Lee the Supreme Figure
From: bernhard1848@att.net
No American military commander has ever matched the example set by Robert E. Lee. From 1863 onward he was most often fighting with 50,000 half-starved, ragged and barefoot soldiers, against a superbly-equipped invading host of 120,000 or more.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Lee the Supreme Figure:
“Above them all stands Lee. Those, the majority, who judge him by the usual yardsticks of strategy and tactics alone, fail to realize his full grandeur. He represents one of the supreme examples in military annals of the combination of strategist, tactical genius, leader of the highest inspiration, and technician in the arts of hastily fortifying defensive positions superbly chosen.
Here and there one can pick holes in him; one can say for example, that, at a period when he had not fully recovered from illness, he was at the same time rather slow and indecisive at Gettysburg; but when his eye swept a countryside it never betrayed him. From the ground or the map, or both in combination, he realized how to make the best use of every feature of the country, and the trace of every defensive position coming from his hand was masterly.
He used fortifications not only for the defensive but still more for local defensive and for the purpose of economizing strength, and to provide himself with a greater proportion to be employed in the open.
During the short period in 1862 when he was military advisor to the President…The advice he gave was nearly always the best. Yet that short period brought forth his gifts in large-scale strategy, when he planned the re-deployment of the available forces and the moves between the Shenandoah Valley and Richmond in the face of McClellan.  Had he become commander-in-chief in 1862, or even 1863, his breadth of vision might have become as universally accepted as has its clarity. He must now stand as the supreme figure of this survey of a hundred years of war.”
(A Hundred Years of War, Cyril Falls, Gerald Duckworth & Co., 1953, pp. 59-60)