Monday, September 10, 2012

WHY would Lee pay 34 times as much money to capture slave girls, than slave men? Could they pick 34 times as much cotton?

under construction -- come back later, not ready now --




Lee's papers.

Let's hope his family doesn't destroy them now. 

"Truth is amazing - history is unreliable"

One of Lee's many white looking slave girls.

Yes, Lee had slave girls that could pass for white.  
He wrote about it.

This is just ONE of them.



   We are told amazing things about Lee -- almost none of them backed up by Lee's own slave ledgers and personal letters -- including sexually explicit letters.

  Experts knew about Lee's papers, kept in two trunks by the family, for over 80 years, but the family didn't let folks see them.    Pretty much, everyone assumed those letters and papers would just verify what a great Christian he was, how he didn't own slaves, and cared only for saving souls for Jesus -- the stuff they teach about Lee.

Uh -- not so much.

Carefully reveals what others never 
dared mention, before.

Elizabeth Pryor, a Lee devotee, and chosen by the Lee family, had access to his slave ledgers and personal letters, that no one had before.

 Her book is called "Reading the Man".  A more honest title might be, "Revealing just a bit, in clever ways".

It's  not a tell all book -- it's tell it softly, on every page, in order not to piss off the Lee family she worked with, and the Virginia Historical society that still speaks highly of her.

We can't know for sure what she left out, until someone else gets the slave ledgers and sexually explicit letters.   Pryor is so careful, so delicate, she does not ever mention "slave ledgers" or dirty letters, but she held in her hand, both.

1000 ways to say slave ledgers -- she said "monthly account books" 

Pryor called them -- and just once -- "monthly account books".    She could have shown us what she was talking about, shown us the pages, the prices, shown us the letters to and from bounty hunters, show us the sexually explicit letters.

Pryor picked the most delicate way to relate everything,  much the same way she avoided making it clear she held, and got information from, his slave ledgers.

She tells us, for example, Lee used slave auctions -- but made it seem, by inference and tone, that it was rare and only to get rid of "unruly" servants. 

She could tell us  how many times he used slave auctions - do you think Lee wrote "I only got rid of unruly slaves at auctions"?

No -- she had the slave ledgers. If she wanted she could show us the lists, dates, names, and prices.  

It's important to know that Pryor never claims Lee ONLY used slave auctions a few times.  That's just the impression she gives.  And she quickly darts away, onto the next bit of clever understatement. 

But who else -- ever -- even told us Lee HAD slaves?   Remember, the myth says he freed them.   Who else ever hinted he sold some slaves, perhaps dozens, who knows, at slave auctions.

And did he buy slaves at auctions? We know he sold them.  Did he buy them too?   

We know Lee bought girls from bounty hunters -- what price? What girls?  How old?   Where was the girl captured?

Pryor ain't telling. 

Lee had slave girls whipped -- and it was not infrequent, if you read her details closely.   Pryor seems a master of Orwellian double speak -- but no one else even gave us that much.

 She wrote very very carefully -- her goal was to keep Lee's halo upon his head. She is not out to trash Lee, quite the opposite.

 Pryor excuses, minimizes, and tries to gloss over the horrors she found (she calls them horrors).  For example, while she admits Lee had slave girls whipped, she claims the girls "tested" Lee.     Only by close reading, do you see they "tested" Lee by trying to escape.

But even then, she blames tortures (and Lee was keen on torture, and torture is the right word)  on the girls, or on Lee's "poor cross cultural communication skills".

Seriously -- she wrote that. Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills. As if Lee knew a little Ebonics, he wouldn't have the girls whipped.

 But she is more clever even than that.  Pryor does state Lee had a "whipping post" installed, but then claimed it stood as a "silent reminder" . Silent my ass, Lee used it, and from what Pryor herself tells us later (cleverly) Lee used it often.  It was not silent, nor was Lee.



1) Only US soldier to have women captured during war -- free women, living in the North -- taken South and sold as slaves. Yes, really.  As you will see,  he had bounty hunters catch women in the North BEFORE the civil war. 

2)  Used over 5000 slaves to build the massive earthworks around Richmond -- called "King of Spades"  derisively in Richmond papers for it, at the time.Southern "historians" pass this off as a term on endearment from his men -- bullshit, it was a newspaper quip about his use of slave labor. 

3) Surrendered his entire army -- against orders -- when he was in personal danger.  He was never in personal danger before that.   Lee was "well in the rear" during actual battles.  


Why Lee made the newspapers before Civil War

According to THREE  newspapers before the Civil War, Lee took a very personal role in the torture of at least one girl.  His overseer refused to whip her, because she was so young.

Lee's papers show he was very involved with the capture of escaped slaves, apparently he had an intensely personal relationship with one girl in particular, because he paid drastically higher than usual prices for her capture and torture. Yes, he paid for her torture.   And torture is the right word. 

He had her whipped anyway, by someone else, and screamed at the girl as she was tortured.   And guess what -- Lee's own handwritten papers confirm the basic details.   

Oh that's not what they told you at Robert E Lee grade school? Surprise surprise.

Whipping slaves was not a newsworthy event, of course, that's not  why the story made three different newspapers.

The papers ran the story because Lee's overseer refused to whip a girl because she was too young. 

Let that sink in.   An overseer -- the guy who regularly whipped slaves -- refused to whip this girl.  She was TOO YOUNG. This guy was the expert at inflicting pain. He did this regularly. He whipped people on command.  And he knew what the whip did.

And he knew what pain the whip inflicted upon the young -- so he refused. A movie should be made about this guy, how he told Lee no.  Amazing -- because very likely, he was one of Lee's slaves too, though we aren't told details about him. 

Lee had her whipped anyway.

And Lee's tortures went beyond whipping, as  you will see. 

You heard right -- the regular guy, who whipped slaves as part of his job, refused to whip one girl.

Lee's writing validated the torture reports 

Pryor found, stunningly, information in Lee's own handwriting, that confirmed the details -- payments to bounty hunter named in the paper for that day, for example.  

Payments - remember in Lee's own handwriting - for expenses to capture those named slaves.

Pryor could have shown us the entries -- but remember, she didn't use the term slave ledger in her entire book.  She used the term "monthly account books".

Remember too, Lee wrote it down.  She held those papers in her hands.

No doubt it galled her to admit it, no doubt she had to conjure up ways to reveal things like this, without making Lee sound like a man who tortured girls and screamed at them during the torture.

She even uses Orwellian double speak and every trick in the book -- but give her credit, she reveals, however cleverly, what others never dared mention before.


You didn't know that Lee regularly used bounty hunters.   And how would you know -- no one told you.

 Someone did tell you Lee was against slavery -- and didn't own slaves.  That was a lie, and was always a lie.

Yes, Lee wrote a letter that said slavery was a moral evil -- but read the rest of the letter. In that same letter, he defends the torture of slaves, as ordained by God.  In that same letter he terms slavery a "religious liberty".

Lee was justifying the torture of slaves to his wife, in that letter, apparently.   His wife grew up with those slaves, played with them as a child, and apparently they were not whipped until Lee took over.

