Robert E. Lee’s Chivalry – AOM post

Robert E. Lee

Today’s post in Art of Manliness is a story about Robert E. Lee:

General Robert E. Lee was on his way to Richmond, and was seated in the extreme end of a railroad car, every seat of which was occupied. At one of the stations, an aged woman of humble appearance entered the car, carrying a large basket. She walked the length of the aisle and not a man offered her a seat. When she was opposite General Lee’s seat, he arose promptly and said, “Madam, take this seat.” Instantly a score of men were on their feet, and a chorus of voices said, “General, have my seat.” “No, gentlemen,” he replied, “if there was no seat for this old lady, there is no seat for me.” It was not long before the car was almost empty. It was too warm to be comfortable.

From Success by Orison Swett Marden

An excellent article from one of my favorite blogs. Always ready and eager to spoil anything good and decent, we see this comment within hours of posting the article:

Yankee November 14, 2010 at 1:44 am

This was because Lee was educated and primed in the North at West Point, before he became a traitor to the Union. “Duty, Honor, Country”.

“Yankee” has very eloquently demonstrated, yet again, the Yankee attitude toward The South. The character of Robert E. Lee is not important. The chivalry of Robert E. Lee is not important. The gentlemanly manners of Robert E. Lee is not important. No, what is important to “Yankee” is that Robert E. Lee attended West Point, located 50 miles north of New York City – as though he learned the entire concept of manners and chivalry north of New York City. There simply is no middle ground for those who hate The South.

About Stephen Clay McGehee

Born-Again Christian, Grandfather, husband, business owner, Southerner, aspiring Southern Gentleman. Publisher of The Confederate Colonel and The Southern Agrarian blogs. President/Owner of Adjutant Workshop, Inc., Vice President - Gather The Fragments Bible Mission, Inc. (Sierra Leone, West Africa), Webmaster - Military Order of The Stars and Bars, Kentucky Colonel.
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13 Responses to Robert E. Lee’s Chivalry – AOM post

  1. Charles Rayford Reeves II says:

    Kinda reminds me of the farmer that tried to talk the Boll Weevil into leaving his cotton crop alone. You just cant talk sense to someone who has made up his mind and won’t affected by something as silly as the truth!
    However the SLANDER against the good name of Robert E. Lee is something that should be settled at “The Oaks” as they say in New Orleans. Shilo

  2. Unfortunately, that comment was far from being the last South-hater posting. One person posted a long list of the most slanderous trash against Robert E. Lee – the likes of which I have never seen before.

    To The South’s credit, there are a number of fine comments defending the great Southern gentleman and The South, but the fact that there are many who still hate all things Southern is clearly evident here.

    America is, always has been, and always will be, a very divided country. Those representing the North continue their efforts to destroy our heritage and our culture. We have no choice but to provide a strong defense.

  3. Michelle says:

    Dear Stephen;

    Here’s a Yank that admires General Lee greatly. I was home schooled and we actually took a whole year in high school and looked at the Civil War for history. General Lee is one of my heroes, the man lived what he believed and was one of those amazing people that don’t come along very often. I really appreciated your articulate defense of him on Art of Manliness. I have refrained from entering the dust kicking there as it is going no where in a hurry. Just wanted to say thanks for defending this Yank’s hero.

  4. Thank you for reminding all of us that characteristics like chivalry, courage, and honor have no regional bounds. I have been re-reading “I’ll Take My Stand” (and will be posting on that in the next day or so). Here’s a good quote from the section titled: “Introduction: A Statement of Principles”:

    “Proper living is a matter of the intelligence and the will, does not depend on the local climate or geography, and is capable of a definition which is general and not Southern at all. Southerners have a filial duty to discharge to their own section. But their cause is precarious and they must seek alliances with sympathetic communities everywhere.”

    Thank you for commenting here on Confederate Colonel.

  5. Michael Simons says:

    So sad to see Lee’s great qualities cast aside like filthy rags just because he fought for the South.

  6. Jean says:

    I say this as a resident of New Jersey, born an American.

    What is Yankee talking about? The Federal system is COMPLETELY opposed to anything BUT centralized power, ultimate extension being Keynesian economics, a la USSR.

    Further, Lee was NOT a “traitor”. More along the lines of Ronald Reagan, when asked why he left the Democrat party: I did not leave the party, the party left me. Lee knew where things would ultimately go – and from my understanding, he left the Union army only when Virginia seceded. He recognized he was a citizen of Virginia first. (The implications for myself, being born and bred in the armpit of the nation, are horrifying.)

