Did Robert E. Lee Own Slaves?

did robert e lee own slaves

Here’s something else we can see in the meantime, a rare civil war-era photograph of slaves owned by General Robert e lee. It is now being preserved by the National park service, at least at Arlington house. The people recently discovered it thanks to the keen eye of a local volunteer. Photographs of slaves from the civil war era are scarce did robert e lee own slaves. 

Still, incredibly, the second photo of this woman, Selina Gray, was recently discovered by a National Park Service volunteer for auction of eBay for just $20 on the back a handwritten inscription reads General Lee’s slaves Arlington Va sold for $700. First, we have to know who Robert E. Lee was. Then we will learn about ‘did robert e lee own slaves?’ 

Details of Robert E. Lee:

Robert E. Lee, today the principal mention of his name, enough to arouse passionate debate. In his time, he received love and represented by both the Confederate Army in the southern people. Lee was a cherished figure for all Americans. 

When Abraham Lincoln looked at Lee’s picture during the war, he remarked that a man with such compassionate countenance had to be a good man. He was only to outlive the conflicts by five years. In today’s description, we discover the answer to the question ‘did robert e lee own slaves?’ So Let’s do it.

Who was Robert E Lee? 

Robert E. Lee was a member of staff for a fellow Virginian General. The General described Lee as the very best soldier he ever saw in the field. He was also a captain. As a captain, Lee performed several courageous personal reconnaissance missions. Lee participates in several wars with sapience. 

This performance produced intelligence that led to American victories. During this period, the military had no bravery medals, but officers were given brevet promotions for brave deeds during warfare. Captain Lee received three of these prevents during the Mexican War – to major- to Lieutenant Colonel and finally – to Colonel. 

The early life of Robert E. Lee:

On January 19, 1807, Robert E. Lee was born at Stratford Hill plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His father, the wealthy Virginian aristocrat, been a hero during the American Revolution. A series of bad investments left Lighthorse Harry penniless, and he fled Virginia, his family never to return. Lee’s mother raised him, who was a proud and educated woman. 

She was to see that her son was not to be deprived of a proper upbringing because he was fatherless. She made sure that he received education in the arts, languages, and philosophy. Young Robert secured an appointment at the west point of the United States Military Academy. It was in 1825, and he graduated second in his class. He immediately began his career in the United States Army. 

Achievement of Robert E. Lee: 

  • A Military Career:

Robert e Lee progressed through a series of military assignments. It was in the peacetime army. He was in command of the 1st Cavalry in Texas at the beginning of the Civil War. Lee got tangled early in the political turmoil that was about to engulf the nation. It happened when he was on leave from his position in Texas. John Brown attacked the armory at Harpers Ferry, which set the country on the road to war. 

President Buchanan called on the lead to take command of a small Federal force responsible for bringing the situation under control. Lee and the future subordinate he was also on leaves. He faced many difficult problems when he was in the ArmyArmy. When the General of the Army urged Lincoln to the awful command of the Army, Lee struggled with the definition of duty because it planned to defend itself with arms.

  • The sacrifice of Robert E. Lee through a fateful decision 

On April 19, 1861, after Virginia had quit the Union, Roberts e Lee faced his life’s most difficult decision. Accepting the command would undoubtedly mean fighting against his native Virginia and the south, something that he couldn’t bring himself to do.

He had a difficult choice to resign from the Army as he wrestled with his decision, attended by bloodshed prospects on either side. Finally, he decided to quit his Army commission and avoid service with either side in the forthcoming conflict. On April 22, 1861, Lee left his home at Arlington and never returned.

In two weeks, the union troops occupied his house. Lee also foresees the country to progress and safe from a terrible expiation.

The photo of Slave that discovered 

Later donated the photo to the Arlington house. The two children in the period stereo view, undoubtedly her children. Selina Gray was not the typical slave. He was the faithful chief domestic worker of General Robert E. Lee and his wife, Mary Custis Lee.

Not only was this woman a slave, but they were also allowed to get married. It was illegal at the time, and they even let her get married in their home and in the parlor where they got married. After studying the photograph, national park rangers believe it took directly behind next to the slave quarters on General Lee’s Arlington estate. 

That’s where Selina Gray lived with her family 150 years ago. What I find so fascinating is how well-dressed Selina and her daughter are in this photo. As the Union Army advanced, the Lee family fled, and Gray left the property’s keys during the Civil War. Today historians credit her with saving the home. Selina was an incredibly courageous woman. 

She stood up to the Union general to say, save this place, save these priceless heirlooms from President George Washington that were here in the home of what was then a Confederate General. Even though she enslaves, she will stand up and come out and want to protect those fantastic things.

The opinion of Robert E. Lee about slavery 

A letter by Robert E. Lee in response to the speech given by then-president pierce. It is Robert e Lee’s opinion regarding slavery. The letter is dated December 27, 1856. 

He wrote that the president’s views of individual people’s systematic and progressive efforts at the North interfere with the South’s Institutions truthfully and faithfully expressed. Their plans and purpose result inset. These people must be aware of it. Their object is both unlawful and foreign. To them and their duty and that this institution, for which they are reckless, can only change through the agency of a civil and servile war. 

There are few, he believes, in this enlightened age, who will not agree that slavery as an Institute is a moral and political evil intention. It is hard and idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. He thinks it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While his feelings strongly enlisted on behalf of the latter, his sympathies are more deeply engaged. 

This influence, though slow, is sure.

The dogma and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert. However, only a small portion of the human race, and Christian nations, what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final nullification of human slavery is still onward, the results in his hand prefer to work by slow effects. With whom a thousand years as a day. 

