Lee's Last Stand... Gun in Hand...

5fish

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How would Lee be remembered if he had fought to the last man at Appomattox on April 8th, 1865 and die with a gun in hand.?

Would he still a hero in the eyes of people today?

Would the last stand at Appomattox be compared to the Alamo or Thermopylae with the same praise?

Would the last stand at Appomattox be consider by historians as foolishness of a zealot?

Would there have been a "Lost Cause movement" if Lee had die that way or would it have added more fuel to the movement and Lee's legend?

How would such an act be perceived?
 

5fish

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Imagine....

Could you picture Lee asking his men to stand with him until last. Think of that historical image of Lee asking his fellow soldiers to stand with him until death.

Think of the pressure a soldier in Lee's army would feel if he refused to stand with Lee until the end. Think of the pressure of the other confederate soldiers around the south like Johnston, Forrest, Smith if they did stand until death with their soldiers as Lee had.

I think it would have led to a insurgent warfare and many think Reconstruction was bad. Lee would become the symbol that would be use for years to rally the white south to fight on.

I think today he would be a symbol of evil in the none southern schools and symbol of pride in the southern schools. He would be a polarizing image today if he had made a last stand at Appomattox....

The way Lee surrender did a lot for keeping the peace in the years falling the war....One reason he is a belove figure by most people today
 

5fish

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It seems we all soon forget if Lee had gotten to his trains full of food for his troops, he would have fought on. There was most likely would have been one grand battle with AoNV if Lee could have fed them. It most likely would have been like Sailor Creek a crushing defeat and Lee may have enter the fray to keep his lines from collapsing. You know like Ceaser did at the battle of Alesia...
 

diane

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Lee tried to enter the fray three times way before Appomattox and his men wouldn't let him. The idea of a suicide ride crossed his mind - he mused to his aides that he could go out there, just him, Traveller and the Confederate flag, and jog along the enemy lines until they closed his business. Again - his men would get killed preventing him from doing it. Any time Lee wanted to get into the action himself, they stopped him!

One thing Grant was worried about was a guerilla war, which would have been the only way to keep from losing - never winning but never losing. This was suggested to Lee and had he given the word, his army would have vaporized into the hills right before the Union forces. Grant would have spent the rest of his life fighting them then. Sherman believed Forrest would do this, which is why he made it clear without saying so that Forrest had to be killed. The cavalrymen were his biggest fear. It was not desirable, however, for Lee to bite the dust in combat at this point. That would have made many of his men turn renegade and vow to fight forever.

Having an Alamo last stand fight at Amelia Courthouse might have made some sense but Lee could not see the gain in getting people killed who had been the die-hard loyal veterans of many battles. This would have been a waste of dedicated lives that the South would need to rebuild - these soldiers couldn't be murdered, and that is how Lee would have seen such a fight. In the west, there were still two barely viable armies in the field - Taylor's and Kirby-Smith's as well as remnants of Hood's army. The cavalry was in better shape in the Trans-Mississippi with JO Shelby still a viable force. Taylor was finished but there was a chance Forrest might continue to fight - he told them anybody who thought the war should continue was a madman who needed to be sent to an asylum immediately. Lee would have agreed with him! George Thomas told Forrest Mississippi and Tennessee would be a hundred years buried if he decided to keep fighting - but he didn't need to make the threat. Lee knew it was over when it was over and...it was over. Further fighting meant further destruction of what he had been fighting for.
 

5fish

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Having an Alamo last stand fight at Amelia Courthouse might have made some sense but Lee could not see the gain in getting people killed who had been the die-hard loyal veterans of many battles.
I think the only reason Lee surrendered was his army was hungry. If he could have beaten the union to the trains by a day or two Lee would have fought on. I suspect he would have thrown himself into the fray if the fighting started to break his lines... I wonder if he had died in battle with gun in hand after killing several Yankees would that have sparked a guerrilla movement...
 

diane

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I think the only reason Lee surrendered was his army was hungry. If he could have beaten the union to the trains by a day or two Lee would have fought on. I suspect he would have thrown himself into the fray if the fighting started to break his lines... I wonder if he had died in battle with gun in hand after killing several Yankees would that have sparked a guerrilla movement...
The war was lost at Amelia Courthouse! When Lee didn't get food, his army couldn't fight any further. Already large numbers of hungry men had gone off and others were straggling to hunt. I agree with you about Lee's death in battle - nothing like becoming a martyr!
 
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