No nation on earth ever depended on the honor of the country, as the Confederacy depended on the honor of one man, Robert E Lee.
Largest bas relief sculpture on earth
is of Robert E Lee.
Made purposely larger than Lincoln at Mt. Rushmore, though Lee had slave girls whipped, and sold children.
What do dirty letters, records of tortures, and high bounties for certain girls have in common?
They are in Robert E Lee's personal handwritten papers.
Elizabeth Pryor, the only person in 150 years outside the Lee family allowed to actually study his unpublished letters (10,000 letters to and from Lee) and his slave ledgers (yes, his slave ledgers), adores Lee.
She was not out to to tarnish his reputation. In fact, she tried very hard to keep the halo upon his head.
But that's hard to do when she held in her hands, Lee's own records of torture, and evidence of HIS sadistic treatment of slave girls, and records of his payments for slave girls.
To the extent the Lee slave ledgers and dirty letters get attention from the "historians" who so far have been more stenographers for Lee flatterers, is the extent the Lee Myth will crumble. And here is why....
|Someone wrote asking if Lee had white looking slaves, why cant you show a picture?|
Hello, thats one of his light skinned slaves above. Interesting that the only picture Pryor put in of Lee's slaves, had a white looking slave in it.
THE BIRTH OF LEE MYTH
We all know the Lee myth -- a man of uncommon valor, a man against slavery, a man of kindness who freed his wife's slaves and prayed with black women when others refused.
Turns out, none of that is true. Lee advocated not just slavery, but defended the torture of slaves as God's will, and regularly had slaves whipped for disobedience, and he was particularly cruel to slave girls who tried to escape.
In fact, Lee had tortures he used AFTER whipping, to inflict more pain to slave girls, but less damage to the skin, as reported in newspapers before the civil war.
Lee even insisted HE was imposed upon by slavery, the slaves were fortunate. This was a common mental technique slave owners used -- humans can not torture others without some excuse, and Lee used the "God excuse" as did most slave owners.
Lee and his wife both resented slaves for not appreciating them more, even though Lee had slave children sold or rented out, and had slaves whipped.
Make no mistake, Pryor is on Lee's side, she blames the slaves for their torture, claiming various excuses, see below. Interestingly, Lee used only the God excuse, Pryor would add other excuses such as blaming the tortures either on the slave herself, or on Lee's "poor cross cultural communication skills"
Far from freeing slaves, Lee resisted repeated order by Virginia Courts, which ordered him repeatedly to free his wife's slaves (Lee also had his own slaves) until the few slaves he still controlled, and had not sold or rented out, were essentially worthless. No one was buying slaves, by the time Lee "freed" the few that remained, and as a practical matter, they were already freed by Lincoln.
WHAT YOU NEVER HEAR
Few people know about the bounty hunters working for anyone, much less Lee, that kidnapped free women and children in the North, then illegally forced the blacks into the South to be sold as slaves, before and during the Civil War.
Turns out, Lee was part of that. Lee's bounty hunters kidnapped -- yes, kidnapped is the right word -- women and children who were free and living in the North. He did so before and during the Civil War.
Before the Civil War, Lee's bounty hunters were looking for Lee's escaped slaves, presumably, (many of Lee's slaves tried to escape) . Pryor shows Lee paid the hunters for these poor souls, who she cleverly called cryptically "others." She means, other than the escaped slaves the hunters were looking for. Those people were turned into slaves by Lee personally.
Lee would do the same during the Civil War -- he had his soldiers look for and capture freed blacks IN THE NORTH, and have them taken South to be sold as slaves.
The Lee "surprises" keep coming -- Lee regularly wrote sexually explicit letters to various women, before and after he was married, and even after the CIvil War.
But maybe most shocking, someone white was raping the slave girls at Arlington, because white looking slaves were born there.
It took 150 years for the Lee family to let anyone see the two trunks of Lee's papers (including slave ledgers and dirty letters), and even then, only one person was allowed to study the papers.
Scholars had known for 80 years about the two trunks, and assumed nothing in them would change the basic understanding of Confederate hero, Robert E Lee.
In fact, everyone assumed all was known about Lee -- even the name of his pet chicken! Surely whatever was in the trunks would be interesting details, and no doubt back up the view of Lee as "the best soldier and best Christian who ever lived"
Uh -- not so much.
We were all taught absurdities, it turns out. Lee was a "Man of God" more concerned in saving souls for Christ, than anything else.
Oh, and he dismounted during battle as bombs blew up around him, with all of his officers, to listen to someone's long prayer. Oh, and he saved baby sparrows during battle. Oh, and his slaves loved him.
Getting off his horse, during battle, with all his officers! Actually Lee was "well in the rear" and not near battle, nor did anyone else every say Lee dismounted and prayed at ANY time with his officers, much less as bombs blew up around them.
