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?

Lee's own handwritten slave ledgers might forever change what we consider as "Southern honor."
 More people know the name of Lee's pet chicken (Pearl) than know he had slave girls whipped, and sold children.

But he did, and he wrote it all down. He wasn't ashamed of it, he defended the torture (torture is the right word) by the bible.  As did most slave owners.  He was not sorta cruel, or cruel at times. Lee, we find out, was an especially cruel slave master.  Pryor is careful how she reveal that. 

  Elizabeth Pryor, author of "Reading the Man" -- a biography about Lee, through his personal papers.

Make no mistake, Pryor tries her best to flatter Lee, to keep his halo upon his head.  Her narrative is overwhelmingly positive.

 But in her details, very carefully stated, are horrors, committed by Lee, and written down by Lee.

ONE of many light skinned slaves at Arlington.
Pryor carefully mentions, as if a trivial detail "rapes were common" at Arlington.
Yes, Arlington. 

How would she know this -- from Lee's personal papers. 



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

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

No "historian" so far has ever been candid about Lee's cash crop.
It wasn't cotton. It wasn't produce.
His cash crop was human flesh. 


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

The cash crop at Arlington, as Pryor knows, but coyly avoids, was flesh.  Sale and lease of human flesh.  He rented slaves out -- he got the money, they did the work. 

Pryor claims all Lee ever wanted to be was a "planter". That's her Orwellian double speak for "slave owner".  Even though she admits more than anyone else ever did, she still uses Orwellian double speak to do so.
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, rent or sell slaves to maximize his profit. 

Lee was most devout Christian, "the best Christian by far" according to Pulitzer Prize winning biographer.    Strange indeed then, that this same biographer, simply refused to admit or show Lee's torture of slaves. In fact, Douglas Southall Freeman called Lee's slaves "servants" and claimed the loved Lee.

Nonsense, the facts in Lee's slave ledgers show Lee's biggest problem was escaped slaves, and he used torture to stop it -- only that didn't work.  He also used bounty hunters, and bought other women from bounty hunters.

So Lee's slaves didn't love him, his own records made that clear.

Lee used the bible to justify  not just slavery, the torture of slave girls. Divine Providence (God) intended slaves feel pain. Painful discipline, he wrote, was "necessary for their instruction".

Lee seemed to enjoy instructing slaves. He instructed slave girls, too, and did so with a whip.  

Oh, don't worry.  Pryor's narrative is overall extremely flattering, almost to the point of absurdity. Yet the details -- that she slips in so carefully -- are amazing. 

Such as, Lee bought girls who were not slaves, until he got hold of them.  We show you below how she revealed that surprise.  Hint -- she used here skill as a diplomat and wordsmith, to do so.

Bet you didn't know Lee not only had slaves, but bought more, and even bought some women from bounty hunters, who found them in the North.

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. She was too young.

That's what three separate newspapers reported at the time.  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.

The Lee family with Elizabeth Pryor.
Those are the two trunks, that held the Lee slave ledgers, and sexually explicit letters.

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.  

Pryor writes about the whipping of the slave girl - in that chapter -- as if it were a rare event.    She claims the whipping posts Lee had installed were a "silent testament" to the potential of whipping.

Silent?  No.  As we find out in later chapters, very carefully, those whipping post were the site of much screaming, begging, and blood.  Lee even had girls whipped, until blood flowed down their bodies.

Pryor could, if she wanted, tell us the names and how many slaves Lee had whipped, how many he paid bounties for, and what  he did with individual slaves --because his slave ledgers were apparently meticulous, and clear.

Yet Pryor never uses the term "slave ledger".  She only refers to them once, and even then, calls them "monthly account books"

Pretty clever.  As far opposite as possible, from revealing his slave ledgers, but she does give a glimpse, wrapped, as she does, in excuse. 

Later, coyly, Pryor relates deep in a later chapter, that  whipping was his "prefered" method of torture -- er, as Pryor calls it, "discipline".  Prefered?   That means he had other methods -- and indeed he did.     He tore families apart (mother from child) apparently as punishment, and lesson to others. 

WE know, because Pryor found out,  from evidence in Lee's own handwriting, that he screamed at slaves as they were whipped.   We know because three different newspapers report a particular torture session, that Lee conducted in front of witnesses, when escaped slaves were returned.

One of Lee's light skinned slaves.
 Lee likely owned the most light skinned slave girls in US.
Pryor saved word "horror" for  rapes and mixed raced slave children. Slave masters fathered their own slaves, then sold their own children into slavery. 

She reveals  things that are hard to believe of any slave owner -- wasn't slavery like "Gone with the Wind"  -- surely "gentleman" slave owners were not cruel, right?

The facts show otherwise.  Pryor reveals as carefully as she can, that Lee bought women from bounty hunters that were never slaves, but captured, kidnapped, in the North while they were supposedly searching for escaped slaves

Lee wrote it down. Not someone else, not a neighbor, not an historian. Lee wrote his own dirty letters, and his own slave ledgers.



