tv The Civil War Noah Andre Trudeau Robert E. Lee CSPAN November 26, 2021 2:27am-3:35am EST
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>> we enjoy distinct pleasure to introduce the passion of world war ii veterans, noah and andre, author of numerous military history articles and eight civil war history articles cover a white campus observations covering revolutionary war from mexican-american war world war i and world war ii and spanish-american war. his books include the last citadel, as he referred to, covering the entire think you should work, like men of war, history of black truth and the civil war reflected by the university of kansas press be on the lookout for that. gettysburg processing of courage, testing of history, iconic valor in seventh storm, history of sherman's march in georgia. he's also offered short biography of robert e lee from robbery free lessons in leadership. as part of general series edited
by general wesley. the end of the cap smithsonian focusing on and give noah and andre caputo a warm welcome. [applause] all right. start at page one, andy. >> it is a real honor to share time with the group of historians as i understand by your quote. it is a privilege to speak to a group whose knowledge about the civil war is only matched by their curiosity to learn more. i want to draw some distinctions right off the bat my colleagues
i am guessing representing awful entertaining looks for things that happen. it might be subtitled speculation. as i will affect something that might have had, it's not proven. to begin, i want to take a side trip sure you that we are going to get into the campaign we are going to start leftfield to get to pondfield. i realized that i put together stems from things i've learned over the years by trying to be as thoughtful as i can regarding
sources. i have a couple of points i want to make about the ways i believe even some of the most trusted sources are potentially manipulated by a number of factors. i think anybody working with this material has to take that into account. in a grand way, i believe examination of the campaign is proof whether or not i can convince you is a worthwhile effort. i know what i wanted to first item about but i didn't know what to call it. i find myself thinking a lot about sherlock holmes. before i read everything i could lay my hands on about the civil war, i was a sure lockean i read stories and novels saw the movies. i read the books and as i was
struggling for that from my client to call this item on my list? i kept thinking back to a book i read about sherlock holmes and i brought with me, i don't make these things up say enough. the book by samuel rosenberg make it is the best for skies. i won't go into all of it, he does an amazing job going through philosophies and religions to make ties to sherlock holmes for the one thing he seems most proud about his mailing address. homes i'm guessing in this room 221 baker street. a was the first floor and be was the next for up. rosenberg moments says that means every area of sherlock
holmes, there is a second story. oh yeah. because of this i said yes, that is what i need fear. second story, that's going to be one of my ideas. now i am guessing more than a couple of you have spent some time researching battles, campaigns, using primary sources. while i won't ask for a show of hands, i suspect a couple of you probably found you have two eyewitnesses to the same event is accounts cannot be reconciled. one of these is of the second story. multiple biographies of a single project or multiple campaign histories noticed the writers have gone two different sources to tell different parts of the story.
much of the time from these belong in the trash bin for sometimes as our understanding of events changes they can rise from the dead. now, the second stories will be reoccurring, it will pop its head up from time to time. the most important thing i wanted to talk about before i got to the main part is memory. i'm a big fan of criminal minds the tv series which ended in 20. if you've seen it, understanding the sequence always and with a shot of them the right thing.in a voiceover by the actors, one of the actors, a quote from literary or political source. the one appropriate care came from the canadian novelist named
william gibson. missus time moves in one direction from memory another. i think we have to realize the outpouring participate writing about the civil war occurred at the end of the 19th an early part of the 20th century 20 plus years being remembered if it's something to do. gibson also says, he's basically arguing it's natural for humans to forget things as they get older and it's just part of life, not something to fear from on the other hand, these civil war veterans reach a time in their life where they feel it is important to sit down they experienced in the civil war. look up the date when they
appeared am guessing most are going to be eating haiti and later 20 or so years out at that time so what i want to do is look at the fact, identify new sources of manipulation that occurred in our society and that. but i think modified backflow of forgetting. i want to see over this important in this online area of ideas, influencers and i see it popping up again and again even on the covid thing when they went through the list of doctors and hospitals you should consult, influencers was on that list. people who either because of
something they do, a lifestyle, a product, philosophy, lots of followers are required. i'd like to suggest influencers existed in the late 19th and 20th century. these are individuals with connections to the figures campaigns who gave speeches reported on, provided articles that appeared in newspapers and journals and even wrote books of their own. when i research my lincoln book, i spent a lot of time looking at lincoln run references after the civil war. i began to see many of them were starting to be influenced by things that.