But this obviously BS story is in a book that IS SOLD TODAY as fact, on Amazon.com, and worse, this and books like it, are used to "prove" how wonderful Lee was. These goofy books, which sold well in 1880 through 1920 or so, were no more factual than the Wizard of Oz, but are, for some reason, used as "primary sources" for "Lee scholarship".
Oh, and Lee prayed with black women when no one else would. And he had no faults to probe. Certainly he didnt enjoy watching slave girls be tortured!
MAKE NO MISTAKE -- PRYOR IS OUT TO DEFEND LEE, AND MINIMIZE THE HORRORS
Pryor adores Lee, and was not out to shame him. The problem she had - Lee's slave ledgers and dirty letters contain too many horrors for her to completely gloss over.
She tried, however.
Pryor tried to keep the halo upon his head, to fit the Lee myth as much as she can. And quite a myth that was -- is.
According to Douglas Southall Freeman, who devoted much of his life into "studying" Lee, he had not faults to probe. None. That would be true, perhaps, if ordering the torture of slave girls, and the capture of free women, and the sale of children, is not a fault.
Lee's sexual letters to various, and apparently, numerous, women may well not be a fault -- not the first to write dirty letters. But Lee was actually MORE cruel than most slave masters, not less, and Freeman had to have known that.
Freeman did not study Lee, as much as he concocted a myth about Lee. Freeman looked like central casting sent him over, with scholarly spectacles, and that professor suit and vest, but Freeman avoided the truth, at any costs, and inserted what he knew what lies.
His father had "served" with Lee, but his motivation seemed to be more to cover up the truth that most of the Confederacy, and Confederate leaders, were cruel slave owners, or from families that got their wealth and status from the sale, torture, and oppression of other humans.
GEORGE MASONKNEW WHAT SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN LAUGHED ABOUT
AT SLAVE AUCTIONS.
Shelby Foote said the South was "obsessed" with telling of Civil War history because they lost -- he knew better. They were obsessed with it, to cover up the cruelty and oppression and the desire to spread slavery for God, even further.
Foote was part of the shameful "scholarly" cover up of the cruelty and barbarism of the Confederate leaders. As George Mason, founding father, essentially said of Southern "Gentlemen" raised from birth to see slavery as Godly, they were sociopaths dresssed up for Church. See more about Mason's view of slave owners and their desire to spread slavery for God, below.
Make no mistake -- Pryor defends Lee on every page
The Lee family chose Elizabeth Pryor, herself a Lee devotee, a scholar, and a diplomat. She could have no clue what she would find.
While Pryor tries valiantly to keep Lee's halo upon his head, she herself calls some of what she found to be "horrors".
So careful was Pryor with how skillfully she revealed the "horrors" that even the Journal of Southern History gave her book high marks. The Lee family still spoke with her after the book was published.
And even "historians" have said Lee "now sits at the right hand of Christ, his Lord".
These aren't nut jobs telling us this nonsense, it's "respected historians" who, turns out, aren't historians at all.
In fact, Lee's most famous biographer insisted Lee had "no faults to probe," though he knew well Lee had slave girls whipped, sold children, and taunted slaves before and during torture.
You heard right -- taunted slave girls before and during torture.
T O R T U R E.
"No faults to probe," Douglas Southall Freeman actually wrote those words, when he knew Lee had slave girls tortured and sold children. Remember that -- Freeman knew vile facts about Lee.
Freeman's "biography" of Lee, while it looks scholarly with all those footnotes, is so absurd it should be removed at once from the history or biography section, and put in fiction section.
| Mack Lee --|
Never one of Lee's slaves
And Freeman knew it.
Next. To. Christ. In. Heaven. The only way to outdo that adoration of Lee, is to move Christ out of the way, and put Lee next to God.
Freeman probably would have done that too, if he could get away with it. It's likely the only exaggeration people would say "are you sure" to.
Welcome to bizarro world of "Lee scholarship" and the absurd "historians" who were not historians at all, but repeaters of myth.
It will take a while, but now, finally, after 150 years, we know about Lee's dirty letters and slave ledgers, which validate newspaper accounts at the time of the tortures at Arlington.
Lee's passion was profit from slaves -- and he not only defended slavery, he defended specifically the torture of slaves, claiming God "knew and intended" slaves feel pain, because "pain is necessary for their instruction."
Lee's famous letter to his wife, tellingly, has long been used to "prove" he was against slavery, because in one sentence he does say slavery is a moral and political evil. But read the REST of the letter, he claims slavery is of God, and God intends painful discipline (torture) for slaves. Those who are against slavery are against God.
The victim in slavery, according to Lee and sociopaths like him, was the slave owner, doing God's work of civilizing the blacks. It might take 2000 years, Lee posited, but only God can end slavery, because it's God's will. It is an evil for men to even try to end it, until God wants.
But now, with 10,000 (yes, Pryor claims 10,000) personal papers, the picture of Lee is one of a cruel, even sadistic man, who at very least allowed rape of slave women to happen regularly. He sold children, and screamed at slave girls as he had them whipped.