Pryor had to be conflicted.  She was hired to praise Lee -- to "verify" how wonderful Lee was, using his own papers.

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, that he freed his slaves long before the Civil War.

We are told Lee's slaves loved him so much, they refused to leave.

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.

Pryor could have no clue of any of that, from what she had learned, until she opened his slave ledgers and personal letters. 



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

Actually, read the entire letter.  It 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.

But more -- the same letter claims slavery is a religious liberty, to the owner.   Even more odd, to our ears, is Lee's claim that abolitionist are on an evil course, against God.

That comes from the letter than Lee "experts" claim he was against slavery.  And add his other letters (see below) to bounty hunters, his actions of discipline (actually torture).   Get the whole picture, not distorted myths, repeated.

Lee also claimed slaves were lucky to be slaves -the slave owner was the one imposed upon.  Apparently Lee wrote this letter to explain why he had slaves whipped, but that is conjecture.  Before Lee got to Arlington, slaves were not whipped. Lee changed that.

He had to explain that to her, so he used language she would fall for -- religious justification.   He had to explain it to her somehow -- what was he going to tell her?  I just liked watching those girls whipped? I was mad at that girl?  What else would he say?

Lee's slaves didn't like him -- in fact, Pryor reveals that records indicate, slaves said Lee "was the worst man we ever saw".

Lee grew to despise their slaves, because their slaves didn't appreciate him enough.

Facts are stubborn things, and Lee wrote them down. He was not ashamed of whipping slaves -- he claimed God wanted them whipped.

And Pryor tells us Lee "separated" families, which meant the mother from the child, because slaves were not told who their father was, nor was he in the picture.

Furthermore, the biological father, as you will see, was often a white man, at Arlington. Yes, whites fathered many slaves, escpecially at Arlington, as facts show.

Lee sold children, and screamed at slave girls as he had them whipped.  It takes a special kind of denial, to hate these slaves, but how could he treat them thusly, if he did not justify it in his own head?  Every slave owner had to justify slavery someone, humans can't torture, enslave, whip, sell children, without mental gymnastics.  And Lee was adroit at that.

But slave owners needed to justify their cruelty -- and Lee was no exception. 


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. 

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.  

But at the time, documents, letters, slave ledgers, show a drastically different story.

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". 


Hopefully the Lee family won't burn his slave ledgers now -- most slave ledgers were burned, and if Lee knew  his slave ledgers would be given to the public, he would likely have burned them himself, along with his sexually explicit letters.

In one of the few candid things Pryor says, she admits it's "unquestionably true" that Lee did indeed have slave girls captured and whipped.   And later she admits,  a bit at a time, in clever language, even more.

After the Civil War -- reporters at Arlington found a former slave, digging graves there.  He recounted the tortures -- so before the Civil War, it was reported in newspapers, after the Civil War, slaves interviewed confirmed it, and Lee's hand written slave ledgers confirm the names, dates, and payments to the people mentioned.

Lee always wanted to be a PLANTER

Pryor tries so hard. She tells us "Lee always wanted to be a planter". That's orwellian double speak for owner of a large number of slaves.  Pryor writes about Lee "planting" this crop or that, more Orwell.  Lee didn't plant a thing -- slaves did.   

By the way, you might think Lee's slaves grew crops for sale, that's how they made Lee money. Wrong.  The cash crop at Arlington was not food, as is so often cleverly suggested.  It was FLESH.  Lee and most Virginia slave owners, got rich selling SLAVES, or renting slaves out, which was common. 

Another clever omission by those too afraid of the ugly truth.  Planter = slave owner.   Plantations (in the Upper South) were essentially farms where children were raised to be sold.   A major problem that led to the Civil War, by the way, when the Deep South were able to mass produce their own slaves, and the value of flesh farms (which Lee managed) became far less profitable. 

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. 

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.    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.

Southern "historians" have pretended the King of Spades was term of endearment by the soldiers.  No -- it was a phrase from the  newspapers about Lee's role in building the earth works. 

Pryor claims Lee's torture of slaves was due to his "poor cross cultural communication skills". 

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. 

Pryor early in the book, cleverly and deceptively discusses "sex between the races" as "dalliances" -- a word implying gentle fun and merriment, practically flirting. 

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had a "dalliance".  

But  Lee's slave girls were raped -- forcibly raped, Pryor admits later very carefully. The more vile the "horror,"  the more careful Pryor is about revealing it.

Slave women could not fight back -- and perhaps some cooperated with the rapist, to gain favor.  But evidence is also clear -- rapes could be brutal, and common.  The women had no choice.


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 rapes?

 Putting your hands on a white man in anger was a capital offense -- Lee's father had a slave girls hung for such offenses. So the men slept elsewhere.  Pryor doesn't tell you that clearly, either.

