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Monday, September 10, 2012


Moving this to soon.     Under Construction. 

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

Have you ever heard of Lee's slave ledgers?

How about his bounty hunter letters?



If you don't know about Lee's slave ledgers.....

if you don't know about Lee's bounty hunters written instructions......

if you don't  know about Lee's torture of slave girls.....

if you don't know about Lee's white looking slave girls .....

if you don't know Lee bought women from bounty hunters BEFORE the Civil War-- women from the North that were unlucky free blacks living in the North....

then you really don't (excuse the French) shit about Robert  E Lee.


My great great great great grandfather was Robert E Lee's cousin -- though it's hard to tell for certain, because there were a half dozen James Edward Lees during that time, in Virginia.   

So I was as stupid as most people about Lee, and naturally believed what I was taught in school.  Lee was anti-slavery.  In fact, he "detested" slavery.   His wife's slaves loved him so much, one story went, they refused to leave when he freed them.

I was rather proud of having such a wonderful man in the family, even on Confederate side.  He wasn't for slavery.

He was  man of God.  A man of principle.  Even my history teacher said so.  Books said so. 

Movies said so.



How could we not believe  these and 1000 other stories?

Pulitzer Prize Winning historians told us these things in amazing detail.   Lee was so "beloved" by his "servants, one even wrote a glorious book about him in the 1920's.

"Those who knew him best,"  wrote Pulitzer prize winning historian Douglas Southall Freeman, about the "servants"  loved him most".

Kinda makes you want to cry.

When you learn what a liar Freeman was -- kinda makes you wanna throw up.  See where that "book"  by his "servant" came from.  It was no more by Lee's former slave than it was by Mother Teresa.

And Freeman knew it.  Yet that was supposedly absolute proof how wonderful, kinda, and loved Lee was by his "servants".




Spoiler alert.

The Lee myth came, as you will see, largely from hustlers writing glowing biographies about  Southern Civil War heroes in from 1880 to 1930.     

Dozens of books, with page after page after page of supposed details and eyewitness.

Nothing -- nothing -- was too goofy to print, and all of it was believed.   

My favorite is Lee and all his men get off horseback as bombs blew up around them, and kneel in silent prayer (as bombs blew up around them!) until some soldier finished his prayer.

As bombs blew up around them -- oh yeah, they all took off their hats as they knelt.  As. Bombs. Blew up.  Around them.


Those absurd stories are not the only stories, but that is the level of absurdity these writes went to -- and it worked. Their books sold very well.

Stupidly, many "historians" use those books as valid information.  A "slave" who never met Lee,  but claimed he was Lee's slave all through the Civil War, and dozens of others.   The "slave" who wrote the "book" about Lee insisted he and Lee were in a house during battle, when a cannon ball shot through the wall, hitting him in the head.  

Lee ran to him, laughed and said "I aint never seen no nigger do that".

The "slave"  was raising money from white folks for over a decade, giving speeches, even to state legislatures, that blacks should appreciate what whites have done for them.   Then the "slave" would try to collect 500 dollars for his "church".

Remember,  this passed for "history" and was taught, is taught,  and came from PULITZER PRIZE WINNERS.


We all know history can be filled with myths -- both good and bad.  Every history teacher can tell you that -- even those who stupidly praise Lee as anti-slavery who
only fought for Virginia"  can tell you that.

Certainly our basic knowledge of Civil War and Southern leaders is firm -- right?    

We already know so much about Lee -- we know the name of his pet chicken, we know what he ate for breakfast, we know he was devout and kind.

We know he didn't even have slaves, and freed his wife's slaves.  We know his slaves loved him so much they refused to leave.

On an on.

And on.  

We know it all.  Right?   Certainly no one well studied and well regarded as Lee  could have anything basic we don't know.  Thousands of "historians"  can not be wrong, at least not basically wrong or full of bullshit, right?



Even history teachers know that facts matter.

What are the facts about Lee?

Could a man who tortured slave girls -- even small slave girls -- be anti-slavery?

What kind of crime must a small slave girl do to get tortured as Lee screamed at her during her torture?