i want to give an example, i have a friend and we eat lunch every couple months and we talk about this and that but if somebody makes a statement sitting out, the other one looks in and says give me a for instance. i want to give you a for instance on where i think influencers played a role shaping something. in my lincoln book, i have lots of sources but i provided them trustworthy trust but verify and handle very carefully. one of the trust sources was the officer who commanded the gunboat that accompanied lincoln's boat throughout his time, john stanford, captain of the uss back. i have nothing but admiration
for him and i admired the honesty of his statements so much so that when i hit my first crisis here, i believe i was one of the first writing about making to actively consult the u.s. as well book. at that time naval law, only naval vessels were required to keep law so there is no law for the river queen but there is a whopper for the uss back cap in france's book. and when i compared his recollections of the logbook, they didn't match in some places i realized he was working for memory. he didn't have his book in front of him. when i adjusted the memory to what the logbook said about
things where they were or what things are happening, they lined up just fine so i had no problem doing that. the one thing i had a little question about him was his treatment of mary lincoln. he was pretty cold and hard on her in his recollection. by the way, there are two recollections, the one who can access pretty easily onto magazines that appeared in the early 20th century and he wrote the memory of his whole war experience distributive and 12 scripts to his family and they put that one copy online so you can find online if that interests you derive his treatment of mary lincoln and i said you know, i have seen this before somewhere. sure enough, i found it echoing two prominent macon influencers, first quarter, among other things, they hated mary lincoln
is an unworthy widow of the great martyr president and she lived her own life proudly and they hated her for that. man versus women in those ages. i realized when bombs came, he is probably a little follow-up in the memory and decided to rely on the great gentleman he knew and i'm guessing he knew them personally because they moved in the same circles and their memory became his memory and that's why i had to treat that part very carefully. there is another force that worked to shake the memories of civil war veterans "afterwards". i want to stop, this is a case where i had a supposition i've tried out and i think it worked. years ago, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the friend i have lunch with, his son was an
honors class in high school and he asked, you think you will talk to our class? please ask him. he asked the teachers and the teacher said sure. so without thinking, i was a first mistake, i said okay. then panic set in and i said one of my going to tell a class of teens about something they probably don't know anything about? highlight bridge that gap? this was a history honest class, they did everything from colonial times to modern times and the civil war is probably two or three days but here i was going to come stand in front of them and you kind of look a lot, this is what it looked like except they were more fearful. and i said all right, even if
you slept through the civil war classes, i'm going to try something with you. i'm going to say three names and then talk about your reaction to them. then i said lincoln, grant, robert e lee. i saw a lot of nodding their i said look, you may not know who these guys are, you may not know any details of their life for when i said their name, and image brought into your head and attached to it whether historically right or wrong, some characteristics. that's the influence i'm talking about that permeates to the levels of the uninitiated.
they're going to have an opinion in their minds i about important figures of the war and i want to emphasize everything i am talking about pertains to those campaigns, those times that transcended themselves and become almost symbols of things. the battle of trudeau's elbow probably would make it but gettysburg, sherman's march, appomattox, i think they all fall into those categories. i think in many of those cases, influencers help fill in memory blanks on the veterans who try that. i've made some changes in the morning and i have arrows here and arrows there. look, there's another force that helped shape them.
there is a process that happened and if any of you have read lincoln the marlboro man, who've encountered a circumstance clear groups of individuals set on establishing certain specific kinds of imageries, they were influencers who gave speeches and talks as a result, a specific robert was flowing hot in this post 19th, early 20th century. these old soldiers held a compulsion to be part of this great story, a compulsion they wanted to remember and when they
started to tell their stories, especially appomattox, gettysburg, sherman's march, they felt heavily pressure to conform to the standard story out there. they were not out there to challenge the story, they were there to say this is my part of this story. again, my friend would say all right, give me a for instance. out for reasons i am not smart enough to figure out yet, sherman's march, i would argue within 20 years of the march, the standard story had been established. it was a draw from georgia where the problems were few.
