From: Gary Adams
Date: Tue, Apr 25, 2017
Subject: Re: The Last Salute
To: “Ultimate”


I had planned to write a book on all the myths and tall tales I have about 900 pages but my health is going to fail me before that can happen. The media, Neo-Confederates and our foes contact me for clarification all the time just correct Snopes. If interested and you leave my name off I’ll fee d you some. My argument has been and continues to be the truth will set you free. No the 10% slave owner is wrong closer to 36% but I argue so what why then did the other 65% fight? So Lee was pro slavery and owned slaves so what so did many yankees and look at Sherman and what Lincoln wanted to do.


Many of my readers used to get angry but after being bashed in the media and argument after argument have come back saying teach the truth. Nothing takes the starch out of these revisionist than after UOU say Lee Owned slaves but he was this and that. Seriously many sit there with a blank look and mouths agape not knowing what to say.




I know you like that 10% slave owner figure and nothing I say will change your minds. I’ll provide some figures from the 1860 census. Instead of arguing with your heart take the time to research the matter. All I did was move my arguing point instead of asking why then did the 90% fight to why then did the 70% fight.


Mississippi: 49%
South Carolina: 46%
Georgia: 37%
Alabama: 35%
Florida: 34%
Louisiana: 29%
Texas: 28%
North Carolina: 28%
Virginia: 26%
Tennessee: 25%
Kentucky: 23%
Arkansas: 20%
Missouri: 13%
Maryland: 12%
Delaware: 3%


2,312,352 (47% of total population).
Total number of slaves in the Upper South: 1,208758 (29% of total population).
Total number of slaves in the Border States: 432,586 (13% of total population).
“Almost one-third of all Southern families owned slaves. In Mississippi and South Carolina it approached one half. The total number of slave owners was 385,000 (including, in Louisiana, some free Negroes). As for the number of slaves owned by each master, 88% held fewer than twenty, and nearly 50% held fewer than five.”
“Take Texas as an example. Pulling figures from the 1860 U.S. Census (, we see that Texas had a free population of 421,649, and a slave population of 182,566. Those slaves were owned by 21,878 individual slaveholders, about 5% of the total free population. But here’s where it gets more complex. The census recorded 76,781 (free) families in Texas, which suggests an average family size of about 5.5 persons — which sounds about right for the antebellum period. If one takes it as typical that the vast majorities of families held a single slaveholder-of-record — there would be some exceptions to this, where the same household encompassed more than one — then that suggests strongly that more than a quarter of free Texas households, roughly 28.5%, held slaves. While this number is a rough estimation, it clearly demonstrates that argument that some very tiny percentage — 2%, 4%, 5% — of Confederate soldiers were slaveholders is highly misleading, and indeed intentionally so. Although the proportion of free- and slave population differs a lot from state to state across the South, this pattern holds true — the proportion of free families that owned slaves is far, far, higher than that ever acknowledged”.


State Families (Free) Slaveholders Slave holders to Families
Alabama 96,603 33,730 1 in 2.86
Arkansas 57,244 11,481 1 in 4.99
Florida 15,090 5,152 1 in 2.93
Georgia 109,919 41,084 1 in 2.68
Louisiana 74,725 22,033 1 in 3.39
Mississippi 63,015 30,943 1 in 2.04
North Carolina 125,090 34,658 1 in 3.61
South Carolina 58,642 26,701 1 in 2.20
Tennessee 149,335 36,844 1 in 4.05
Texas 76,781 21,878 1 in 3.51
Aggregate 826,444 264,504 1 in 3.12


“The proportion of slaveholders to families varied from one slaveholder for every two families in Mississippi, to one slaveholder for every five families in Arkansas. And of course, the numbers would vary further within a state —in Texas, for example, slaveholders in the German settlements in the Hill Country were few and far between. Nonetheless, across the South, the proportion was about one in three — very roughly, one in every three or four free families owned at least one slave. Even with all the appropriate caveats (it’s a somewhat crude estimation, to be sure) to me this is a much more useful — and in that sense, much truer — number.


“Among the enlistees in 1861, slightly more than one in ten owned slaves personally. This compared favorably to the Confederacy as a whole, in which one in every twenty white persons owned slaves. Yet more than one in every four volunteers that first year lived with parents who were slaveholders. Combining those soldiers who owned slaves with those soldiers who lived with slaveholding family members, the proportion rose to 36 percent. That contrasted starkly with the 24.9 percent, or one in every four households, that owned slaves in the South, based on the 1860 census. Thus, volunteers in 1861 were 42 percent more likely to own slaves themselves or to live with family members who owned slaves than the general population.