Did she kill one of his children?

Did she kill his pet chicken?

No.  As you will see -- she (along with dozens of others)  tried to escape.

Odd, right?  Dozens of slaves tried to escape from Lee's slave farm.  (That's what it was, because slaves, as you will see, was his cash crop- - not cotton or tobacco.  His slaves didn't even grow cotton. And Lee grew nothing -- all work was done by slaves, anyway).

So what the hell is going on?

Myth making, myth repeating, lying, making up shit, whatever and however you want to describe it.  Bullshitting.  

When you learn about Lee's slave ledgers and bounty hunters letters you will learn more than just who Lee tortured and who he bought and sold.

You will learn (hopefully) the power of myths repeated over and over, and how the human animal actually prefers myths over facts.  

Elizabeth Pryor is the only person in 150 years that the Lee family allowed to actually study Lee's  "personal papers" as she called them.

Historians knew the two trunks of papers existed,  but the family never anyone see them...... until now. 

Turns out, those "personal papers"   are his slave ledgers, as you will see. 

Also in those papers-- handwritten by Lee himself --are letters to bounty hunters, and even sexually explicit letters to or from Lee. 

 Pryor was allowed to see them, study them over weeks,  but not allowed, apparently, to show a single page to us.



How absurd is this -- more people know the name of Lee's pet chicken, "scholars" and students alike,  than know the name of any girl Lee  had tortured.

Tortured is the right word, as you will see.  We won't be using euphemism and double speak here. 

Although Pryor cleverly gave no indication how many slave girls Lee had whipped, per his own slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters, it was almost certain over one dozen slave girls tortured.   Lee's "biggest problem"  Pryor tells us, was slave escaping.

She also told us that Lee tortured (her word- disciplined) every escaped slave that was caught.  Pryor claimed - falsely -- that it was a law that escaped slaves had to be whipped.  No such law existed, as far as we can tell.  There was a law-- often ignored -- of the maximum amount of lashes of a whip a slaver like Lee could inflict on a slave. 

But no law that you must torture them.  Why did Pryor claim otherwise?   That was her excuse for the torture -- that it was a law requiring it.

Regardless, Lee had no trouble breaking other laws about his slaves, like creating them in the first place.  As you will see, Lee bought women from bounty hunters that captured free blacks in the North.

If you did not know that bounty hunters captured free blacks in the North, blame your text book and teacher.  There was nothing anyone could do about it, regarding bounty hunters.  They did it for the money, and no one could stop them. 

We know -- as you will see-- that Lee bought free people and turned them into slaves because Pryor reports that Lee's paid for escaped slaves "and others".

Clever.  You can miss that in the book, unless you watch closely.  Who could "others"  mean -- if not other humans that were not escaped slaves?


Elizabeth Pryor wrote an amazing -- and very careful --- book about Lee's "personal papers."   She never does mention candidly the words "slave ledgers" or "dirty letters"

She calls the slave ledgers "monthly account books."

All in his own handwriting. 

Dates.  Prices.  Names.  Where Lee bought the slaves -- where Lee sold the slaves -- those details are in the papers.

 We know that because Pryor can tell us the average price for the capture of a escaped male slave, and the average price for an escaped female. You can't determine average prices unless you have plenty of information about individual prices.

Which would be in Lee's slave ledgers.



Lee paid drastically higher prices for females,  the highest price apparently for young females.  Does that make him "bad" --did not other men buy girls?

Did not other men use bounty hunters?

Did not other men buy women that were kidnapped from the North (yes, Lee bought women that were kidnapped illegally from the North, as you will see).

Yes, Lee bought and sold people.   The nonsense of Lee owning a "Plantation"   and being a "Planter"  is Orwellian double speak -- he owned slave farm.

His cash crop was not tomatoes. He did not sell tomatoes.

He sold, bought, rented out humans.  Enough with the euphemisms already,


Pryor never shows us a picture of the slave ledgers, which, if sold, would probably get about 50 million dollars.

