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Monday, September 10, 2012


Redoing this -- soon to have
This is very much "under construction"

Another Mark D Curran post







We just heard politicians in DC claim Robert E Lee "hated slavery."    

For 80 years it was common in Virginia to claim the same thing, and even teach the children the name of Lee's pet chicken.

Pulitzer prize winning "historians" claimed Lee was "kind"  and even insisted he had no slaves.  That his "servants" loved him to much, we hear, that "they refused to leave."

Nothing -- nothing -- was too goofy to say, and believe.



Americans now know that Lee had two slaves tortured (see why torture is the right word, below).  

Yet Lee's own slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters prove quite the opposite. 

Not only did Lee own slaves, he bought more.  And he had bounty hunters "create" slaves by their capture of free blacks in the North,  where upon Lee turned those helpless souls into slaves.


We need to learn what is in Lee's slave ledgers, bounty hunter instructions, NOT because it matters now.  Lee is long dead of course.

We need to learn it because it's necessary to doubt historians who (like most Lee biographers) essentially competed to be more flattering than the last.


There was plenty of evidence at the time -- even without Lee's hand written slave ledgers and bounty hunter instructions and payments.

There were newspaper reports of the tortures.  There were accounts from slave themselves of the horrors-- rapes - tortures that were common.

There was a slave auction not from fare from Lee's slave farm. (Slave farm is the right word -- he did not grow or make money on cotton. He made money on human flesh.  Buying it -- including buying children if he wanted.  Then renting them out or sell them.

It's a travesty we have never even taught that Lee was in the slave business, not farming.  He did not sell food.  He sold the labor and flesh. He used auctions.

He used bounty hunters.

But that was not what South wanted to hear -- or buy.  The myth sold much better.


Still, the major source for Lee's own use of torture, his own payments, his own obsession -- are in his own papers and letters -- no one comes close to being as important as Lee himself, now that we have his slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters.

It was an obession - to get the slave girls back that escaped.  Lee did not just "hire" the bounty hunters. He corresponded with them.  He had an elaborate system of where to put escaped slaves locally so he could be present when they came back to the "Plantation".

And he paid hard cash for the capture, for the holding, and for the whipping of slaves, as you will see.

This was not a tiny detail to Lee.  Slave "management" -  as Pryor tries to  use that term,  does not sound bad.  But it meant whippings, captures, and more terror.

Lee, according to his own paperwork was "the worst man we ever seen"  per the slaves own words, as reflected in Lee's own papers. _______________________________


We knew already because it was reported in three newspapers at the time. For 150 years a few knew that, but almost no one said it. 

"Experts" 100 years later dismissed those newspapers as so crazy or wrong, there was no need to even mention such nonsense.

But those experts never knew the names of the slave girls Lee bought, or the payments to bounty hunters, or his tortures, or his various letters.

Lee wrote it all down.

And it's ugly.  It was ugly then, too.  


"Hang on to your hat, Lee lovers, this may be a bumpy ride."

Elizabeth Pryor (RIP 2015)

Lee "devotee" 

If Pryor could say one thing to Robert E Lee, it would probably be this: "Please, please burn your slave ledgers."
It would have made her job much, much easier.

He did not burn them. She had a difficult job.

1) Elizabeth Pryor -- chosen by the Lee family and approved by Virginia Historical Society - is the only person we know of who had access to two trunks of papers in Lee's own handwriting.

2) Those "papers" included his slave ledgers and letters to and from bounty hunters. And more, such as sexually explicit letters to various women for decades after he was married.

3) The slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters show a drastically different story than anything we were told. 

4) Pryor revealed as much as she dared, but in a diplomatic, deceptive way -- using Orwellian double speak and euphemism.

5)  The Lee family has not yet -- and may never -- allow his slave ledgers to see the light of day again,  other than to select people who agree to mute the ugly. 

6) Time will tell. 



Pryor did not like writing about Lee's slave ledgers or bounty hunter instructions.  We know that because she refused to ever use the terms slave ledgers or bounty hunter letter, never once.

Yet that is what they were.

She called them "monthly account books,"  and that only once in her book.   

But they were slave ledgers,  with names, prices paid, monies received.   They were so detailed as to price that Pryor could tell us the highest and lowest prices he paid for slaves.

She could tell us Lee paid 600% higher prices for one type of slave than another.

She was not about to show us how much he paid for "others"  that  his bounty hunters grabbed in the North.  She just calls them "others,"  which could only mean other than escaped slaves.

She claimed there that Lee "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork,"   as if there were time consuming paper work that let you grab "others" in the North.

And -- like she did so often -- Lee was the victim.   She could not only remove 100% of the blame, by making things unclear,  she could make Lee seem the victim of events or laws.