Imagine that, not just being enslaved, but you had to sleep elsewhere, and let the white man rape at his will.  Again, this happened AT ARLINGTON. 

Pryor, while she carefully admits the rapes, claims "there is no evidence" Lee took part in such things.  Oh bullshit, there is plenty of evidence Lee's slave children were very light skinned. Who fathered those slave children, Casper?

Pryor is a wordsmith -- she knows exactly what she is doing.   She did not accidently get in the information about the rapes, the tortures, the bounties.   She worked, literally, under the gaze of the Lee family and the Virginia Historical society.  That she managed to get in these facts, carefully to the point of being Orwellian, is a tribute to her diplomatic and rhetorical skills.

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 and for free women and children your hunters found in the North, please don't write it down."

That Lee wrote it down, that Lee confirmed the reports of torture, that Lee paid bounty hunters, that Lee or others kept the sexually explicit letters, made Pryor's work that much harder. 

Yes, we should have access to those slave ledgers -- not the distorted and carefully sanitized "portrait" Pryor paints.    But Pryor did drastically more than anyone else ever did -- she revealed what happened at Arlington, in Orwellian double speak, layered in excuses and justifications.   But who else did anything like that?


But, he wrote it down. 

Not someone else -- not a neighbor, not a mean historian 100 years later. Lee himself, wrote it down.  And the Lee family still has those dirty letters, still has those slave ledgers.

You only know what you are told.

We only know what we are told.  And, till now, we were told increasingly bizarre, and false, things about Lee.  There was simply nothing too goofy, to extreme, to claim.

According to some of the especially goofy claims -- made up after Lee was dead, apparently to sell books, Lee and all his officers would dismount among exploding shells, during battle, and remove their hats, for long silent prayers.


 In fact, it seems authors writing from 1890-1920 competed 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, those preposterous books, written after Lee died, are the source -- taken as gospel -- and the basis for the bullshit Lee myth.

It's about that simple -- books glorifying Lee sold very well.  No one even bothered to write books showing the tortures, etc.  The people that knew what happened at Arlington, and survived, spoke about it, but they were not writers.

Most could not write -- they were slaves. 

Text book publishers grabbed the bullshit from such books, and printed them as fact. 

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

There  simply is no tale about Lee too goofy to spread as truth.  Lee now sits "at the right hand of Christ"  insists Douglas Freeman, his main biographer.    

Lee was so religious, he got off his horse during battle, and had all his officers do the same, as bombs exploded around them, in silent prayer.

A Southern best seller, written 20 years after Lee's death, said Lee overheard a prayer during battle -- and did this....

Yes, Lee and all his officers dismounted in silent prayer, as bombs exploded around him. You won't hear that nonsense today, but the book that told us that, told us all kinds of other Lee stories. Page after page.

Every hustler  who wanted to sell books would add their own nonsense, and amazingly, that nonsense is now taught as fact.


Lee was the greatest soldier -- ever -- but more, much more, he was a "far better Christian".  

Lee was the best at everything, according to the idiotically accepted biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman.  In the index Freeman lists four columns of positive human attributes, and in the book sets out to prove Lee was the MOST kind, the MOST chaste, the MOST tidy.

Yes, even the most tidy.  The most polite,  the most caring.  Freeman was a lunatic, who knew how to dress up like a scholar and write footnotes.  But he wrote nonsense.   

No moral flaws -- torture is no flaw.  Selling children (perhaps  his own) is no flaw.  Screaming at slave girls as you have them whipped-- no flaw.

Freeman rarely used the word "slave" but typically called Lee's slaves, "servants".

No word about Lee's habit of writing sexually explicit letters to various women, whipping slave girls, or saying God intended he administer pain, because "pain is necessary for their instruction".

   According to Lee's slave ledgers -- studied at long last by Elizabeth Pryor  --  Lee paid drastically higher bounties for the capture and punishment of young female slaves.

Why?   Who even knew Lee owned slaves?  Was he not against slavery?   Did he not write a sentence that said slavery was evil?

He was "violently against slavery" was one -- bullshit.  Lee was very much into slavery, and slaves.  

Lee not only owned his own slaves (he did NOT just manage his wife's slaves), but he bought more.  And he bought them from bounty hunters.


Why are we surprised slave owners whipped slaves?

As a nation,  have glossed over the fact, slavery was a violent enterprise. In fact, I met a woman who claimed she taught history in  high school, and in an authorative tone, claimed slaves were "treated like family" and the owners of slaves "worked right along side them in the field".

Where did she get such a goofy idea?

Despite the religious bullshit espoused as excuses, slave owners used terror and violence --  Lee was no exception. And no, he was not more moderate. He was more cruel, because Lee regularly separated the mothers from the children, selling one, and keeping the other.   

