Realist or revisionist?
My ancestors fought to preserve the Union and abolish slavery. But, in deference for honest history, I’m disgusted so many remain silent while ill-informed revisionists continue to have statues of Confederate heroes removed from public display. Should truth be held captive by those with big mouths, big opinions, but a tiny understanding of American history? Should historical accuracy be banned for being unpopular? Don’t our children deserve to see and understand our history as it was and not as some group of idealists would like it to have been?
Gen. Beauregard’s statue is gone. But, there were others. Among them were Gens. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee. Forrest had been a slave trader, which was then an accepted profession throughout the South, he was the much-maligned fall-guy for the Ft. Pillow massacre (although not there), and the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. Few remember, however, that as a slave trader he never broke up families, that when the KKK turned violent he walked out, that after the war he hired black men when other businessmen wouldn’t, or that many black men and women attended his funeral.
And what about Lee, America’s most beloved general — ever? Does anyone care he was not a slaveholder, didn’t believe in slavery, had already served the U.S. in uniform for 32 years, including serving as superintendent of West Point, had been offered command of the Army of the Potomac as war clouds were forming, or that in his most infuriated moments he would refer to Union officers as: “Those people.”
Their statues are disappearing. But Americans could do worse than emulating some of the loyalties, philosophies and conduct of the better of those men who are now being so ignorantly denigrated and tarnished.