle"  in the bible?  Like all slave owners, Lee could show plenty of bible verses that approved slavery and the torture of slaves.  

Like all slave owners -- they had to justify in their heads (or at least tell their wives this crap, as Lee did) that God intended the slaves feel pain.  It was all God's plan. 



No one alive when Lee was alive said he was against slavery.   In fact he was known, in newspapers, for being a particularly cruel slavery in the incident of the torture of the small slave girl.

But after the war -- especially after Lee's death --book sales about the Civil War in the 1880's and later skyrocketed, with the Civil War leaders being the most written about topics. 

The authors of these books (as you will see) often did not care what was true or not -- just put out the most lovely stories, true or not, and the book sold well.

It is largerly through these books  -- not from facts -- that the Lee myth persisted.   Our "scholars"  now often rely on the stories in these 1880 - 1930 books.

And none of those Southern books showed Lee's slave ledgers, or told about the torture of slave girls, etc.



We have Pulitzer Prize winning authors, in minute detail, tell us how amazing,  kind, loved, religious, chaste, humble, even how tidy (yes tidy) Lee was.

He saved sparrows during battle.

He knelt with black people when others refused.

He even dismounted during battle -- we are told -- and knelt in silent prayer, with all his lieutenants, as bombs blew up around him!

We have schools in Virginia that take their children on bus tours to Lee's grave -- and even the grave of his horse,  yet those children do not have a clue the names of the girls Lee owned and paid to have whipped.

But these kids know the  name of the pet chicken, the name of the horse and deeply believe Lee was a "man of God" against slavery, etc etc..

Teachers and "scholars"  tell thousands of classrooms full of students that Lee "didn't believe in slavery"  and that Lee "freed  his wife's slaves as soon as he could".




Lee, we are told, "only wanted to serve his state"  and another scholar insisted Lee "only wanted to bring men to Christ".  Another scholar said Lee "now sits at the right hand of Christ, his Lord"  in heaven!

I dare you to come up with anything as goofy-- Lee now sits at the right hand of Christ -- which is God.

Those slave girls probably never made it to heaven, because they disobeyed their anti-slavery owner?



Even worse, we have, in this nation, Phd's in history that are paid by the federal and state government, educated by the federal and state government who actually tell children Robert E Lee was "opposed to slavery" or even "violently opposed to slavery."

Every possible human attribute -we are told by PhDs -- Lee had. Chaste, devout, anti-slavery --even tidy, kind, humble. Lee had those all. 

These Phd's teach -- and demand the children repeat this for exams and grades -- that Lee didn't have any slaves himself, and freed his wife's slaves.   

Remember, these are PhD's.  

But when you find out about what Lee wrote down -- in his own handwriting -- Lee was nothing like we are told

Does a noble kind man, who is opposed to slavery, buy women (as Lee did) from bounty hunters? Yes, he did -- according to his own handwritten records.

Does an anti-slavery man torture slave girls -- young and small slave girls, too -- for trying to escape?


That's how absurd our "scholarship"  about Lee is, at every level.  

So how on earth could the average person, with many PhD's so stupid (stupid is the right word) about these facts. 

 PhD's  are supposed to not only know things factually, they are supposedly well able to examine and  understand the process of learning, to use and appreciate critical thinking.

Instead, largely, the "scholars" about Lee compete to sing his praises.  Are any of the "praises" correct? 


We deserve that Lee be studied -- and taught -- truthfully.  That would of course include a candid accounting of what he did -- his own handwritten letters about tortures, his own slave ledgers,and as his own actions would indicated. 



Pryor could have opened her book in 10,000 different ways -- she could have showed you a list of girls Lee had tortured.

She could have showed you the prices paid for girls, or the prices he got for girls, by age. How much for the 12 year olds?  How much for the 40 year old?

She could have given you the names of the women he bought from bounty hunters that were not slaves, never had been slaves,  but were living in the North as free women, until Lee's bounty hunters kidnapped them, and gave them (sold them) to Lee.

She could have listed the names of women he wrote to over the years, and the sexual things he wrote about in those letters.

But she had every right to open it in a deceptive way.  It's her book, and she can, and did, exactly that.  She opened her book in a way that made Lee seem like the man we were told about in the fraudulent myths for 150 years.

Give her credit -- though she was sneak, even deceptive, in how she presented her information about the tortures, rapes, etc, she did not have to give us any information.  



Pryor never even wrote the term "slave ledgers,"  she used the term "monthly account books". 

And that -- only once.

They were monthly slave ledgers -- presumably that means there were dozens of them.

Imagine you had 48 or 60 of Robert E Lee's slave ledgers in your hand. They had names, dates, prices, payments, income from sales.  They had payments to bounty hunters, money received and money paid out for slave labor, or even for selling slaves.

Would you just show them?   Maybe allow some major university to put them on display?  Or make copies....  allow others to hold them?

Pryor did none of that.

She called them account books,  and she would tell us, very carefully, what was in them.



 Pryor used euphemisms and Orwellian double speak when writing about Lee -- to spare him embarrassment apparently, and to not be hated by much of Virginia and the South.

 For example she wrote that slave rape was common in one section, but in another passes off the sexual relationship between races as "dalliances'.

Please, Fred Astaire had a "dalliance" with Ginger Rogers.  A playful friendly flirtation.   Rapes were common, Pryor relates to us, immediately adding "there is no evidence Lee participated". 

We will show more euphemisms below, but the most stunning is Pryor's assertion that






If Pryor was going to relay the information about Lee's tortures, a candid way, would  she write the slaves "did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management"?

I don't think so. 

You heard right... when you know Lee had slave girls tortured -- and all the rest -- that came from Pryor herself -- for her to write  a sentence like that makes you wonder if she had a horrible sense of humor, or a drinking problem.  

Im serious, you can't write sentences like that unless you are sick comic ---or drunk. Who would ever dream of writing that slaves did not "completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management"

Put 100 people in a room.  Have them write the most absurd sentence they can think of about a slave owner who had slave girls tortured, and who (like Lee) biggest problem was escaped slaves.  See if anyone comes up with anything that vile -- they did not "completely" agree with his "theory of labor management"?

He had them tortured, he sold them, he used terror, he sold or rent out the mother (or as Pryor puts it "separates family)

Separate families sounds much better than "Lee sold the five year old and the ten year old girls and bought a mule with that money".

She could have told us how Lee "separated families".  Since the fathers were usually not even known, it can only mean the mother was separated from the child.   But Pryor -- remember she is the woman who wrote "did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management."

Think she knew exactly how Lee "separated families" ?

Hell yes she knew.

Think she told you?

She had to have reasons she wrote that Lee separated families, and was hated for it.

She did tell us the slaves said Lee was "the worst man we ever knew" -- but she would never make it clear the context of that information. She got that information from Lee's papers -- not from a duck. Not from a dream. She got that information about the slaves said Lee was the "worst man we ever saw".