Nor does she call the bounty hunter letters and instructions by any candid name.  Just "monthly account books".

There was at least a thousand ways Pryor could have described his slave ledgers.  She could have shown them. Transcribed them.

She could have shown us page after page, or made lists of the slave girls, and put the prices for them next to the names.

She could have shown where his slave girls were sold to, or rented to, and the amount Lee put in his pocket for such girls.


Pryor had all this information

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

It's important to know where Pryor got these facts -- FROM LEE.   Not from a duck.   Not from someone trying to smear Lee.  Not from a Yankee.

She did not dream it up.  She did not get it from newspapers.  She did not get it from a book written later.

The information she has about the tortures, the prices, the bounty hunters, all that and more, came nearly exclusively from Lee himself.

She did use other sources to confirm or deny what Lee himself wrote.  For example, Lee's payments to bounty hunters to torture (torture is the right word) a small slave girls came from Lee's own slave ledgers and letters to his bounty hunters.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.  Pryor should have showed us the papers, taken pictures of them,  etc.  

But that was not her goal. You will see soon what her goal had to have been, given the way she wrote her otherwise fine book.



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

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

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


Yes, Lee bought women from bounty hunters.

Yes Lee had them tortured if they tried to escape.

Yes he had small slaves tortured, too.


It's all in Pryor's  book.  She told us very carefully -- but she told us. 

 Pryor was not on a mission to pull Lee's halo off his head -- she was on a mission to save it, given the papers she held in her own hands, including his slave ledgers. 

Some say Pryor showed Lee "warts and all".  As if torture of slave girls and purchase of kidnapped women were warts.

Lee did not just have slave girls tortured, as you will see.  He taunted them before their torture, and during their torture.

He screamed all the time the small girl was being tortured.

We did not get eyewitnesses to all his tortures, but you can be sure, if he had slave girls tortured as he screamed at them during peace time, just for trying to escape,  what do you think Lee did to slave men, during war time?

Lee had control of over 5000 slaves, by the way, early in the war.  That is how he (the slaves) built the massive defenses around Richmond- - with slave labor.  Lee was called "King of Spades"  during his time with these slaves.

As you will see, that was not a good thing for those slaves.


The "famous" trunks full of Lee's papers, 
including his slave ledgers, have been right here for 150 years.   

At the time, no one would have thought twice to learn Lee tortured slave girls.  It was already known in the newspapers as you will see.  Three newspapers reported Lee's torture of a small slave girl -- it only made the paper because the girl was so small that the regular "overseer,"  the man who tortured slaves for a living, refused to whip her, because she was so small.

If that girl were not small, this never makes the paper.  

Let me repeat that -- the torture of a slave girl made the papers, three different papers, and then validated by Lee's own handwritten records, because the girl was so small.

Nothing would appear in the paper for Lee having a normal sized woman whipped, as you will see. Pryor admits in one sentence that whipping was his "prefered" torture (discipline).   He had other tortures, including chemical torture (salt in wounds just inflicted) and of course terror.

As extra cruelty, Lee would separate the mothers from the children.

No wonder, as Pryor tells us, the slaves said Lee was "The worst man we ever saw". 

  Pryor with members of the Lee family and Virginia Historical Society. 





Pryor was a Lee "devotee".  She apparently adored Lee before she had access to his personal papers. 

More than anything, Pryor "was on Lee's side". 

 While she admits Lee had slaves tortured (torture is the right word) she blamed the slaves, saying absurdly  "Lee had every right to protect his property,"  as if torturing escaped slaves is protecting his property.

Pryor even goes further, into absurdities-- for example she claimed, hilariously, that the "slaves did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management."

Think about that for a minute. 

Pryor wrote that sentence. 

It's in her book.

Her book was reviewed by "scholarly" magazines and praised.

She also wrote about Lee's torture of small slave girls.  

She also wrote about Lee screaming at slave girls during their torture.

She also wrote about dozens --she won't tell how many -- slaves risked the dogs, the bounty hunters, and certain tortures if they tried to escape, but dozens tried to escape.