For example, re torture of the small slave girls, Pryor tells the read there were laws that slaves had to be tortured (torture is the right word) for trying to escape.

Not only were there no such laws (the law was for the maximum number of lashes) Lee could have easily ignored that law.  Certainly there was no law you had to torture (torture is the right word) a small girl, a girl so small, the regular overseer refused to whip her.



Elizabeth Pryor gained access to Lee's slave ledgers and other handwritten papers. The Virginia Historical Society and Lee family approved Pryor's study of those papers.


Lee's hand written slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters still exists. 


It's possible the Lee family alive now had no idea the jumble of ledgers and letters held such horrors -- like torture, like rape, like white looking slaves (Pryor seemed upset ONLY about white looking slave girls)

The Lee family and several generations of Americans never heard of such things. 

But Pryor could study those ledgers and letters and price lists, etc.  


Over and over scholars, teachers and politicians used Lee's letter to his wife to prove he was a kind man -- "violently opposed to slavery.


In the letter to his wife, for example,  that is often used to prove Lee was anti-slavery -- read the full letter.   Lee does claim slavery is a moral and political evil -- but goes on to defend it as Godly enterprise, and those against it are evil.

Lee even called slavery a "Spiritual liberty."  

Taken as a whole, that particular the letter is a clever attempt to mollify his very religious wife to explain away the whippings and sale of slave children she had to be acutely aware of.








She could and did come up with euphemisms and Orwellian double speak such as "Lee's slaves did not completely agree with his theory of labor management".

It was only in a further paragraph in a further chapter that she would bother to explain Lee regularly had slaves whipped, and used other tortures, other punishment on TOP of the tortures.   For example, after having one slave girl whipped tied to post, he had salt applied to her wounds-- witness said for more pain.

And then punished her further. 

Yet the way, the words, the context Pryor tries to achieve, is that the slaves were at fault.  That Lee's "poor cross cultural communication" was to blame.

In other words -- if Lee could just speak "cross culturally"  and ma slaves know better than try to escape,  he would not have to apply the tortures, and everyone would be better off.

That's actually the words bouncing around in slave owners heads, and Lee said as much.

Simply do your duty,  be slaves as God intended, and I won't have to pay bounty hunters to capture and whip  you.


On a further page, Pryor would "mention"  as if in passing, that Lee's biggest problem was dozens of slaves escaping.

Lee,  according to his own papers,  saw Lee as "the worst man we ever saw".  

The worst man they ever saw.  And they saw plenty.

That's according to Pryor, those are her words,  carefully placed where she already had the reader blame the slaves.

In various speeches Pryor did the same thing. She blamed the slaves... giving the impression the slaves "rebelled" against Lee.  

Look closer -- the "rebellion" was  --- they tried to escape.

That was the "rebellion". 

They never laid a hand on Lee or threatened to -- but Pryor's clever words "rebelled"  could and did make readers and audience members blame the slaves.

Pryor would show as a kindness that Lee donated his own cloths, when wore out, to slaves.  That's listed as a kindness. And his cruelties are ignored.

With that kind of logic, anyone in history can be seen, and must be seen as wonderful. 



If you are a Lee "devotee" as she was, you can read her entire book, even read her speeches to various scholarly groups, and not be shocked or upset at or about Lee.

Someone can (I met such a person) who read the book and did not recall anything about whipping slaves, much less buying humans from bounty hunters.

They claimed it showed Lee "warts and all"  but could not tell you any of the "warts."

Yet the tortures are there. Information about buying women from the North from bounty hunters is there.

The rapes at Arlington is there.

She was very careful to say it, but excuse it or blame others for it. 



Deftly Pryor claims Lee had "every right to protect his property."

The property she wrote about was human flesh.    He had every right.  

And by "protect"  she was writing in the context punishment (whipping, to be blunt) the slaves.  So "every right"  to protect meant -- and Pryor knew it meant because she wrote it -- Lee had every right to torture slave girls.

That's Orwellian, of course, but you can't defend slavery or Lee without using such deception.  And yes,  by definition, Orwellian double speak, and such euphemism,  is deception.  

Her goal on every page-- even when writing about torture and purchase of free women -- was deception, as much as she was able.

Lee even sold the children away from the mother, or visa versa, Pryor admits.  Maybe the mothers did not like to see their child taken to slave auction?  Or themselves taken away from the child?

Just a guess. But Lee did that.

Pryor would often would back into the horrors -- writing about "slave owners" in general,  not use Lee's name on that page. 

You could be fooled into thinking it was not Lee -- but it most certainly was Lee. Read it very close, or check the notes...... she was referring to Lee.