So why not tell us what gave her that information?

Probably she didn't tell us candidly why the slaves said Lee was the worst man they ever saw -- for the same reason she told us Lee had every right to "protect his property"   when discussing his torture of slaves.  He had every right - every right -- to protect his property!

And in that context, meant torture (that's the right word) if his bounty hunters caught those slaves, girls, boys, men,  did not matter. 

That's another reason we need the slave ledgers to be published and shown to everyone, to know for sure.  But it will probably be another 150 years before the Lee family or Virginia Historical Society would even think about that.


Pryor is the scholar Lee family picked out to tell you about Lee's slave ledgers and torture of slave girls.

Read her book and see if you think she earned her money.



Pryor seemed intent -- every page, every paragraph -- to keep Lee's halo upon his head.  You can easily read her work, no matter how ardently you respect Lee, and not feel offended.

 She is very (very) careful how she explains things -- like torture, rapes, white looking slave girls, buying kidnapped women.

She used, an necessarily so, euphemism, Orwellian double speak.  

Pryor she does more. She takes Lee side in almost every example  -- other than white slave girls.  When Pryor comes to Lee's white looking slave girls, she uses euphemisms and Orwellian double speak, but you can almost  see she is furious -- not for the tortures, not for the rapes, but that WHITE WOMEN were enslaved too. Women that looked white were not freed.

In fact, they sold for more money -- and could be sold to men to use anyway they wanted, as mistresses, as lovers, whatever they wanted,  including using them (yes, slaves were put to work as whores) as prostitutes, notoriously in New Orleans.



Historians have known for 100 years that two trunks of Lee papers still existed -- and doubtless hundreds of historians have asked to see them.

Why not just let a major university put the papers on display -- or copies of the papers.

Most historians probable assumed we had all the information -- and it was all wonderful.   Lee was against slavery, kind, chaste,  deeply spiritual, deeply religious.  Right?

The papers could do nothing but confirm that, right?


But no one was allowed to study the papers.   Until the family agreed to let Elizabeth Pryor study them at length.

Pryor was a Lee "devotee".  The Lee family picked her, and the Virginia Historical Society apparently approved too.   Pryor, a scholar, a diplomat, and an ardent admirer of Lee would be the perfect person to read Lee's papers.

Including his slave ledgers.  It's possible, even likely, the Lee family had no clue those ledgers were slave ledgers, or that the letters were to and from bounty hunters, or that Lee wrote sexually explicit letters to various women for decades after his marriage.


Elizabeth Pryor died in 2015 in a car accident, not that far from where Lee died.   As is right and just, Pryor  had an infinite number of ways to describe Lee's papers -- it was her book.  

She was under no obligation to show his slave ledgers or even call them "slave ledgers".   She could call them "monthly account books"  if she wanted to -- and that is what she did. 

She was under no obligation to be candid.   Nor was she.

She could tell us rape was common in any way she chose, and write things like the "slaves did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management".  Funny  maybe --yet no 'scholar" reviewing the book bothered (as far as we know) to point out the amazing funny jokes like that.

Only, were they funny?  The slaves did not "completely agree" with Lee's theory of labor management".

That could be a winner if anyone ever had a contest for a way to make a joke out of the torture of slave girls.  Because after Pryor wrote that "funny"  she sentence, she elsewhere wrote about Lee's torture of slave girls.

Remember - they did not "completely agree"  with Lee's "theory" of labor management.

Theory of labor management?

The slaves did not "completely agree"?

When you consider Lee's biggest problem was slaves trying to escape --even though if they were caught, it was certain torture (yes torture) as punishment,-- you will see  how obscene this sentence is. 

Was this funny to her?  Did she make up such sentences as a joke and forget to take them out later?

It's hard to tell,  impossible even, because she passed away in that car accident. 


"A portrait"

Pryor never claim to be candid.  In fact, she artfully called her book "a portrait".  Pryor, a wordsmith as much as anyone, knew what "portrait" means -- a flattering picture.  

So she did tell you it was a portrait.  Is it her fault you thought this might be a candid account of Lee's slave ledgers, or anything else?  

She made no such claim. 


Pryor  wrote her book, and got her information largely, it seems about Robert E Lee's slave ledgers.   Yet she never once used the term "slave ledgers."

Let that sink in.  She will not -- and the Lee family will not even now-- say the words "SLAVE LEDGERS".

Pryor called  his slave ledgers by the quaint term "monthly account books". 

From these "monthly account books / slave ledgers" Pryor could get fascinating, and horrible, information, such as 

1) prices Lee paid bounty hunters for slave girls 

2) prices Lee paid bounty hunters for males

3) number of light skinned slave girls

4) prices Lee paid to have slave girls whipped.

5) number of slaves who escaped at any one time

6) Lee's use of slave auctions

7) Prices Lee paid to have women captured that were not escaped slaves -- but apparently captured by bounty hunters and brought to Lee



Sadly Elizabeth Pryor died in an auto accident April 15, 2015 in Richmond Virginia.  

 So she is no longer around to answer informed question like -- why did you not show the slave ledgers?

Did the family prohibit you from showing the slave ledgers or monthly account books?   Were you not allowed to show anything from those papers?  

Still, though she used euphemism and even Orwellian double talk routinely,  no one else did as she did.

The door is open now, and can never be fully shut.

Have you ever seen one of Lee's white looking slave girls?

You have now.

Some dispute this slave is female.  No one disputes he or she was a slave, or that Lee owned her and others like her and that she (he if you insist) could pass for white.

Lee himself indicated she could pass for white. So we know some slaves could pass for white. 

Do you know what Lee did with white looking slave girls ?

Hint - he did not free them.  He made money on them.

We know that white looking slave girls sold for more -- and that at auction "comely" girls (attractive) sold for more.

And we know some men bought them for sexual pleasure and that especially in New Orleans, women purchased from auctions could end up in whore houses run by the slave master.  Did some of Lee's slave girls end up there?

If Pryor knew -- she did not tell us.


How do we know?

Lee's slave ledgers....

That's how we know.


Learn about Lee 
slave ledgers.



Actually it was clear from 1850's on that Lee was a cruel man - and tortured his slaves. Lee defended the torture of slaves -- only he called it "painful discipline" they must endure.

Here are just two quick newspaper entries from 1866,  where now, with Civil War over, Lee's slaves could speak.

But the big "speaking" is from Lee himself, his own words, his own records.


Alan Nolan - twenty years ago -- essentially said we needed to start over about Lee, because so far what we had was not scholarship, but adulation of Lee.  Quite the opposite of scholarship.


Nolan had never heard of Lee slave ledgers.  Like most people keenly intersted in Lee, he knew there were two trunks of Lee's private papers -- that's the politically careful term, private papers.