you had roots ramus song which i think that the town, it didn't provide specifics but it certainly was not a fume march when they were singing marching from georgia, there was a merger of triumph, victory. this template only worked as a standard story began to say everything was perfect. everything moved exactly as they wanted. the veterans wrote their stories, they were almost compelled to write. i picked this because i've stumbled on to a ripple effect within about two years of where we are standing right now. 1985, a properly respected historian wrote a history of sherman's march and he based his soldier side essentially on
published recollection of men on the march. these men had already bought into that part of the story so when he did his compilation and again, it was well received and honored, he looked at those and calculated based on everything they've said in the course of the march, it rained for two days. let's jump to 2017. together an occasional feature called civil war by the numbers, this was a march to the sea. upper right hand corner, number of times it rained in the savanna campaign now when i did
my book, i was after a different objective 12 so i wound up maybe one manuscript for diaries and here i think by 19, mr. rick, my science teacher who loves to talk about another, even convinced local army air base the radar have a radar i am drawing the circles and figuring out the lows and highs, i just noticed. as a result, rather was only now
look i'm looking at you all and i'm guessing i'm not the only one in the room who has looked at a number of manuscript diaries. speaking only for myself, i will say for the most part they are going. [laughter] seriously and awkward conversation, the weather. i realized even the most boring, it rained in the afternoon or something like that so i put out a spreadsheet left wing, right wing entries for each day, i even tracked down a professor at the university of georgia who was as crazy as i was and she looked at my result and she said in front came through here, you had a storm over here just by the weather and temperature. by my count, it rained for eight
days and it snowed for one day my sandwich these guys remember 30 years out even recall or if i recall that, they said it doesn't fit the story, i better not say that because people will laugh at me. hurrah, hurrah. we bring the jubilee. that was sort of spirit that animated this thing. the reason i've done is to give you a sense of when i look at these things, these a lot of the questions i am trying to answer. i'm afraid i've learned, i trust but verify a lot of times. sometimes i am surprised when i find. i'll tell you a case. the lincoln book, i was always looking forward lincoln recollections.
you may not have noticed this but i did because i looked at so many. every lincoln's birthday starting about 1880, every regional local newspaper in february would run a sunday supplement that week about abraham lincoln. they would have no trouble getting stories about the greatness or whatever. they would always send it to the local veterans home and they would say all right, who has met abraham lincoln? they would all raise their hand. she would write down their stories, some were in kansas and montana, using wants to get rid of what i really liked, a new york soldier, a heavy regiment from artillery regiment that
normally residency transport infantry for the most part in the civil war, he said he is a sentry at city.and one day on his way up, he stopped and had a couple of pleasant words. that was it, i think more profound than that but it was such a great moment doing my due diligence, i went to the civil war and i found him. the ninth new york heavy artillery and said great, one more thing to do. i looked at the itinerary on the heavy artillery, they never got within spitting distance of peter's for intersect maybe a detachment so i read the tiny print and the dates, nothing force detached for petersburg so a harmless memory but i couldn't
use it so i think that's how this informs now when i do things to try to make those evaluations because you never know. i want to begin to turn towards robert ely. this is my bad as they would say. when i was that young kid reading everything i could find about the civil war, 1862, leon, i had what i called a freeze brain mentality. he projected it to 63, 64 and 65. didn't think he changed. only after i was older and i
would like to think a little wiser that i realize that believe was a human being. a man under tremendous stress and it took its toll. as i looked back at his campaigns throughout the period from the things he said and knew, i haven't copyrighted it but it's my three phases of the career. i believe there are three distinct phases culminating in that campaign. phase one, 1862 to early 1864, he self-appointed his mission to maneuver the enemy into a battle of annihilation, inflicting a defeat so severe that the north would be compelled to come to the negotiating table. he felt as a military man, endowed and i guess i'm thinking
about we with certain skills of a warrior couldn't help but achieve this by doing this. this was his mantra and the question he asked time and again was, how can we get at those people? this was so important to him it helps answer the question people often ask, why did he take so many risks? the reward was so important to him that he took the risk. a little book on robert e lee and i will confess to you and no one else, this is the first book i did that was a job. meaning it wasn't my idea.