The attachment to slavery, though, was even more powerful. One in every ten volunteers in 1861 did not own slaves themselves but lived in households headed by non-family members who did. This figure, combined with the 36 percent who owned or whose family members owned slaves, indicated that almost one of every two 1861 recruits lived with slaveholders. Nor did the direct exposure stop there. Untold numbers of enlistees rented land from, sold crops to, or worked for slaveholders. In the final tabulation, the vast majority of the volunteers of 1861 had a direct connection to slavery. For slaveholders and non-slaveholders alike, slavery lay at the heart of the Confederate nation. The fact that their paper notes frequently depicted scenes of slaves demonstrated the institution’s central role and symbolic value to the Confederacy”.


More than half the officers in 1861 owned slaves, and none of them lived with family members who were slaveholders. By comparison, only one in twelve enlisted men owned slaves, but when those who lived with family slave owners were included, the ratio exceeded one in three. That was 40 percent above the tally for all households in the Old South. With the inclusion of those who resided in nonfamily slaveholding households, the direct exposure to bondage among enlisted personnel was four of every nine.


In the vast majority of cases, each household (termed a “family” in the 1860 document, even when the group consisted of unrelated people living in the same residence) that owned slaves had only one slaveholder listed, the head of the household. It is thus possible to compare the number of slaveholders in a given state to the numbers of families/households, and get a rough estimation of the proportion of free households that owned at least one slave. The numbers varies considerably, ranging from 1 in 5 in Arkansas to 1 in 2 in Mississippi and South Carolina. In the eleven states that formed the Confederacy, there were in aggregate just over 1 million free households, which between them represented 316,632 slaveholders—meaning that just under one-third of households in the Confederate States counted among its assets at least one human being”.


I feel every war anywhere can best be explained as “A Rich Mans’ War and A Poor Mans’ Fight”. Members of Lincolns own cabinet traded medicines and vital war material for cotton well into 1864. France and England maintained trade throughout the war and I assure you it was not because they agreed with us, they would have sold their souls for the right price.


The University of Virginia has a Census Browser you can use figures from the 1700s to 1960 and see for yourself.


Anyway the accepted figure and which you’ll be seeing is 38 to 40% but I will hold out for 36% and of course if you look at my track record my wife will tell you I am never right!




Lee never Spoke to Stockdale About Appomattox


Realizing we cannot ask the individuals involved and short of that nothing will satisfy you; that example after example of similar mistruths would not resolve this situation but should show the probability. There is the fact much learned persons than I came to a decision to which I and the professional world ascribe, but lets continue on and look at the incident in question:


“In the latter months of his life, and only a short while before his death, Governor Stockdale (who was, by the way, a native of Southern Kentucky) gave me the following narative:


He was at the White Sulpher Springs, Virginia, in the summer of 1870, in the autumn of which year General Lee died. Here the two old friends met for the last time.


General Rosecrans, of the Northern army, was at the Springs, showing much attention to his former adversaries, and acting the magnanimous conqueror. He had been a war Democrat, and now a member of the Federal Congress, was acting again with the Northern Democratic party.


There was quite a galaxy of distinguished ex-Confederates at the Springs also-lieutenant-generals, major-generals, senators, etc.


One day Rosecrans approached General Lee, so: he said that everybody in the North knew General Lee was a representative Southerner, and everybody had perfect confidence in his truthfulness; and if he (Rosecrans) could be authorized by General Lee to say, on behalf of the Southern people, that they were now glad to be back in the Union, and loyal to the old flag, that that sentiment would do a great deal of good in Congress; that he (Rosecrans) could use it to assuage the bitterness of feeling among the coercion leaders, and make the Federal Government much more lenient towards the conquered States.


With his usual polite caution, General Lee replied that he did not think he had the right to speak for the Southern people; that he now held no officer by their gift, except the very humble one of a teacher of youth; that he had not even the right of citizenship, and hence did not think he had a right to speak for the Southern people. But Rosecrans was quite urgent; thereupon, General Lee said that many distinguished ex-Confederates were now at the Springs, from various parts of the Southern States, and from these General Rosecrans could learn their impressions of Southern feelings and purposes.


Rosecrans caught at this, saying that he was not acquainted with most of these gentlemen , and he wished General Lee to bring him acquainted with them, in order that he might get their views. General Lee consented to invite a number of them to meet General Rosecrans at his parlor, on Paradise Row. Consequently, the next morning a species of small levee was convened there by General Lee’s invitation, and among them was ex-Governor Stockdale, of Texas.