Although the abolitionist must know this, he must understand that he has no right to conduct, no power to manage, except in moral ways; that to benefit the slave, he must not excite angry feelings in the master. He gives for interference in matters he has no concern with, holds suitable for every kind of interference with our neighbor. 

Whether or not ‘Did Robert E. Lee own slaves? and whipped his Slaves

So, to the main question here, did Robert E.Lee whip his slaves. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of discussion about this, which stems from a book about 13 years ago. We are going to get into the narrative of this good Robert Lee whip slaves. When the confederate came, Robert E. Lee was a vital part of that. At the beginning of that era, he had a reputation, but he made his reputation, which lives now. 

The argument that he ordered was the flogging of three runways in 1859, a couple of years before the civil war started. He took on new life after Elizabeth Brown Pryor published a book called ‘Reading the man’: A picture of Robert E. Lee through his private letters, and she wrote that in 2007. She reportedly had access to notes that well contrary to her implications. He did not provide any new evidence about fugitive slave Wesley Norris made the allegations.

 The publisher first published the two anonymous letters to New York in 1859. In 1866 after the war, I obtained quote scarecrows from the lips of Wesley Norris. The comparative quote, also in the New York Tribune. Now it should note that the New York Tribune had a reputation as an abolitionist newspaper. 

  • The main history:

Lee did not own any slaves at this time, but after his father-in-law died in 1857, Lee became the estate executor that included almost 200 slaves at three Virginia locations. Arlington House is across the Potomac River from Washington DC and is presently known as the Harlingen cemetery. 

Roman coke, another plantation down and James river or down southeast of Richmond, the last one is the white house plantation in the same general area. The well stipulated that the slaves were to be frayed/afraid. The master, the father-in-law’s name, was George Custis, and he was a grandson by adopting George Washington.

It also noted that the executive Robert E. Lee could take up to five years to release them partly because Virginia law required that slaves could not be let loose into freedom into the condition of vagrancy. They had to have something provided for them, and the master would also be responsible for the younger and older ones financially. The properties were also in dept and needed repairs. They were also unprofitable. 

Finally, they will require that Lee’s daughter gets legacies of ten thousand dollars each. Now, these were the granddaughters of the man who just deceived from custom. So what Lee decided to do was work on the properties before freeing the slaves. There were more slaves than necessary at the Arlington house. Also, he rented some out now. 

  • What happened in Arlington house houses as George Custis aged 

The slave that was in Arlington house was the principal plantation. It wasn’t a plantation. It was a farm where the slaves didn’t do much except living in their cabins and grow their vegetables. They had compared to the slaves elsewhere in the south. They had an easy life. There just wasn’t that much to do at all. 

As events transpired, Lee freed all the slaves in December 1862, thereby complying with the five-year limit. However, that was right in the middle of the civil war. They all expected to get freed right away. The slave misunderstood that they were to be free immediately based upon alleged conversation. They had with father-in-law George Custis before he died. 

That’s why one of the slaves, Wesley Norris, and a few other Arlington slaves set out for Pennsylvania blacks. The government caught all of them, did that in two separate episodes. Now Norris, when he left with his sister Mary and their cousin George parks. 

When the three recaptured, Norris claimed that they were all whipped, notwithstanding that Lee denied the incident. Author Pryor believed Norris’s story. She said there were five witnesses. In reality, there were no other witnesses. Nobody can’t stand forward to collaborate with Wesley Norris’s story. 


Robert E. Lee was notwithstanding currently popular interpretations among academic historians. He lived there 40 years ago for excellence as a military Commander, a gentleman, and a role model for leadership.


If you want to understand Lee, another way to do that is to pick up this book ‘The confederacy of flood tide’ by Philip Lee. It’s a hardcover book. It covers from June of 1862 to December of 1862. Hopefully, you have found the answer to the question of ‘Did Robert E. Lee own slaves?‘ There is no convincing evidence on the fact that Robert E.Lee ever whipped slaves.


  • What were Robert E. Lee’s thoughts on blacks in his own country?

Answer: He said The blacks are measurably better off here than in Africa morally, physically, and socially. They will need chronic discipline to last for their further instructions as a nation, and they will have preparation. He hopes for better things. 

How long may required the servitude is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their manumission will sooner result from Christianity’s mild and meddling influences than from the storm and tempest of the fiery argument. 

  • What Robert e Lee’s wife said about her husband’s fateful decision? 

Answer: Lee’s wife Mary later wrote, ‘my husband has wept tears of blood over this terrible war. But as a respected man and a Virginian, he must follow the destination of his kingdom. It was the most rigid struggle of his life – for thirty years, he resigned a commission. “

  • What is the opinion of Robert E Lee behind the resignation from the Army? 

Answer: Lee himself wrote, “The union is about all my devotion and feeling of adhesion of America’s citizens and the sense of duty. I could not make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, children, and home.

So, I have resigned from my commission in the Army. I hope I will never again draw the sword without the defense of the state where I was born.” The statement was a prove to be prophetic. 

  • How many daughters and sons he had when Lee was planning the defense of Virginia? 

Answer: Robert E. Lee had four daughters and three sons. His three sons were soldiers in gray. 

  • What is the price of the book ‘The confederacy of flood tide’ by Philip Lee?

Answer: You can get the books for under 31 dollars.

  • Where you found the ‘The Confederacy of flood tide ‘ book? 

Answer: It is available on Amazon and Barnes noble. All fine bookstores, you can get it.



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