usually i am burning alive with an idea i want and i find a publisher who buys into it and we do the book. this time there is a publisher during a series in my agent artwork from them and they said we've got two openings. george custer or robert ely. i looked inside i don't want to do custer. [laughter] i said i will give me a try. retrospect, again i'm not going to speak for the book, the book is what it is. you either buy it or not. you may agree with me on some things. when i rear realized my years in public radio helped me, radio writing teaches you concision. in radio i've only got your here for the length of a sentence.
i can't go on for 12 more sentences to say it. i got to say it right away with you or you won't get it. the fact that this was limited to 200 pages, freeman's introductions probably longer than that. [laughter] but it forced me to boil water alive and get down to the critical things. i came across some things i'm guessing freeman but maybe he didn't emphasize them enough ways in which we took risks in odd places, a few days after the battle, lee called his officers together and indicated he was ready to go again. he wanted to cross back to the river and fight him again.
his officers were gentlemen, proper but probably gave him back gentle sovereign appointment of, are you crazy? #they laid out for him the losses of officers, units that are not functional anymore and he reluctantly agreed that i think this speaks to that sense of mission he had. next time you hear someone say these brave greatest victory, you have my permission to laugh, robert e lee but i was anything but a victory. this is a quote. we came not ground and the enemy could not be pursued. plus he had taken serious losses just as he was on the verge of launching that rate into the north.
i will confess here, i am an old-fashioned guy there's a difference between invasion and a rate, often you will see these campaign in the invasion, invasion means i'm taking over and i'm going to stay there. her rate is, i want to hit you hard, do some damage and go back home and i think that is what this was. but we went to gettysburg and i have no reason to talk to you about what happened there but what i think we need to do, and this is done as often as i would like to see, we need to view this as leave unit not as able historians viewed it. i will confess is the author of a book on gettysburg, the question i have the biggest trouble answering from why was gettysburg informed?
two more years of war, more casualties after gettysburg and before gettysburg, or property destroyed and civilians turned homeless, what the heck gettysburg accomplish other than turning back a movement by lee? my was it. let's look at it as leave unit because we are heading to phase two of my copyrighted history of lee. this was his first crisis. as he saw it, he had every advantage in the campaign, he believed the time of the battle's soldiers were fit incompetent, he controlled the top of the campaign and battle forcing the enemy to react to him. he had several clear opportunities to smash the union army that he could not produce a decisive victory at the time made it very clear to him he could not do it at any time.
how did we react? 1863, he resigned. jefferson davis refused to accept it but what stood out to me in his letter was when he said i cannot even accomplish what i myself and desire. we mentally regrouped and crafted himself a new mission in place of the great victory with their life union forces to buy time for a political process to negotiate an end of the war. he sustained him from the over the campaign into the siege of petersburg. from that.to go through the petersburg campaign but it was gradual. i wanted to see was what kind of information was he getting about
how the war was going elsewhere and what was he saying? what does it tell us about his state of mind? quietly those determined capable, able. but everything i'm going to read our lee quotes. 1865, he won for confederate secretary of war of the alarming frequency of these actions from his army. soon after, orders from his headquarters perhaps the penalty for advising persuading deserting his death. the union success that almost broke his lines in february 1865, lee told the secretary you must not be surprised calamity process. mid february he assessed the threat posed by sherman and the
carolinas and predicted it may be necessary to abandon all our cities. i'm giving you a window into his mind in this critical. in early march, he concluded a review of the overall situation with a statement that legitimate military consequences of the enemy's numerical material superiority and postponed longer than we reason to anticipate. it's in this time he met with the confederate congressman the soft creek not been the case on the battlefield the refused to do so, he never said to me the chances for over the tone and remarks made that impression of my mind. hunter would be one of those but i think it's dropped, it doesn't fit that picture. in march, we met with jeff and
chris davis, he had no plan for its diplomatic illusion. his only plan was to have the north inflict so much misery on the south they would arise and revolt and given the forces he would need to win. now we move in two -- got to do this quickly now. he breaks these lines and they abandon petersburg. we can thank hollywood's scriptwriters for magnify symbolism of appomattox. there is a film currently in rotation on a channel called the undefeated, john wayne that opens with wayne's unit