He did not know the big news was in Lee's own handwriting.

In the slave ledgers.

In the letters to and from bounty hunters.




No Lee devotee  has been offended by what Pryor wrote. She wrote carefully -- and started the book with lovely praise of Lee's family and his love of his children. 

She compared him to Richard the Lionhearted.

Only slowly, carefully -- so carefully you can miss it if you want to --out comes the tortures, the rapes, the purchase of kidnapped women.

But never bluntly, never in gross terms.For example she does not say who raped whom, but she does slyly admit rape was common -- and that "coercion was used in those situations". 

Remember if you read her book (and you should) 

1) Everything Pryor writes about is documented in Lee's own papers

2) She is not out to trash Lee -- quite the opposite.



Pryor had all this information. When she writes about prices paid for slave girls - she did not get that from a duck, she got it from Lee's papers.

When she writes about Lee's orders to have his own men shot who ran from battle --she did not get that from a duck either, she got that from his own papers.

When Pryor wrote about Lee's purchase of "others" in the North, she got that information from his own papers. 

  1. Prices he paid for slave girls
  2. Prices he received for slave girls
  3. Prices he paid to capture slaves
  4. Names of the slave girls
  5. Name of the slave men
  6. Age of the slave when captured
  7. Age of the slave when sold or rented out
  8. Names of the bounty hunters
  9. And so on..





Whites, she wrote, were enslaving other WHITES.

She never wrote candidly a sentence like "Lee owned more white slaves, and white looking slaves, than anyone else that we know of."

Instead, Pryor artfully tells us on one page about a slave girl that could "pass" for white.  Meaning she was white.

She tells us on another page that 50% or more of Lee's slaves were mulatto.  

She tells us on another page about girl that could pass for white had escaped, and bounty hunters were looking for her and 12 others.

But each time, in each sentence, she writes delicately.

Did Lee's bounty hunters catch the white looking girl that escaped?

Pryor did not tell us -- but she could have. 

Why not tell us if that girl was caught?  Likely because if she was caught, Lee had her tortured (torture is the right word)

We can accept Lee torturing a black slave girl, right?  But we would react far differently if the girl was white.

We know Lee tortured these girls because Pryor tells us so -- and claims (falsely) -- that it was a law that escaped slaves had to be whipped.   She just can't admit candidly Lee not only had slaves tortured, he was "into it".  

Lee screamed at the slave girl as he had her whipped. He taunted her before her torture, scream at her during her torture, an had salt (according to witnesses) applied to her wounds for INCREASED pain.

They actually reported Lee had the salt added  FOR MORE PAIN.


So Lee owned, almost certainly, the largest number of white looking and lighter skinned women in US history. 

Lee's biggest problem, she tells us carefully, was escaping slaves.   That was his biggest problem!  

Remember, the slaves faced certain torture (torture is the right word) - yet they tried to escape, often.

Pryor  she was not about to say anything so shocking in a candid way, but she does get the information in, in her own way.

But she is clearly on his side. 

Pryor  blames the slaves for their torture for example, writing in that context that Lee had "every right" to protect his property.  So torturing a slave girl is protecting his property?

Yes, that is her point, stated in her careful way.

That what how Lee justified torture (that and religion), and Pryor is not about to bluntly disagree with that. In fact she uses some of the same Orwellian double speak Lee and slave owners did.

Nor was this rare -- or even unusual.  Whipping, she wrote, was Lee's  "preferred" method. He had others. 

She also told us -- again in her own way - that rape was common.  Horror after horror to the slaves -- rape, whipping, being caught by kidnappers, your child taken away from you, anything the master wanted, the master got. But in the hands of those using euphemism - -slavery is freedom.  Cruelty is kindness.


Yes lets get the facts out.  Not the myth. 

And none of this  bullshit "well he wasn't as bad as some say, or as good as some say". 

Just fuking get the facts.. save the horseshit commentary when you know more.


The Phd's are only as correct - or incorrect -- as the information fed to them.   They do not deserve all the blame, but for that level of educational honor, they have had ample access to original documents which, at  very least, would have made them question the myths.

But now -- now that we know Lee's slave ledgers still exist, and his bounty hunter letters still exist, and that other documents still exist -- even PhDs  can stop the nonsense.

Actually Lee himself told us -- if we learn about his slave ledgers, bounty hunter instructions, and other handwritten letters to and from Lee himself. 

Douglas Southall Freeman, whose father "served" with Lee in the Civil War, wrote (supposedly) the most thorough biography about Lee in history.  And earned a Pulitzer prize.



How can we possibly know Lee tortured slave girls.

How can we know he bought kidnapped women from bounty hunters?

How can we know Lee used slave auctions and sold children away from the mother?

Because Lee wrote it all down



This is about more than one man.  It's about how smug teachers, PhD's in history even, can tell us with total self confidence absolute bullshit. 


 So how do we get the information?

Does Lee even matter?

He is long gone, but yes,what we think of him matters.

More even than Lee -- what matters is how easily we were fooled about him.   For decades, in fact for about 100 years now, we were taught that he was anti slavery!

We were taught  -- by professors and Pulitzer Prize winning historians -- that Lee was deeply against slavery, and that his "servants" loved him more than anyone else!

We were told every goofy thing imaginable.  My favorite is that Lee and all his officers got off their horses in battle as bombs blew up around them, and knelt for silent prayer.

That was the kind of things teachers repeated, scholars repeated.

And if not for Lee's own slave ledgers, his own bounty hunter instructions, his own purchase of kidnapped women, his own torture of slave girls, we could go along pretending just nonsense.

But pretend time is over.

Lee wrote it all down. 

Slavery was a vile vocation, and more vile business.  Any notion that slave owners were kind is stupid.  We have overwhelming evidence of the tortures, the rapes, the hangings, even burning slaves to death.

We dressed up slavery in "church clothes" and myths.


The most KIND!

The most chaste! 

The most devout!

Over and over, Lee was praised on every little thing.  

That's what must happen when you omit the tortures, the whippings, the rapes, the taunting of slaves girls as they were tortured.  Take all that out, fill that void with made up nonsense, and you have the myth of Robert E Lee. 


But Freeman -- as you will see -- simply "forgot" to mention Lee's payments to have girls tortured, payments to buy kidnapped women (yes, Lee bought kidnapped women, and so did many others, before the Civil War)..

On and on,  Freeman "forgot" to mention or dismissed the sadism, the bounty hunters, the rapes, the white looking slave girls, on and on.

A monumental fraud, of course.



Painting a portrait

As you will see, when you remove all the important facts,  you can make anyone -- the most vile person even -- seem like the sweetest person who ever walked the earth.

Pryor reveals more of it than anyone dared, no matter how clever she was, but in that abundantly careful way.  

Her subtitle is  "Portrait of Lee from his personal papers".  

