Tide Turns Case 6
Lee Surrenders
Spreading the Lost Cause

By the time of Robert E. Lee’s surrender, the Civil War had evolved into an open conflict over whether slavery would remain legal in the United States. The Confederacy fought for its independence to preserve the institution of slavery and the federal government eventually made ratification of the 13th Amendment a mandatory step for readmittance to the Union.

Following the Civil War, a new war began over how it would be remembered—especially its causes. Former Confederate leaders and their allies sought to rewrite the conflict as one merely over the broad idea of “states rights,” eliminating slavery’s central role. This became known as “The Lost Cause” and one its earliest and most effective proponents was a prominent former commander in Lee’s army, Jubal Early. Here he writes a note—presumably for a supporter—quoting an 1883 speech to Confederate veterans inviting divine punishment if he ever repudiates the Lost Cause.

Label Audio

SC2934 – Jubal Early Lost Cause Statement

Jubal A. Early, 22 January 1887

If ever I disown, repudiate, or apologize for the cause for which Lee fought and Jackson died, let the lightnings of Heaven blast me, and the scorn of all good men and true women be my portion.

Jubal A. Early

Lieut General of C.S.A.

Lynchburg Virginia

January 22nd 1887

Letter Audio

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