"The Private Thoughts of a Southern Icon" [July 2-9], about the newly discovered Robert E. Lee letters, was interesting but not the sole source regarding Lee's actions toward his slaves.
Lee sent slaves who wanted to go to Liberia there at his own expense and had former slaves taught to read and write since most were illiterate. Literacy classes were taught by the Lee daughters, Agnes and Annie. Agnes Lee's diary has been published, and she mentions her pupils many times. Unlike Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Lee welcomed minority race soldiers like my Confederate ancestor into the ranks, and historians verify that some Confederate Army regiments, unlike those of the North, weren't segregated by race.
Rev. Helaina Hinson
As noted, Lee apparently agonized over his decision to go with Virginia and the Confederacy, and then, with his outstanding military talents, managed to lengthen, for the Confederacy, an unwinnable war in which some 600,000 American men slaughtered one another. Morality aside, if this one man had opted to lead the Union Army, as he could have, instead of championing a losing cause, our history books would have told a far different story. Lee might have become president of the United States instead of the gifted general but bumbling politician Grant, and possibly 500,000 additional men could have lived out their lives in a rapidly growing prosperous America. In my view, Lee's perfidy should have been the thrust of your otherwise well-constructed cover story.