General Lee was very silent and very polite, greeting everybody with scrupulous courtesy and seeing them well seated. He himself took the last seat in a plain chair by the open door.


Rosecrans then began his catechism, asking each ex-Confederate the same questions he wished General Lee to answer.


Governor Stockdale said to me that many of the replies struck him as entirely too sycophantic and insincere, and he surmised from General Lee’s countenance that the old soldier felt the same way about them.


Governor Stockdale related the story thus: Doctor, I was perhaps the smallest man of the assemblage, both in personal stature and in political importance, being only an ex-Governor, and I had fallen into the corner down at the end of the row of distinguished Confederates, so the question came to me last.


Rosecrans said, in substance, ‘Now, Governor Stockdale, let us hear how your gallant Texans feel toward the old government and the old flag?’


I replied: ‘General Rosecrans, since that day in June, 1865, when General Merritt with his soldiers drove me from the Government House, I have held no office in Texans, and have not been authorized by the people of Texas to represent them in anything; but I know them well, and I am sure that you may say this: the people of Texas will remain quiet, and not again resort to forceful resistance against the Federal Government, whatever may be the measures of that government.’


General Rosecrans replied very unctuously, ‘Ah! That is good news from our gallant Texans,’ etc.


I stopped him and said: ‘But, General Rosecrans, candor requires me to explain the attitude of my people. The people of Texas have made up their minds to remain quiet under all aggressions and to have peace; but they have none of the spaniel in their composition. No, sir, they are not in the least like the dog that seeks to lick the hand of the man that kicked him; but it is because they are a very sensible, practical, common-sense people, and understand their position. They know that they resisted the Federal Government as long as any means of resistance was left, and that any attempt at resistance now must be in vain; and they have no means, and would only make bad worse. This is the view of the matter which is going to keep Texas quiet.’


At this stage of the conference, General Lee rose from his chair; Rosecrans took the hint. He filed out, and the big Confederates, one behind the other, after him.


I being the little man in the farther corner, was the last to approach the door. General Lee had given a very polite good-morning to each man as he passed out; as I said to him, ‘good-morning,’ he gently closed the door before me, keeping the door-knob in his left hand, and said to me, as follows:


‘Governor Stockdale, before you leave, I wish to give you my thanks for brave, true words. You know, Governor, what my position is. Those people (his uniform term for the Yankees) choose, for what reason I know not, to hold me as a representative Southerner; hence, I know they watch my words, and if I should speak unadvisedly, what I say would be caught up by their speakers and newspapers, and magnified into a pretext for adding to the load of oppression they have placed upon our poor people; and God knows, Governor, that load is heavy enough now; but you can speak, for you are not under that restraint, and I want to thank you for your bold, candid words.’


I thought he would dismiss me; but he still held the door closed, and after a time he resumed and uttered these words: ‘Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me.’ Then with rising color, throwing back his head like an old war horse, he added these words, ‘Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand.’ He then dropped his head, and, with a sad look, added: ‘This, of course, is for your ear only. My friend, good-morning;’ and with that he opened the door and took my leave”.


I guess I am bewildered in the fact that here General Lee who has since the day he surrendered has spoken and written extensively stating a position completely opposite than what Stockdale later quotes. Even stranger he tells a stranger rather than close friends and family. Then today of all days again surrounded by friends and veterans which we know he doted on, he chose a civilian, a stranger to unleash a bombshell. But we can justify that when we realize he did not want the world, family, posterity or his soldiers to know his personal feelings but a stranger who would never be able to understand his feelings and personal tribulations.


Yes, I think Stockdale lied. Any man who every statement were flowery, romantic and Southern: “…thoughts of the blessed and prosperous past, and cursing the adverse present…”; “It is a common thing to decry and ridicule Southern Chivalry…” or “…we may now expect to rise to our prosperity, capable, collectively and great and noble actions…”.


People who accept stories and quotes without verifying are leaving their prestige, integrity and name up for grabs.


Just like the quote we have been discussing “Governor, if I had foreseen…”. If that were anyone but Lee you would have seen and accept what is clearly the truth. A man of his back ground, principles would never lie to his neighbors, family or country. We have documented time and time again that he respected and admired Grant and people in general. This more than anything should tell you the purported conversation with Stockdale was a myth;


Gen. Porter Alexander, passionately argued that the army could “scatter like rabbits and partridges in the woods” as a prelude to taking up guerrilla warfare against invading Northern forces.


