[Marxism] The Making and the Breaking of the Legend of Robert E. Lee

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Sun Sep 17 20:32:13 MDT 2017

One of the most frustratingly neglected chapters of the Second American
Revolution was the story of the Richmond Underground, the hundreds of
active Unionists in the Confederate capital, black and white, who did
everything they could to sabotage the war effort.  Before and after
Fredericksburg, Lee's army was badly nobbled by not getting supplies on
schedule.  The railroad operators and suppliers regularly misdirected that
kind of freight.  Elizabeth Van Lew organized a circle of informants that
reached into the War Department and Mary Bowser, a former slave in her
parents household--all manumitted years before--came back to take a
position working for Jefferson Davis in the Confederate White House.  She
smuggled information out through the baker who made daily deliveries,
Thomas McNiven.

What's particularly significant about these people is that they were on the
winning side and we know so little about them.  After the war, the
government brought Van Lew (and surely others) to Washington to remove the
documentation on their activities from the records, because of fear of

Meanwhile, they were putting up statues to the idols of the master class
that tried to destroy a nation when they couldn't rule it anywhere.

It puts a whole new light on what "Reconstruction" meant and never meant.


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