He also taunted them before their torture, and had other tortures in ADDITION to whipping, for slave girls.
Lee paid extra to have slaves "instructed" with various tortures, not just whipping, which is torture aplenty.
Let's call it torture, that's exactly what it was.
Lee's slaves hated Lee, according to Pryor, and with reasons. While Pryor is coy how many slaves tried to flee ( like she is coy on all such facts) careful reading shows Lee had likely over 200 slaves, and "over half" according to Pryor, were lighter skinned, per the 1860 census. Why say "over half" -- odd for a scholar with the actual slave ledgers, she could have shown us the list, the dates, the names and the bounties, for the escaped slaves.
How many tried to escape? No number, but she does use the word "epidemic" of run aways, and it started as soon as Lee took over "managment" -- meaning discipline, sale and rental of slaves. Lee hired bounty hunters, though Pryor, again, refuses to use such phrase. Lee paid these hunters, stunningly, not just for the escaped slaves, but for women and children Pryor artfully calls "others" that Lee's bounty hunters caught, while looking in the North for escaped slaves.
Yes -- really. Yes, Robert E Lee.
Since most people today do not realize bounty hunters caught FREE women and children in the North, as well as escaped slaves, fewer yet know Lee's hunters did, and that Lee bought such women.
Lee would do the same thing during the war -- he had his soldiers capture women and children, FREE women and children, in the North, kidnapped is a better word, taken South and sold. We have whitewashed slavery, and particularly the horrors rapes and cruelties of it, and necessarily glossed over Lee's participation in such cruelties.
Per Pryor, the horrors included, the common rape of slave women at Arlington, the sale and torture of girls, and the "increasingly" white looking slave children at Arlington.
For some reason, Pryor was not offended at whipping and rape and sale of black women and children, nearly as she was about the same treatment inflicted upon whiter toned slaves.
For example, Lee regularly had slaves whipped -- in fact, whipping was only one of his "disciplines" - Lee used other tortures as well. Whipping was his "preferred" way to torture slaves.
No, Pryor does not use the word torture, but whipping is torture, and Lee used it, even on girls.
But the whipping was not offensive to Pryor, in fact, she posits in her own editorial voice, that "discipline (whipping)" early in life could prevent worse discipline (whipping) later in life.
Pryor is like a mother who finds a horrible diary about her son, and tries her best to minimize or explain everything away. It was the slaves fault they were whipped, it was the State of Virginia's fault for writing a law about it (no such law existed), or Lee's tortures were just a "communication" deficit.
Pryor would never say bluntly that Lee was into whipping -- though he was. Who taunts girls before their torture? Lee did.
Who screams at slave girls DURING torture? Lee did.
Pryor related that information, but carefully. She deftly relates that newspapers told of various whippings at Arlington, but in a way that all but dismisses the veracity. Then in a different section, she confirms the reports. Her entire book could have been called "Lee's tortures" if she wanted to be accurate and sensational.
But Pryor does not even call "slave ledgers" by that name. She only once mentioned the ledgers as "account books".
So when Pryor discusses Lee's treatment of slaves, she makes sure his name is not in the same paragraph as the info about torture and whipping and rapes. She is talking about what happened at Arlington, while Lee was there. She knew the dates Lee was physically at Arlington and if the rapes and tortures happened only when he was away, she would have shown that.
Lee was not holding the whip -- the in the tortures she described -- but he was there screaming at slave girls (!) according to several eyewitnesses, confirmed by details in Lee's own handwriting.
Lee not only there watching the whipping, but screaming at slave girls as they were whipped. That takes a special cruelty. Of course Lee, and only Lee, could decide if a slave girl or man was whipped. No one was whipped without his say, and slaves were whipped often, not rarely. Lee's only approach to slaves was violence and the threat of it. He had no other approach. He apparently disdained even the "house" slaves.
As for the slave ledgers, Pryor artfully refers to them, as if in passing, by the term "monthly account books". You can bet if she found slave ledgers and dirty letters from Abe Lincoln, she would not artfully call them, and just once, monthly account books.
The "monthly account books" were Lee's writings about slaves -- slave prices HE paid, and wrote down. Slave bounties he offered, and wrote down. Lee wrote HIS income from slaves, in his account books. Pryor could have listed prices for each one.
The bounties Lee paid out for capture one certain girl was drastically higher than other bounties. He had some reason to want that girl back after she escaped, Pryor doesn't tell us what that reason is.
Lee also paid for woman and children to be kidnapped -- these were not bounties Lee paid -- in the North. When Lee's hunters were looking for escaped slaves, they found "others" as Pryor artfully calls them, and paid for them too. She claims Lee "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork" for these "others".
She even says, that "technically" what Lee did "may have been illegal".