It was not an isolated thought. The Confederacy had embraced guerrilla raiders such as Mosby, Morgan, and Quantrill, and many in the South preferred any sort of resistance over the humiliation of surrender. Among them was President Jefferson Davis, even then on the run from Union forces, and hoping to continue the war by any means possible.


Lee rejected the idea as out of hand. “The country would be full of lawless bands,” he told Alexander, “[and] a state of society would ensue from which it would take the country years to recover.”.


Do you know what Lee must have felt having to surrender? He felt as he had let his country, family and most of all his men down. You have a man who rejected guerrilla warfare while knowing it probably would have resulted in the Union suing for peace but on behalf of the American people he rejected the attempt.


The claim about his last words, Lee was respected the world over, in the North and by former foes when he passed away everyone rushed to write a story, everyone knowing whatever he muttered would be on people lips for a hundred years. There in is the catch, the papers at the time and leaders were all told the same thing by both the family and the physicians attending to his last days, he had no last word! The last time he spoke was the day he came home ill. Yet you’ll have people sit and argue until the cows come home.


When we discussed he never said, “Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less” you would have thought we had shot Kennedy, and even with irrefutable proof we still had an argument.


When I showed he owned slaves (not these he was executor of but owned) I thought they were going to tar and feather me. Truth is what people want it to be, you will see people argue until their last breath.


I always think about what Lee said just before he resigned his commission, “…as an American citizen, I prize the Union very highly & know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make to preserve it, save that of honor.”




The rule of thumb on stories about the war, the soldiers; come to think of it, the rule applies to anything and everything. If a story appears 20 years after the supposed event (really after the first year) the truth diminishes exponentially and you should be questioning it. If it appears only after everyone but the story teller is dead (of if they are all dead, and an individual is claiming they only told him) you should be questioning it. The individual spends a life championing something or someone has a particular opinion about something then passes away then another party claims he knows of an event, conversation or action that is complete opposition to what the individual had always expressed you should be questioning it.




Please allow me to toss this on the fire; “The conference of Gen. Rosecrans with Gen. R. E. Lee and other distinguished Southern men at the White Sulphur Springs has excited interest in all parts of the country, and the public have manifested a feverish anxiety to learn the character of the correspondence which took place between the parties. The letter of Gen. Rosecrans is long, and we have not the space to publish it in this issue, but we give below the reply of Gen. Lee and others which will enable the reader to learn the substance of it. The whole people of the South, with possibly the exception of mangy scallawags diseased with the leprosy of Radicalism, will heartily endorse the able and patriotic letter of Gen. Lee and the other distinguished men whose signatures are attached thereto. The National Intelligencer denominates it a “masterly letter,” and says “it is a calm, judicious, pacific, earnest and eminently paper.” Here it is:




WEST VA., August 26, 1868.


GENERAL — I have had the honor to receive your letter of this date, and in accordance with your suggestions I have conferred with a number of gentlemen from the South in whose judgment I have confided, and who are well acquainted with the public sentiment of their respective States. They have kindly consented to unite with me in replying to your communication, and their names will be found with my own appended to this answer. With this explanation, we proceed to give you a candid statement of what we believe to be the sentiment of the Southern people in regard to the subject to which you refer.


Whatever opinions may have prevailed in the past in regard to African slavery, or the right of a State to secede from the Union, we believe we express the almost unanimous judgment of the Southern people when we declare that they consider that those questions were decided by the war, and that it is their intention in good faith to abide by that decision. At the close of the war, the Southern people laid down their arms and sought to resume their former relations with the United States Government.– Through their State Conventions they abolished slavery and annulled their ordinances of secession, and they returned to their peaceful pursuits with a sincere purpose to fulfill all their duties under the Constitution of the United States, which they had sworn to protect. If their action in these particulars had been met in a spirit of frankness and cordiality, we believe that ere this old irritations would have passed away, and the wounds inflicted by the war would have been in a great measure healed. As far as we are advised, the people of the South entertain no unfriendly feeling towards the government of the United States, but they complain that their rights under the Constitution are withheld from them in the administration thereof.


The idea that the Southern people are hostile to the negroes, and would oppress them if it were in their power to do so, is entirely unfounded. They have grown up in our midst, and we have been accustomed from childhood to look upon them with kindness. The change in the relations of the two races has brought no change in our feeling towards them. They still constitute the important part of our laboring population. Without their labor, the lands of the South would be comparatively unproductive. Without the employment which Southern agriculture provides they would be destitute of the means of subsistence, and become paupers, dependent on public bounty. Self-interest, even if there were no higher motive, would therefore prompt the whites of the South to extend to the negroes care and protection.


