The Lee Chapel and Museum at Washington and Lee University presents "The Historical Legacy of Robert E. Lee," a special memorial program commemorating the 200th anniversary of his birth, on Monday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium. Lee was the president of W&L from 1865 to 1870.
The public is invited to this day of exploration of the life and character of Lee by noted scholars. There is no charge for admission.
The keynote address at 10 a.m., "'Truth is Mighty and Will Eventually Prevail:' Why Americans Disagree About the Historical Legacy of Robert E. Lee," will be given by Dr. Peter S. Carmichael, Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University. He is most recently the author of The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion and the editor of Audacity Personified: Essays on the Generalship of Robert E. Lee.
At 11:15 a.m., A. Wilson Greene and Dr. Gordon C. Rhea will speak on "General Lee's Overland Campaign." Greene is president and CEO of Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, Petersburg, Va., and author of Civil War Petersburg: Confederate City in the Crucible of War, among others. Rhea is an attorney and co-author of In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: The Wilderness Through Cold Harbor, among others.
At 2 p.m. is "General Lee and the Rank and File" by Dr. J. Tracy Power and Dr. Aaron Sheehan-Dean. Power is a historian with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and author of the award-winning Lee's Miserables: Life in the Army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox. Sheehan-Dean is associate professor of history at the University of North Florida and author of the forthcoming Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia.
At 3:15 p.m., Dr. Emory M. Thomas and John McClure will speak on "Lee and Education." Thomas is Regents Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia and author of the acclaimed 1995 biography, Robert E. Lee. McClure is reference department manager at the Virginia Historical Society. He published "The Freedmen's School in Lexington versus 'General Lee's "boys" ' " in Virginia's Civil War.
Because of a grant by the Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation, the yearly October program has grown from a single address to a full-day symposium this year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lee's birth. In addition, the Lee Chapel Museum (in the lower level of Lee Chapel) reopened on Oct. 1 after nine months of renovation. A new exhibition, "Not Unmindful of the Future: Educating to Build and Rebuild a Nation," explores the educational contributions of George Washington and Robert E. Lee to the nation.
The museum is open to the public; admission is free but donations are encouraged. For more information, see http://leechapel.wlu.edu or call (540) 458-8768.