Uh - kidnapping free women and children in the North was illegal, not just technically, but morally reprehensible. But slavery torture and selling children is morally reprehensible, there was no line Lee had to cross morally, he crossed that line long ago.
You can read Pryor and not ever be too shocked -- she never writes a sentence such as "Lee taunted slaves before he had them whipped". She reports Lee's hunters capturing free women and children as "others". But she does say it, artfully, euphemistically but she alone says it.
But Pryor's most consistent rhetorical device is to often discuss slave owners generally, and not make it clear she is talking about Lee himself. The name "Lee" often does not even appear in that paragraph, or page!, But Pryor is talking about Lee, and Arlington, getting the information from Lee's own papers. You may have to back up and re-read those pages and paragraphs carefully.
Pryor reports on the newspapers accounts of Lee's tortures -- long dismissed as so "silly" by Southern "historians" they never mention them clearly. But the reports were not only numerous, and in several newspapers, those reports were verified AFTER the civil war in interviews with one of the slaves.
And if that were not enough, Pryor herself found confirmation in Lee's own handwritten entries - on the dates, and payments to the men, mentioned. So the idea that slaves "made it up" later is ludicrous, unless they could sneak into Lee's house, get his slave ledgers, remember what he wrote, then years later cleverly make their statements to reporters line up with those dates and names.
The reports of torture Pryor said were "unquestionably based on facts" and whippings were Lee's "prefered" method of discipline.
You can easily miss that "prefered" sentence -- she could have named a chapter "LEES TORTURES" but of course that was not her goal.
Lee did have other tortures, and he was steadfast and almost proud of his "discipline" of slaves, writing that God intended slaves feel "pain" because "pain" is necessary for their instruction.
Pryor also claims Lee had to whip slave girls, because of Virginia law about escaped slaves. Ms Pryor was fabricating here, Lee did not have to whip slave girls or anyone else.
And if the law was not enough of an excuse, if Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills was not enough, Pryor blames the slave girls themselves, saying they "tested" Lee.
How did they test him? They tried to escape.
Pryor is artful on every page -- she could easily tell us that Lee owned (yes, he owned) and managed over 200 slaves, but she never gives a number, nor does she specify how many slaves tried to escape, how many he sold, or rented out. She could have.
Pryor is so careful how she minimized Lee's tortures, it's possible to read her book and hardly notice the tortures or reason for it. But give her credit, no matter how clever and how many euphamisms she uses, she does tell us about tortures, rapes, and other horrors.
Pryor leaves out details she had to have in her hands, to make the clever statements. For example, something in Lee's papers had to convince her that Lee's "preferred" torture was the whip. What she does not tell you is what the other methods were, and how often he used them, and on whom. But she had the information in Lee's own handwriting to draw those conclusions.
Furthermore, she knew the average price Lee paid for bounties of slave men -- she said it. TO know the average, she must know plenty of details of various prices.
Nor does she put all the horrors together, or make it clear Lee is involved. She did admit that over half of his slaves were lighter skinned, but she buries facts like that in the narrative that is flattering to Lee.
Pryor even relates that the average ratio of lighter skinned slaves was 10% -- but Lee had over 50%.
Lee had "epidemics" of escapes -- she won't say how many, though she could. There had to be 50 or so escaped slaves, and Lee had everyone whipped, who his bounty hunters caught, including the girls.
BOASTING OF SEX TRICKS
The surprises in Lee's hand written papers keep coming -- Lee not only wrote "dirty letters" for decades, to various women, he also bragged of his son's sexual abilities. Who does that, even now?
|NOT Lee's slaves. Most of Lee's slaves where mixed race,|
including white looking slave women.
Lee's sexually explicit letters were about sex tricks and experiences he had, but they were written to various women, as a regular habit apparently, for all of Lee's life, including after the Civil War.
Lee did not apparently write sexually explicit letters to his wife -- ONLY to other women, and Pryor there too is coy, she does not say how many dirty letters to or from Lee she found. It would have been easy and appropriate to give a number.
Pryor says here "is no evidence" Lee actually did the things he mentioned, but she was coy about the whole episode, so it's impossible to tell.
But she does show, again carefully, that Lee paid extra to have certain girls caught and whipped, while he taunted and screamed at them. She doesn't say it in a sensational way, but carefully "lets out" a few details here, then more details later, none of which, by themselves, are that shocking.
|Pryor does not show the slave ledgers.|
She calls them "account books".
Yes, you CAN reveal shocking horrific facts, in a way that makes them sound not so terrible -- read "Reading The Man" which may be the best example of it.
Pryor even admits rapes -- yes, rapes -- were common at Arlington. But she uses Ebonics to do that, she quotes a slave, in the style generally used to make fun of blacks "Lord dats wuz common" said one male slave.
Why use ebonics ONLY when relating the rapes? Did she accidently use ebonics for that? Why not use ebonics for describing anything else?