 She never claimed to be candid, did she?

  A portrait is of course generally a flattering picture with the flaws removed or downplayed.  Pryor knew that, and used that in her mind, it seems, to justify her artful ways.

She wrote, from page one, to paint a portrait. Not to smear Lee or surprise the readers.

Lee's father had a slave girl executed because she knocked down the man whipping her.  She was supposed to stand there and be tortured.  Pryor tells us about that. Why?

Why tell us his own father had girls  hung?  So we would think she was candid? Maybe.  Pryor was a very careful writer.  She did not include that without a lot of thought.

Did Lee have anyone executed?  Yes, in fact he did.

Pryor tells us Lee had his own men executed who ran during battle.  Did you know that?  He ordered men behind his troops to shoot HIS OWN troops who ran during battle.

That's a Stalin technique -- did you know that? Lee did that.

Pryor's genius was how she told us of horrors, but in such a way we don't think badly of Lee.  A man of his times, we say?

The absurdity of "Lee scholarship" is this:  more history teachers know (and teach)  the name of Lee's pet chicken, than know Lee tortured slave girls and kept track of such things in his slave ledgers.






Pulitzer Prize Winning historians told us these things in amazing detail.  

Douglas Southall Freeman is -- and has been for 50 years -- the supposed "definitive biographer" about Robert E Lee.

Freeman's book about Lee is almost hard to read, it is so "adorational" about Lee.   Lee was the bravest, the most kind, the most chaste, the most tidy even.  On and on.

About slavery -- Freeman insisted (and was believed, still believed by most stupid people) that  Lee was "beloved" by his "servants, 

Freeman used as "proof" the book written by Lee's slave-  Mack Lee.

One tiny problem with that.  Mack Lee was not his slave, and furthermore Freeman knew it.

There was a black man in the 1920's who went around the South raising money for his church. He claimed to be Lee's slave during the Civil War -- he told the white crowds that they were right - every prejudice against the blacks were justified. 

He even wore a confederate uniform.

Freeman of course, told us none of that.

Mack Lee claimed, for example, that he and Lee were inside a cabin during a battle and a cannon ball ripped through the wall, hitting him in the head, where upon Lee ran over to him  and Lee said something like "Lord, I aint never seen no Nigger hit by no cannon ball".

That's the kind of shit Mack Lee made up to make white's laugh and  -- hopefully - give him 500 dollars.

There was no Mack Lee anywhere in Lee's slave ledgers.

And Freeman knew it. 

There was no battle where Lee was inside a cabin and a cannon ball crashed through and hit someone in the head.

And Freeman knew that, too.

Freeman knew who Lee's four slaves were during the war -- and he would know none were named Mack Lee.

In fact there are details in Mack Lee's book that Freeman, being well versed in battles and places, that Freeman could easily spot the bogus nature of that book.

But Freeman needed -- to make Lee wonderful as Freeman wanted you to think --Mack Lee to be credible.

He was not credible. Ironically, Mack Lee the hustler, and Freeman the "scholar" are essentially alike.

The "book"  was more of a pamphlet  he handed out or sold to make money for his "church."




Pryor in effect  wrote two books in one, as you will see.

On one level, Pryor is "adorational" about Lee, who she seemed to adore. She opened by comparing him to Richard the Lionhearted.

 But on another level, in her clever details, in her euphemisms and Orwellian double speak, she shows a cruel, almost sadistic man,  who as you will see, per his own papers, had slave girls tortured, bought women from bounty hunters, and even screamed at slaves as he had them whipped.





The slaves did not "completely agree" with Lee's theory of labor managment.

Pryor wrote that way. The slaved did not "completely agree"  with Lee's "theory" of labor managment.

Was she joking?


Were the "reviewers" (at least those I found) stupid?  Yes.  They were. 





With every revelation of the ugly (and there is plenty of ugly) Pryor came up with an excuse.  

As we will cover below, Pryor tried to dismiss any notion that Lee was cruel, despite their is documented evidence that he screamed at slave girls as he had them tortured.  Pryor claimed,  absurdly, that those punishments to the slaves was due not to Lee's apparent sadism, but to " Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills".


Over and over, practically on every page, Pryor minimizes, excuses, and blames other for what Lee did.

Yet she also has the hutzpah and honesty to get in -- never mind the careful way she does so -- Lee's ugly and cruel treatment of slave women particularly.


For example, Pryor, to her eternal credit, was surprisingly candid  in one respect -- about how Lee's slave ledgers (though she calls them account books) confirm the newspaper reports at the time about Lee's torture of a slave girl for trying to escape. 

In fact the girl the newspaper reported on at the time -- the report made the paper because she was so small.

She was so small the original "overseer" -- an overseer was often a black man told to whip other slaves -- refused to whip this girl -- because she was too small to whip.

 Whipping slaves did not make it into the paper -- but this one did, because so many people saw it, and the overseer refused. 

What did Lee do when the overseer refused?

He paid a bounty hunter -- the hunter that captured the escaped slave girl--  to whip the girl.   The newspapers- - in fact three of them -- reported Lee screamed at the girl as he had her whipped.

There was so much evidence -- in Lee's own handwritting -- that this story was true, Pryor could not, would not,   hide it. We do not know for sure what, exactly, made Pryor so bold on this point that she did not parse words, like she did on other issues. 

There was no doubt -- it was clear -- from Lee's own handwritten records that the torture of this girl actually happened, and that Lee had others tortured too.  Torture is the right word. 

Pryor could have easily softballed that one,  she did not have to make that clear.  You have to wonder what made Pryor make one thing so clear, but then use euphamism and double speak about buying "others" from bounty hunters.



It's impossible to tell, of course, but perhaps Pryor had to do this to mollify the Lee family and Virginia Historical Society. 





Pryor also told us -- because she had his papers- - that Lee's slaves said Lee "was the worst man we ever saw".  That came from Lee's own papers.   Pryor could have, and should have, made it clear why they said that, which slaves, and what she found in Lee's papers to give her than information.

So no, Lee's slaves did not love him.  


Pryor even tells us -- cleverly -- that one of the escaped slave women could "pass for white". 

If you can pass for white -- you are white.  There is no genetic test for race, and certainly Lee never had such a test.

In fact, over 50% of Lee's slaves were mulatto -- of mixed race.

Let that sink in.  Pryor tells us that most slave plantations had below 10% mullato slaves.  Lee had "over half".




Pryor tells us why --  "increasingly whites were enslaving other whites".  She did not go the other mile and say, candidly, Lee was enslaving whites.  But she got that information to us, using her sly ways.

She told us, as if it was no big thing, that twelve slaves were escaped at one time, and that one of them could "pass for white".   She mentioned that was a female slave.

So Lee owned a female human being --who tried to escape -- and she was white.