    Unfortunately, MOST people are sheep. The Matrix was, in fact, an allegory in that regard – it was exactly the same thing, most people WANT to believe the lies, want to stay “asleep”, because waking up is too painful. You’ll see the same thing in posts at Citizen Renegade WRT the dating/mating game; Rebellion University WRT government. I’m sure on economics blogs, too, WRT Keynesian economics (in the negative there, people don’t understand that centralized planning doesn’t work.)

    Problem is, I firmly believe we’ve got another revolution coming, and we’re right on time given comparisons to other empires (Ottoman, Roman, Mongol, China, etc.) We’re in the stage of decadence and decline here. The proles like it, too – but a real “man” (used in human terms, not to exclude women) wants to LIVE. Live free, take responsibility for one’s self, be a responsible adult.

    Like West Point made a difference! Southern hospitality and gentility is likely over-romanticized, but the North was not known for ANY sort of manners until LONG after the war. Also, as it was the center of immigration, the crassness and crudity of different cultures entering American society (and the normal classes of immigrants) certainly didn’t help. (And my grandparents WERE immigrants, so I think I can make such a statement fairly safely.)

  7. Walter C Gusler says:

    Having served in the military for over fourteen years now, those virtues of Gen. Lees cannot be taught they must be born with the heart and soul that has these virtues. Then be built upon more and more through life by family and to a lesser extent institutions. Just look at the military commanders that graduated from West Point and even Annapolis that have been relieved of command for infractions and even illegal actions, just today a Navy Sub Commander was relieved from command from a Submarine for helping his crew cheat on tests and falsifying maintenance records. No, Gen. Lee was very special and West Point had nothing to do with it.

  8. We received a reply from Mark Douglas at If someone wants to read his one-post blog in which he attempts to sling all sorts of mud upon Robert E. Lee, they are free to do so. We will not use this blog to help spread that kind of pseudo-history and to further propaganda efforts to demonize The South.

    Mr. Douglas’ reply was sent to the trash where it belongs.

  9. Aaron says:

    I tried to comment on their site, but, unsurprisingly, it is not an open forum.

    After reading the revolting and, unsurprisingly, wholly unsubstantiated dross, I’ve not given it another thought. Their motive is clear and their attempt to slander such a good and honorable man is so halfhearted that they don’t even seem to be trying. The use of specific instances in a biography is perhaps substantiated, but the wild speculation and ludicrous hypothetical postulations make the authors words hold no weight. Such a lazy attempted character assassination for such a good man leaves me nonplussed. Such are things, though.

  10. James says:

    Dear Sirs,
    Yours truly, has always looked up to Robert E. Lee,
    ever since reading ROBERT E. LEE AND THE ROAD OF HONOR
    (a Landmark book), in the sixth grade.
    Reading the articles on the Confederate Colonel website has helped
    bring immediate improvements in, and truly unique insights for,
    my professional and personal life, my imperfect journey.
    As a New Jerseyian, working in a public library, unfortunately
    a bastion of political correctness
    (today’s essay on egalitarianism is quite refreshing and enlightening),
    I approve of your work, and often mentiion it, to friends
    and colleagues.
    Thank you.

  11. James,

    Thank you for the kind words. There are a number of excellent books that focus on the character of Robert E. Lee. I have several of them, and like to add to the collection as I find new material. One of the best is “The Life of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen”, reprinted by Virginia Gentleman Books – owned by none other than Richard G. Williams, who writes the Old Virginia blog. The reason I love that book is that it is aimed at those for whom it will make the most difference – young men who are at the stage of life where their character is still being shaped.

    Again, thank you. I look forward to hearing from you often.

  12. Roger Chappell says:

    Sirs and gentle ladies:

    I do deplore the disparaging remarks made by fellow northerners with respect to Robert E. Lee. I feel it my duty to inform you that not all northerners are so ignorant and ill mannered and many of us do in fact revere the character and military prowess of general Lee. True, northerners feel he was on the wrong side, but many of us know that he considered his duty was to his state of Virginia and not for the defense of slavery and it must be said that Liberty and states rights were the prominent motivations for the southern cause particularly when the secession was challenged militarily by the North.

    The point is that most northerners admire the competence of confederate generals and accept that federal commanders were often clownishly inept. We are able to separate the characters of great men from the causes which utilized them. General Lee is held in affectionate regard by most northerners I think.

  13. Mr. Chappell,

    Thank you for reaffirming what I have found to be true. The evidence is there for anyone to see if they want to. While there are clearly different cultures in the North and in the South, the thinking man will embrace the good in both cultures – and reject the bad in both cultures. We would think that enough time has passed that the character of the leaders of that time – both Union and Confederate – could be seen without the cloud of which side they fought for, but that’s not the case.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, sir.

Comments are closed.