Her clever way of inserting vile horrors, carefully, worked. YOu can read the entire book, and not much notice Lee was involved in allowing rapes, tortures, selling children, and even taunting slaves as he had them whipped.
There are probably a million ways to relate those facts -- Pryor took the road less travelled -- frequent use of Orwellian double speak. Still give her credit, she admitted what no one else dared.
In fact, slave women were raped right in front of the slave men and children -- a scene so ghastly that slave men decided to sleep in their own cabin, because they would try to protect the women from the rapes. If a black man laid a hand on a white man, they would be whipped. If they caused injury to a white man, they would be hung.
Lee's father, in fact, had a slave woman hung for knocking down a white man -- who was probably trying to whip or rape her. No one bothered to record why she knocked the white man down, she did, and Lee's father had her hung.
There were rapes (it was common) but Pryor says "there is no evidence" Lee took part in these rapes. If he did not take part, he certainly knew the white men raping his slave girls, and did nothing to stop it.
The proof of the rapes was not just the letters about them, but the fact white looking children were born to the slave girls.
Lee, like all slave owners, profited from slave births. Pryor doesn't tell you this -- but white looking slaves, especially white looking female sales, sold as a premium, because they often ended up as slaves in whore houses. Pryor apparently could find no way of including that, so she avoided it altogether, but Lee's slave ledgers were detailed, and Pryor could likely tell you exactly where some of those light skinned girls ended up.
On top of the whippings, Lee used other tortures IN ADDITION, to cause even more pain, according to witnesses.
And most amazing of all -- Lee wrote it all down.
No, the Lee family did not release the slave ledgers and dirty letters to the public. It took 150 years for them to let even one person, outside the family, to see most of these papers. They chose Elizabeth Pryor, who studied the papers at length, but apparently was not allowed to actually show them, or copy them.
Ms Pryor wrote a book about the papers -- and as far as humanly possibly, she made it flattering. Her goal was not to trash Lee, nor even tell the truth. Her goal was to keep Lee's halo upon his head, but also reveal what was in those slave ledgers and dirty letters, in a way that would not shock the public.
She did the best job she could.
We were all told Robert E Lee was a "Man of God". The best soldier -- but "by far" the best Christian. He was so kind to his wife's slaves, that when he freed them, they would not go.
A book Lee quoted from.
Lee prayed during battle, dismounting from his horse with all his officers, as bombs blew up around him. He saved sparrows in the field, prayed with black women when others refused to go near them, and even saved a black child from a burning house.
Yes, Lee (who was never actually IN a battle, was always "well in the rear" said Longstreet) is shown not only in the battle, but he and all his men dismount as bombs are exploding around them, for a long silent prayer.
That is the kind of absurd claims these books made -- and those books are the basis, really, of much of the "Lee scholarship" that persists, and grew even more absurd, as time went on.
Lee trusted "Providence" rather selectively - he trusted "Providence" as excuse to whip slaves and send men to certain death, but when Lee himself was in danger, he trusted the speed of his horse to get out of danger. Lee would tell soldier to "trust in merciful providence" as he talked to them before battle, but he did not trust in providence himself.
So complete the conceit and absurdity, Lee is shown as humble and kind -- he was neither. Humble men do not taunt girls before and during their torture. They just do not.
Books about Lee, filled with preposterous claims, sold well in 1880's in the South, but they were written by men who had no concern with the truth, and just made stuff up.
Literally -- quite literally - -there was never a deed too goofy, too false, too preposterous to claim Lee did it. Remember, in Lee's own handwritten slave ledgers, he pays men to whip girls, pays for capture of escaped slaves, and for the kidnapping of free blacks.
Lee was what? A man of who?
Really? What the hell bible was Lee using?
The Lee Myth is great -- none better. But the Lee family kept two trunks of papers and ledgers, for 150 years. Scholars knew about them, but the family would not let others see them.
ELIZABETH PRYOR GIVEN PERMISSION
Lee family and Virginia Historical society chose one person -- one person only -- to actually read each slave ledger and each sexually explicit letter, at length.
Remember, no other figure in US history has had slave ledgers and dirty letters tucked away in a trunk. These slave ledgers would be vastly important, if Lee had never taken part in the war, they are so detailed and precise.
Ms Pryor can tell you, for example, what slaves were whipped on which days, and how much was paid! That's very precise. She can tell you the bounties Lee paid, and for whom -- including bounties he paid for women and children his hunters caught illegally in the North. Lee bought women that were kidnapped in the North -- that were not slaves in their entire lives!
Pryor, very careful how she relates these horrors, is especially clever telling about Lee buying kidnapped women -- she puts it in terms of "Lee failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork" as if buying women was a paperwork issue.
Still, till Pryor related that, no one had a clue Lee's bounty hunters brought him women and children they captured in North that were not escaped slaves at all!
Even today, right now, Lee is mentioned in sermons, books, classrooms, as one of the most kind, Godly, and principled men in history, not just of this nation, but any nation.