Looking white IS white.  There is no genetic test for white. If you look white -- you are white.  You could only be considered a slave if the owner had convincing proof your mother was mulatto.  

There was only three ways Lee could own white looking women --  from birth, from bounty hunter, or from slave auction.   We assume this escaped white looking girl was from birth, but who knows?  She was white, and she escaped, and bounty hunters were looking for her.

Unless Lee would personally buy white looking women at auction --those white looking slaves were born from the mixed race slaves at Arlington -- and almost certainly the mother was impregnated by a white man.



Pryor is artful when telling us about rape.  

She quotes a slave after the war, talking about how women were treated as slaves. Using ebonics -- writing in the vernacular of the slaves - that rape was common.  

Indeed rape was common, an open secret in the South, and undeniably true at Lee's slave farm.  (We won't call it plantation, it was a slave farm.  He raised slaves, not cotton). Since over half of Lee's slaves were mulatto, clearly the female slaves were impregnated by white males. And Pryor wrote - - remember? -- "Whites were increasingly enslaving other whites.

That's what she was referring too.

Lincoln called slave owners "pleasure seekers".   And they apparently were.   Was Lee an exception?

Pryor says artfully "There is no evidence showing Lee participated"  in such things (rapes). What would be evidence to her?  White looking slaves?  Maybe there was no evidence, maybe he never participated.

But he sure did not free white looking slaves because they were white looking -- he had his bounty hunters chase the white looking slave just as he did the dark skinned slaves.



Lee writing sexually explicit letters?   None of that is proof.  But if you need a rape kit and blood test to prove rape at slave farms,  if you don't think white looking slave children shows proof of rape, you can make up any nonsense you like.  You can pretend Lee was against the rape of slaves, like he was against slavery - and obviously, he was not against slavery.


There is probably a lot -- all of it basic - that you don't know about Lee, because no one told you.  

None of us were there, and we relied on "historians" to teach us.  

We all know that goofy myths -- by deceit and by stupidity -- are common in history.  But surely -- surely we know so much about Lee,   there is no way Lee could have had slave girls tortured.

No way would Lee have bought women -- not slave women, but free women captured in the North - and turned them into slaves.

No way -- no possible way -- Lee owned white looking slave women.

No way Lee's slaves said Lee was "the worst man we ever saw".

No way Lee justified the torture of slaves, tortured slaves, and claimed slavery was a "spiritual liberty".

NO way Lee insisted slaves "must endure"   pain -- "painful discipline"  because God intended it.

No way Lee even had bounty hunters, much less paid them to capture women in the North, and whip slave girls.

Especially small slave girls!  Lee would never pay a bounty hunter to whip a small slave girl, and yell at her as she was tortured.

Lee didn't even HAVE slaves.  His "servants loved him".  We know that from "historians"

Uh -- oh really?   We know quite a different story -- and we know that from Lee's own hand written slave ledgers.

That's why Lee's slave ledgers are so important.  His own words. In his own handwriting. 

His own price list. His own instructions to bounty hunters.




We actually teach -- in Virginia  -- the name of Lee's pet chicken, as part of the smorgasbord of bullshit and myth that qualifies as "scholarship" today.   Hundreds, if not thousands, of books about Lee tell us over, and over, smugly and proudly with absolute self confidence things like 

Lee hated slavery

Lee was kind to his "servants"

Lee only fought for Virginia

Lee freed his wife's slaves 

Lee's "servants"  loved him.

Lee was  kind, loyal.. a military genius, on and on.


In fact in the  index  of first edition of Pulitzer Prize Winning "historian" Douglas Southall Freeman's book about Leem  there are four columns of human attributes like kindness, cleanliness, devoutness, humility -- four columns of them. 

Freeman -- claiming he used Lee's papers and documented evidence -- insisted, essentially, on every page, in every way,  that Lee was the most in every area,

The most brave.

The most chaste.

The most tidy.

The most devout.

The most kind.




In fact, even if you believe those myths (lies, really) Freeman was tedious, with nearly every sentence geared to one basic goal-- Lee was magnificent.  

Freeman knew better. 

Freeman knew about Lee's personal cowardice, for example.  

Freeman knew that Lee's slaves hated him,  and with good reason -- Lee tortured them, and regularly tortured even small slaves if they tried to escape.

Freeman knew that Lee regularly used bounty hunters, and paid them to whip escaped slaves.

Freeman knew that 90% of Lee's own soldiers deserted,  over 65% of them deserted by summer of 1864.

Freeman knew escaped slaves were his biggest problem in peacetime -- and escaped soldiers (deserters) his biggest problem in wartime.

Freeman knew about Lee's torture of slave girls,  in detail,  even that Lee screamed at slave girls as he had them whipped. 

Freeman deliberately used falsified nonsense about Lee to "prove" how wonderful he was.   Freeman's father "served" with Lee- - which means Freeman's dad helped to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

No way Freeman's dad helped kill, in his mind. And Freeman was essentially a propagandist for that fraud.  Freeman's dad very much helped Lee kill. 

As you will see, either Freeman was lying, or Lee in his own papers was lying.   One or the other.





In fact, another biographer claimed Lee was seated "In heaven next to Christ his Lord."   

All Lee ever wanted, said his fawning biographers "was to bring souls to Christ".

That  was. and is, how goofy our "scholarship" of Lee is, and is what we teach,

One of my favorite absurdities is the goofy story -- clearly false and never mentioned by any rational human being till 20 years after Lee died- - that during battles, as bombs blew up around them -- in silent prayer, Lee and his officers would dismount, stand at silent prayer.

Let that sink in.  Lee and all his officers, during battle, as bombs blew up around them, would, would stand in silent prayer .

The author of that nonsense was as respected as Douglas Southall Freeman. 



If  Lee had burned his slave ledgers.  If Lee had burned his bounty hunter letters.  If Lee had burned his sexually explicit letters  to various women. 

If those records did not exist -- in Lee's own handwriting,  sadly, the goofy liars who made up this nonsense would get away with it.  

In fact, they already got away with it, for 150 years.   That is basically the nonsense we teach in schools -- and is firmly believed by stupid people all over. 

If not for Lee's own slave ledgers, and his own bounty hunter letters, and his own dirty letters,  the myth makers could force this vile man into a God like man of virtue, forever.

And they nearly did.


But when you learn about Lee's torture of slave girls for trying to escape -- even small slave girls were tortured as you will see- -you should wonder who to slap first, if you had the chance.

Lee defended torture and slavery as ordained by God. Pain was necessary for their instruction.  And "instruct" them he did.

Not only was Lee pro-slavery, he was pro torture of slaves.  That is not hype, that is basic honest communication.  Torture is the right word, and Lee used it regularly, as you will see.


What if Lee's own letters, slave ledgers, bounty hunter letters, and even sexual letters to various women for decades, has a profoundly different story?