We don't know what her letter to him asked him -- or Pryor didn't mention that -- but apparently she questioned him about the tortures.

Lee's letter makes sense, if he is trying to pacify his wife, who was extremely religious.  He claimed God ordained slavery, and only God and end it. It is not up to man to question God.   God knew and intended, Lee wrote, for slaves to feel  "painful discipline".

Pain, Lee wrote, was "necessary for their instruction."     That's in the letter Southern apolgist claim proved Lee was against slavery!

And Lee wrote much much more, including instructions to bounty hunters, he recorded payments for kidnapping women from the North, as you will see.


"Time consuming paperwork"

"Technically Lee may have broken the law"

Of all the things Pryor found, though, nothing comes close to the fact Lee bought women and children that were living in the NORTH, free and legally so. They were never slaves in their lives, until Lee bought them illegally, and made them into slaves.


Pyror is artful, to the point of absurdity, on this revelation, almost as vile as the regular rape of slaves at Arlington, as you will see.

Pryor does carefully admit Lee's slave hunters went North, through several states, to capture escaped slaves.   She does not even use the word slave, or capture, or kidnap. SHe claims "Of course Lee was well within his rights to capture and punish runaways".

Read her words carefully there -- very carefully.  SHe admits Lee's hunters returned with "others" -- others.   Who the FUCK are others?

She could have told us, but she didn't want to.  Others were blacks that hunters found illegally.  Scum sucking Southern apologist to this day cry like babies that whites in North didn't return runaways fast enough - special kind of scum, because thats people TODAY defending the capture of women and children, not just then.

But this goes beyond that.  Lee bought OTHERS. He paid for OTHERS.   Pryor often does this trick, saying "Lee and others" as if Bobby was just doing what was customary.  Bullshit.   Very few people owned slaves -- Lee was the biggest slave owner, and had the most bounty hunters, and Pryor knows that.  

Others?    They had to be, other than his escaped slaves.   There is no other logical explanation of who others were.   Why not make it clear?   

For the same reason Pryor doesn't make anything really vile clear. She doesn't to.  

Pryor says Lee "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork" -- as if there was paperwork at all for capturing slaves, and or kidnapping free women.  

She also says, "Whether Lee and others broke the law is an interesting question."  No, bitch, the interesting question would be, did Lee rape the girls he paid the most for, that's the interesting question.


We know that Lee during the Civil War, had  his soldiers capture blacks in the North, chained, and taken South for sale.   There is no dispute about that, though Pryor didn't mention it.   No one ever came within 1000 miles of admitting Lee was one of those who bought blacks kidnapped in the North. 

We knew that blacks were kidnapped in the North-- and sold into slavery was a money making racket. You think bounty hunters gave a shit about whether a black person was escaped slave? You think a guy kidnapping -- beating, tying up, taking children, taking mothers -- really gave a shit if  he had the "right" black person?

Are you fucking nuts?

  Do you really think that? IF so you are  a stupid shit and get off my page. 

And if you think Lee cared -- a man who had slave girls tortured -- whether they were escaped slaves or not, you are an idiot for that too. Fuck no he didn't care. Men who have girls whipped don't really give a shit about justice.  Too complicated?

Lee was concerned, though, what his wife would think, so he fooled her as best he could with religious sounding crap.

Pryor writes every page -- every paragraph -- carefully, even Orwellian.     For example, she calls Lee a "planter"  -- Lee never planted anything.   His money did not come from plants, he did not sell or even have his slaves grow cotton.

Do you know what Lee's cash crop was?  Of course you don't.  

His cash crop  was humans. That's what he got paid for.

 He sold the labor and flesh of slaves.  And Pryor knows that.  He rented them out. He paid bounties.  Pryor says he "separated families"  which is a euphemism for he sold the  mother or the child away from each other.  There were no "families"   as the child was often as not,  was fathered by the slave master or another white man.        

Pryor could tell us much more than she did, in fact, she could hardly tell us less, but we do know from her he received payment for slaves.   And he used slave auctions.   And we know from her Lee paid to have certain slave girls whipped.



When  Alan Nolan said 20 years ago, we need to "start over" about Lee,  he had no idea what the slave ledgers held, no idea about the tortures, bounty payments, and no idea about the sexually explicit letters.

But Nolan did grasp that what we were told about Lee, even before, was not scholarship, but repeated idolitary.  Many  "facts"  were just made up 30 and 40 years after his death, especially the quotes attributed to him, didn't appear for 20 years or more, and were first in books by hustlers, like Cook. 

Then they ("historians") just repeated each other, like an echo.  Too bad much of it was simply not true. 

For example, this claim is typical blather, made up later, in books that sold well in the 1880's to 1920's.   It seemed the more absurd the claim, the better the book sold, and authors seemed to compete to be the most "adorational" about Lee.

Cooke claimed Lee and ALL HIS officers would dismount during battle, as bombs blew up around them, for a nice long silent prayer.

And honestly, people are so stupid, they believed it. 

Cooke's book is sold right now, today, this minute.  You can buy a copy easily.

No you won't hear "scholars" claiming Lee and all his officers dismounted during battle as bombs exploded around them, that is one over the top bullshit.   But Cook's books, and others, are cited as the source for much of the bullshit we are told today.  

 If that happened, if Lee and all his officers prayed during battle,  why didn't anyone say that for 20-30 years, till Cook came along? And why didn't anyone say it since?

That kind of nonsense is ubiquitous in Lee's "biographies"

Nothing is too goofy to claim. 

 Cook was a goofy hustler, yet -- you can't make this up -- there is actually a "Cook Award"  named in his  honor, for people who write the most crazy bullshit about Lee. 

So the Lee slave ledgers -- and all the other documents Pryor had in her hands, would be a great place to start.   Pryor might have cracked open the door, but someone else needs to see the papers, and publish the papers.

Enough bullshit already.  150 years of bullshit is enough.


Lee's supply of slaves changed drastically -- Pryor artfully tells us that.  At one point, Lee had  mostly only older men and slave boys there.  Okay, what the hell happened to the women?  Did they go up in the rapture?    Lee did something to them -- what the  hell was it?  

Pryor doesn't explain what he did -- but she knew, because she told us he had mostly men and boys at one point.  What the hell did she read, in Lee's papers, to give her that information?

And Pryor should have had the decency, out of respect for those children and women, to say so candidly, instead of this bullshit Orwellian nonsense. But she did not work for those slave girls -- or for honesty. SHe worked for the Lee family and Virginia Historical Society.   The amazing thing is, she let any vile information out, at all. 


Historians already knew  Lee, during the Civil War, had his soldiers capture people in the North, taken South, and sold as slaves.   He didn't care whether they were freed slaves, free people, escaped slaves, or what they were.  

They had dark skin, Lee had them captured, taken South and sold as slaves.

That's not in dispute whatsoever.

But no one had a clue -- till Pryor -- that Lee did that same thing before the war, as a financial investment, paying bounty hunters for not just escaped slaves -- but for "others" as Pryor put it so carefully, that they found in the North illegally.

