MONUMENT AVENUE – “THERE GOES ROBERT E. LEE”

Uploaded 4 Nov 2012 — 38 favorites
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© Richard Knight
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

[Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia, October 2012]

Richmond’s Monument Avenue is an ode to the past.

There, in grand scale, are equestrian statues of the great Confederate chieftains, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Lt. Gen. Thomas. J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson, and Lt. Gen. James Ewell Brown (“JEB”) Stuart, all of them West Point graduates. There are also monuments to Confederate President Jefferson Davis (also a West Point graduate) and Matthew Fontaine Maury, the “Pathfinder of the Seas.”

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) was born at Stratford Hall, Virginia, into an ancient and noble family, and was raised in genteel poverty in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. His aging and ailing father, Gen. Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee, III, a hero of the American Revolution, was deep in debt and never home, leaving Lee’s mother, Ann Hill Carter Lee, to raise the boy who would one day become one of the most admired men in American history.

When the American Civil War began, Lee was offered command of the United States Army, but declined choosing, instead, to return home to Virginia. Lee would not draw his sword to defend slavery, but he would defend Virginia’s right to be free from invasion. Virginia, Lee reasoned, had been sovereign for more than 250 years – ever since Jamestowne – whereas the United States was, by comparison, a relatively new concept, that is, a federation created by a voluntary association of states.

Historians have debated the constitutionality of secession and the wisdom of Lee’s decision. I do not propose to do either in this forum.

After the War, Lee was appointed president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University), a post he held until his death, in 1870.

General Lee was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1900. Gen. Jackson was elected in 1957. And Matthew Fontaine Maury was elected in 1930. The Hall of Fame is located on the campus of Bronx Community College, CUNY, in New York City. The Hall features a bust of each member, and it is worth a visit.

If you have time, click on Joan Baez’ famous version of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” linked below. What a beautiful voice. Listen for the line, “There goes Robert E. Lee.” The accompanying video is from “Custer of the West” (1967). (Robert Shaw of “Jaws” fame plays Custer!)

I hope you enjoyed this. As always, thanks for stopping by.

33 responses

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Wonderful!!!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Outstanding!

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Awesome! I might know more about our history, if you'd been the teacher when I was in school! Excellant as always!!!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Excellent narrative and image...I remember seeing an image similar to this on Donald Garrett's site and I'll bet it is a popular tourist attraction.

  • Sarah Springer

    Sarah Springer   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Loved reading the narrative that goes along with another fab set of images

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Brilliant narrative and love that song by Joan Baez, brings me back to Woodstock. Lovely history and image.

  • Mary Brown

    Mary Brown   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Thank you, Dick, for the history & the photo. I'm with Betty...I wish you had been my History teacher!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight said (4 Nov 2012):

    Thank you, Brenda, for the spotlight, and thank you, everyone, for your nice comments. I appreciate them very much.

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    Always interesting read and excellent image !

  • Fred Moskey

    Fred Moskey   gave props (4 Nov 2012):

    An outstanding photo to go with an interesting lesson in history.

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield   gave props (5 Nov 2012):

    I liked the original by The Band in '69, and loved Joan's version in '71; the song belied my hippiness at the time..all that peace/love stuff as opposed to tearin' up tracks and such!! I love the way you framed this shot, with those gorgeous trees on either side. If you were my history teacher, I definitely would have brought an apple for you (iPad? iPod?) Thanks for always posting such wonderful images and informative narrative!!

  • Drora Baharal

    Drora Baharal said (5 Nov 2012):

    very good work. excellent explanation

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (6 Nov 2012):

    This song has been on the radio frequently lately for some reason. A great Youtube. Thanks for sharing, Dick!

  • Paperini Renato

    Paperini Renato gave props (6 Nov 2012):

    Really a great leader, famous worldwide. Reminds me of the Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi in Italy before fighting the wars of independence from Austria, very fought in South America for the independence of other oppressed people. Now wars are won by the economic strength and technological modernity. The monument of glory and eternal glory.

  • John Linton

    John Linton said (7 Nov 2012):

    When my father (born and raised in Kinston, NC) would pass Civil War monuments as he travel through New England with my mother (born and raised in Berwick, ME) he loved to say, "There's another monument to Confederate marksmanship. Unfortunately, when you stand in front of the monument to Stonewall Jackson in Charlottesville, VA standing on a pedestal made by the Smith Granite company of Westerly, RI you could also say, "There's another monument to Confederate marksmanship."

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3963509322375&set=a.1023284498592.2004483.1119626573&type=1&theater

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (7 Nov 2012):

    Richard, the only thing that could have been better than this beautiful shot and slice of history would be to have been there with everyone. This makes me feel like I was almost there.

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes   gave props (8 Nov 2012):

    Great narrative with this beautifully composed image.

  • JanElle

    JanElle   gave props (9 Nov 2012):

    A most beautiful image and historical narrative of this remarkable man!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh   said (10 Nov 2012):

    Beautiful capture!

  • Frank Summers

    Frank Summers   said (10 Nov 2012):

    Great Shot and story! I would have loved to be there. Love History.

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   gave props (11 Nov 2012):

    Awesome photo, perfectly framed with the fall colored leaves. Love the inset of a close up of Robert E. Lee!

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia gave props (11 Nov 2012):

    great shot!!!!!!!!!!!! super comp on this shot.super history lesson.

  • Ioana Caravan

    Ioana Caravan   gave props (13 Nov 2012):

    I agree with Mary and Betty on this one!

  • Drora Baharal

    Drora Baharal said (15 Nov 2012):

    Very nice combination. thanks for explanation

  • Zapata Juan P

    Zapata Juan P gave props (15 Nov 2012):

    Well done. So great image and story

  • Carl Kuntze

    Carl Kuntze gave props (21 Nov 2012):

    Good historical narrative.

  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (25 Nov 2012):

    wonderful balance and creative framing

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (28 Nov 2012):

    A fabulous capture and history lesson.

  • peggy maguire

    peggy maguire said (9 Dec 2012):

    Beautiful photo Dick,Love the colors!! !Peggy

  • vince scaglione

    vince scaglione gave props (15 Jan 2013):

    Very nice! Lovely colors!

  • Tori Lindo

    Tori Lindo said (6 Apr 2013):

    Love it!

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