In Lee's own handwriting.


What if we need to start over about Lee -- as Alan Nolan said 25 years ago, because what he saw was not scholarship at all, about Lee, but simply repeating myths made up by (essentially) fiction writers in the 1870's and 1880's


For 150  years no one was allowed to study Lee's slave ledgers...until now.

You are about to find out why.

More people know the name of Lee's pet chicken (Pearl) than know the name of any of the slave girls he had tortured. (Yes, Lee had girls tortured - and torture is the right word).

Children in Virginia are taught the name of the pet chicken.   Children actually visit the burial site of Lee's horse.

Children that go see the burial site for the dead Lee horse have no clue that feet from where they stand looking at a grave for a horse, are the unmarked graves of Lee's slaves.

Some of those slave girls -- as you will see -- Lee had tortured for trying to escape, per his own slave ledgers. 



Pryor relates that Lee's bounty hunters were chasing 12 escaped slaves, at one time -- and that escaped slaves were Lee's biggest problem.

She could have told us that on page one -- along with the prices Lee paid for which slave girl, both those girls captured that escaped, and those that Lee bought from bounty hunters that were not escaped slaves -- just black women living in the North.

See, there are a lot of ways she could have presented this information.

She chose the most tame, euphemistic way of telling us, and probably wisely so.  She did not sign onto that job of studying Lee's papers to shame or expose him in an ugly way.

Even though ugly does not begin to describe what Lee actually did -- nor the pain he deliberately inflicted upon others, and claimed God intended they feel pain.


Pryor could have given us names, prices, dates of escape, she could have given us so much more detail.  But at least she told us -- cleverly or otherwise, absolving Lee of all guilt or not -- more than anyone else has so far.


Slavery itself was ugly, no matter which fool or liar tries to claim otherwise.  Lee was as bad as, if not worse, than others.

Slavery was based on violence, spread by violence.  Slave owners could and did decide life and death issues -- including who a slave woman slept with, who got to impregnate her, and what was done with her child.

Pryor could only tell us (as she does) about Lee's white looking slave girls, about the prices he paid to bounty hunters, about the money he received from slave auctions, etc,  if Lee first wrote those numbers and details down. 

Pryor didn't get the information from a duck.  She got it from his "papers"  which means, as you will see, his slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters. 

I'm sure there is a reason he paid so much more money for girls.  I wonder what that could be?



Torture, raped, whipping.  Bounty hunters, more whipping, terrorizing.  Selling children, punishing slaves by whip, but also by selling their children, or selling the mother

Finally,  one person was allowed to study the slave ledgers -- or as Pryor called them "his personal papers.".



Personal papers for dozens of  of people associated with the Civil War have been published for generations, but not Lee.

Instead, as you will see, we created a bizzare and extreme myth that grew more goofy as time went on.   Any why not?  those books sold well.  From those books we learned page after page that Lee was kind, anti-slavery, brave,  chaste,  devout, etc, etc.

We were told that Lee and all his lieutenants took of their hats and knelt in prayer as bombs blew up around them.

We were told the Lee's "servants"  loved him more than anyone. 

We were told that Lee saved a baby sparrow, prayed with a black woman when everyone else rejected her.

On, and on, and on.

Turns out, as you will see, likely none of that is true.  As Alan Nolan said years ago, we need to start over about Robert E Lee.  What we teach about him was never based on fact, but was based on repeated goofy stories, repeated so often, they became accepted as facts. 

There is a reason that Lee family took 150 years to let one person to study those slave ledgers/ bounty hunter letters.

We can't be sure of the reason, but we can make a very good guess at the reason, now that Pryor wrote  her book,

If Lee's papers, including slave ledgers, matched the myth that  we created about Lee the Lee family would likely be EAGER to get those papers out.  Many Civil War figures had their papers published.

Not Lee-- and even now, we don't have access to the actual documents that he wrote, in his own handwriting.  But we have drastically more than we did before.

Pryor may not want to trash Lee, but what she did reveal shows that what we were told so far is goofy, false, and deliberately so.


Never, not once, does she make it clear where she got the most stunning information - like Lee purchase of kidnapped women from the North. Yes, Lee bought women from the North, women that were not slaves, not escaped slaves. Pryor relates those luckless people  to us as "and others". 

Lee's bounty hunters brought to him his escaped slaves "and others".   What does that mean?   It can only mean the bounty hunters brought to him other human beings that were not his escaped slaves.

She could have told us the names.  She had to have information in Lee's own papers about those "others".   She could have told us the prices for the "others"  and what happened to them?

Did Lee sell them?  We know from Pryor Lee sold slaves at auctions.  Did Lee rent them out?  We know from Pryor Lee regularly rented slaves out.  Apparently slave trading and renting was the source of his income. 

Yet no one else told us as much, candid, cleverly, or otherwise, as Pryor has.


One of the few things she showed was a drawing Lee did about a water pump.  As if the water pump showed us much about Lee.

She instead showed a letter Lee wrote to his children, fatherly and noble sounding.

She compared Lee right off the bat with Richard The Lionhearted.   

So her book started like 1000 other books on Lee -- this would be page after page of adoration.  

Not so much. 

Pryor did reveal, in clever ways,  more than anyone before her.

Lee wrote a lot of things -- including instructions to punish slaves, and records of purchases of slaves. Yes, Lee bought slaves.

Lee also wrote letters to justify his treatment of slaves.

Every slave owner justified his or her actions.  Lee was no exception

Like every slave owner we know about, religion was Lee's go to excuse,  he even insisted God ordained slavery, and only God can end it.


Could Lee's slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters be important?

Could be the next best thing to giving Lee a video camera, to  record as he went about his business.  But no one gave him a video camera.

He bought and used slave ledgers,  himself.

"Hang on to your hats, Lee lovers.  

It might  to be a bumpy ride"





We all heard it -- all our lives.

Robert E Lee had no slaves.  He did not fight on the side of slavery.

In fact, he freed his wife's slaves.  We even heard they liked Lee so well, they did not want to leave him.

 Pulitzer prize winning historians told us how kind, how gentle, how chaste, how devout Lee was.

High school teachers smugly told us Lee "hated slavery".  

Every Lee devotee-- 100% - claimed a letter Lee wrote to his wife proved all this. That letter said slavery was a "political and moral evil".

Well, there is a lot more than that letter --as you will see.  But even in the letter Lee defended the pain inflicted on slaves as "necessary for their instruction"   and claimed blacks were lucky to be slaves. 

Abolitionist "are on an evil course"  he wrote, too.  They are trying "to destroy the American church".   God ordained (ordered) slavery.  Only God can end it.

It was an evil -- against GOD -- to try to end slavery, other than by prayer.

And that is nothing --nothing -- compared to how personally cruel Lee was to his slaves -- including the slave girls.