Pryor would need every bit of her skills as a diplomat --she had to appease the Lee family and the Virginia Historical Society (which exists mostly to praise Lee) while still being true to her self image as a scholar. No easy task.
In Virginia, children are taugh, facutally, that Lee was a man devoted to the bible, who hated slavery, never owned any, only managed his wife's slaves and freed them "long before the civil war".
Douglass Freeman, "historian" so famous in Virginia they name schools after HIM too, told us Lee's slave's (Freeman calls them servants) loved Lee so much, they refused to leave.
When you learn that Lee regularly had slaves tortured for trying to escape, the vile absurdity by Freeman is a foul lie, and he knew it. Freeman was well aware Lee had slaves whipped, and not just occasionally. Lee was an especially cruel slaver -- remember that, as you read Freeman's nonsense.
Freeman actually manufactured a false record of Lee -- claiming Lee's "servant" wrote a flattering book about Lee. He claimed a "Reverend Mack Lee" was one of Lee's slaves and spoke of the "great man's kindness".
Actually Mack Lee was a grifter, a hustler, who would wear a Confederate uniform, in the 1920s, to speak to white audiences, telling them blacks should be grateful to them. Mack Lee claimed he was Lee's personal slave in the war, and was hit by a cannonball while standing next to Lee. Utter nonsense. Lee did have four slaves with him during the war -- to cook, clean and wash him!
But Mack Lee was not one of them -- and Freeman knew that. But Freeman needed something to "document" Lee's love for his slaves - er, servants -- so he used Mack Lee's "book".
It was not a book, it was a pamphlet Mack Lee handed out before his "services".
Freeman, of course, knew all that, because Freeman knew the names of Lee's actual slaves, and those who attended to him through the war. You can find mention of this Mack Lee in newspapers from the 1920's, thanks to Google and other newspaper searches, a fact Freeman could not imagine.
| Mack Lee --|
Never one of Lee's slaves
And Freeman knew it.
Plus, Freeman knew that in Southern newspapers, before and after the Civil War, there were reports of Lee's cruelties to slaves, especially slave girls. Freeman knew that, but made sure his readers did not, or dismissed the reports as "silly".
We know from Lee's own record of tortures that the reports were not silly, at all.
And guess who confirmed that? Lee's own personal papers confirm that.
His slaves loved him "most of all". Really?
Ms Pryor shows that the slaves hated Lee -- with reason. He had children sold, or the mother sold or rented out, routinely. He made no effort to keep mother and child together, in fact, he apparently sold mother or child for punishment.
Lee did use torture as punishment -- and not just the whip, which was vile enough. Make no mistake, however. Pryor blames the slaves, not Lee, for the torture. She claims, in her own editorial voice, that "discipline" (torture, as you will see) applied early in life may be a kindness, because later Lee would not have to torture them even worse. She doesn't put it in those words, but that is what she is saying.
She also excuses the tortures -- and Lee regularly used torture -- by saying it was due to Lee's "poor cross cultural communication skills". As if he could just talk a little ebonics, or if the slaves would just obey and quit trying to escape, that torture would not be necessary.
Pryor gets almost comical -- if the subject was not torture -- when she says Lee "did not fully appreciate" his slave's desire to be free. Oh yes, he appreciated it, and had them whipped if they tried to escape.
Another exercise in Orwellian prose, Pryor says the slaves "did not fully agree with Lee's theory of labor management". Really. She wrote that. They did not fully agree with Lee's theory of labor management. We know the labor management was whipping and the promise of more. Pryor actually so wanted to defend Lee, she literally defends the torture of slaves, including girls.
Yet people have claimed Pryor is somehow "anti Lee" or out to destroy Lee. Just the reverse, she is so careful how she related the rapes, tortures, and cruelties, you can read her entire book and not notice, if you want to go along with her Orwellian prose.
Yes, it got that crazy-- and still is that crazy. It will likely take another 150 years for Lee's slave ledgers and personal letters to seep into the national consciousness.
But now,we have Lee's own dirty letters and slave ledgers. No, the Lee family will not let anyone copy them, publish them, it took 150 years for them to let ONE person see them up close enough to study them. As far as we know, they allowed no copies of the slave ledgers or dirty letters.
But give the Lee family credit -- and Ms Pryor -- it might have taken 150 years, but finally, something true is known about Lee, from his own papers.
Really? Uh - not so much.
Make no mistake, Pryor is on Lee's side -- every page, every paragraph. But she is also a scholar, and felt, apparently, a sense of duty to reveal what what in Lee's own personal letters and ledgers, though she does so very carefully.
She admits things like rapes at Arlington, in fact, she admits they were common! She admits Lee bought slave girls from bounty hunters, but in as gentle way as possible.
She admits Lee had slaves whipped --regularly. And he used other tortures, ON TOP of, after the whipping was done. Lee even had girls whipped.