Worse yet, Lee's slaves were "increasingly light" skinned -- someone raped  the slaves at Arlington, then sold or rented out the mother or the children.  Yes, they did.  Lee, a man who supposedly was "the most chaste" and religious man in US  history (according to his biographer Douglas Freeman) actually was a horn dog, and bragged about his son's sexual conquest -- and clearly he knew white men were raping the slaves at Arlington.

Pryor claims "there is no evidence" that Lee took part in the rapes, which she admits in Orwellian terms, were "common".    Oh really?  And what would prevent him? He had slave girls whipped, he paid extra for certain girls, he screamed at them during their torture. Please tell me, what the hell would morally prevent a man who bought children, and had them whipped, from doing whatever his little pecker wanted?  


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.

Discipline Pryor blamed on the slave girls -- not Lee.   They "tested"  Lee, and Lee had "every right" to protect his "property".  

See her other excuses, below.

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.


Pryor's book -- despite the "details" she does her best to gloss over  -- is mostly flattering.  She begins with a self serving epistle by Lee to his children. The narrative was so appealing, even the Journal of Southern History gave her rave reviews.

But Pryor could have  -- and perhaps should have --started the book with a list of his slave girls, listed by prices paid, to whom, and whether each girl was light skinned, dark skinned, or captured by bounty hunters.  Because Pryor had that information.   

Should Lee be held to "today's" standards of morality?   Who cares, just show the facts, what he did, who he bought, who he had whipped, what he boasted of at the time. 

Get the facts out -- that  he wrote about himself. Start there.  Most people did not own slaves, and Lee was actually more cruel than most slavers --not less cruel. 

It was already well known that, during the Civil War, Lee had his men capture free blacks in the North, then taken South and sold as slaves.  Lee therefore is the only person in US history to take civilians during war, and enslave them.

But Lee already did that -- during peace time.  According to his slave ledgers, Lee paid for "others" as Pryor calls them, that his hunters caught in the North, while looking for escaped slaves.

"Others"?    Pryor could tell us their names, and what Lee did with those slaves - how many were children, how many were women, and what price he paid for them.

Pryor just wrote "others".  Pretty clever.

But that's how Pryor writes every page -- very carefully.

Pryor writes that Lee owned girls so light skinned, Lee himself wrote they could pass for white. Here is a clue -- you are white, if you look white, white is a shade of skin.

Pryor did not open with details about rapes at Arlington, or the light skinned children born to 14 and 15 year old slave girls there.

Pryor did not open, or anywhere emphasize, the tortures and bounty payments -- the tortures were punishment for girls running away. Lee seemed especially focused on one slave girl, he paid 600% higher price for her capture and punishment.

Pryor stunningly admits, in a nonchalant way, that over 50% of Lee's slaves (she wont say how much over) were mulatto. She also writes that "increasingly whites were enslaving other whites".

She does not open the book with any such information -- she is too clever to say "Lee enslaved white looking slaves, and increasingly, children born to Lee's slaves could pass for white."

That would be a bit too candid.

She did not say,  "Lee focused on certain slave girls, because he paid much higher prices for the following girls to be captured_______">

But give her credit, in her own understated, even Orwellian way, Pryor gets the details in.  Yes, she  buried the details in a myriad of excuses, justifications, and misdirections. But they are there. 

Yes, she SHOULD  have shown us the slave ledgers, she probably could not, because the Lee family still controls them.  She SHOULD have shown us the bounty payments, letters about torture, and wide spread desertions by Lee's soldiers.  

Lee devotees -- Pryor was one herself -- can read the book and hardly notice the tortures (torture is the right word) bounties, and rapes, at Arlington.   Sound sensation?  Hyped?

Not if her details are true. 

She used euphemisms, even Orwellian double speak, but buying slave girls from bounty hunters, who caught the girls in the NORTH living free, is a detail she included, but in the most clever matter.  See more about that, below.

The details -- oh, the details.  She get them in, sprinkled like MSG in a Chinese buffet.  You can easily read her work, and not notice who was whipping who, raping who, and paying bounties for who.

But read it closely.  Pryor is a wordsmith, but it's there.   One wonders if the reviewers at Journal of Southern History actually read it, or just the first chapter. 

Pryor knows, and told a bit, about  how much Lee paid for slaves.

Pryor  obliterates the goofy myth that Lee freed his slaves -- in fact, Lee refused court orders to free them and went to court to delay their freedom. Well into the Civil War, Lee profited on his slaves, or tried to.

And Lee owned slaves on his own -- not just his wife's. And he bought more. He used slave auctions, and bounty hunters.

Remember, Pryor got this from  his own papers.  

She studied the letters and slave ledgers thoroughly, she would not let us see them.  Rather, she "interpreted" the papers.  Why not just let the public see them?

Maybe in another 150 years. Remember, it took 150 years for the family to let one person (Pryor) study them all, at length.