It was exceedingly common at the time to blame slaves for being ungrateful, for resisting slavery.  Lee and his wife, reports Pryor, actually felt the slaves should be thankful.

That's human nature.  And I don't know of a single slave owner that was otherwise.  You can not torture, enslave,  sell human beings unless you get your head right -- unless you justify it.

At the time, it was an article of faith that the slaves were lucky not to be in Africa.  They were lucky to learn about Jesus.  

And they should obey their slave master, as the whites are to obey God.  The slave master was their God-- in that they were to obey the slave master in God's place.

Anything -- anything - a slave master wanted or told them to do, it was as if God told them. If the slave master was cruel or a rapist -- that was between the master and God.  God would handle that.

The slaves only duty -- obey the master.

And the master believed (or pretended to) that the slave was lucky. 


Pryor also claimed it was the law,  required, that escaped slaves be tortured.

Therefore it's not Lee's fault to have them tortured.  That's not true, by the way.  There was no such law.  But Pryor had to justify it SOME how.  So she did. 



Note:  torture is the right word, a big part of our stupidity -- including stupid "scholars"  is the use and repetition of euphemism and Orwellian double speak.

We won't do that. It's been done already to the point that made hundreds of millions of Americans factually stupid about what happened.


Pryor told her readers that whipping slaves, (including slave girls too small to big whipped by the regular overseer)  was  a law that Lee had to have slaves whipped for trying to escape.  That's not true. No such law existed.

Nor did she bother to show it, of course.

 Furthermore, Pryor knew well (and admits slyly) that Lee eagerly broke laws about slaves, when it meant he could buy humans from bounty hunters and turn them into slaves, as he did. 


Pryor started with the educated assumption that Lee was an honorable, kind man of principle and uncommon ability.  A man against slavery,  a man who "only fought to defend his state."   

The regular take on Lee  -- reinforced by 100 years of myth making and "scholarly"  deceptions that surround people in Virginia and which have made a fool and or liar  of historians, pundits, and teachers for nearly as long.

No doubt Pryor read many of the books written from 1880 - 1940 which essentially competed to praise Lee -- a contest won by Douglas Southall Freeman, the LeBron James of that particular sport.

The books,  written before 1920 about Lee were so goofy and absurd that no one would take them seriously now.   They were more like comic book myths,  written to capture the nostalgia of a time that never existed - a genteel South,  with  Godly men of honor in leadership,  Lee the most important of all.

It is from these books that most of the myths arise -- and Freeman fraudulently put his stamp of "scholarship" on it.  Factually and as a narrative, Freeman could not be more duplicitous, deliberately ignoring or rejecting any idea Lee even had slaves (they were "servants") and promoting actual fraud of past writers as factual.

He knew better.   But he wanted to give credence to a deceptive myth-- so he did. 




Pryor does tell us -- always carefully -- that Lee had an overwhelming problem before and during the war.   

Interestingly, it's nearly the same problem.

Before the war -- his biggest problem was escaped slaves.   Dozens -- she will not say how many dozens -- tried to escape, though punishment was torture and brutality if they were caught.   But she does tell us that at one time there were twelve slaves being chased by bounty hunters -- one was a "white looking" female. 

A female slave so light skinned, even according to Lee,  that she "could pass for white".  

If you pass for white, you are white.

The other big problem -- this during war-- was desertions.   According to Jefferson Davis himself, in his Macon speech, Lee's desertion rate was 66% by 1864.  And then grew much worse.

To fight the desertion rates,  Lee not only had his own men hung, if they were caught, he also (according to Pryor, writing carefully) had his men shot during battle who ran during battle.   Even that did not work for long.

Pryor tells us he cancelled that order--  and maybe he did.   But he issued it, and his men killed who they were told to kill.   The point here is,  Lee apparently had his own men shot, and during battle, like Stalin did.

You can justify  it in times of war if you like- - just like you can justify his torture of slaves because the escaped.  It depends how stupid you are.


Lee now sits at the right of Christ, his Lord, in heaven."

"Lee only wanted to deliver  young men to Christ."

It is impossible, not just difficult, to attribute to Lee more absurd and false praises. 

Essentially the "scholarship" on Lee became little more than a contest to flatter Lee more than the last biographer, and "historians"  joined in the contest. 

The actual story -- revealed by Lee himself, in writing -- is not just substantially different than the myth, it's almost the opposite of the myths.

For over 80 years, historians have known those two trunks of papers existed.  

Historians wanted to see them, of course. But the Lee family refused. 

Still, most folks assumed  we knew all about Lee already - from the Pulitzer prize winning biographies and a 1000 "scholarly articles"  each more flattering than the next.

We knew so much!  We knew the name of his pet chicken, we knew he never owned slaves anyway -- and prayed with black women when others shunned her, right?