Lee was so devout, he and his officers would dismount from their horses during battle, take off their hats, as bombs blew up around them, and together say a silent prayer to the almighty.


From about 1880 to 1930, there were hundreds of Lee biographies or articles.  Practically speaking, they competed against each other to be the most flattering

Those books are where much of the nonsense comes to us, about Lee.  No one said word one about the slave ledgers during those years.

Or torture of slave girls.

Or white looking slave girls.

Or purchase of kidnapped women.

Or Lee's sexual letters to various women.

Or 100 other things.  

Just wait (maybe 150 years).  If the Lee family ever allow those papers to be shown, there could be much more.





"Historians"  have known very well for over 100 years that three newspapers at the time ran stories on Lee's torture of slave girl so small, the original overseer refused to whip the girl, but Lee hired someone else to do so, and screamed at her through her torture.

Historians like Douglas Southall Freeman knew that very well -- but dismissed it as hateful propaganda.  

Not really, Lee himself validated those newspaper stories.   

Yet now that we know about Lee's slave ledgers, we know those newspapers were correct.   There is no rational way for these "propaganda" newspapers that reported Lee's torture of the small girl to know what was in his slave ledgers, and what was in his bounty hunter letters.

Those documents validate the newspaper articles.

One thing for sure -- we have to start over about Lee. 

If nothing else, had Pryor only  documented Lee's torture of slave girls -- including a girl so small that the regular overseer refused to whip her -- she would deserve accolades.

But she did much more, though carefully so.

Lee's payments on those dates, and payments to the bounty hunter named in the newspapers as the man Lee had whip the girl (after the regular guy refused), were just one proof.

Pryor found that after the war,  reporters went to Arlington and got information about the torture of the girl the newspaper wrote about.  They found a witness, one of the males whipped the same day as the girl was whipped, who confirmed it.

SO no, the newspaper story was valid.  Lee did have a girl whipped that was too small for the regular overseer to whip. But a nearby bounty hunter accepted the cash.

Not only that, but Pryor found other evidence of other tortures -- and tortures of various kinds.


Pryor also found that his father had actually hung girls - a girl about 15 years old.  Why did Lee's father hang her?   He could have just had her whipped. 

He had her hung because she pushed down the man whipping her.  Lee had her hung. Don't forget that.  That was Lee's dad.  Lee came from that mind set. 

In fact, one of the first thing Lee did when taking over the slaves -- he had a whipping post installed -- and he used it.

Pryor tried her best to gloss over that -- she wrote that Lee had the whipping post installed "as a silent reminder" to the slaves.  Well, true the whipping post was silent.  But the people, including girls, including small girls, were tied to that whipping post and tortured-- as Lee himself screamed at them.

That's what the evidence shows. Pryor never could make up her mind how blunt to be about Lee.  She vascilated back and forth -- but always, always, excused Lee, and minimized any blame to him. 


The big story here -- you can ignore the rest if you'd like -- is that Lee's slave ledgers, bounty hunter letters still exist.

In some ways, Lee never had a better friend that Elizabeth Pryor. In her hands she held shameful, even vile, information about Lee, in his own handwriting.

Yet Pryor  flattered him as much as possible.

Pryor  begins her book by comparing Lee to Richard the Lionhearted.  She could have started with Lee screaming at the small slave girl he had whipped after the regular overseer refused, because she was so small.

Pryor could have begun her book with a list of girls, and the prices he paid for each.

Pryor could have begun her book with his sexually explicit letters he wrote to various women, even after he was old.

But Pryor did not do any of those openings -- instead she  presents a lovely letter Lee wrote to his children urging them to be noble people worthy of honor.


It takes Pryor a while to get into  the ugly stuff, but get there she does --in clever language or not, euphemism or not, even Orwellian double speak -- she does get there.

"Poor cross cultural communication skills"

Pryor wants us to believe Lee's discipline (torture is the right word, as you will see) of slaves was  not out of cruelty. 

Pryor blames the tortures on "Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills."

She was not kidding.   It was not Lee's fault.  It was those darn "cross cultural communication skills".

That's it entirely.  A "skill set" problem.  Lee just needed to brush up on his cross cultural communication skills, and those slaves never get tortured at all.

Got it. 

Rather like the movie "Cool Hand Luke"  where a prisoner (Paul Newman) was whipped.   "What we  have here" said the man torturing Newman with a whip, "is a failure to communicate".


It's unlikely you ever saw the name Lee on the same page as the term slave ledgers. 

Until now.  He had no slaves, right? So no need for ledgers about them. 

We were told that Lee "detested" slavery, and freed his wife's slaves. So indications that Lee's slaves said he was "the worst man"  we ever saw, that can't possibly be true.

We were told that by Prize winning -- Pulitzer prize winning -- historian Douglas Southall Freeman that  Lee was the "most" kind, the "most chaste"  the "most devout man".  On and on, every page praising him for kindness, honor, and wisdom.

"Those who knew Lee best, loved him the most" --- Freeman was talking about Lee's "servants"  in that context.

Freeman might have even believed part of it.  Hard to tell now.

Freeman even told us that Lee's own slave wrote a book about how kind Lee was, the slave "Mack Lee".

Freeman "forgot" to tell us - Mack Lee was never Lee's slave.  His name is not anywhere on Lee's papers.  Lee had four slaves with him during the Civil War -- not one of them by that name.

Further the details in Mack's Lee book were goofy.  Mack Lee would speak to groups -- including state legislatures -- wearing a Confederate uniform.  He would tell the white people that blacks should appreciate what whites did for blacks.   He would take up offerings for a church he claimed he was building.

The "book"  was actually a pamphlet Mack handed out as she went town to town, inviting the public to his sermons.

Mack told stories that were demonstrably false -- like his claim he and Lee were in a house as a cannonball came through the wall. It bounced around and Mack Lee was struck in the head, dazed.

Lee, according to Mack, ran to him and said something like  "I ain't never seen a nigger hit like that".

Lee was never in a house that was hit by cannon balls. He never had a slave by that name.

Douglas Southall Freeman knew all that, of course.

He made sure his readers did not know.




 If Lee's slave ledgers are to be believe, even in the careful way Pryor writes about them, then Freeman  hardly issued a honest candid word about Lee.


What tells more about a person?

That Lee bought women from bounty hunters---or that he had a pet chicken?

We teach the chicken, at least in Virginia.   We don't mention the bounty hunters.




In any given week more school children are taken by the grave of Robert E Lee's horse,  than were ever taught, in 150 years, of what Lee did to slave girls.


Is that how "education"  is supposed to work?  


This blog is an amateurish report on Elizabeth Pryor's  flattering, book about Robert E Lee slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters.

But read her book yourself. You may get an entirely different view. 





Pryor wrote about the Fugitive Slave Act in this book about Lee.  Do you know why?

