Readers React

Robert E. Lee was no 'gentleman'

To the editor: A century and a half late, let us nail shut the coffin of Confederate traitor Robert E Lee. ("Joan Waugh on Grant's and Lee's 'gentlemen's agreement' ending the Civil War," op-ed, March 31)

Contrary to UCLA historian Joan Waugh's report that Lee, along with Ulysses S. Grant, "had strong ethical and moral compasses," Lee led the bloodiest assault against the United States in our history, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans in an attempt to overthrow the federal government in several states and maintain the chattel enslavement of American-born black men, women and children.

It is little wonder this nation's union is still imperfect, while historians prop up the cadavers from the worst moments in our history.

Cliff Smith, Los Angeles

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To the editor: All of our politicians should read Joan Waugh's book, "U.S. Grant, American Hero, American Myth," to show them how civilized patriots acted when they truly believed that their first duty was to their country, not to their own aggrandizement.

The two parties here had just completed the most terrible and divisive period in our history, yet they came together to see how best to mend the divide and bring the country and the people together. The strength of character to do this is sadly missing today.

Paul Elder, Agoura Hills

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