 She refused to call them slave ledgers, she called them "monthly account books".  That's how she would reveal almost everything -- in euphemisms, but no one else has even hinted at the rapes, the whippings, the tortures, the bounties.


Alan Nolan, 20 years ago, said we should start over about Lee.
What we had been told about him was not history, not scholarship.
Nolan could have no idea how correct he was.


The details are stunning --Pryor often wrapped in Orwellian double talk, she excuses, minimizes, and concerning Lee's purchase of kidnapped girls, she crosses over to deceitful.  (Lee bought free, non-slave girls his  hunters found in the North, as you will see.)

How did the Journal of Southern History miss the rapes, tortures, kidnapping and bounties?  They either didn't read it, or skimmed it, or just interpreted everything in a light most favorable to the Lee Myth. Hard telling.

A blatant example -- while Pryor admits Lee had slave girls whipped, she defends it.   She claimed Lee had every right to "protect his property".

She also took Lee's side -- saying the girls "tested Lee". 

Lee did not just whip a few slaves, as Pryor later and artfully admits.  Whipping became Lee's "prefered" method of "instruction".    How many slaves did he have whipped?  

We don't know.  We know Lee's had dozens -- perhaps almost 100 slaves -- try to escape. Pryor knows the number, she got the information from his slave ledgers.

But Pryor just avoids specifics -- by claiming Lee had "epidemics" of escape attempts.  Why all these escapes, and attempted escapes?

Pryor does tell you -- in a clever way.  She quotes a slave as saying Lee was "The worst man we ever met."

The worst man we ever met.   Want to know what the slaves actually thought of Lee?  They thought he was the worse man they ever met.

And many risked their lives to escape from him. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Because that is what his slave ledgers -- without the Orwellian bullshit -- show.

 Lee's "Poor cross cultural communication skills."

Pryor excuses the tortures ( and torture is the right word) by claiming it was caused by  Lee's "Poor cross cultural communication skills."

Yeah, poor cross cultural communication skills, thats it. Not cause he was a cruel bastard, not cause he lost his temper, not cause he wanted to frighten the rest of the slaves, to teach them not to escape -- no, nothing like that.

It was because of his "poor cross cultural communication skills.

People who only hear of the book, claim Pryor was out to trash Lee-- utter nonsense. She bends over backwards on every page, every paragraph, to excuse, minimize, explain way, or minimize the horrors.  

She says Lee put up a whipping post "as a silent reminder."

Silent reminder?   In other places, Pryor shows there was torture aplenty at that "silent reminder".

Pryor  also excuses Lee's whipping of slaves -- saying (incorrectly) that Lee had to whip escaped slaves.  

Lee paid 10 dollars for the capture of male slaves.   But he paid 342 dollars for the capture and punishment of a certain 14 year old girl.

Why?  He was supposedly against slavery, why not let her go?


Lee even refused to obey Virginia Court orders to free the inherited slaves. Lee had his OWN slaves too, and "managed" his wife's.  

Pryor shows that by the time  Lee obeyed the court orders, the Civil War had already started -- she cleverly avoids telling us what he did with all the slaves in the meantime.

But she does admit Lee resisted court orders to free the slaves.  And he paid bounty hunters to capture escaped slaves, especially, it seems, the female sales.

The largest bas relief sculpture on earth,  honors a man who had slave girls whipped and sold.

Pryor does not say who sued Lee to force him to free the slaves  -- why not tell us?   Very basic. She has the papers in her hands.  The papers would show who sued him, and for exactly what.  Why the mystery, why gloss over.

It's been 150 years -- you have the papers in your hands. Give us the information.

She could have made that clear, but her goal is to NOT make such things clear, so she does  not.


But it's not just slave ledgers ---Lee wrote so many letters, Pryor mentioned "10,000" letters to or from Lee. 

  With his slave ledgers, meticulously dated and detailed, Pryor was able to correlate his letters, to his slave ledgers. Short of walking around his slave quarters, ordering this slave whipped, or that one sold, with a video camera, it's hard to imagine a more complete picture of Lee's life with slaves.  He wrote the damn things. 

And it's all FROM Lee's own handwriting -- his outgoing letters, and his slave ledgers. early on Lee's side.  
 Pryor excuses Lee's whipping of slave girls as
due to "his failure to communicate".  No, we aren't kidding.

In another page, equally as bizarre  she claims Lee's slaves "did not fully agree with Lee's theory of labor management." 

  Is she writing for a comedy journal?  Seriously, did she laugh her ass off when she wrote this? They did not fully agree with his theory of labor management?  WTF.  Seriously, WTHF.

They risked their lives to escape, they were chased, and whipped.  

But her editorial comment -- they did not "fully agree"  with his "theory" of labor management?  

Orwellian double speak.  Shame on her.

Lee's "theory" of labor managment (makes me puke every time I read her crap like that) included whipping and other tortures.  That was his "theory" as proven by what he did.