We knew he "only wanted to bring souls to Christ".   We even were told Lee "now sits next to his Lord, Christ, in heaven."

Go ahead - beat that one.  Scholars told us Lee sits next to Christ in heaven.  You can't beat that.   

Amazing attributes for a man who tortured not just a few slaves, but regularly had slaves tortured  (torture is the right word) for trying to escape --- including one young girl (14) he had tortured that was so small the usual overseer refused to whip her.

How stupid is it that we have teachers and pundits still so stupid they claim Lee was anti-slavery.

Or almost worst -- they teach Lee was "conflicted".  

 He was not conflicted in the least.

He may write some double talk to his wife- - but as you will see, in the full letters he defends torture and claims slavery was Godly and those against it were against God. Even in writing, when you see the full letters instead of edited BS, Lee was a cruel slaver.

And by the way -- Lee did not make money on vegetables or cotton.  Lee's slave farm (plantation is a euphemism for slave farm)  made money on human flesh.

Buying humans, selling humans, including children or mothers separately, is the business he was in. 

Seems Lee's big cash crap was renting human flesh, but keeping title.  We will know more if the family ever allows others to study and report candidly -- and shows -- those ledgers.

Pryor could have exposed that basic truth had she bothered to show Lee's slave ledgers, insteading of just mentioning "monthly account books".

If slavery ended -- he tried to mollify his wife -- it had to be God's will, and may happen 2000 years from now.

  By  his actions and words (when you get all his words) he was eager -- nearly maniacal to get his slave girls back (he paid the most for girls) and to have them whipped.

Lee went to considerable time, trouble, and money to get slaves back -- dozens of them -- that tried to escape.

And they were all -- as you will see -- tortured.  They knew if they were caught they would be tortured -- and then treated much worse after the torture.

But they tried to escape,  anyway. 

And for a reason -- the reason?   Lee sold and separated mothers from children, selling or sending one or the other, but not both together, to the Deep South, or far away.

And he did that as punishment.  He had more than the whip -- though he used that.  He had an anger.


Lee's slaves - we learn this from Lee's own papers-- said Lee was "the worst man we ever saw."

Pryor did tell you that -- mixed in like a raisin on a huge salad of flattery to Lee. 

But as clever as Pryor was to try to minimize the horrors, tortures, etc.,  at least she got that in her book.

The other "biographers"  were busy telling fools(the readers) that Lee was kind and did not have slaves.



Why did the overseer refuse to whip the girl?

She was too small.

What did Lee do then?

He paid a bounty hunter to whip her, while he screamed at her.  Then, he had other tortures applied to her..... after the whipping, he had her tortured further.

That's all confirmed in his own -- his own -- hand written slave ledgers and written records.




Even after Pryor found out the horrors of what Lee actually did -- her goal was to show Lee as a noble man of God.  

Her goal was NOT to upset the apple cart.

Still -- she had the horrors, the tortures (and more than just torture by whip).  She had the slave ledgers, the purchase of kidnapped women.

She had Lee selling children -- or the mother -- as punishment.

She even had Lee's dirty letters to various women.

And she had the letters to and from bounty hunters.

How would she handle that?

Would she show the letters?  Only the letters to his children.  For some reason she did not show the letters to and from bounty hunters,  or to and from assorted women.

You are about to find out why.


From page one, sentence one,  her book started like all Lee biographies start -- over the top adoration.

Pryor compared Lee to Richard the Lionhearted -- only Richard did not measure up to Lee, naturally.

His linage was of a noble person, his family deeply religious and devout going back centuries.  

Pryor eventually and gently gave her readers a lovely relaxed view of slavery - the "race mixing"  was from "dalliances."    Dalliance is a flirtatious  relationship, not sexual necessarily.  

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, for example had a flirtatious relations.   That's how Pryor first sold the idea -- deliberately - of race mixing.  

It would take her 10 more chapters to give us information about the violent rapes at Arlington. 

She did not do any of these word game by accident.  


Only later -- after Pryor sets the mood and impression that is quite opposite of what actually occurred -- does she tell us things like Lee's father's murder of a slave girl.

Pryor first wanted her readers to think of Lee as a kind man.  A loving father.

She did not start out with whippings, tortures on top of the whipping,  bounty hunters, and their instructions......  she would save torture of small (yes small) slave girls.  

Pryor did her job, and was well paid to do so. 

How you tell something is more important than what you tell.




Pryor had no clue (nor did others have a clue) what she would find. 

She had no idea -- nor did the Lee family, most likely.   To know the horrors Pryor would find, you would need to cross reference the slave ledgers to letters to bounty hunters.  You would have to know the list and prices of slaves, and put together the financial papers.