No, you didn't know.  You could not have a clue, because you only know what you are told.

Did you know Lee's bounty hunters sold him women they caught in the North, that were NOT escaped slaves, but had the horrible luck to be black and in the proximity of Lee's hunters?  


As Pryor shows, as the rapes of the lighter skinned girls continued, even lighter skinned children were born, as slaves.

As Pryor said "Whites were increasingly enslaving other whites 

That's right Lee bought escaped slaves, but he also bought "others" as Pryor so delicately put it.  See more about Lee's purchase of "others" and Pryor's delicate way of revealing such horrors. 

short version of this blog --

1) More "history teachers" know the name of Lee's pet chicken (Pearl) than know he had slave girls whipped, and sold children

2) Repeating myths do not make them true.

Long version

Make no mistake -- Pryor's goal, and job, is to keep Lee's halo upon his head. Her goal, nor job, is to shock you.  

Pryor found horrors, cruelties, rape, torture --- she found essentially that the Lee myth is bullshit, we need to start over on Lee. 

For example, Lee's torture of slave girls. Yes torture is the right word.   She could have told us about the tortures in 10000 different ways -- she chose to tell us in the most clever, soft, powder puff way.    And to the extent she did tell us, she excused Lee, blamed others, and made it as vague as her word skills -- which are considerable -- could make.

The Lee family, and Virginia Historical Society, chose Elizabeth Pryor, a Lee devotee and scholar, to study, at length, all Lee's papers, including a stunning 10,000 letters, and those darn slave ledgers.

They picked wisely - if the goal was to reveal the horrors as gently as possible.  In fact, you can read much of her book, and insist that wasn't Lee, or that was just a rumor, or that was not factual.

No -- Pryor is using LEE's own papers.  

Pryor  could have no clue of the horrors she found -- tortures, rapes, purchase of free women, sale of children.    Of course we all know slavery was a vile enterprise, but we were told Lee didn't even own slaves.

Oh yes he did, and he bought more.  He "managed" his wife's slaves, and had his own, and bought more.   His papers show the standard BS about Lee and slavery was not just wrong, but backwards.

Pryor begins her book  -- and the entire narrative is much like it - with a flattering letter from Lee to his children.  She very deftly places the horrors, a bit here, a bit there, with excuses, minimization, and Orwellian double speak (we show you), but she gets the horrors in.

She compares Lee with Richard the Lionhearted, while other biographers had him a step higher, in heaven on the right hand of Christ.  Really.   But the details -- oh my, those details. 

The surprise she found weren't allegations in some bad old "historians" book.  They were in Lee's own papers, his own slave ledgers, his own sexually explicit letters, his own notes to bounty hunters.  


 Lee's own slave ledgers?  Prices paid for girls?   Selling children?  Pryor never heard of such things -- no one had, at least not for 100 years. 

Historians knew about newspaper accounts of Lee's torture of slave girls, but dismissed them, even though three separate newspapers reported on the same event, with much the same details.  So sure were "historians" that these newspaper accounts were spurious, that they didn't even mention them.

Some details Pryor relates -- carefully -- defy exaggeration  - white looking slave girls escaped?  Lee screaming at girls as he had them whipped?  Lee wrote sexually explicit letters, for decades, to various women?

 Lee paid extra for capture of certain girls? Much extra?


Pryor only used the word "horror" when she found that white looking women were enslaved -- at Arlington.  Any other narrative about slave women -- dark skinned women -- she did not describe as horrible or cruel.   Hard to tell her mood when she wrote those pages about Lee's light skinned girls, but she was probably pissed. 

  It did not seem to occur to her that black and mulatto women felt the torture too, that they were torn apart when their children were sold too.  That they screamed when whipped, too. 

This is how Pryor phrases it.  "Whites were increasingly enslaving other whites".  She did not use the name Lee on that page, or the preceding page.  You could easily read that, and think she meant slave owners generally. 

No -- she was talking about Lee, using his papers.  Lee was enslaving whites.  You heard right, Lee had slaves so light skinned, they could pass for W H I T E.

And if you look white, you are white.  There is no "black" gene, there are thousands of genes, some for skin color.  Some of Lee's slave girls had genetically white skin.   Lee enslaved whites. 

Yes, he did.    

Pryor uses her Orwellian double speak, yes, and slight of hand.  But give her credit, no one else ever did this much.

A careful reading of her words show it was  Lee that enslaved white looking women. Lee that bought them, Lee that send bounty hunters after them, and Lee that had them whipped.  No one else had slave women chased -- in his papers. That was Lee. No one else paid to buy free women from the North (see below)  That was Lee.

No one else paid bounty hunters to whip women, while Lee  yelled at them. That was Lee. 

   But as you will see, Pryor has to phrase things carefully.


Lee's slave ledgers were saved, ironically, along with his other papers, by Union soldiers, who boxed up all Lee family effects and presented them to the family.   Apparently in Lee's life time, he never had the chance to destroy the sexually explicit letters he wrote, and received, nor his slave ledges.


If Pryor could say one thing to Lee, it might be this:

     "Please, General Lee, if you are going to have girls tortured, sell children, pay bounties for run away slaves buy women and children your hunters found illegally  in the North, please don't write it down."




Yet Pryor never uses the term "slave ledger".  She could have -- she should have. She had them in her hands.  She only refers to them once, and even then, calls them "monthly account books."

Pretty clever.  Yet the information in the "account books" are about slaves -- purchases, bounties, escapes.  Who knows what else? Prices paid, names, dates. That's slave ledgers.  

Later, coyly, Pryor relates deep in a later chapter, that  whipping was his "prefered" method of torture -- er, as Pryor calls it, "discipline".  Prefered? 

  If he prefered one way, that means, that indicates he had others. And indeed he did have other methods, including salt poured into wounds, witnesses said, for more pain.

Pryor didn't get that information about Lee's "preference" from a duck -- she got it, from Lee's personal papers. She decided how to phrase it.   Remember that.  Pryor is not trying to rat Lee out, she is trying to encase him in excuses and justifications. 


Granted, take ANY slave owner, have all his records, all his letters, all his dirt, and who would look clean?    In fact, if every bad thing were know about any slave owner, no one would look wonderful. 

If you were raised how Lee was, had the power Lee had, could buy sell, and rape with impunity, well, power corrupts.  You might believe slavery was done by religious honorable men, but that's bullshit. Honorable men don't torture, don't terrorize.  

And the religious crap was always an excuse, a cover.   The South became the bible belt because of the intense defense of slavery, and all it's horrors. 

Lee was typical that way -- he could write religious sounding cover letters to his wife about God's will -- but also wrote sexually explicit letters to various women.     We don't know what he laughed about -- what he said at slave auctions, that would be revealing.  But we know he was a sexual man, sexual details in his letters to various women show that.  He didn't write religious letters to them.

Power corrupts -- and men need to excuse their tortures, oppressions, etc.  Lee was no exception to that.

 That's why slavery is vile, men with power are vile, if they can be.  Lee could be. 