Now -- Pryor could have put all that information on the same page. The tortures, the screaming, the purchase of kidnapped women.   There are endless ways to arrange those facts.

Pryor arranged them to keep people stupid about Lee -- but give her credit. She included more information than anyone dared before. 



Lee slaves "did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management"   -- if you were not stupid while reading the book -- should have jumped out at you.

No reviewer in the "scholarly"  journals seemed to have a clue about it, or the other amazing sentences and information.   I doubt they read the book.   Either they did not read it closely (which happens) or they are stupid, or they deliberately don't want to point out Lee's sadistic habits.   

It must be one of those three things.  If you can think of another explanation for "scholars" to miss such things, please let me know.

Lee actually had a "preference" for which torture to use.   Pryor says as much, but carefully,  when she admits Lee  tortured slaves, and often.

Often?  Yes, as Pryor said Lee's biggest problem was escaped slaves.  He regularly used bounty hunters.   At least a dozen slave escaped at one time, and it was on ongoing and most serious problem.

Lee  had them -- anyone caught -- tortured. 

Tortured is the right word.

Pryor says it was a law that Lee had to have escaped slaves whipped. No, there was no such law.  Pryor can not show one, nor can you find out.  

There was a LIMIT on how badly  you could torture  your slave, 39 lashes.   Lee, according to Pryor, actually screamed "hit her harder"  as the slave girl was being whipped, per witnesses. 

But you were not arrested, fined, or even thought of badly if you did not  have small girls whipped-  and Lee had small girls whipped, as  you will see.

Given that his slaves frequently tried to escape, despite certain torture of caught,  what does that tell you that so many slaves tried to escape?

When Pryor writes that Lee's slave said he was "the worst man we ever saw" -- Pryor may be giving you a hint.  She never explains why the slave said that, but she got it from Lee's own papers.   Why not tell us more -- or show us in Lee's own papers, the context and actual information that made her write that the slaves said he "was the worst man we ever saw".  




To write a sentence like "slaves did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management"   almost makes you wonder if she was drinking, or joking.

Stunningly,  professional "historians" reviewed the book and praised it.  I haven't seen all their reviews, but the ones I have seen don't seem remotely aware of Pryor's at times bizzare phrasing.  

Did not completely agree?

There are other bizarre phrasing -- as you will see.  For rapes, which Pryor admits were common, she writes that "coercion was used in some situations".

Who used coercion?  She does not say.  Why not say?

What coercion?  A whip? 

Remember, Pryor got this information from his papers. She did not get this information from a duck, or from vibrations.  She got this exact information about the rapes from  his own handwritten papers.

So what was written down? 

  Threats of taking your child?  Threats of sending you to the deep South?  What?

She does not say-- why not say? There is a good reason for her not to say, she could have, and was a marvelous writer who could have made this very clear.  She could have simply shown us the information in Lee's own papers-- but she would not do that.

Who was raped?  Children?  Young girls?

What situations?

Pryor made sure -- as she often did -- that when she wrote of such horrors, she made it vague, often using passive voice, and Orwellian double speak. 

Did they read the book, or just skim it?   Serious question.  Skimming the book you could easily assume Lee was "a bit flawed"  but basically the same kind, lovable guy of the myth.


With every revelation of the ugly (and there is plenty of ugly) Pryor came up with an excuse.  As we will cover below, Pryor tried to dismiss any notion that Lee was cruel, despite their is documented evidence that he screamed at slave girls as he had them tortured.  Pryor claimed,  absurdly, that those punishments to the slaves was due not to Lee's apparent sadism, but to " Lee's poor cross cultural communication skills".


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

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

For example, Pryor, to her eternal credit, was surprisingly candid about Lee's torture of a slave girl for trying to escape.  She even told the reader that the three newspapers that reported Lee screamed at a slave girl as  he had her whipped.

What did he scream? As she was being whipped, he yelled "Hit her harder, hit her harder" -- or in the vernacular of the day "Lay it on, lay it on" -- meaning  hit her harder.