Pryor excuses Lee's tortures -- claims they were "the result of Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills". Really. We aren't kidding. Lee whipped slaves because he lacked communication skills.
Lee didn't whip girls because he was cruel.
He just had "poor cross cultural communication skills"
Pryor is also careful never to bluntly reveal ANYTHING. It's clear she took care and time to to "reveal" Lee's purchase of women and children that lived in the North -- and never were slaves to begin with. Lee's hunters captured, illegally, women and children in the NORTH while they were hunting for escaped slaves.
Pryor deftly calls these women and children "others" that the bounty hunters brought to Lee. Lee "did not fill out the time consuming paperwork". That's right, it was a PAPER work issue, in her gentle style.
But give Pryor credit -- no one else ever, ever, did we mention ever?-- admitted any of these things. She was working with the Lee family, she likely did as best she could under the circumstances.
A casual reading of her work can easily cause readers to miss any of the tortures, rapes, etc. For example, she admits rapes were common by quoting -- in ebonics -- a male slave saying "Lord child, datz wus common".
She artfully discusses rapes on one page as "dalliances" between "races". As if a slave woman can say no. Pryor knows, but did not tell, about Lee's father execution of a slave girl for knocking down a white man who was whipping her.
The number of light skinned slaves at Arlington -- plus letters from women at Arligngton, plus the 1860 census, plus Lee's own records, show over 50% of Lees slaves were NOT dark skinned.
In fact, Lee wrote of girls that "could almost pass for white". Lee paid his highest bounty for a light skinned girl. Pryor "forgets" to tell you that light skinned girls were far more valuable, and were sold to whore houses, at auction. There is no way to know if Lee's light skinned girls ended up as slaves in whore house, but that was a very real part of slavery, according to books written at the time.
And Pryor knows that.
Lee kept meticulous records, he was famous for it, so his slave ledgers no doubt were likewise detailed and exact. Pryor could have shown us the actual ledgers -she did not. You can see why, when you learn what she did admit was vile enough, however careful she was to insert it.
She admits Lee wrote dirty letter -- sexually explicit letters, even bragging of his son's sexual abilities -- for decades! In fact Lee wrote the sexually explicit letters even after the Civil War.
She is so careful how she tells us things -- she refuses to use the word "SLAVE LEDGER," she calls them, and only once, "monthly account books". But they were account books, quite detailed apparently, of his slave transactions. Who he bought, sold, bounties offered, bounties paid.
Her narrative, her overarching tone and message, is to praise Lee as much as she can. She blames the slaves for their torture -- they "tested" Lee. She even posits, in her own editorial voice, that discipline (whippings and worse) were best applied when slave was young, so worse discipline (worse torture) could be avoided later.
She finds fault those lazy slaves who were whipped, raped, sold, for being less that submissive. The only time Pryor seems offended by slavery, is when the rapes involved white looking slaves. For some reason, that did make her upset. The "horror" of slavery to Pryor was not the tortures whippings and sales of blacks, but when she found out Lee did this to light skinned slaves -- she was pissed. She called THAT a horror.
The Myth.The Myth.The Myth.
Lee was "now seated at the right hand of Christ, his Lord" wrote one "historian". The only way to top that one, is to move Christ out of the way, and put Lee next to God.
Those who knew him best, loved him most? His slaves knew him best, because they saw and felt the whippings, and other tortures. They had their children sold, their people raped by men at Arlington, and the parents removed at Lee's personal pleasure. He could, and did, say whip this one, or sell that one, and it was done.
But Lee also sold and enslaved people who could pass for white. Pryor was stunned to find that, and she called that a "horror"
As if enslaving, whipping, raping, torture of BLACKS was fine, but Pryor was aghast it happened to women and men who had lighter skin....that pissed Pryor off......
So enslaving OTHER WHITES got Pryor mad......enslaving, torturing, raping blacks? Not so much.
Lee's entire being was "august calmness" - oh, not when he screamed at slave girls as they were whipped. But this calmness came from his "great spirit", but Lee, ever a believer in Jesus, fell asleep (died) knowing his "father was near".
Oh really? Lee wrote sexually explicit letters as an old man, even AFTER the Civil War.
Southern authors, especially after 1870, competed to write the most absurd nonsense about Lee, and rather than doubt those absurdities, "historians" quote from those books, as if they were factual.
They do NOT quote from Lee's dirty letters, nor his slave ledgers, nor his bounty payments. Gee, why leave that out?
Lee used bounty hunters regularly, and even bought women and children who WERE NOT SLAVES, had never been slaves, but Lee's hunters found them up North, and illegally captured them, and sold them to Lee. Pryor was very careful how she relayed that one.
|One of Lee's many light skinned slaves.|
No child -- ever --was taught the name of his highest price slave girl. Nor are they taught she was a LIGHT SKINNED slave girl.
Lee paid his highest price for the capture and torture of a light skinned girl, and she was not the only slave girl he had whipped.