Note to slave owners --burn your letters and slave ledgers. 

For example, she excuses Lee's torture of slave girls in three clever ways. 

1)  she claims Lee had "every right" to protect his property.   As if torturing the property is how you protect it.

2)  she claims the tortures (not her word, naturally) were result of Lee's "Poor cross cultural communication skills".   As if he could just speak a little ebonics, he wouldnt need to to torture them. 

3) she claims law require the torture of run away slaves. No, the law did not require it.   And Lee regularly disregarded the law, as you will see. For example it was against the law to separate mothers from their young children.  Lee points out Lee did that -- she "forgets" to mention it was against the law.   But she "remembers" a law that didn't exist, to pretend he had to have them whipped --er, excuse me, " disciplined". 

4)  she claims the girls "immediately tested Lee"  when he took over control (aka punishment) of slaves.  

 She doesnt make it clear, on that page, what the "test" was, she was just trying to blame the girls for whatever that "test" might be.

Turns out, the test was, they tried to escape.     That was the "test".   They tried to escape.  Lee had them chased  -- for months apparently -- by bounty hunters, and was there to meet them when they returned, and had them whipped, while he screamed at them.

How does Pryor know that?


Lee made the newspapers before the Civil War -- for cruelty.

Pryor has his slave ledgers and letters, remember?

Bet you didn't know that at least three newspapers before the Civil War had articles about Lee's cruelties to slave girls.  No one told you that, did they?

In fact, Lee "scholars" dismissed those newspaper reports as preposterous, because they claimed Lee didn't have slaves, and if he did, they loved him.  Seriously, that's what the  Pulitzer Prize winning Lee biographer claimed.

But Pryor could validate those newspaper reports, by the details in Lee's ledgers.  SHe found the dates, the names, and the entries Lee wrote down -- apparently.   She is rather coy about it, but found payments to the men named in the newspaper,  and payments made to the sheriffs of various counties where Lee kept the slaves for a  time, apparently so he could be at Arlington and give them a proper homecoming.

By the way, it was not news that a slave owner tortured a slave girl -- that was customary actually.   

These tortures made the paper because Lee's regular overseer -- the guy who usually whipped the slaves -- refused to whip this girl, said she was TOO YOUNG to whip.  That's right, according to the papers, the overseer would whip the other slaves, but not this girl.

Lee immediately hired someone to whip her, and yelled at her all through her ordeal. 

Pryor -- remember she is a Lee devotee, she makes excuses for Lee --and made excuses for this torture, too, that whole "tested Lee" thing was her excuse. 

Pryor to her credit wrote that the details in Lee's papers unquestionably validated the stories that appeared in the newspaper. 

Wasn't that clever of Pryor -- too add that word "tested" and the adjective "immediately" They tested him IMMEDIATELY.  Pryor was clearly eager to make those girls seem like the bad person here.   

And also turns out, Lee was a cruel slave master, and proud of it, though he didn't consider himself cruel, he did scream at slave girls as he had them whipped.  Here is a clue, a man who has a slave girl chased for months, pays handsomely for her capture, then personally screams at her during her torture, is NOT, NOT NOT a kind man. 

 Lee's slaves - dozens, perhaps over 100 -- tried to escape. Why would they do that?  

They risked their lives to escape, they were tortured if they were caught, they had to leave their small children behind, because slave dogs (Lee doubtless had slave dogs -- most slave owners did) would rip slaves apart. 

Yet many of his slaves tried to escape.   According to Pryor herself, the slaves said Lee was "the worse man ever ever saw".

 For a guy who didn't even own slaves, whose slaves loved him, all that BS, he sure had problems with escaped slaves. 


Think history is in "history" books?  


Orwell much?

Lee's slave ledgers show he paid far high prices for slave girls, than boys.   In fact Lee's average price for capture of slave male was 10 dollars.  Capture a 14 year old --get 340 dollars. 

How many of Lee's slave's escaped?  While Pryor won't give us a number, she cleverly says Lee had "epidemics" of slaves trying to escape.  

Epidemics -- how cute. Why not tell us a number? Be specific -- she  had the actual records. She COULD have told us how many.

Her goal was not to make Lee look vile. 

Pryor writes that at one time, there were 12 escaped slaves bounty hunters were looking for, including a light skinned girl.  Interesting, but so casually mentioned.  

Was there another time with 30 escaped slaves? Remember, she had the records. So tell us. She would only say "epidemics".

But overall -- how many?  Fifty? Seventy? 

Pryor would not even use the term "slave ledger" -- she used the term "account books".  No use making it vivid that he had slave ledgers, you might get the idea he had slaves. 

Sexually explicit letters -- to various women, over decades.  Things that make you go  "WTF"?   Pryor said there is "no evidence" Lee ever did the things he mentioned in the letters.

Oh really? How many women have you written sexually explicit letters to, but not had some intimacy with?  And Lee wrote these letters ongoing for decades.   Pryor wont give us the names, or tell us the number of letters.  But at least she told us they exist. 

What did he write -- show us? She won't make it clear, though she mentioned Lee writing about sex tricks, and bragging about his son's sexual abilities.    But Pryor is artful about all such details -- as evidenced by her clever way of telling us he bought women and children that were not slaves, until he got hold of them.

Lee "fails to fill out time consuming paperwork"?  


Pryor writes about Lee's slave hunters, without ever making it clear they are hunting blacks that were not slaves, too.   Pryor tells us the hunters found escaped slaves in the North, but then clever says "and others".   Who would "and others" be?

Other than his escaped slaves, were the "others".  

Pryor writes Lee "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork". 

You can easily read these pages, and not get it.  Read it closely -- she is as clever a wordsmith as possible.    Time consumptin paperwork? Really?  Seriously?

Time consuming paperwork?   Think about that -- she has his payment records for these women and children that were not slaves until he made them so.   She has the evidence, in his own handwriting, in his own records, that he bought others.

Think that's all he wrote? The word others? No, he would have listed the name, age, and price.  

Pryor put it as a "paperwork" issue.

WTF is she yapping about, what time consuming paperwork?    

Did Lee write "Oh I was going to file the paperwork on turning those women and children into slaves, but Christ, that paperwork?"

He wrote something -- remember that. Lee wrote something, or someone wrote something to him, to tell her Lee bought "others".  Pryor put it as others.   

Paperwork issue? Pryor, you should be ashamed of your damn self.

No one. No one ever told us that.  

Pryor is on Lee's side on the whole "torture slaves" thing, though she calls it "discipline".  Lee had "every right"  to "protect" his property.

In one of the most Orwellian sentences ever written, Pryor writes that the slaves "did not fully appreciate Lee's theory of labor management".

Top that -- go ahead, top slaves did "not fully appreciate" Lee's theory of labor management. I will give you a month. You can't top that. 

But Pryor had to write something.  She had to either leave such things out, or go Orwell, or supply excuses, or blame the slaves.   She decided to use all three rhetorical devices.  


But myths honor those who are despicable. It's  happened before, and will again.


