By Nathan Barton
This week is the 150th anniversary of the first military burial at what today is Arlington National Cemetery outside the District of Criminals in Virginia. The site was, in 1863, known as Lee House, the Custis-Lee Plantation, or Arlington House. It was the home and the plantation (“big farm,” in Southron) of a man well known for his service to his state and nation and opposed to slavery.
His house and land was stolen by the direct order of President “Honest Abe” Lincoln, because Lincoln hated and despised and sought to punish the man who had rejected Lincoln’s offer of command of ALL American (Union) forces, because he believed in his oath to the Constitution that Lincoln had trashed.
Yes, I know that Lincoln committed many more serious crimes than simply stealing the property of a single man (and his family) whose honor made Lincoln look like the cheap Chicago shyster that he was. A man whose father had devoted his life to liberty and the Republic, and who himself had grown old in the field fighting in defense of his nation and the Constitution, even when the politicians were busy betraying both.
But for sheer sliminess, it is hard to picture something more than this: putting dead, enemy soldiers into the sod of your front lawn, while you are living in a tent trying to keep that enemy from raping and pillaging your home state. With a bad ticker (which would kill him a mere seven years later). Robert E. Lee was no perfect paladin, but he came closer to that ideal than 99.9% of military men and leaders.