Unless the Lee family releases the actual ledgers and bounty hunter letters,  we will just have to guess.



This is a perfect metaphor for Lee "scholarship"  and how Lee is taught.

We taught generations of children in Virginia the name of Lee's pet chicken.

The. Name.  Of.  His. Pet. Chicken.

No grade school, no high school,  in 100 years at least bothered to mention the names, ages or prices he paid or received for human flesh.

Instead -- we taught (and learned) the name of his pet chicken.

Government employees gave tours (and still do) of the burial site of Lee's favorite horse. 

There is no grave site for the chicken, Lee and his friends ate the chicken.



"Freed all his slaves"

"Never owned slaves" 

"Knelt to pray with a black woman after all others shunned her"


We taught millions of children - and thousands of teachers still believe it, that Robert E Lee,  was "violently"  against slavery.

And they are very sure of that nonsense, because of a letter he wrote to his wife.

Not only do these teachers NOT know the context of that letter -- they don't bother to read the whole thing.   Lee seems to pacify his wife at first, saying slavery is a political and moral evil ........  but he goes on.

He defends slavery and the torture (yes torture) of slaves as proper for slaves - they must endure painful discipline. He calls slavery -- in that letter!-- a "spiritual liberty".

In the same letter!  And he writes that those against slavery are against GOD, and are on an "evil course."

Only -- only - God can end slavery, maybe in 2000  years.  It is evil for men to do so. 

In another letter he claims those against slavery are trying to destroy "the American Church."

Yet teachers, text books, preachers -- thousands of people -- use that letter to prove Lee was anti-slavery.  Never telling suckers or themselves that Lee wrote ....

✔️ Slavery is a spiritual liberty -- 

✔️Those against slavery are on an "evil course"

✔️ Slaves must endure pain.

✔️Only God can end slavery

And of course they did not know about Lee's price lists, torture of slave girls, letters and payments to bounty hunters.



We knew he knelt down during battle in silent prayer, as bombs blew up around him,  and had his officers kneel down -- during battle-- for prayer!

We can still buy paper weights with religious images of Lee - this one without the bombs blowing up around him as he and all his lieutenants prayed...  yet that kind of thing sold books by the thousands in the 1890's and early 20th Century.



Much of the "Lee Myth"  came about from those books,  many written by men who just made up whatever sounded good.


No one during Lee's life time said or thought he was anti-slavery.   
He insisted slaves were fortunate to be slaves, that the slave owner was the one sacrificing.   That was common, of course, and a necessary part of human nature.  

Slaves were "the most contended labors on earth."    Even though escaped slaves were Lee's biggest problem -- and he regularly used bounty hunters to search the North to find them -- Lee thought slaves should be grateful to him. 

He had all slaves caught by bounty hunters whipped, as you will see.

Not only whipped, but there were other miseries inflicted upon those who tried to escape, after the whipping.

We can not inflict pain and injustice on others without finding a way to justify it. Slavery was so vile, the only way to justify it was to say God ordained it.

Lee himself actually wrote letters defending slavery - saying God ordained slavery and slaves "must endure" painful discipline.

Slavery, Lee wrote, was a "spiritual liberty"  and those who were against slavery were "on an evil course".

When you learn about the actual tortures at Lee's plantation, those words take on a horrible meaning.

Yet that letter, as you will see, is used to "prove" Lee was against slavery.

In another letter Lee wrote that those against slavery were "trying to destroy the American church"!

As to the idea that Lee later tried to help the nation find peace after the war, actually when he heard and saw blacks get more rights, he said he had made a mistake to surrender. 


We knew Lee's "servants"  loved him so much, they refused to leave!

Actually Lee's biggest problem as a slave owner was escaped slaves.  There were a dozen or more escaped slaves at any one time-- Pryor never tells us the exact number (though she could tell us, if she wanted) -- but it could be as high as 70 of his slaves tried to escape. 

Pryor never told us how many got away, either.  She avoided specifics like that.  But she did confirm he had them whipped.  She claimed it was a law that escaped slaves be whipped.   There was no such laws, and if there were, he did not need to even have them chased, much less returned, so no, there was no such law requiring him to whip escaped slaves.


We knew from the myths  that  Lee "only wanted to bring souls to the Lord."

No one said that during his life either -- only long after his death.  Lee never said such a thing.

So could historians and teachers just be repeating myths?

To a large extent, that's apparently what happened. 



It depends on the facts -- what Lee did.

So, how are we supposed to know now what he did then?

How about Lee's  hand written slave ledgers.   

Would Lee write down anything important there?


How about Lee's  instructions to, and correspondence,  and payments to, bounty hunters?

Turns out -- yes,  those are important.  What we Lee pay the bounty hunters to do?  Make fences?   Pick cotton?