Pryor first introduces "sexual relations" between "races"  by using the term "dalliance".   Very much like everything else -- she approaches rapes (yes rapes) at Arlington carefully.

Remember, she adores Lee -- she works with and for his family and Virginia Historical Society, not exactly Lee detractors.   

Pryor slyly mentions that "over half " of Lee's slaves were mulatto -- light skinned.  How many? Over half.  Is that 30? 50? Over 100?>

And how many of those light skinned girls did Lee sell?   She doesn't say. How many escaped? No clue -- she doesn't say.  But she does say that Lee had "epidemics" of slave escapes.

But in a sentence that had to take her days to write -- whites (she was talking about Lee's) were "increasingly enslaving other whites".

Pryor claims Lee's torture of slaves was due to his "poor cross cultural communication skills".   Couln't have been anger, or lust, or cruelty. Having girls tied up, screaming at them (as he did, according to three newspapers at the time) was a communication issue? 


Pryor tries to sell the rapes of slaves, early in her book, as "dalliances between the races".  Only later does she cleverly reveal that forcible rapes were common. 

Why not be specific?   Why do the soft shuffle early on and then cleverly reveal the rapes.

Pryor reveals the rapes by using -- we kid  you not -- ebonics. She quotes a former slave that said "Lord child dats wuz common".

And she does not use the name Lee on that page.  You can get the impression -- she wants  you to -- that was about other slave owners, at other plantations. No, it was LEE's plantation, Lee's slaves.  She was referring to Lee's papers, letters to and from him.


Consider this -- nothing stopped Pryor from being specific, that we know of.  She had the slave ledgers, dirty letters, etc, in her hands.   

She could have listed the slave girls names -- made it clear which ones he bought from hunters, which ones tried to escape.   No where is she specific when discussing those "horrors".

Her style of writing shifts --- when glossing over Lee's cruelties.  Passive voice -- no names, especially not Lee's name -- on that page. But she is writing about Lee.   "Whites were increasingly enslaving other whites".

Where?  At LEE"S slave plantation, thats where.  Lee had the almost unbelievable ration of over half mulatto slaves!   Who fathered them?  Casper?

The letter Pryor found making the "white looking slave girls" an issue, was FROM a woman at Arlington.   You have to study her notes for that.

WHy not show it? Why not say "The slave Besty wrote Lee asking if she could keep her daughter, and mentioned that Lee's son was the father" -- or whatever letter it might be.   Why not just show us?

Pryor is doing her best NOT to show specific horrors.   But no one else mentioned any of this. 

Candor would have likely cost her access to the Lee papers.  How would you handle it?

And she adores Lee -- or did when she started.

Remember, she worked side by side, physically, with Lee family members and Virginia Historical Society.   The amazing thing isnt that she spoke so carefully -- the amazing thing is, she got in as much as she did.

She had the information in her hands.  She says "over half" -- do you think Lee wrote  "I have over  half my slaves lighter skinned"?

Whenever Pryor writes anything, remember this -- she got it from Lee's papers. She saw something in his papers about the tortures, the rapes, the bounties.  It did not fall from the sky, a duck did not tell her.

Pryor was loathe to reveal as much as she did. 

But from other records, its clear Lee had over 200 slaves -- and yes, they were his, legally, and because he decided who got whipped, w who was sold, who kept their children, who lost their children.  He decided -- and he owned outright his own.

When you decide who gets whipped, who gets sold, who is chased and kidnapped by bounty hunters --you are a slaver.  



To exist at all, slavery depended on slave owners Orwellian double speak, and religious fakery.   But at the slave auctions, in the slave barns at night, buying slave girls, these men were not religious. 

Lee is the perfect example.  Lee wrote sexually explicit letters, for decades, and per his actual letters, he had nothing but disdain and anger towards slaves. Though he regularly separated mothers from their children, and had slaves whipped, he was furious that they did not appreciate him.  

But that's how the human mind must work -- he could not blame himself, he blamed the victim. That's not at all unique to Lee, all slave owners did it.

 Jefferson Davis was the master - but Lee came close.  Liberty, claimed Davis, was the right to own slaves.  Can you get more perverse?

But Lee had to use the same lingo, the same nonsense.   It's no accident that every Southern leaders was adept at Orwellian double speak.

Those who cover for them, also must use linquistic slight of hand, misleading and Alice-in-Wonderland BS.

Pryor must avoid simple direct factual statements -- so she does.

She calls Lee a "planter" as if he ever planted a thing.  She tells us Lee planted this crop, and that, and did this to the fields. Really?  Think Lee got out there and toiled the field. Southern leaders were quiet proud that whites were "superior" race and blacks did the menial and difficult work.

Lee didn't plant potatoes, slaves did. Lee didn't build slave shacks, they did. Lee didn't whip slaves -- he even had others do that. 

Lee only wanted -- all his life, Pryor says, "to be a planter".   She meant, but could not say, he wanted to be a plantation owner, like his father. The bigger the plantation, the better.

It was no accident Lee married the rather homely Mary Custis. And no accident either, he wrote sexually explicit letters to others, for decades, though married to her.   Lee got his slaves the old fashioned way -- he married the owner.

One more basic thing Pryor -- nor anyone else -- dares mention candidly.  Lee's cash crop was flesh.  The flesh of others. The forced labor of others.

His income did not come from cotton or peanuts or bacon or sweet potatoes. His income came from flesh, from selling it, and or the labor of flesh.  

Enough bullshit. Enough Orwellian double speak.  

But Pryor opened a door others had nailed shut.


Pryor makes sure we don't get the hard or harsh reality. Yet no one else dared show anything like Pryor revealed, carefully, in doublespeak, or not. 


How many white looking girls did he own?   No such information.   But he owned, apparently, over 100 mulatto slaves, and some were so white looking, they could pass for white.

Guess what -- if you look white, you ARE white. White is a color. Pryor actually wrote a stunning sentence -- "Increasingly, whites were enslaving other whites".

 Where were whites enslaving other whites?  At Arlington. Lee owned the most white looking mulatto slaves. Who  ever dreamed that was even an issue - anywhere?

Instead, biographies of Lee (see below) seem to compete, page after page, to heap accolade after accolade, praise upon praise, noble trait on top of noble trait.

In fact, Lee's main biographer, a Pulitzer Prize winner  no less, announced idiotically, that Lee was "now at the right hand of Christ" and had "no faults to probe".  His thousands of pages about Lee, set about to prove that, never mind that most of it was at best distorted, at worst bullshit.


Douglas Southall Freeman went beyond bending the truth, and ignoring Lee's tortures, the rapes, the dirty letters.  

Freeman insisted Lee's slaves loved him -- and that he freed the slaves "long before the Civil War"  which was utter nonsense. Lee still had slaves during the civil war -- living elsewhere, rented out, and he ignored or resisted orders by Virginia Courts to free the slaves that  belonged, technically, to his wife.

But Lee had his OWN slaves, too, and bought more. His wife's slaves were only a part of his holding of human flesh.