Pryor could have easily softballed that one,  she did not have to make that clear.   She seemed to go out of her way to validate the newspaper accounts, by admitting Lee's own handwritten papers confirmed the names, dates, payments to the bounty hunters, etc, involved in that particular torture (again, torture is the right word).

Pyor, of course, does not call it torture. She called it "discipline"  as did Lee.



it's impossible to tell, of course, but perhaps Pryor had to do this to mollify the Lee family and Virginia Historical Society.  They gave her permission,she worked under their guidance and permission.  Whatever agreement, stated or otherwise, they had about what she could expose, and how she would say it, we know nothing about.

She did such a good job of protecting Lee overall that she got good reviews even from the Journal of Southern History, not exactly known for patting folks on the back for exposing rapes, tortures, and other horrors committed by their heroes. 


There is a very good reason for Lee family to keep people away from Robert E Lee slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters: they didn't want you to know.

While they did, after 150 years, allow one person to study them,  the Lee family and Virginia Historical society have not allowed the actual slave ledgers to even be photographed, much less published.

The same thing with the bounty hunter letters. No photographs, and of course, no publication of them.



 Because of information Pryor reveals, the slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters  must include prices Lee paid for women captured by those bounty hunters.  Pryor, using his own handwritten papers, tells us the prices and even compares the prices of young girls to prices of old men.

Lee's papers include Lee's comments about slave girls, and about sick slave children.  Lee, according to Pryor (who had Lee's papers) said Lee "wished the children would die quickly."





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

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


One of Lee's white looking slave girls.

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

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

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

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




Pryor tells us why --  "increasingly whites were enslaving other whites".  Lee was not only no exception, Lee had a preposterously high level of mixed race slaves. 

There can be only one reason for this.

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

Pryor also tells us, carefully as always, that rape was common. 



Remember, she did not get this information from a duck.

She got it from Lee's slave ledgers, and letters, in his own handwriting, or letters to him.

Lee, nor anyone else can have consensual sex with a slave. That's rape.

Plus as Pryor reveals "coercion was used in those situations".

WTF?  Coercion?  Did Lee have a letter that said "Dear Robert,  we used coercion on five slave women today, though you would like to know"?

Pryor did well to tell us that much, as carefully as she could.

 A slave woman had no choice but to obey. By the high number of white or light skinned slaves at Lee's slave plantation,  it's foolish to think rape was not common, anyway.

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

Pryor says artfully "There is no evidence showing Lee participated"  in such things.   What would be evidence to her?  White looking slaves? 

Lee paying extra for girls of a certain age?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Lee hated slavery

Lee was kind to his "servants"

Lee only fought for Virginia

Lee freed his wife's slaves 

Lee's "servants"  loved him.

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


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

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

The most brave.

The most chaste.

The most tidy.

The most devout.

The most kind.




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

Freeman knew better. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

And they nearly did.


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

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

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


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

In Lee's own handwriting.


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


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

You are about to find out why.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

On, and on, and on.

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

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

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

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

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

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



It might be 150  more  years before the Lee family let anyone see them again. Hard to tell what they thought of Pryor. 


Pryor refused to call Lee's slave ledgers by their actual name -- slave ledgers.   That is typical through out her book.

How do we know they are slave ledgers?

We know because Pryor  gathered from those documents enough information that she knew  prices he paid for girls of which age, and could compare that to prices he paid for males. 

She did not get that information from a duck.  She got that information from those "monthly account books".  Orwellian double speak,  but she was not about to use such blunt terms as slave ledgers.  That was not her intention.



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

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

Nor did she claim to be candid.  In fact, she artfully called her book "a portrait".  Pryor, a wordsmith as much as anyone, knew what "portrait" means -- a flattering picture.  

She had taken no oath and asserted no promise to be candid. We can not say, because we do not know, what the actual and implied agreement was between  Pryor and the people who allowed her such marvelous access Lee's papers -- including his slave ledgers.

Pryor and the Lee family would work that out.  They picked her for a reason.  They could have given access to any University in the country.   They could have just published them.