She claims Lee had every right to pursue and discipline the slaves.   

Oh, you mean those slaves he didn't have, according to myths?  From what others tell us, he didn't even own any. So how is he whipping slaves, selling slaves, having bounty hunters chase slaves, if he doesn't have any?

Lee had slaves whipped, -- not disciplined.   Lee's "discipline" was whipping, and more.  Why not say that truth.  

Actually, Lee's papers show just the opposite -- Lee not only didn't free them, he resisted repeated court orders to free the slaves from his father in law's will, and still made money off his slaves during the Civil War.

By the time Lee did free those slaves, they were worthless to him anyway, he had no effective control.   But the way Southern myth makers insisted for 150 years, Lee didn't even own any, and was against slavery.


She is clearly on Lee's side.   Every time she reveals a cruelty or horror, she does so carefully, and minimizes or excuses it.

While Pryor adores Lee, and defends him, she does what no other Lee biographer ever did -- she told, as carefully and as euphamistically as possible  -- the horrors that Lee inflicted upon his slaves. It was more that whips, more that salt brine, Pryor reports on the rapes at Arlington  which were common, though she claims "there is no evidence" Lee took part.


Weren't we all told Lee hated slavery?  Wasn't he religious, devout, kind, and honorable?

  That was the story anyway, and no one bothered to say otherwise.    SO how can Pryor report, euphamistically or otherwise, about tortures, rapes, salt brine, whipping post, huge bounties for 14 year old girls, ect?

Paper Weight sold at Museum of Confederacy.


Clearly Lee valued the 14 year old girl drastically more than the average slave male.  Financially, she was worth much more to him.
Maybe that has something to do with fact, Lee own very light skinned slave girls.   See the girl in the picture above?  She is one of 50 or so mulatto slaves -- not dark skinned.  In fact, Lee had slave girls that he wrote could pass for white.


Of the many surprising sentences in Pryor's otherwise flattering book about Lee, maybe the most shocking is that Lee's preference for discipline was the whip (he had other ways to cause them pain too), and that "increasingly, whites were enslaving other whites".

Lee wrote many sentences -- 10,000 letters, and monthly slave ledgers. Pryor won't let us actually see but a minuscule percentage of what he wrote.  Why?   When she writes that Lee's "preference" for discipline was the whip, no doubt she read dozens of his letters about that exact topic.  Why not let us see those?



For about 80 years the South has insisted Lee "hated" slavery because of one sentence in a letter to his wife.   But that part of the Lee was not even Lee's own words, he copied that part word for word from a book available to him at the time, of Daniel Webster's letters.   For a wordsmith like Lee to deliberately plagarize someone else's words is surprising.

But read the FULL letter -- the part that is NOT plagiarized, is Lee's own words.  And they are the most amazing defenses of slavery -- and the pain inflicted on slaves -- ever written

God "knew and intended" slaves "must endure painful discipline". You often heard slave masters claim slavery was ordained-- Lee went on and on about the PAIN slaves must endure.

  Apparently Lee is trying to pacify his wife on his torture (and it was torture) of slaves, as we know his own slave ledgers.  God knew and intended slaves endure pain --  he wrote they "must endure" it,  and "pain is necessary for their instruction."

Pain was ordained by God -- not just slavery, is Lee's basic narrative to his wife.  Slaves MUST endure it, pain is necessary. We, mankind, can not question God's wisdom.  The slaves are better off here  has slaves, than free in Africa, though Lee was never in Africa,  and by that logic, and nation that wanted to take Lee women as slaves, should be able to, if they say they are better off as slaves.

Lee used the South's ever present blame game of blaming the "abolitionist" who "dissatisfy" slaves.  Never mind that the slaves never met an abolitionist, and it was against the law for WHITES to own anti-slavery books or pamphlets, let alone blacks. In the South, it was a crime even for preachers to preach anything other than slaves owed Godly obedience to their master.

Man, Lee wrote, can only "pray" for an end to slavery, perhaps in 2000 years, he suggests.  We must leave the timing of  that up to the Lord. Men who try to end slavery against God's time are on an "evil course".  In another letter he tells her Abolitionist are "trying to destroy the American Church".

Lee tries to convince his wife (and apparently he does convince her) that all the problems with rebellious slaves, run away slaves,  are from the abolitionist.   As Jeff Davis said, "The evil serpent of the abolitionist have whispered the lie of freedom in the ear of the slave".

We could know much more if Pryor and the Lee family actually showed the 10,000 letters and slave ledgers.  We only get a very edited, and very "cleaned up" view -- but Pryor reveals stunning things even so.


Who knew Lee wrote dirty letters? Yes, he did. Or as Pryor tactfully calls it  - sexually suggestive. Lee reminded various women of his sexual tricks, and bragged about his son's sexual ability. That's all Pryor mentions, but it had to be much more. She puts things, as you will see, very carefully.

