View Full Version : Robert E. Lee quote - fact or historical fiction?

26 Oct 08,, 23:18
I don't have the Killer Angels at home so this is a direct lift from another site. Does anyone know if the bolded quotation is an actual Robert E. Lee quote or just part of the historical fiction of the book? Thanks.

To be a good soldier you must love the army. But to be a good officer you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. This is ... a very hard thing to do. No other profession requires it. That is one reason why there are so few good officers. Although there are many good men. (...) We are prepared to lose some of us. (...) But never all of us. Surely not all of us. But ... that is the trap. You can hold nothing back when you attack. You must commit yourself totally. And yet, if they all die, a man must ask himself, will it have been worth it?

27 Oct 08,, 02:03
I'm under the impression that he did say that, or perhaps something along those lines. That actually sounds vaguely familiar from another quote that Shaara used. I believe it was Scott from Gone for Soldiers.

27 Oct 08,, 16:26
I submit in contrast that Lee never tried to regain his family home after the war broke out at any point that I know of. Arlington House (Lee's family home) became Arlington cemetary after being captured by the North. It was well documented that Lee was very caring of his family home of 30 years.

Albany Rifles
28 Oct 08,, 14:49
I do not recall that as a direct quote but it was definetely his attitude. Of course, putting it in that context by Lee showed him in stark contrast to McClellan.

And to keep our Shaara's straight. The Michael the father wrote Killer Angels almost 20 years before Jeff the son wrote gone for soldiers. So Jeff may have attributeds it in his book as Lee lertning that from Scott...well, that is plausible.

I also recall a similair attitude attributed to Wellington.