The important fact that the two races are, under existing circumstances, necessary to each other is gradually becoming apparent to both, and we believe that but for the influences exerted to stir up the passions of the negroes that the two races would soon adjust themselves on a basis of mutual kindness and advantage.


It is true that the people of the South, together with the people of the North and West, are, for obvious reasons, opposed to any system of laws which will place the political power of the country in the hands of the negro race. But this opposition springs from no feelings of enmity, but from a deep seated conviction that at present the negroes have neither the intelligence nor other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power. They would inevitably become the victims of demagogues, who for selfish purposes would mislead them, to the serious injury of the public.


The great want of the South is peace. The people earnestly desire tranquility and the restoration of the Union. They deprecate disorder and excitement as the most serious obstacle to their prosperity. They ask a restoration of their rights under the Constitution. They desire relief from oppressive misrule. Above all, they would appeal to their countrymen for the re-establishment in the Southern States of that which has justly been the right of every American — the right of self-government. Establish these on a firm basis, and we can safely promise on behalf of the Southern people that they will faithfully obey the Constitution and laws of the United States, treat the negro with kindness and humanity, and fulfill every duty incumbent on peaceful citizens loyal to the Constitution of the country.


We believe the above contains a succinct reply to the general topics embraced in your letter, and we venture to say on behalf of the Southern people and of the officers and soldiers of the late Confederate army, that they will concur in all the sentiments which we have expressed.


Appreciating the patriotic motives which have prompted your letter, and reciprocating your expressions of kind regard, we have the honor to be,


Very respectfully and truly,


R. E. Lee, of Va.,
W. J. Green, N.C.,
G. T. Beauregard, La.,
Lewis E. Harvie, Va.
Alex. H. Stephens, Ga.,
P. V. Daniel Jr., Va.
C. M. Conrad, La.,
W.T. Sutherlin, Va.
Linton Stephens, Ga.,
A. B. James, La.,
A. T. Caperton, W. Va.,
T. Beauregard, Texas,
John Echols, Va.,
M. O. H. Norton, La.,
F. S. Stockdale, Texas,
T. P. Branch, Ga.,
Jos. R. Anderson, Va.,
Jeremiah Morton, Va.
W. T. Turner, W. Va.,
John B. Baldwin, Va.
C. H. Suber, S. C., Geo. W. Bolling, Va.
E. Fontaine, Va.,
Theo. Flourney, Va.,
John Letcher, V.,
James Lyons, Va.
B. C. Adams, Miss.,
To Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, Minister to Mexico.
White Springs, Va.


We are going to put this to rest once and for all: we have said over and over you cannot believe every web site you visit and if you really want to make sure of something research it yourself. Did Robert E. Lee own slaves? Yes he did! We are not speaking of the slaves at Arlington, these who willed to his wife Mary Anna Custis; as was the custom of the day he handled the estate. The slaves were to be worked for time to provide an income for her but released on a specific date. Lee went to court to delay their release but the court ordered them freed. We are speaking of Lees personal slaves: you can order a copy of his 1846 will in which he spells out directions and when to free them, from the Rockbridge Court for $1.50 or you can order a copy on aged parchment from the History Store for $ 9.95.


Send a SASE and $1.50 to the address below. It is written on blue paper and does not copy well.
Bruce Patterson, Clerk
Rockbridge County Circuit Court
20 S. Randolph Street
Lexington, VA 24450


Or Store
Historic documents and gifts for the home or school. Buy some history today and support




The Grants did not hold on to their slaves until they got into the White House much less selling them in 1908. Grant freed his slave William Jones, in 1859 , so he would never have and did not respond to others who asked why he had not freed his slaves “because good help is hard to find”. Mrs. Grant originally had 18 slaves several of which simply walked away and were never pursued; the remainder of slaves at White Haven simply walked off, as they did on many plantations in both Confederate and Union states. Missouri’s constitution convention abolished slavery in the State in January 1865, freeing any slaves still living at White Haven.
“Grant expresses concern about Frederick Dent’s slaves being confiscated and possibly broken up to be sold at a slave auction to pay off debts. He suggests that Dent write a bill of sale to Emma for all of his slaves instead of the four he originally sold to her. And, importantly, Grant states his intention not to invest any of his own money in his father-in-law’s slaves because the likelihood of his family moving back to a slave state is slim to none. Through this letter it’s apparent that by 1862, Grant–regardless of his own views about slavery at that point in the war–had no intention of investing any funds to become a slaveholder again.


