(American Thinker) -- With the revulsion against Confederate symbols that has resulted from shooter Dylann Roof's internet picture with the Confederate battle flag, Robert E. Lee has been put in the gunsights of social radicals. Lee was one of the two great generals of the Civil War and due in part to his good fortune in having an excellent biographer in Douglas Southall Freeman, is generally regarded as the greatest, although it should be noted that Grant won the war.
Lee came from one of the oldest families in Virginia and arguably its most distinguished. His father, Light Horse Harry Lee, was a general in the Revolutionary War and a relative, Richard Henry Lee, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Winfield Scott, general in chief of the Army before the Civil War, thought Lee the best soldier he had ever seen. Lee was offered the command of the Union army but resigned his commission to fight, as he saw it, for his homeland, Virginia. Before the Civil War, the country was referred to as “these United States.” After the Civil War, it was “the United States.” So, ante bellum, there was a different view of the country than we have now.