They let Pryor, and as far as we know, only Pryor, to study them.  Hopefully more candid "scholars"  can get access, and best evidence would be the slave ledgers themselves.

Pryor  does not show you any pages,  she "interprets" for us, and in a way that minimizes Lee's horrors -- like his torture of slave girls. Yes, Lee had slave girls tortured, even small slave girls, as you will see.


Why not show those pages upon which Lee wrote the prices?  

In 30 seconds, Pryor could have copied any page from any slave ledger she chose -- assuming the Lee family allowed it.

There is a REASON Pryor did not show a page of Lee's slave ledgers with prices -  she did not want you to know.

What other reason could there be?  This is not rocket science.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Not so much. 

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

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

Lee also wrote letters to justify his treatment of slaves.

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

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


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

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

He bought and used slave ledgers,  himself.

"Hang on to your hats, Lee lovers.  

It might  to be a bumpy ride"





We all heard it -- all our lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Or torture of slave girls.

Or white looking slave girls.

Or purchase of kidnapped women.

Or Lee's sexual letters to various women.

Or 100 other things.  

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





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

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

Not really, Lee himself validated those newspaper stories.   

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

Those documents validate the newspaper articles.

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

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

But she did much more, though carefully so.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Yet Pryor  flattered him as much as possible.

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

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

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

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


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

"Poor cross cultural communication skills"

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

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

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

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

Got it. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douglas Southall Freeman knew all that, of course.

He made sure his readers did not know.




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


What tells more about a person?

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

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




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


Is that how "education"  is supposed to work?  


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

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





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

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


Who were the others?  She does not say.

In fact, she does not give a hint whatsoever.

Did she not know who these others were? 

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

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

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

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

But she did not do that.   

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

But she did not do that. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



You should read her book first, frankly. 

 Pryor is (was)  a professional diplomat and scholar.

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

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

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



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

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

He paid a bounty hunter to whip the girl.

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


Not out of cruelty ---  

Lee just had "poor cross cultural communication skills" 

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



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

So why publish these whippings?

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

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

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

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

Yes, more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

More below. 



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

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

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

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

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

But I have reasons to doubt that. 





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

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

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire had a 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


What did she see in his papers?

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

Does it mean she was terrorized,  paid? 

Who did the coercion? 

Did they have a name?

Did the slave have a name? 

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


1 comment:

  1. How do you know the child is a male? He had white looking slave girls of various ages, and Pryor tells us that "increasingly" whites (meaning Lee) were enslaving other whites.

    You have no idea if the child is male or female. You apparently hope that by enslaving white males, instead of females, that Lee seems less of a vile POS he is. Lee had slaves, FROM BIRTH, that looked white. Too complicated? If he did not own them from birth, he would have had to buy the white looking females at auction.

    This whole notion of Lee's ownership of whites --as worse than owning blacks -- shows a basic misunderstanding of pain. Do you not think enslaving, torturing, raping, and selling the children of black women is equally as vile as enslaving torturing raping and selling the children of white women?

    Clearly you do not know that enslaving of whites was a "growing thing" in the South as the rapes of slave women by white men progressed. And as we know, from Pryor herself, rape was common.

    Common. Rape. Was. Common.

    Those rapes -- then when that female child is old enough, they raped her. This is clearly the case not only because of written evidence at the time, but the growing number of white looking slaves. White looking FEMALE slaves, we know, were prized and priced higher. I bet you did not know that?

    Do you think men who tortured slaves, raped them, bought women at auction, etc etc, suddenly stopped their actions and said "Oh my God, this child is white looking -- let us hurry to get her to a white woman for her care and upbringing"

    Hell no. ANd remember we have evidence that white looking women were valued at auctions, and went to men for sex slaves, and to whore houses, often in New Orleans.

    Why would white looking, or light skinned women, be sold to whore houses? Because whore houses found -- according to written evidence at the time --that white men preferred to use a whore that was not dark, with negroid nose. They were taught, since birth, that black was a vile color for a human. But lighter skinned women, with white features -- they could make those women be prostitutes, without pay, until they died.

    Lee was part of that.