Given this evidence, why is it claimed that he owned slaves until December 1865? By arguing that Grant didn’t care about slavery’s demise and that he even owned slaves himself during the war, the people who buy this narrative are trying to spread the idea that slavery had little to do with the pretext or context of the Civil War. The claim has little merit, however, because regardless of Grant’s personal views towards slavery at the outbreak of the Civil War, he played no role in the political debates over secession or slavery that precipitated the conflict”.


“A passage in this letter from Grant to Congressman Elihu B. Washburne on August 30, 1863, further demonstrates that Grant did not own slaves during the war until the passage of the 13th amendment in 1865, nor did he even have intentions of doing so. He already believed slavery was dead by 1863. To wit:


“’The people of the North need not quarrel over the institution of Slavery. What Vice President Stevens [sic] acknowledges the corner stone of the Confederacy is already knocked out. Slavery is already dead and cannot be resurrected. It would take a standing Army to maintain slavery in the South if we were to make peace to-day guaranteeing to the South all their former constitutional privileges”’.


“…After the war, one of Grant’s former neighbors recalled that he “was no hand to manage negroes. He couldn’t force them to do anything. He wouldn’t whip them. He was too gentle and good tempered and besides he was not a slavery man…”.[i]


“…The people of the North need not quarrel over the institution of slavery. What Vice-President Stevens acknowledges the corner-stone of the Confederacy is already knocked out. Slavery is already dead, and cannot be resurrected. It would take a standing army to maintain slavery in the South, if we were to make peace to-day, guaranteeing to the South all their former constitutional privileges. I never was an abolitionist, not even what could be called antislavery; but I try to judge fairly and honestly; and it became patent to my mind, early in the Rebellion, that the North and South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace established, I would not, therefore, be willing to see any settlement until this question is forever settled…”.[ii]


“…”In the beginning, yes,” said the General; “but as soon as slavery fired upon the flag it was felt, we all felt, even those who did not object to slaves, that slavery must be destroyed. We felt that it was a stain to the Union that men should be bought and sold like cattle…”.[iii]


“…A great commander like Sherman or Sheridan even then might have organized an army and put down the rebellion in six months or a year, or, at the farthest, two years. But that would have saved slavery, perhaps, and slavery meant the germs of a new rebellion. There had to be an end of slavery. Then we were fighting an enemy with whom we could not make a peace. We had to destroy him. No convention, no treaty was possible – only destruction…”.[iv



The Forged Letter of Robert E. Lee


We have all seen and heard the quote. I still have it on my desk “Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less”. It comes from a letter Lee wrote to his son, G. W. Custis Lee (5 April 1852); and published in The New York Sun on (26 November 1864). While it was presumed authentic and included in many biographies of Lee, it was repudiated in December 1864 by University of Virginia law professor Charles A. Graves who verified that the letter was inconsistent with Lee’s biographical facts and letter-writing style. Lee’s son also wrote to Graves that he did not recall ever receiving such a letter. Mr. Graves then conducted a thorough investigation and presented his findings at the 26th annual meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association 17:176 (1914) these finding which by the way are irrefutably can be found here:




“If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side”.


“This quote was supposedly made to the Chicago Tribune in 1862 by Grant. Problem is that nobody has ever been able to find this quote, not even the Chicago Tribune and the quote is contrary to everything that Grant has ever stated about the slavery issue. This quote first appears on page 219 of the 1904 reprint of _Facts and Falsehoods Concerning the War on the South 1861-65_ by George Edmonds, and page 54 of a 1920 reprint of _Truths of History_ by Mildred Lewis Rutherford. Both books are available from the Crown Rights Book Company. The alleged quote is referenced in both of these books as coming from page 33 of a the 1868 printing of a non-footnoted book called the _Democratic Speakers Handbook_ by Matthew Carey, a political enemy of Grant in the presidential election. Until someone finds a better source than the Politically Incorrect Guide to US History, please do not repost this quote.