attacking a rebel position. the next morning to present his office with news of lee's surrender and the civil war was over. an episode of gun smoke into a civil war veteran on a mission of vengeance assess all the violence in the world didn't and when lee surrendered. marshall troup scored a figure to meet with union officer whose life he saved the government to talk about amnesty. this time the character says maybe i'll have a chance for my own appomattox. the campaign has this kind of power on the popular meaty media, you could bet there's some twisting to the story at various times. early 1865, weak distributive a contingency plan should richmond petersburg become untenable, they would fall back to a
certain place. this is completely normal, what a good commander best assessing popular mass abilities. i saw nothing back. guided by that plan, retaining from richmond and petersburg to converge on the richmond railroad called amelia courthouse, troops began reaching forth as did robert e lee the official story is to allow forces to regroup and make an appeal to the citizens of amelia county and provisions. since i will not be standing in front of a group at this caliber probably in the distant future at best, i'm just wondering if any of you in your business and
historical societies, museums have ever seen an original version, original copy he printed off and passed out, has anyone ever seen one? i am not suggesting not real but i'll note that when -- he did his wartime papers of robert e lee, he printed text for the footnote to the confederate veteran, i checked the confederate pieces, assigned to the copy it received to a small virginia newspaper who claimed verbatim but if you lock it down, i would not say this is the kind of providence you would want to see. i believe lee's appeal was a cover story. part of his responsibility, he would have maintained an inventory within reach of his
wagon. with that in mind, i looked back through lee's dispatches earlier and sure enough january 11, 1865, robert e lee told the confederate secretary of war there's nothing within reach of this army that can be impressed. the country is clear. i am not a farmer but you can tell me how much props wrote in february and march in that part of virginia. when the wagons came back empty, i am not surprised, i don't believe lee was surprised either. i believe lee is slowly coming to terms with his third crisis. there is no longer fighting for time off jefferson davis has no intention of giving into a negotiation from a position of weakness. he seems to believe they would
reach back and rise up. i think he experienced and understood what happened believe otherwise. he's a man in search of a solution. he now makes two critical decisions that sent him on the road. first, he does nothing. his objective is 150 miles south on the railroad and the capitol of the confederacy. from there on the same day we rose, david issues a proclamation when he says no peace will ever be made with the infamous manners. so that's what's waiting at the end of the line down there.
the distinction. number one, it's leading from the east and south, lines of march occupied at this time by the union army. number two, it's lee's telegraph's house. i'm going to go back to sherlock holmes. the silver plays, he's investigating the kidnapped horse with a typically clumsy inspector with him and as they are writing back, the inspector asked homes, is there any thing that you'd wish to bring to my attention?
the famous quotes even people who don't read a lot on him probably know this quote. he said i will commend your attention to the dog in the ninth time, referring to the fact that the watchdog at the stable where the horse was didn't make any noise at night which for homes meant somebody on the inside did the job but was dumb and said but the dog did nothing in the nighttime. holmes said that's the curious incident. i commend to you the curious incident of the confederate forces of calvary on april 4 to hold open his door to the south, the answer is, there was none and that is the curious incident. midmorning, april 5 they moved south and found the roadblock by using calvary and fast arriving infantry. lee makes the most critical decision of the last campaign,
the petersburg forces begin moving west in the town of farmville movie the night of april 5. i gave an earlier version, i moved ahead to the battles of april 6. i had a moment expressed by the word the. [laughter] work with me. the railroad, what did we accomplish? it runs along the railroad. turning away from the railroad, lee had broken his telegraphic connection to jefferson davis. he was now a free agent able to make decisions without having to consult with him now why is this
important? asked joseph johnston, his army around raleigh north carolina has his forces about birthdays march to his east. when he is first senator clement, he checks on him, they are in connection. he wants to tempt him all calvary to the west johnson knows the misery this will inflict upon civilians as hordes of hungry infantrymen come looking for food. he reject his orders and surrenders his army in fact why you won't see so many of those doctors anymore. by breaking his telegraphic communications, he is not around to consult with him. back to virginia, 1865 the retreats are sloppy by nature. april 6, 2 confederate pollens