Freeman knew, for example, that Mack Lee was not Lee's slave, nor  his servant, nor anything else.  But there was a black man, a "preacher" in the 1910's and 1920's that went around raising money for his church - she wore a Confederate uniform, thats right. He spoke to Southern churches in a Confederate Uniform, and paised the South,praised white race, and claimed he was Lee's personal slave all through the Civil War.

Nonense.  He didn't even have his facts right.   He claimed he was hit in the head with a cannon ball, for example, while standing next to Lee, and Lee ran to him and said "I aint never seen no Nigger hit by no cannon ball" and laughed.  

Mack Lee -- the "Reverand"  didn't have a book, he had a pamphlet he handed out to drum up business for his preaching. He preached to WHITE audiences in the South, not to black folks.He was always raising money.

Douglas Southall Freeman, of course, knew Lee's whereabouts, and the names of his slaves, especially the slaves Lee kept with him all through the war to help him dress, bathe, and eat. Yes, Lee had slaves to help dress him, no one told you that, did they?

Mack Lee was NOT one of those slaves Lee had in the field.  And Freeman knew that.  Yet Freeman used Mack Lee's hustle to "prove" how Lee's slaves loved him.

Actually, Pryor shows Lee's slaves hated him, and said he "was the worst man we ever saw". 

See the difference?  And remember, Freeman knew this, but wanted to "prove" Lee was loved by his "servants".

Total bullshit. 




Who knew that? Who knew any of these issues? 

Lee "had no faults to probe"  and "sits at the right hand of Christ".



 "Pain is necessary for a slaves instruction", Lee told his wife. And he writes all kinds of religious excuses.

But did Lee believe any of it?   Remember, Lee bought free people -- free girls, free men -- from bounty hunters who caught them living free in the NORTH. Did Lee really believe God ordained slavery and torture?
Hard telling -- but he sure could lay down the bullshit saying to, to his wife

Lee insisted slaves were "immeasurably" better off as slaves.   God intended it.

BUt Lee didn''t trust God to get him more slaves -- he had hunters bring him escaped slaves, and women, children his hunters found in the North.    Why didn't God give him the slaves, why did he have to buy them, have them kidnapped?

Any clue? 

Yet Lee claimed he was involved in slavery because the slaves were "better off here than in Africa".    What the hell?  Africa? Lee never had an African slave.   Nor was he ever in Africa, nor did he bother to ask the slaves where they were better off. In fact, Lee's biggest problem as slaver -- his slaves continually tried to escape.  

Lee bought FREE people from Pennsylvania. His bounty hunters didn't go to Africa.  Then went to Maryland and Pennsylvania.  So whats this bullshit about "better off than in Africa"?  He got them by force, right here in USA.

Yes, he did.  

So did  he believe Jesus wanted him to capture free people -- of mixed race no less -- in USA, and turn them into slaves?   Hell no, but saying such crap mollified his wife, and that's apparently what he wanted/.

Lee told her, it's  not our role to question the wisdom of "Divine Providence" that ordains slavery or the "painful discipline they must endure".
If you are going to teach Lee -- then teach him. Teach his excuses for torture, teach what he did to slave girls, teach what horrors he put them through.

Lee told her abolitionist are on an "evil course".  

Lee fed her with the same bullshit your school text books probably tell you. 

Lee also told his wife, only God can end slavery, man can not, and man is evil to try to end slavery before God choses!  Slavery is a political evil, but it is not for us to judge God

Those who wanted slavery to end -- in man's time, not God's time -- are on an "evil course".   That is what Lee said -- clearly to fool his wife, who believed that kind of crap.


We are told Robert E Lee was not only the best military commander in US history, but he was "an ever greater Christian".  Bullshit to both, neither were true. 

Your history teachers sure never told you. Instead, lectures on Lee were more like passionate adoration speeches, as they added their own spin -- utterly confident of the facts -- to their students.


Like layers of stalagmite, Lee's myth grew, drip by goofy drip, over time.   The tortures, rapes, bounties removed. False claims of piety, kindness, bravery inserted.

 White looking slaves was very much an issue at Arlington, as Lee himself referred to skin tone, and he had letters to him, from Arlington women, complaining of the white looking slaves.


Thousands of letters to and from Lee -- she mentions 10,000 personal letters.   Letters to and from, apparently, bounty hunters, to and from various women. Lee wrote sexually explicit letters for decades -- to various women. How many women?  She won't say. 

How sexually explicit were his letters? She won't say, other than to write Lee refered to sex tricks, and seemed proud of his son's sexual exploits. 

He did not just do this a few times -- he did it for decades, before, during, and after the Civil War.   Weren't we told he was "the most chaste, the most noble" man in US history?

Yes, were were told that, and much more.

Pryor apparently had information about which slaves Lee sent to auction  houses. She had letters to  and from his wife asking about the whipping of slave girls. 

Pryor had dynamite in her hands, but she didn't use it to blow the lid off Lee Myth.   She had information about slave auctions, and prices paid for certain slaves.   She knows who Lee sold, and who Lee bought.

Pryor knows more than she is telling in a candid way. Her goal is to keep his halo upon his head  --- but the  "details" get in a way, though she does everything she can to reveal the horrors in a measured and even Orwellian, prose.

See her book, "Reading the Man".

Pryor won't even use the term "slave ledgers" -- but that's what she found.  She calls them "monthly account books," but they had the prices he paid for bounties, and lists of sales, and disposition of which slave.  She could tell us, for example, Lee paid drastically higher prices for women, than men. 

Sure -- Pryor and the Lee family should put copies of Lee's slave ledgers in the public domain.  Put his sexually explicit letters there too, his letters to and from bounty hunters, put it all out.

Until then, we will have to rely on Pryor's  very carefully written book.   

Pryor's use of Orwellian and clever prose, starts in her title.  She knows "Portrait" means a flattering rendition.  She paints a nice portrait, but look closely.  

The horrors are carefully  in the details. Yes horrors. 

The Lee family with Elizabeth Pryor.

Those are the two trunks, that held the Lee slave ledgers, and sexually explicit letters. The Union soldiers returned all Lee's papers and private effects to the family-- had Lee known his slave ledgers and sexual letters would survive, he would have destroyed them. 

Facts are stubborn things.



Pryor's  narrative is overwhelmingly positive.  She won't shock you if you adore Lee.   One reviewer said she showed Lee "warts and all".   As if torture of girls and sale of children is a wart.   But Pryor made sure nothing she wrote jumped out at you, or made you uncomfortable.

Whenever she admitted some horror -- like rape, torture, sale of children, the purchase of free women and children (see below), she used her Orwellian double speak, together with built in excuses, such as Lee's torture (torture is the right word, though she did not use it) of girls was a result of "poor cross cultural communication skills."    As if Lee could have spoken Ebonics, he wouldnt need to have those girls whipped.

But she does get in the whippings -- see how she does that.

She even gets in the rapes.

She begins the book with a charming letter Lee wrote to his children. The Journal of Southern History even gave Pryor rave reviews -- but you gotta wonder, did they actually read the details in the book, or just skim it? 