Lee's  sexually explicit letters to various women.  Are those important?   

Lee did write such letters for decades -- decades!  And to various women.

The point is, Lee saved his papers, ironically he died before he could destroy them.   Maybe he should have?


 Lee's slave ledgers, long kept away from anyone,  his letters to bounty hunters,  also kept from the public and from scholars


How could that be?  We heard -- 100 times if we heard it once - Lee not only did not own slaves, he was "violently" against slavery!

He freed his wife's slaves -- and Pulitzer Prize winning historians  have already gone over every letter, ever inch, everything to do with Lee's life.  No way -- no way -- could Phd's and famous  historians be drastically wrong -- or even lying or making up things?


Newspapers -- three of them --  reported at the time of Lee's torture of slave girls. 

The basic facts from the newspapers Pryor found as verified by Lee's own ledgers.

And not only verified by his own ledgers, but verified further by reporters going to Arlington after the War an interviewing witnesses.

So that are triple layers of confirmation 

1) Newspapers at the time

2) Lee's own handwritten slave ledgers

3) Witnesses after the war.


 The male slave (Wesley Norris) got 50 lashes, the small female slave, his sister,  20 lashes.

  Per the testimony, Lee not only stood by but yelled at the man he hired to whip them harder (lay it on well) through the torture, which he did.

Then - according to reports -- Lee had other tortures applied.

The important thing to remember -- this made the papers not because a girl was tortured, but because she was so small,  the regular overseer refused.

Lee hired a bounty hunter named Dick Williams to whip the slaves as he yelled. 

If Lee had simply not had the small girl whipped, none of this is even noteworthy for the time.

The tortured slaves were then sent a prison for a while, then to the "Deep South" which was known to be even more violent and cruel to slaves than Lee.

That was an additional torture, and another way Lee used psychological terror to make slaves obey.  If they tried to escape, they not only faced torture, but to be sent to Deep South.  

Plus,  Lee apparently got paid for the slaves he sent to the Deep South, which was more cash in his pocket.

Lee personally directed all of this -- the bounty hunters, the type of torture,  and what the slaves lives like after the torture.

When you understand Lee wrote that "pain is necessary for their instruction" -- this is what he was talking about.

The major Lee biographer   was the son of a man who served with Lee,  Douglas Southall Freeman.

Freeman's work was so well researched and of such that hundreds of Lee biographers and virtually every US text book after Freeman just used Freeman and the things he reported as the basis information to others.


Not only did Freeman's father know Lee personally -- Freeman had letters that proved Lee was against slavery. Letters that proved Lee's "servants" loved him.

(See the full letter, not the edited version).

Freeman even told of  a book by a former slave, telling how wonderful Lee was. Turns out that "book" was a pamphlet by a black man who went around Arkansas and Missouri in 1920's raising money, while wearing a confederate uniform,  for a church he wanted to built, and the " book"  was what he sold and enticed whites to come to his "sermons". 

This black man claimed all kinds of things that Freeman would know was goofy.  But Freeman "forgot"  to correct the "book"  .

Freeman would have known the names of slaves with Lee during the war (Lee had four slaves with him during the war). 

None of those slaves name was Mack Lee.

Mack Lee wrote that book.  He was not a slave mentioned by Lee or entered into any letter or slave ledger we know about.  But he was with Lee every day of the war?


That  was a big part of Freeman's proof that Lee was so wonderful --  yet Freeman himself had to know  how goofy that "book"  was.

Freeman found hundreds of documents and communications, he said, proved just how amazing Lee was.

Lee was "the most devout"   and "the most kind"  and "the most chaste"  man of his age.

Freeman's "work"  established beyond doubt, that Lee was not just the bravest, the most noble, the most sincere man of his age -- but perhaps of any age, of any nation.



Lee now "sits in heaven" next to "Christ his Lord"  according to those caught up in Lee worship - led by Freeman.

Literally nothing was too goofy to ascribe to Lee.  Was any of it true?  Well, Lee rode a  horse.  After that, for fundamental things,  it gets dicey, for how much truth Freeman covered.


Turns out -- we now know -- that Freeman not only stretched the truth, but when needed,  lied his ass off.

We know that because Lee's own slave ledgers, hand written slave ledgers, still exist.

Freeman had to have known many of the things we relate  here -- because they were known then apart from the slave ledgers.

Lee not only owned slaves -- he bought more. That was known by people at the slave auctions.   That Lee had slaves whipped and used bounty hunters was known and covered in newspapers before the war.

He not only bought more, Lee bought humans from bounty hunters.  Freeman would have to know of Lee's capture of blacks in the North during the war -- and how he had those blacks taken South and sold into slavery.

He just "forgot" to tell that to his readers in a candid way. I wonder why?