In fact, accordong to Lee's own slave ledgers and personal letters, kept by the Lee family and studied by Elizabeth Pryor, Lee regularly used "disciple" including certain tortures after whipping.
That's right Lee had slaves whipped, and apparently, did so regularly. He whipped every slave that tried to escape, even the girls, apparently, but the cruel whippings were only the first act of a cruel play -- he also had salt brine poured into the wounds.
A witness said Lee screamed at slave girls as he had them whipped, and used the salt brine to add more pain.
Yeah - a few things your history teacher didn't each you.
Nor are they told about Lee's habit of writing dirty letters, his several techniques for torturing slaves (yes, torture).
Indeed, generation upon generations have been told, as fact, that Lee was against slavery, and merely managed his wife's slaves, and freed them. Oh, really? Then why did he write all these slave ledgers about slaves, if he didn't have them?
Over the years, generations of children in the South have been told the name of Lee's horse -- even his pet chicken (Traveler and Pearl)
" Lee wrote it down. Not some neighbor, not some historian, not some slave. Lee -- Lee wrote it down. In letters, in slave ledgers, Lee wrote it down."
Even more bizarre, they are told Lee was "violently opposed" to slavery, even that he "prayed" with slaves, and that his slaves loved him most of all.
Turns out, that's all nonsense. In fact, according to his own slave ledgers, Lee hated his slaves, but not only managed his wife's slaves, he owned his own. And he was a brutal slave master who knew but one way to deal with slaves -- terrorize them.
Is she Lee's most expensive slave girl?
Turns out, there are a few details "historians" forgot to tell you about Robert E Lee. About slaves, about girls, and about a whole lot more.
You are about to see why Lee paid so much money for one special girl. Oh, and by the way, she was not a dark skinned slave. She was a light skinned slave.
READING THE MAN - is Elizabeth Pryor's book about Lee's slave ledgers and personal letters. She is the only person, outside the Lee family, to have access to those ledgers and papers in 150 years.
| What MOST slaves looked like in the South during Lee's life|
But not at Lee's plantation
Most of Lee's slaves were "mulatto," lighter skinned, some could pass for white.
Of the many surprising facts in Lee's slave ledgers, is that Lee owned, probably by design, the most light skinned slave girls in US history. He was the largest owner of slaves in Virginia (yes, he owned slaves, as you will see).
If you were a firm believer in the Lee myth -- hang on to your hat.
We know Lee paid 34x his usual price for certain girls -- because he wrote it down in his slave ledgers, which survive.
Pryor, who was allowed to study the slave ledgers, refuses to give us a list of prices, nor does she ever reveal how much Lee sold slave girls for.
But it's clear from Lee's slave ledgers, Lee did in fact buy, sell, and rent out slaves, including slave girls. Regularly -- not rarely, not occasionally.
A slave plantation was a business- and Lee was determined to make that business as profitable as possible. Lee's plantation did not grow cotton -- cotton was in the "Deep South" Lee's plantation was in the "Upper South". The cash Lee made was not from selling food, it was from selling slaves and their labor.
Lee also bought slaves from bounty hunters, including blacks that were captured illegally in the North. That's another thing your history book "forgot" to mention.
Pryor could, but did not, show us all the prices. But she told us a few.
Why would Lee pay 34x his usual bounty, for a 14 year old girl? Could she pick 34 times as much cotton?
Maybe he just wanted to play chess with her? Or maybe he wanted her opinion on measuring water pressure at below 4 feet?
But he sure wanted something -- he paid drastically higher prices for her, 34 times as much for her as the average price.
You think you know about Lee? Most likely, you know about the myth-- but as you will see, the Myth is based on repeated distortions and falsehoods.
What is more, the "historian" most responsible for the distortions, knew it.
LEE'S SLAVE LEDGERS
Those who believe the Lee Myth as gospel almost always quote 1 letter (one) instead of the 10,000 other letters that show he was cruel horny and double dealing. But even in that letter -- the one Lee lovers show -- Lee actually defends torture (painful discipline) slaves "must endure". Pain is "necessary for their instruction".
Combine Lee's own defense of torture -- with his own record of torture. It was torture, not only because whipping girls (or men) is of course torture, Lee had OTHER tortures he used on top of whipping. Slaves were whipped, then extra tortures applied.
You heard that right, Lee was into "slave discipline" so much, he invented and used other means to inflict more pain, AFTER the whipping was over.
The best expert on Lee -- is his own unguarded records. That would be his dirty letters, his slave ledgers, his payments for bounties, his income from selling slaves, his letters defending the torture of slaves.
Especially dubious is the myth that Lee was a religious man -- while he was clever in letters to his wife to defend whipping slaves as ordained of GOD, he did not apparently use religious references in his sexually explicit letters to dozens of women.
We should "start over" on Lee -- and use his slave ledgers and 10,000 personal letters as a starting point.