In her details, very carefully stated, are horrors, committed by Lee, and written down by Lee.  That's the most astonishing part -- Lee wrote them down.


Pryor had to be conflicted.  She was hired to praise Lee -- to "verify" how wonderful Lee was, using his own papers.  Historians have known about his trunks of papers, but no one was allowed to study them -- not for 145 years.

Pryor was the first scholar who studied them, and she adored Lee, she was a Lee devotee.  She had to assume the papers would confirm all those great things -- after all, who even hinted at rapes, bounty payments, tortures?

No one. Literally no one.  Even when "historians" admitted things, like Lee's capture of hundreds of blacks in the North, during his Maryland campaign, they didn't point out Lee was the only soldier in US history to capture civilians during war, to be sold as slaves.

Pryor found that out, the hard way. And more, found out, he did that before the war, too. Lee paid bounty hunters for women and children they kidnapped illegally, in the North, long before the Civil War. Watch how Pryor carefully gets that "detail" in her book.


Pryor no doubt believed the myth -- was Lee not "the greatest Christian" in US history.   A Pulitzer prize winning "historian" told us Lee was now "on the right hand of Christ" in heaven. 

Not just in heaven, but "on the right hand of Christ".

Pryor, nor any of us, heard anything but praise for Lee.  We were told a thousand times he we against slavery --  even "violently" against slavery, and that he freed his slaves long before the Civil War.


We only know what we are told, and about Lee, we were told universally wonderful things.  Anti slavery (not true). Kind (not true).  Devout husband (not true).  Religous (not true). 

SO where did all that come from. We are told Lee's slaves loved him so much, they refused to leave.  Then we find out, Lee's slaves said he was the worst man they ever saw -- and dozens, perhaps over 50, risked their lives to escape his cruelties (see below).


Lee "had no faults to probe"  said Douglas Southall Freeman.  The greatest Christian --"by far" said Douglas. The bravest, the most chaste, the kindest, the most tidy, yes even the most tidy.  Accolade after accolade.

Lee didn't inflict pain -- no no no, he endured suffering "for the South"  and gave an example of fortitude. 

ABSURDITIES ACCEPTED. We are even told -- in books sold yet today, that Lee and all his officers, dismounted during battle,  took off their hats, as bombs blew up around them, for long silent prayer.  

No one claimed such nonsense then -  in fact, Longstreet wrote that Lee was always "well in the rear".    He certainly never got off his horse with all his officers, as bombs blew up around him, and stood in silent prayer.   


It seems Lee biographies of that era, competed to put out the most goofy made up nonsense.   If the author was of a certain faith, that author tried to make Lee one of his own -- but more, that author would make up the most amazing quotes from or to Lee. Those were written 20-30-40 years after Lee's death.   You can't find such quotes from Lee's life time, just after he died.

Yet idiotically, t hose quotes, and stories, are used now as absolute facts, even by "Historians". 

Pryor does not accept, at face value, the newspaper reports of Lee's specific tortures of specific girls.   Of course "historians" always knew of the overlapping newspapers reports -- but dismissed them as preposterous, and never, or rarely, mentioned them at all.

By this "sorting" of Lee information -- ignore the tortures, pump up the religion BS -- Lee became not just anti slavery, in the legend we have now, but the "Best Christian by far". 

But from his slave ledgers, and letters, we learn Lee had escaped slaves whipped, sent bounty hunters out for months, and personally coordinated their capture. Lee paid drastically higher bounties for certain girls --his highest price for bounties, were for female slaves.



Has any text book, or "biography" of Lee ever mention that he owned his own slaves, and managed his wife's?


Have they mentioned Lee owned more light skinned slaves than, likely, anyone else in US history? No.

No "historian" so far has ever been candid about Lee's cash crop.

How about this -- have they even mentioned what Lee's cash crop was at Arlington?  No, not cotton, not even food.

They can tell you all about his horse.  Some can tell you about his pet chicken.   They can tell you -- misleadingly - about his faith.   But they can't seem to mention his cash crop.   Or his purchase and sale of slaves, his bounty hunters, or his sexually explicit letter. 

Pryor claims all Lee ever wanted to be was a "planter".  Quaint, right?   But  thats  Orwellian double speak for "slave owner".

When Lee left the army, as he did several times, to "manage the plantation" - in blunt speak, he went to get rid of troublesome slaves, to organize the discipline and cash flow. To hire the right men to torture the slaves when they did things Lee didn't like. To instill order.

Lee's father had a slave girl hung for knocking down a white man -- bet you didn't know that.  No one even bothered to record why the girl knocked down a white man.  Was he whipping her? Raping her? Rapes were common.   But she fought back, she knocked a white man on his ass, and Lee's father had her hung.

Welcome to real history -- 150 years of bullshit is enough.  

Not Lee's slave ledger. 


Newspapers BEFORE the Civil War reported on the whippings at Arlington. Why?

Not because whipping was rare -- it was common for escaped slaves. It made the paper, because the regular overseer refused to whip the girl.  That was news.  An overseer (a black man, usually a slave) just told Lee -- NO.

Think of that. The overseer, who usually whips the slaves, and did whip other slaves that day, said no,  he would not whip the girl. BECAUSE he was too young. That's what the newspapers reported -- that's why it made the papers.

Let that sink in.  Lee had girls whipped, that the overseer, a cruel man whose job was whip -- refused this time. 

Lee kind to his servants?  How much more bullshit can you kind? Servants? Kind?

That's what three separate newspapers reported at the time, about this incident.  Bet you never heard that.   

Lee found someone else to whip the girl, and screamed at her during her torture. THATS why it made the papers. He yelled all through her torture "Hit her harder, hit her harder" -- or in the vernacular of slave masters and whips  "Lay it on, Lay it on".

Lee was excited. He had paid 342 dollars for her capture, and he wanted his money's worth, apparently.

Why pay so much higher prices for 14 year old girls?  Did he like their opinion on the structure of bridges?   Their knowledge of water pressure and flood water dynamics?

There was SOME reason Lee paid much higher prices for young girls.  You will figure it out -- take your time.  

Pryor would not show his slave ledgers. Nor much of anything else. Sure, she should have. Hopefully the Lee family won't destroy them now.

Pryor  held the actual slave ledgers in her hands, and 10,000 or  so letters to, or from Lee, many about his slaves. She knows which day Lee bought which slave, which bounty hunter he sent after which slave girl, and even what he advised his bounty hunters to do.


Pryor does what no one  has dared to, in 150 year -- she tells who Lee tortured, why, and how much he paid.  Yes, she is very careful HOW she tells these horrors. 

 She tells us about his sexually explicit that he wrote for decades,  to various women, and that he bragged about sex tricks and his son's sexual abilities. 

Who does that even now?  Do you ever write sexually explicit letters to women you didn't have some sexual interaction with?  Do you brag about your son's sexual abilities?   Lee did. And this was in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s. 

This wasn't a one or even ten time habit for Lee -- he wrote such letters for decades. 