Lee recorded it all - in his slave ledgers.

Did Freeman see Lee's  sales of  and purchase of humans? We don't know.  

Did Freeman know about his payments to bounty hunters?  His torture of slaves, including slave girls?

We don't know.

But we know Freeman just omitted what he cared to, or dismissed it as untrustworthy and absurd.



In fact, Freeman never wrote the words "slave ledgers".   He never wrote the words "bounty hunters".

He never listed a single price Lee paid, or Lee received, for slaves or their labor.

Never told us Lee's slaves hated him and said Lee "was the worst man we ever saw."  He actually told us the opposite- - that Lee's slave's loved him. 

He never told us what Lee's instructions to bounty hunters were. But Freeman would know he used them.  He just made sure his readers didn't get such information from him.

Freeman never told us the various measures Lee had to punish slaves -- the most common was the whip.  But he had other measures, too.


We know because Lee's own  letters to bounty hunters -- hand written letters to and from bounty  hunters, still exist.

Lee's full letters to not just his wife (his full letters justify torture, as you will see, and claim slavery is a "spiritual liberty"  and that pain is "necessary for their instruction."

His full letter, the SAME letter to his wife is exactly the opposite from what we were told.

That may eventually change,  thanks to Lee's slave ledgers.

Elizabeth Pryor, scholar, diplomat, and Lee devotee, a friend of the Lee family, approved by the Virginia Historical Society,  is the only scholar  know who, for at least 100 years,  was allowed to study Lee's bounty hunter letters, slave ledgers,  and even sexually explicit letters Lee wrote to various women, even long after his marriage to Mary Anna Custis Lee.




Millions of American's are taught and utterly convinced -- because of Lee's letter to his wife-- that Lee was against slavery. 

In fact, you will hear (based on his letter to her) that Lee was "violently opposed" to slavery!

A stunning bit of buffoonery.....  read just a few sentences further and Lee defends the torture of slaves,  and claims slavery is a "Spiritual liberty".

When you understand how Lee actually paid to have slave girls whipped (yes he did) and screamed at them during their  torture (yes, he did),  then read his letter again.

Slaves must "endure"   pain -- pain is necessary for their  instruction.  The pain is part of God's plan.   It was not up to mankind to question that.

Lee was nothing special in this regard, actually.   Not only was torture common -- other Southern leaders actually boasted they created the Confederacy based on "the great moral truth"  that God  not only ordained (ordered) slavery,  but that the white race is to punish, yes punish, the black race for biblical sins.   Lee simply went along with the program of punishing slaves, including small slave girls, as you will see.

Learn about the Cornerstone Speeches -- a series of speeches by the Vice President of the Confederacy, given to cheering crowds,  detailing the new Confederate nation as being the first nation on earth to do slavery specifically for GOD -- to punish (yes punish) blacks in perpetuity for biblical sins.

This same excuse and justification for slavery was common -- and Lee was devoted as anyone in US history to this "theory" (excuse) to justify greed, lust, and cruelty.



"Monthly account books."

Pryor was careful.

For example,  though Pryor had Lee's slave ledgers,  with purchase prices, with records of his income from slaves, with payments to bounty hunters, and much more --  Pryor never used the word "slave ledgers."

She never in her life, never in her many lectures, in her interviews, and certainly not in her amazing book, did she write the words slave ledgers. 

She used the term "Monthly account books."

Why?  Why not just say "slave ledgers"?

She could not do so for the same reason she avoided the word "torture"  and the term "purchase of kidnapped women.   

Pryor held in her hands Lee's own writings -- his own prices, his own instructions to bounty hunters, his own sexually explicit letters to (and perhaps from ) various women.

Pryor could, if she chose, actually show the ledgers themselves, or at least relate the various prices, the  names, ages, dates bought, date sold.   

Pryor had to chose, on ever page, in every paragraph how to tell us anything.  How would she tell us Lee bought kidnapped women -- not escaped slaves -- from the North (as he did) from bounty hunters?

She did tell us that.  But you will notice how carefully she did that.

How would she tell us that Lee sold a mother from a child, or a child from the mother, as punishment?  She did tell us that.

The horrors, the rapes, the tortures, the captures, all of it, Lee recorded.   Pryor had her choice how to tell you.

Pryor wrote carefully on every page.



Still, using whatever terms she wants (it's her book!) she did get enough prices that she could tell us how much Lee paid for various slaves,  per age and gender.  He paid much more for girls of a certain age, apparently - highest price about age 14.

He paid very little, drastically lower prices for older males. 


Pryor reveals Lee used slave auctions, and like the whippings,  the bounty hunters,  and the purchase of kidnapped women -- she could have started her book, page one, with information about that.