The _Democratic Speakers Handbook_ (or, to give its full title, _The Democratic Speaker’s Hand-Book: Containing Every Thing Necessary for the Defense of the National Democracy in the Coming Presidential Campaign, and for the Assault of the Radical Enemies of the County and its Constitution_) does have something vaguely like the above quote on page 33, but the sourcing is very dubious, and I agree that the quote should not be given credence. From the Handbook, p. 33:


“The editor of the [Huntsville, Alabama] Randolph Citizen [a Democratic party newspaper] recalls some interesting reminiscences of the great Reticent. He had a tongue at one time, it would seem: In the summer of 1861 General Grant, then Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Regiment of Infantry, was stationed in Mexico [Missouri], on the North Missouri Railroad, and had command of the post . . . . Ulysses the Silent was then Ulysses the Garrulous, and embraced every fair opportunity which came his way to express his sentiments and opinions in regard to political affairs. One of these declarations we distinctly remember. In a public conversation in Ringo’s banking-house, a sterling Union man put this question to him: ‘What do you honestly think was the real object of this war on the part of the Federal Government?’


“‘Sir,’ said Grant, ‘I have no doubt in the world that the sole object is the restoration of the Union. I will say further, though, that I am a Democrat–every man in my regiment is a Democrat–and whenever I shall be convinced that this war has for its object anything else that what I have mentioned or that the Government designs using its soldiers to execute the purposes of the abolitionists, I pledge you on my honor as a man and a soldier that I will not only resign my commission, but will carry my sword to the other side, and cast my lot with that people.'”


Thanks to Jimmy Shirley I can now provide you the proof that Grant never said “If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission, and offer my sword to the other side.” It was during the Presidential campaign and like in our times they lied, Horace Greeley owning his own paper quoted Grant as having said that even though it is proven he did not! Gary.


Mr. Greeley’s private newspaper invents so many false statements about public men nowadays that it would be next to impossible to keep the run of them all. Yesterday it declared that Gen. GRANT HAD MADE “the following extraordinary declaration:”


“Sir, I have no doubt in the world that the sole object is the restoration of the Union. I will say further, though, that I am a Democrat – everyman in my regiment is a Democrat – and whenever I shall be convinced that this war has for its object anything else than what I have mentioned, or that the Government designs uses its soldiers to execute the purposes of the abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier that I will not only resign my commission, but will carry my sword to the other side and cast my lot with that people.”


Mr. GREELEY is a candidate for Gen. GRANT’S place, and all his criticisms upon his rival are, therefore, naturally regarded with suspicion. But he ought not to tell stories. Mr. GREELEY knows very well that Gen. GRANT never uttered a word of the above “speech” – no doubt that is why GREELEY says he did. The same fib was circulated in 1868, and brought out the following letter from Mr. Washburne:


WASHINGTON, D.C. June 10, 1868}
DEAR SIR : It is idle for the loyal men of the country to attempt to deny the rebel and copperhead lies now being put in circulation against Gen. GRANT. No sooner would one lie be exploded than another would be put in circulation. No more silly and ridiculous fabrication has been put forth than the pretended speech of Gen. GRANT , to his regiment, in 1861, which I have seen paraded in some of the most disreputable copperhead newspapers. The whole thing is false, there not being a ‘shadow of a shade’ of foundation for it.
Yours, truly, E. B. WASHBURNE.


Yet, in the face of this, Mr. GREELEY causes it to be stated that the “Grant speech” has never been contradicted. “Is there no limit to lying?” asked the Professor the other day, and he answers his own question by his conduct.




Tell Hill he must come up … Strike the tent. Falsely Reported as his last words.


There are suggestions that Lee’s autobiographer, Douglas Southall Freeman embellished Lee’s final moments; as Lee suffered a stroke on September 28, 1870. Dying two weeks later, on October 12, 1870, shortly after 9 a.m. from the effects of pneumonia. Lee’s stroke had resulted in aphasia, rendering him unable to speak. When interviewed the four attending physicians and family stated “he had not spoken since 28 September…”. According to Emory Thomas’ “Robert E. Lee a Biography” (pages 412 to 413) the last words Lee uttered were at a vestry meeting on 28 September, 1870 and were “I will give that sum”. When he returned home he was unable to speak. You were also correct about the family; both the family and physicians stated in interviews he had no last words and that he had not spoken.



Myth. The majority of history books especially school text books list states “Sally Louisa Tompkins a wealthy Richmond resident who opened private Robertson Hospital to treat Rebel soldiers, is commissioned as Confederate Captain of cavalry, unassigned- the ONLY WOMAN TO HOLD A COMMISSION IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY. The problem? There was a second one a Lucy Mina Otey who ran a hospital both in Lynchburg and Richmond.


For you new people well and the old (I mean members membership not that your old) you’ll remember when we started we or at least I were unfamiliar with trolls. They would attack post after post pointing out discrepancies, historical accuracy, that we were typical neoconfederates spreading and believing our own lies.