No one -- literally no one -- even guessed that Lee's personal letters and ledgers would hold such information.  

It's probably that the Lee family didn't know fully what the letter ledgers and documents would show.  Pryor got them all out, studied them, and correlated the letters to the slave ledgers.  



Tellingly, Lee devotees use a few words from his letter to his wife, to "prove" he was against slavery.

Actually,  actions matter more than words -- but even so,  read the entire letter. 

Lee's own letter,  not only defends slavery, it is one of the most velvety smooth defenses of torture ever written.  God knew and intended slaves feel painful discipline.  Pain -- specifically pain -- is necessary for their instruction.

Slaves "must endure painful discipline" because God intended it to be thus.  A common excuse for slavery, bet you never heard this, is that blacks were being punished for biblical sins.  In fact the VP of the Confederacy boasted about that, whites were doing Gods will to punish blacks!


Plus, what "scholars" don't tell you, all of the defense of slavery comes from someone's else's writings, Lee copied it almost word for word, thought for thought,  from a book with letter in it, written by Daniel Webster.  Lee would know which books his wife had. 

Yet books today claim Lee really cared about bringing "souls to Christ" and freed his slaves, didn't believe in slavery -- bullshit.,

 No one said anything like that (that Lee was against slavery, freed his slaves, etc) at the time, during his life.  Books written about Lee sometimes did not even mention slavery, not one word.  

Pryor had in her hands, Lee's sexually explicit letters, to various women, that he wrote over a period of decades.  She had in her hands, Lee's slave ledgers.  She had his own handwritten prices for girls, his own instructions to slave hunters, and his own confirmation of tortures.  (Yes, torture is the right word).

No, she is not blunt, never blunt. Quite the opposite.  

Pryor refuses to even use the word "slave ledger".  She used the term "monthly account books".   The were slave ledgers -- account books so specific, Pryor could tell prices, dates, and who was paid how much for which slave.  Pryor can compare Lee's slave ledgers to his personal letters, and letters women wrote to him about the slaves. 

Pryor is a wordsmith, diplomat, and artist.  When she says her book is a "Portrait" of Lee -- she knows portrait is a deliberately flattering rendering.  And her book does just that.

You can skim through her book, and hardly notice the acne and pockmarks on Lee's skin.


Pryor wraps up the horrors gently - her most common ploy, she reveals what she calls "horrors" but  does not use Lee's name in that page or even in the surrounding pages. 

You can easily assume she is referring to other slave owners, because that is her clever misdirection.   No, read it closely. She is using LEE's slave ledgers, letters to and from Lee. 

 When she discusses the horrors (to Pryor, white looking slave girls were the horror) she is talking specifically about Lee's white looking slave girls. 

But you can easily miss that, glossed over as it is, in careful prose. Lee is the guy who owned the most light skinned slaves -- over 50% of his slaves were mulatto, according to 1860 census.

That's a stunningly high  percentage.  And Lee DID own his own slaves, too, he did not just "manage" his wife's.  

Dalliance -- tea for two?
 Lee was called "King of Spades" early in the Civil War, in Southern newspapers, in jocular reference of the 5,000 or more slaves Lee used in building the massive defenses around Richmond. Pryor does not mention this in her book, but it's an example of what    Southern "historians" have labored to pretend it was a term of endearment from his soldiers. 

Most people assume Lee was in charge of an army immediately. No -- Lee was an engineer, not a fighting soldier. Until John Brown capture -- Lee was not in battle, and even with John Brown, Lee only got their late, after Brown was surrounded.  Lee was in his civilian clothes. 

But your history teacher repeats the bullshit about that too, as if Lee captured Brown. Lee was already surrounded. Lee was in civilian clothes, he had no part in the "capture".  

Nor did Davis use Lee in combat at first -- he used Lee to build the massive earth works that played such a huge role in prolonging the war.   The earth works were massive, row after row of deeply dug ditches, 70 miles long, that were impossible to dislodge by cannon of the day. 

Local papers called Lee "King of Spades" because blacks were used to dig the earth works, and Lee was in charge.   

But Lee "historians" like Freeman sure aren't going to tell you that. Freeman came up with the bullshit excuse about King of Spades. He could  not, of course, mention Lee's massive use of slave labor -- Freeman typically called blacks Lee's "people" or servants.  Rarely would Douglass write slave and Lee in the same sentence, or paragraph, or page.

 While Pryor never says this -- given Lee had girls whipped during peace time, imagine what Lee did in wartime, to male slaves, when Lee's own life would depend on how fast and how well, the slaves dug the defenses.


Only after Pryor established the misleading tone, does he reveal the rapes were common,  and she does that, very carefully, quoting a black man speaking in ebonics.  "Lord chil' dats wuz common".

Do you think Pryor accidently revealed the rapes at Arlington that way?  Think Pryor accidently first posited the rapes as dalliances, and then later, in double speak, got in the "horrors"?  

Pryor's hardest task seems not to be the information itself, but presenting it in a way that doesn't get the Lee family and Virginia Historical Society to ban her from all slave states forever. 


So common were rapes, in fact, that black men did not sleep in the same building as black women, because white men would come and night, like they owned a hareem, and rape whatever women then wanted.  This happened AT ARLINGTON.

The men --no doubt from painful deadly experience - knew they would fight whoever came to rape the women.  What would you do if your wife or daughter was raped?

Do we teach such things in school? Hell no. 

Yes, it would be vile to teach of the rape and sale of slaves to school children.  White men were raping slave girls, then selling the children from those rapes, into slavery.

Yes, they were. And they got wealthy doing it. 

If we don't dare teach the ugly truth, fine. But dont turn facts on their head and teach that men like that were noble, brave, chaste, kind, anti slavery.  Its as vile as Lee was.


 In fact, it seems authors writing from 1890-1920, authors seem to  compete to insert the most preposterous claims -- Lee dismounting during battles, bombs exploding around him, is my favorite -- which idiotically are used now to "prove" how wonderful Lee was.

That's right.   The authors who wrote utter nonsense -- like the guy who claimed Lee prayed with all his officers, as bombs blew up around them -- are actually cited as proof of Lee's wonder.

No one reported that Lee and all his officers were ever near exploding bombs, much less that Lee dismounted, as they all did, according to this writer, for long silent prayers.    But years later, some fool makes up crap like that, and it's repeated over and over.

Not just repeated, but cited as fact!  

It's about that simple -- books glorifying Lee sold very well.  No one even bothered to write books showing Lee's tortures, his cowardice, the desertion of his men.   If you just ignore all his failings, and write lunatic made up stories, of course Lee is going to quickly ascend to Christ like levels. 

Christ like levels is EXACTLY where Lee "biographers" claim he is!  You can't outdo these liars. You can't make up more goofy stories.  

That particular book is sold even today -- and many such books about Lee, never mention the word slave, but page after page of adorational (yes we know adorational is not a word) bullshit.   


Pryor refuses to characterize the "account books"  as slave ledgers.  But that is what they were -- monthly account books, of his slaves. Purchases, sales, rentals (Lee rented slaves out) and discipline.