She "desensationalizes" everything.  Lee did not torture slaves, he "disciplined" them.  And the way Pryor writes, 

Although she tries to keep the "Lee Myth" alive,  essentially she shows that, at least on slavery, Lee is nothing at all like the contrived and deliberately fraudulent myth about him.

In fact, Lee was remarkably cruel, even for slave masters.

Lee hired out the whippings.
 He said  pain was "necessary for their instruction"


No one reported anything like what Pryor does -- she uses his own slave ledgers and letters.   More, she tries to minimize, explain away, or excuse Lee's tortures.

She claims Lee was "required" to have slaves whipped who tried to escape -- not true.   But certainly he was no "required" to spend huge bounties for the girls especially, nor was he required to taunt them before their whipping, and scream at them during the whipping, as the newspaper reports from before the Civil War showed.

Yes --  you heard right.



How do we know those newspaper reports were true?  That's the amazing part.

Lee's slave ledgers show many of the names, dates, and other particulars mentioned in the newspapers.  Lee wrote things down which verify those reports.   As Pryor says, the whipping and torture of the girl was "unquestionably" predicated on facts Lee wrote down.

Strange indeed if reports at that time -- by people who would never see Lee's slave ledgers --  had details that matched up substantially.


Why did Lee offer so much more money for the capture of the girl?

 Could the young girls pick more cotton?  Actually, Lee didn't grow cotton.   Lee grew slaves -- his product was not food or cotton, it was SLAVES and slave labor.   

How do you think Lee made money?  He made it by renting or selling slaves.  When "scholars" talk about Lee "managing" Arlington, they hope you don't realize, that meant maxamizing his profit from the sale and or rental of slaves. 

And Lee did both -- he sold slaves and he rented them.  Pryor is very careful how she addresses that, and the other horrors.


(under construction)


Why would Lee pay 30 times as much bounty for the capture and discipline (whipping) of a 14 year old girl, than for an adult male slave?

To those who though Lee did not even own slaves (or any other factual nonsense), this might be a surprise.  But you only know what you are told; what we have been told, even by "experts" about Lee was largely myth.



Pryor shows that contrary to the myth, Lee's slaves hated him.  With reason.  She quotes slaves as saying Lee was "the meanest man we ever saw".

Was Pryor lying? Actually she is trying very very hard to excuse minimize or gloss over the horrors she found, as you will see.  Ironically her zeal to excuse Lee, adds credibility when she shows facts, even though her facts or often revealed in euphemism or Orwellian double talk.

Meanest?  Yes.   Lee had slave girls whipped, sold or rented out children, and insisted God "intended and knew" slaves should feel pain -- physical pain.  "Pain," Lee wrote, "is necessary for their instruction."   And he seemed a very eager instructor.

Actually, dozens of slaves tried to escape -- perhaps more than 60, Pryor wont's say, though she surely could give a number.  Lee's slave account books were no doubt as detailed as his other financial matters.   Pryor tactfully says  Lee had "epidemics" of escaped slaves.   Like everything cruel or contrary to Lee myth, Pryor is vague  at best, and Orwellian, at worst, but she does say things no one ever dared say.

So why did Lee give so much extra for girls? Young girls?  

Who knows?  IF we could see the actual letters, or how Lee phrased the bounties, or see ads he might have placed, we would know much more about his reasons.  But Pryor refuses to use the term "slave ledgers" -- just calling them monthly "account books".   Her job is not to trash Lee -- her job is to keep the halo upon his  combed over head (Lee had a comb over, he was bald, said people who knew  him well).

Pryor adores Lee -- make no mistake.

 Even when she admits things like his torture of slave girls (it was torture)  she tries to minimize it or explain it away.   She admits  Lee had slaves whipped, but only because "his poor cross cultural communication skills" to slaves.

Poor cross cultural communication skills?  That's why he had slave's whipped?   If Pryor were not talking about the torture of young teenage girls, it might be funny. Elsewhere, using Orwellian double talk, she wrote "The slaves did not fully agree with Lee's theory of labor management".   You can't make this up!  Lee's theory of labor "management"?  

  But Lee had "nothing but contempt" for slaves, he wished slave children would "die quickly" when they got sick.   

  Lee sold or rented out mothers or children, forever separating the child from the mother.  Lee had no apparent feeling whatsoever for the mothers or children, he would separate them for his financial benefit, and that caused a violent and ongoing struggle -- slaves would escape,  probably 50 or 60 tried  -- even though it meant certain whipping and other tortures.   

  Lee was apparently obsessed with getting certain girls back.   Why? Pryor doesn't say -- she probably knows, it was likely in his letters or bounty lists. 

So if you read her book -- and we suggest you do -- remember that. Every page, every paragraph, she is excusing, minimizing, and doing her best to gloss over the horrors she found in his slave ledgers and letters.   Still  -- the admits them, in Orwellian double talk at times, in euphamism, at other times, but she does what no one else dared do- - show what a cruel, even sadistic, man Lee really was.