out of supporting distance of each other, after a federal attack on each one, hyper? minor it resulted in a serious loss in both men and officers, several high-ranking. the beginning, second story, there's a second story now that will emerge here. his biography has him being told commonly between orders to pull things together. this was the interesting part for me, there's a version i know about because freeman prints in a footnote, a set up that says welcome this happened i can't believe it is true, check with walter taylor and he assures me it's not true and therefore it can't be true. remember, here's one of main
influencers after the war promoting that image of wheat that became known as the marlboro man. so thanks to freeman, an officer coming up from jefferson davis location asked for an update. we says a few more sailors and it will be all over. and it is expected from the first. he wouldn't say that but i hope you see what i'm saying that suggests may be heated. fourteen days in the future we would write that his army began to disintegrate. i think lena is creating an honorable situation to surrender his army. he's all out of options, the option of inflicting misery on
the countryside will not accept. later when calvary wants to break out, he refuses them to go. now we've got to telling moments. the army comes up on farmville and begins to assemble on the north side of the river. we talked about sources. one of the more drastic confederate sources is alexander who wrote a public memoir and private memoir and both are available. we find the second story, here it is. alexander reports one assignment for his gun from alexander is an alternative reman. he shows the area, his examination, he is puzzled,
disturbed. here's what he wrote. these are his words. he was the first sign i had on a map and i scanned it eagerly in the situation. the most direct boat to lynchburg which was supposedly the ultimate destination, he did not cross the river as we had done but kept up the south side near the south side railroad. the road we were on went back up and then back and was evidently longer and crossed the headwaters of the river and rejoined the strader road at the courthouse. i pointed there and it looks
like we might have the most trouble. this response was dismissing what the word well, there is time enough to think about that later. he sent his army off on a longer route to the courthouse. on the other side, chauvin and infantry are on the shorter route. i suspect a lot of the stories are known by the officers but understanding the gentleman don't talk about that but i think a piece of it popped up. we received general grant first request for his surrender, he had the escape route open to him so he is obligated by his sense of honor to keep moving. when he asked for his opinion, long streets as we must fight on or the men support you, he says
not yet which means it's not all pieces in place yet to do this. two days later, the conditions permit, xbox and alexander warned him he would be if you grant 1865 and his army. three closing notes. in his final address more than he attended morning when he wrote the devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuation of the contest. i determined to avoid a useless sacrifice of those whose services have endeared them to his country. i think lee is describing everything he was doing. lee broke his connection with davis the courthouse. april 10, he meets informally with lee and asked him if he would lend his name to a
proclamation surrender. all of a sudden the fact that he was not in contact with jefferson davis was informed to me who answered he could not make a statement without checking first with his commander-in-chief. i'll let you draw your own conclusions. april 20, lee got something off his chest in a letter written to jefferson davis. to save the useless area and measures taken to the suspension and the restoration of peace. so it's my hope's biographers will take a look at the campaign as described. they are known to be wrong.
[laughter] in a way, it became hollywood's go to shorthand for ending the civil war. i would suggest to you that this perfection does not happen by accident. while i hope, i don't expect everyone to agree with my revision, i do hope it might inspire some to revisit the civil war's more. thanks very much. [applause] if you have questions, i'll remind you all over here, i'll be happy to sign books. if you have questions right now, i'll be happy to answer. >> thank you. we got one, good.
>> you described the faces, if you think it only moved in one direction or do you think it was variable? you think it was early toward d.c., was that more of a spectrum? >> was a defensive move. throughout the campaign, they would do damage to the north. there is just another -- i don't know he had higher hopes but at the end of the day, it proved to be a disaster initially successful but in the end, a disaster. i think the conflict -- i still can't explain why he agreed at that time.
