With all the attacks on Robert E. Lee, it is good to remember some of the good qualities that he had, qualities that are worthy of a statue or monument or two.
In the one volume abridgement of Douglas Southall Freeman’s biography of Robert E. Lee, the introduction states that Freeman described Lee as “one of the few, the very few of her sons, whom America offers at the altar of the ages as worthy by reason of his character to be exempted from the else-universal sentence of death.” It adds, “After reading this biography, we are almost prepared to believe it.”
The foreword states that Freeman portrayed a Lee almost without blemishes or warts. It says:
In the index of the original four-volume biography is the entry “Personal Characteristics,” which include: abstemiousness, alertness, amiability, boldness, calmness, charm of manner, cheerfulness, courage, courtesy, dignity, diligence, fairness, faith in God, friendliness, generosity, goodness, good judgment, good looks, grace, heroic character, humility, integrity, intelligence, justice, kindness, mercy, modesty, patience, poise, politeness, resourcefulness, sincerity, tact, thoughtfulness, wisdom. All of these characteristics stand out with even more clarity in this one-volume abridgment, which of necessity strips away much of the verbiage of the original but retains the essence.
Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee (Kindle Locations 95-97). Scribner. Kindle Edition.