She  mentioned rather casually that the bounty hunters brought him escaped slaves ---- "and others".


Who were the others?  She does not say.

In fact, she does not give a hint whatsoever.

Did she not know who these others were? 

Highly unlike that Pryor knew the names, ages, and prices Lee paid for these "others".

But they were not his escaped slaves.  They were "others".  

Surely Lee did not just write "others"  with no information about them.  Pryor had to have written it this way for a reason -- the only logical reason?   She did not want her readers to know the names and prices of these people Lee bought from bounty hunters.

Pryor could have given us the names, ages, gender, where they were captured, and prices, of both the escaped slaves  and the others. 

But she did not do that.   

Pryor could have said the "others"  were impossible by his records to identify .   

But she did not do that. 

The "others"  had to be other than his escaped slaves.  But she did have an interesting comment......


Pryor wrote in that context "technically Lee may have broken the law".  She even added that Lee "failed to fill out the time consuming paper work".  

Clever right -- time consuming paperwork.   Lee failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork, as if Lee was the victim here.  

Of course there is no paperwork, time consuming or not, for grabbing human beings,  taking them South, and selling them as slaves.

So Pryor was not just willing to use Orwellian double speak and euphemism. In her eagerness to defend Lee, Pryor would just make shit up, too.  

We can't tell for sure, of course, unless we   see and study the slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters ourselves. 

Pryor made sure we could not actually see those things.  Remember, there is a reason the Lee family did not open these records, or give copies of them, to the public.



You should read her book first, frankly. 

 Pryor is (was)  a professional diplomat and scholar.

She did such a scholarly job on her book that she won awards for it, and accolades from the likes of Journal of Southern History, and the Virginia Historical Society.

 She worked with the Lee family and apparently got along quite well with them. No one accused her in academic circles of trashing Lee-- nor does she in the slightest.

In fact, Pryor bends over backwards on every page, if not every paragraph to justify Lee, no matter what he did. She blamed the slave themselves for their punishments, for example, and said Lee had "every right"  to "protect his property." 



Pryor  adored Lee, apparently, even after she found out about his punishment (torture is the right word, actually) of slave girls so small, the professional "overseer" (the man who usually tortured the slaves) refused to whip a girl because she was so small.

What did Lee do, according to his own hand written ledgers?

He paid a bounty hunter to whip the girl.

Pryor was not offended -- she claimed Lee had every right to protect his property.


Not out of cruelty ---  

Lee just had "poor cross cultural communication skills" 

Pryor did not want her readers to think Lee was cruel -- though the facts show a remarkably cruel man.   Pryor wrote that the punishments were the result of "Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills---" one of many bits of Orwellian double speak that Pryor uses throughout her book.



The newspapers at the time did not cover whipping of slaves, they were actually routine, as you will see.

So why publish these whippings?

Because the first overseer refused- - refused-- to whip her, and Lee paid someone to whip the slaves (including the small girl) .

The whip was only one of the tortures Lee used on her. There were other tortures in store for her, and Lee taunted her before her torture.  All of that was in those newspapers.  

If there is one thing Pryor did rather candidly --  Pryor lays it out there --the reports in the paper are undeniably accurate, because Lee himself validated them in his ownwritings, in the details she found in his slave ledgers. 

Not only did Lee's details in his own ledgers -- payments to the bounty hunters, payments to the other places named in the reports -- match things reported,    there was more.

Yes, more.

Reporters who remembered that story in the papers before the war, went  Lee's plantation after the war, to ask around.

They found witnesses to the whippings.   They even found one of the slaves whipped.   Those witnesses validated the earlier newspaper reports.

And remember, those reports Lee himself corroborated, in his own slave ledgers.

Pryor really had no choice, with this amazing verifications, overlapping and from various sources, on the details that matched Lee's handwritten records.

Pryor did a noble thing, she stuck to her guns on this one point -- that Lee himself validated the details of what appeared in the newspapers, in his own hand written slave ledgers. 

Don't forget this.  Lee's hand written slave ledgers validated -- to an astonishing degree-- what newspapers wrote at the time. And what witnesses themselves said after the war. 

More below. 



Pryor is no longer alive (traffic accident, 2015) to respond to questions or comments. 

 No doubt she would and could quickly dispense with my silly "nitpicks"  about the words and phrases she used to characterize Lee's slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters, that is, if she had the material necessary to correct these observations and answer these questions.

This blog may help a little, or it could be entirely wrong.  

We need to see the actual slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters to know best how to characterize them.

Pryor actually studied those records,  no one else till then had. I certainly did not.  It could be she was perfectly candid in her book,  and my rantings are silly.

But I have reasons to doubt that. 





Casually skim Pryor's book, and you can miss some doozies.

Pryor early on presents "sex between the races"  as "dalliances"  -- which is a brief casual affair,  sexual or otherwise.

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire had a 

Pryor  spoke in that part of the book in terms of "dalliances".  Really.

Her  "rape was common"  information she puts far in the back of the book, after most readers fell asleep in the slumber of her careful handling of Lee facts.

When speaking of rape, Pryor does not make it clear she is talking about Arlington, the phrasing is such that you can easily think she is writing about slave owners in general.

But she was writing about Lee's papers.   She was writing about Arlington. 

She does posit  "there is no evidence"  Lee himself took part in such activity, but what "evidence"  would she need, or find in his papers?   A DNA test?

There is much evidence Lee was cruel, and much evidence that rape was common there at Arlington, Pryor all but admits it.


Pryor quotes a black man -- using ebonics  no less, to tell us slave rape was common.  We did not need that, if you read the reports of eye witnesses,  torture  (discipline) was common. And the 50% of  mulatto slaves at Arlington were not dropped out of the sky or mothered by the Blessed Virgin Mary. 


What did she see in his papers?

Who did the "coercion"  Does that mean the woman got yelled at for not obeying sexual demands? 

Does it mean she was terrorized,  paid? 

Who did the coercion? 

Did they have a name?

Did the slave have a name? 

How old was the rape -- coercion-- victim?


My name is Mark Curran, here is my email MY EMAIL 

I believed all the lovely myths about Lee.   Why would I not?

I am (supposedly) a relative of Lee.  In my youth I was rather proud to have such a noble man of principle in my family.  Brave beyond compare, anti-slavery.  

So brave and religious he -- according to respected authors -- actually knelt and prayed during battle, with all his officers, as bombs blew up around him.

And he was anti -slavery!  Never owned a slave in his life, hated slavery,  and he freed his wife's slaves when he could! 

Wow his "servants" loved him so much, when he gave them their freedom, according to one "historian"  they refused to leave!  

Those who knew him best -- loved him the most, said Douglas Freeman -- meaning his slaves knew him best, and loved him most.

Kinda bring tears to your eyes how lovely this man was.

Until you find out about his slave ledgers.