maybe this will do something to slow them down and when it doesn't, he loses a lot of men so people are complicated things, i think they can move in a direction sometimes left job, right, so keeping a direction. i would argue this enhances in a way i think lee's stature, to be that gentleman who just stuck to it in front to the end surrender only when he was forced to, it is a less appealing character than one who becomes feels a loss so personally understand every general expects losses but you expect them for gain. lee reached where he knew there was no marcaine to be found. about he would suffer more losses to these young men who
i'm sure he acquired tremendously caused some of these back and forth but i think if you chart it, was he who is focused on the end he couldn't know grant would do such a good job. >> you made reference to lee's stress he was under an obvious circumstance, my understanding in 1863 he had a heart attack or a major cardiac event, i am wondering how his physical ailments or condition plays in to his attitude toward what is going on on the battlefield. >> he is incapacitated for
several days. i checked with ray and he assigned back to intestinal distress kind of thing. for a man of lee's age to brought the campaigns he does, i think it reminded him of his mortality. he put in his mind the fact there has got to be a time where i this product not here. certainly the writing was on the wall in 1865 and i think that's where he made that turn. >> you mentioned some of lee's correspondent in 1865 and he says if we don't evacuate or prepare, that's my first question and the second question is of pushback that you said lee did the honorable thing and surrendered -- the microphone is
not working. there was no twice. why didn't he, if he was going well, why didn't he try to prepare -- of richmond? the calamity here on april 2. that's what unleashes -- [inaudible] >> i got about every fourth word. i got what you said about davis, there's a second-story i had in the script, but i had to jump past this. it has centered in the palm of the storm as he's reorganizing april 2 but supposedly a courier came up to him with a note from president davis saying 24 hours is not enough time to evacuate. we said i know i gave that guy
ample warning this could happen. it was a burst of anger directed at jefferson davis south davis was even more of what was back? russian cuckoo crowd world? [laughter] and anybody else in the confederacy at that time. lee would be respectful, things aren't exactly looking as we hoped they would and i think it would be prudent if you considered starting to evacuate less important things of the confederacy, it would have been not get your rear end in here and get ready to get out of town on short notice kind of warning. i'm sorry, i didn't get -- i couldn't hear it. >> [inaudible question] >> it is not me making it cut
off. >> he believed that lee made it clear before they abandon richmond and petersburg of the cause was lost so his argument was that any loss of life as you look at the beginning of the spring 65 as a loss of life so while you say he did the honorable thing and surrendered, how would you respond to someone like no one who said his own words, he said it was up and continue to fight even what you said, it doesn't make sense there's another offensive gambit according to noland and even your own words that maybe one who didn't have a chance at all but he did it anyways. >> lee was caught out of her dilemma. there's a u.s. army guy first and an army guy contemplating proactively surrendering his army as treason and i think to live with himself, which he obviously did it didn't sense
>> he wasn't making this decision in a vacuum? he knew it was probably the right decision to make. but he had other people he was listening to. >> yes. like the calvary generals tended to be younger and they would break out. he said no. i think long street knew what was going on. i really do. most of the other senior guys were in chains. [laughter] thanks to saylors creek. and then you send long street knew what was going on that
lee included him in a discussion? >> on long street whether by accident or if lee included him. >> i don't think. lee never would've had a conversation. i am thinking about surrendering the army. what do you think? that long street could read the writing on the wall in one of the generals who probably understood the better than almost anybody else in that command. anything he could both see the struggle but also understand his objective at the end. that is why that comment leaves out at me. why would he say not yet? when he expected a more bringing affirmation of the need to fight on? to me, it says wink wink, nod nod. i know what you are thinking.
but not yet. >> i need to stand up for robert e. lee. what is his job? to make policy? or is his job to make military decisions that can have an advantage? and i would argue toward stedman and during the appomattox campaign with those military options are eliminated at the appomattox courthouse, he had opportunities to fight his army to some advantage. that is the explanation of why we behave the way he did the last couple months of the war. >> you could be right. but i point out. there is no confederate counter attack during the appomattox campaign.
it is defensive fighting that happens at saylors creek. but again, two times there is an option to do something that way preserve the offensive possibilities. he sent a force down to hold them off and got the army moving south, that would have said he wants to keep the fight going. or if he moved up portion along the south side of the river and said i am trusting alexander. if he tells me know. i go with him on that one. i hear what you are saying. stedman was in motion for months or a month and a half. maybe he looked at it to buy more time and it didn't. anyone else? thank you. [applause]