Our officers and I discussed the matter. The first thing we did not ban them outright allowing civil posts to continue. We researched and investigated their claims and sadly found in the majority of cases they were right.


We changed our policy like any group encouraging posts but telling members they should verify their material as they might be questioned. Well you note people are lazy, some refuse to admit we (the South) would have misrepresented facts, anecdotes, historical events. We still insist on accuracy and try to ensure only verifiable material are posted. I assure you the label neoconfederates which started as an insult we now wear as a badge. We have been contacted by the media, authors and institutions of education some of our material have been used by them. I feel it is the reason we are still here, growing and still have serious debates.


Saying all this I come before you today to apologize, correct and update material we have long published as fact. I live down the street from Matthews Virginia and one of their links to the war is Sally Louisa Tompkins reported to be the only woman commissioned in the Confederate Army.


Years ago we had as a member a lady from the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), who posted there was a second lady who was commissioned in the Army, a Lucy Otey. Mrs. Otey was from Lynchburg, Virginia and was instrumental in defending the city using wounded Confederate soldiers, she was ran one of the hospitals with the lowest number of deaths.


When researched there were numerous sites ascertaining these facts. But if you remember I advise against “any” site besides the Library of Congress; National Archives; major colleges resources; Presidential Libraries and museums. We could not find any documentation on her commission.


However the Director of the Southern Memorial Association, Lynchburg, Virginia and members of the Kirkwood Otey Chapter 10 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) contacted us stating and I paraphrase “A copy or the original was seen and read by a UCV member. A copy or the original was sent to the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) in Richmond for safe keeping and storage”.


Due to recent events resulted in individuals requesting clarification of the story about Mrs. Tompkins and Otey I contacted the VHS and the Southern Memorial Association and Chapter 10 of the Kirkwood Otey Chapter and found there was no documentation on Mrs. Otey. Going back to Lynchburg they could not produce a copy.


So sadly we have been posting an erroneous story there is no proof Mrs. Lucy Otey was ever commissioned into the Confederate Army. I apologize.


Even worse we discovered a problem with the story with Sally Louisa Tompkins. One of the three most creditable and prestigious historians in Virginia wrote: “Good morning, Gary.


Seeing a brief article in this morning’s RTD about the Tompkins cottage and your subsequent message this morning reminded me of your request for copies the other day.


Attached is a scan of the appointment (which is not the same as a commission), signed by Secretary of War L. P. Walker, dated September 9, 1861. As I mentioned, that date is a year before the closing of the private hospitals – which is the reason customarily given for her “commission” (necessary to allow her to keep open Robertson Hospital). The only other wartime document I know addressing her as captain (IMG 4071) is the famous letter from Ben Ficklin addressing her as “Dearest of Captains” (source of the name of the poetical biography of her written in the 1990s). All the other correspondence in our files, including the two attached (from Virginia and Confederate Army authorities) addressed her as Miss Sally or Miss Tompkins.


I should emphasize that none of these documents is “new” in any way. What’s new or, more accurately, revived, is my skepticism of the story of her captaincy. Yes, the appointment seems rather unambiguous: the president appointed her captain in the Army of the Confederate States. But why? And why then? She noted at the bottom that she refused to be put on the payroll. But that doesn’t explain why she did not appear on any official lists of appointments published during or after the war or why no one even called her by her supposed rank.


As I noted the other day, something isn’t quite right about all this. All of us have been – and continue to be – so charmed by her story that we want to believe it and, therefore, fail to ask the questions we know we should ask to get to the bottom of the story. We’ve permitted this to go on for 100+ years and I think – personally – that we need to apply our critical evaluation faculties to this story rather than simply accept it because it makes such a good story”. End quote


So, there was never a commission for Mrs. Tompkins. There is an appointment, which is a difference of night and day. It essential is a sheet of paper! Then if you add in the comments of the historian which by the way is the collective belief of the formal and professional community the story is more than questionable. At the present several institutions, reference sites along with the National Park Service are all considering on how to address the matter.


Personally, I hate it when a story turns up being false I would much rather believe Lee did not own slaves, that Grant said if I thought this war over slavery. So more than ten percent (10%) of Southroners owned slaves (it was closer to thirty nine percentage- 39%) why did the sixty percentage (60%) fight?


However, by nature we should want the truth and regardless of it or regardless of any story we had come to love being found false it changes nothing. Our men still are heroes and their deeds should never be forgotten.


Anyone wanting evidence can message John or myself.


Again you have my sincere apologies