Elizabeth Pryor was allowed to study Lee's personal papers, kept in trunks by the Lee family, all these years.

   Lee's slave ledgers still exists -- ironically his papers were saved by Union Army and returned to his family.   

We know of no other Confederate leader whose slave ledgers survived -- but Lee's family kept them tucked away for 150 years.   

Even now, they only let one person study them (you will soon find out why),  and they  had to pick that person very very carefully.

Elizabeth Pryor, a Lee devotee, and diplomat, studied 10,000 Lee letters -- and the slave ledgers.    She apparently was not allowed to show us any, and how she reveals the facts in them, well, they chose her because she is a diplomat.  She is very careful how she reveals anything.

 Elizabeth Pryor only mentions such facts as payments for slave girls very carefully, in fact, she gets the math wrong, she claims Lee paid "six times" the bounty for one girl. Actually he paid 30 times as much for one specific girl.  Why?

If we could see his actual slave ledgers, and the 10,000 personal letters Pryor said the family kept,  maybe Lee said it bluntly and candidly at one point -- perhaps in a letter to bounty hunters.   Pryor only shows us what she wants to, and that, carefully.


 Pryor idolized Lee before she read his slave ledgers.  She tries to keep the halo upon his head,  but it's clear: Lee the person was drastically different than the myth about him.  



If Elizabeth Pryor could tell Robert E Lee one thing -- it might be this: "Please, General, if you are going to whip girls, buy women from bounty hunters that were free and legal residents of the North, allow rapes of numerous slave women, please don't write it down".

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


 "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.

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.   He bought FREE people from Pennsylvania. His bounty hunters didn't go to Africa.  Then went to Maryland and Pennsylvania.   

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 the BS about Jesus and Africa fooled his wife, stupid as she was about the rapes, stupid as she was about where Lee got the girls from.   And like many wives, she probably didn't want to know too much about her husbands hobbies, what he did in the barn with the slave girls.

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".

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. 

Douglass Southall Freeman, the "definitive" scholar on Lee,  insisted Lee's slaves knew him best, and the fact that they loved Lee, shows what kind of man he was. He also said Lee is "now at the right hand of Christ".

Lee's Freeman had the balls to claim Lee's "servants" loved him, when nothing could be further from the truth -- nothing. According to Pryor's book, Lee's papers show his slaves said he was "the worse man we ever saw".   They hated and feared him, even his "favorites" tried to escape, which pissed him off to no end.  Lee felt he was the one suffering, not slaves. He had no clue that when he sold children, or whipped slave girls, that would horrify the slaves.   Lee was clueless. 

Yes, Freeman was right -- the slaves really did know Lee best.  One little problem. Lee's slaves  hated him -- 

Elizabeth Pryor adores Lee, and wrote as flattering as she could about him.  She is the only person we know of, outside the Lee family, to see his slave ledgers and 10,000 unpublished letters to and from  him -- many about his slaves.


Lee paid 10 dollars for the capture of male slaves, Pryor tells us.  But he paid 342 dollars for the capture and "discipline" of a 14 year old girl Lee seemed obsessed about. 

Why was a 14 year old girl worth 3,400% more than his male slaves?  Could she pick 3400% more cotton?  Lee seemed to take her escape personally, because he made sure he was there for her return, taunted her before her torture, and screamed at her the entire time she was whipped,

What did he scream? 

According to overlapping newspaper reports, at the time,  he yelled  "Hit her harder, hit her harder" over and over, the entire time.  In the vernacular of slave masters, it was actually "Lay it on, lay it on"

Pryor is lying about the Virginia law -- there was no such requirement. If there were such a law, Lee regularly broke the  law on slaves, just by buying them from bounty hunters. 

Yet what else COULD Pryor say?  She could  not just reveal he had slaves whipped, she had to do it that way --blame the slave girls, use Orwellian double speak, and finally say he had to.  All bullshit, of course, but seriously, if she was going to reveal the whippings and other horrors, she had to also include cover and excuses. 

Pryor had to cover for Lee somehow.  How would you include such information, without causing an uproar?

 Still, even Pryor does not claim the law required him to pay far more for her capture, and scream at her during her torture.  She just claimed (falsely) he had to whip his escaped slaves.  No, he did not.  He could have let them go, he could have freed them, like the myth says he did. 


Other biographers glorified Lee with religious accolades,  but in that one sentence, Freeman ended the game.  Christ sits at the right hand of God. And Lee sits at the right hand of Christ.Game over. No one can top that.

Freeman is the source for much of our "knowledge" about Lee.   Who dared suggest otherwise?  Even the book that questioned some of the "Lee scholarship" seemed to praise Lee for ten pages, before they would suggest  in one sentence that reality might be anything different.
to be continued