You can -- especially if you want to -- get the impression from Pryor that slave auctions were rare.  She never writes that -- it's just the feeling you get, because she only mentions one human that Lee sold this way.

Even then, Pryor blamed the slave for his fate -- the exact thing she did in lectures, Pryor did in her book.  In lectures she claimed the slaves "resisted" Lee, and paints him as the victim, not the slaves.   The human Lee sold at auction, that was a bad slave, of course, and Lee was the victim there, too.

Lee was very much, as Pryor writes of it, the suggested victim.  She adopts Lee's (and essentially every slave owner's) cognative dissonance and blame-the-slave girl approach. 

But compare  Pryor's clever prose with previous "scholars"  who audaciously and knowingly claimed Lee did not even own slaves (he certainly did -- and he bought more) and that Lee freed his wife's slaves, but they refused to leave.

Pryor had -- apparently -- all Lee's slave ledgers, all his letters that he saved.  She never hinted that big parts of the financial records were missing, for example.    Since she could even tell us average prices he paid for various age groups, for example,  that means there were enough prices to make that determination.

So Pryor could have told us -- page one -- the names of the girls he paid the highest prices for.  She could have started the book with the newspaper accounts (verified by his own papers) of the tortures he inflicted upon slaves, including girls.

But Pryor starts her work comparing Lee to Richard the Lionhearted,  and sharing  lovely letter to his children.  

The punishment for physically fighting back was death - and that was how Lee grew up.

Lee's father did hang a slave girl -- as you will see - for knocking down the man whipping her. She was 15 years old.  Her only crime was knocking the man down -- he had been whipping her, apparently without tying her to a post first.

Tellingly, Pryor tells us elsewhere without a hint of how important this is, Lee's first act when taking over the slaves at Arlington  was to have slave post (so slaves could be tied up for torture) installed.

That was the first thing  he did!

Let that sink in.


When Pryor tries to explain the tortures,  of course she does not use the word torture.  She uses the word "discipline".  

But Lee was not cruel, or sadistic, or apparently even angry, as suggested by Pryor.

Instead she tells us (falsely) that Lee was required to have any slave tortured who tried to escape.   No, they did not by law have to whip their slaves.    Lee was free to let the slaves run away if he wanted, he could have taken then North and given them their freedom. He could have written out a simple piece of paper to free them.

But Pryor apparently wanted to give Lee even more cover.....   those  whippings were "a result of Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills."

That's gotta be right. If Lee could just talk in Ebonics, he could convince the slaves not to escape,  just because he had them whipped, their children sold,  or of the rapes, etc.   That was  not the problem.

He just communicated badly -- not his fault even there -- how could he communicate "cross culturally". 

One wonders if Pryor grasped how sick her word games were -- like the movie "Cool Hand Luke"  where the jail master whipped Paul Newman's character, while screaming "what we have here, is a failure to communicate." 

Pryor, if she saw that film,  may not  have realized it, but that showed the vengeance and anger resulting in the torture of a prisoner,  where the man doing the torture claimed "communication" break down.

Lee didn't have to do it - Pryor did it for him.


Lee's own letter to his wife -- is another example of the absurdity of how Lee is taught.   That letter is often used --this would be funny if it were not so violent -- to prove Lee was against slavery.    But read the whole letter!  

In that letter -- the letter used for decades to prove Lee was anti-slavery -- is actually a strong defense of slavery as a "spiritual liberty"  and that slaves "must endure" painful discipline!

IF that was not enough, Lee claimed -- in that same letter! -- that those against slavery "are on an evil course".

Remember -- that's in the letter used to prove Lee was against slavery.  Just a few lines further - from where he claimed slavery was "a moral evil"  he defends the torture of slaves and claims those against slavery are evil! 

Yet we can't expect students, text books, and teachers to know any better, when for generations "historians"  have written entire books that flattered Lee -- page, after page,  paragraph after paragraph.  Most famously by Douglas Southall Freeman, whose father was in Lee's army.  

Freeman claimed to have prove that Lee did not own slaves, was kind to his "servants" and was the most kind, tidy, considerate, and spritual man in US history.   Lee's own hand written slave ledgers-- dirty letters (yes, he wrote dirty letters, sexually explicit letters to various women for decades!) and his actions show something dramatically different.


Lee's Pet Chicken

You are more likely in the US to know the name of Lee's pet chicken, than know the name of any of Lee's slaves. 

 Your teacher never told you the  name -- or price -- of any slave girl Lee owned. It was no conspiracy, because the teachers did not know it either. Teachers can only know what they are told.

And text books only reveal what the writer knows, or decides to let you know.


Yet Lee kept highly detailed hand written records.

And those records -- his slave ledgers -- still exist.