State holiday, dinner celebrate life of Gen. Robert E. Lee

By: Nick Bona Email
By: Nick Bona Email

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – Saturday marked a little known yet controversial holiday in Tennessee celebrating the 201st birthday of General Robert E. Lee.

Gen. Lee is best remembered as the general who turned down command of the Union Forces during the Civil War on the grounds that he could not take up arms against his native Virginia.

The war officially ended with his surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox in 1865.

Gen. Lee lived another five years, devoting them to binding the wounds of the war.

To celebrate his life, an East Tennessee chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans held its annual Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson dinner Saturday evening in Knoxville.

During the event, those in attendance reflected on what kind of man Gen. Lee was.

"He always prayed for the federal soldiers, every night before he went to bed,” said Thomas Cartwright, director of the Carter House in Franklin. “After the war, destitute federal soldiers were coming to him for help, and he would give them money, clothes and food.”

“His character and morality were so high that he just didn't allow himself to get into any kind of problems," said Ronald Jones, a commander with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The dinner drew around 260 people and also celebrated the life of Gen. Jackson, who would have celebrated his 184th birthday on Monday.

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  • by louis Location: mississippi on Jan 22, 2008 at 10:09 AM
    Yes sir. Robert E. Lee was a great General.While I was in Vietnam we always ask the General for Guidance before each day, going into the field. a lot of Historians consider him the Greatest strategist in the Battle Field, of all History.
  • by Calvin Location: Kennesaw, Georgia on Jan 21, 2008 at 01:27 PM
    Did you know that Booker T. Washington, America's great African- American Educator, wrote in 1910, quote "The first white people in America, certainly the first in the South, to exhibit their interest in the reaching of the Negro and saving his soul through the medium of the Sunday-school were Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall Jackson?" unquote Read my full article on Robert E. Lee by typing "Happy 201st Birthday Robert E. Lee" in the search engine. Have a Dixie Day!!!
  • by Calvin Location: Kennesaw, Georgia on Jan 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM
    January 21st is also the birthday of another great American- General Stonewall Jackson. God Bless the memory of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson. The men were among the greatest of all Americans. They deserve to be remembered and it is up to us to keep their memory eternal. Have a Dixie Day!!!


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