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View Full Version : Did Lee have a beard when he went to DC?



reb64
01-04-2007, 03:36 AM
I just watched the film GOGs with my dad. he says Lee didn't have a beard when he met with officials in dc about the US command offer, but got it later in W Va. Is he right? I am reading a book where it says lee got his grey in W Va "In the footsteps of lee" it could mean turned grey. My dad says he was mustached only until then. Is he right? Not to criticize movie, just to learn the facts is all.

sbl
01-04-2007, 06:27 AM
......did he wear a "comb-over?"


http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/lee.jpg

LibertyHallVols
01-04-2007, 12:46 PM
In his book, "A Rebel's Recollections", John (?) Eggleston recalls seeing Lee early in the war and describes him has having "a dark mustache".

That is the only reference of which I am aware that describes Lee's appearance during that time period. However, I am sure there are probably more out there.

hanktrent
01-04-2007, 01:38 PM
The Confederate Image by Neely, Holzer and Boritt, U of NC Press, makes the point that


the Confederacy failed to produce a single separate-sheet print portrait of [Lee] during the entire course of the war... Lee did not emerge as a pictorial subject until after he had surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant. The explanation for this dearth lay not only in the short-lived Confederate printmaking industry but also in the sluggish growth of Lee's fame... In addition, Lee's appearance changed so rapidly during the war that desk-bound Southern printmakers would have faced problems depicting him even had they enjoyed the resources to do so...

Robert E. Lee seemed to age twenty years in twenty months of service in the field. At the outset of the war, he probably had dark hair and a black moustache. By 1862, some of his hair had fallen out, what remained had turned gray and later would turn white, and he had grown a magnificent white beard. Even more difficult for printmakers who were dependent on accurate photographic models, Lee left behind no representations of his new appearance. The most recent photograph of him available during the war was more than ten years old.


The authors say that newspapers were the primary southern outlet for pictures of Lee, but even those images were rare and based on old information. The Southern Illustrated News first published an engraving of Lee based on an 1850 photo in January 1863, but admitted "We are told that the General now looks somewhat different from the picture herewith presented, his face at present being covered with a heavy, snowy beard..."

It wasn't until October of 1863 that the News published an updated image of Lee as we usually think of him, with a gray beard.

This is the 1850 photo of Lee that early-war illustrators used: http://www.aztecclub.com/biopix/Lee-1850b.jpg

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

sbl
01-04-2007, 02:11 PM
...and I mean that in a manly way. :oops:

G & G gave us the 1865 Lee the way we get the "Yorktown" George Washington.

MStuart
01-04-2007, 08:44 PM
I just watched the film GOGs with my dad. he says Lee didn't have a beard when he met with officials in dc about the US command offer, but got it later in W Va. Is he right? I am reading a book where it says lee got his grey in W Va "In the footsteps of lee" it could mean turned grey. My dad says he was mustached only until then. Is he right? Not to criticize movie, just to learn the facts is all.

"Lee" by Douglas S. Freeman. Vol. 1, Chapter 26, Page 448 (quite possibly the definitive work on Robert E. Lee)

"His hair was black, with a sprinkle of gray; his short mustache was wholly black."

This is from someone who saw him in April 1861.

Your Pa was right. Pa's are always right!!

Mark

sbl
01-04-2007, 10:43 PM
Thanks Mark. Movie makers and reenactor artists take note.

tompritchett
01-05-2007, 07:25 AM
Pa's are always right!!

Always?????

Remind me to tell you about the half-bull that bred my father's heifers sometime.

Memphis
01-05-2007, 08:04 AM
At least one pre-war image had Lee sporting a moustache well before his hair grayed. The famous photograph of his death mask could give a number of clues to his very late life appearance. Truly a post mortem appearance, but that would be splitting hairs.

No pun intended.

Spare_Man
01-05-2007, 10:51 AM
...Lee didn't have a beard when he met with officials in dc about the US command offer...

This raises another question. Was Lee even offered command of U.S. troops prior to Virginia seceeding? I've heard that some historians now dispute this as a mere legend invented during the post-war years.

Army30th
01-06-2007, 07:03 PM
According to Wikipedia, depending on what you read and how you interpret the information or if it is even accurate, Lee was offered the command of the Federal Army by Winfield Scott, which Lee turned down on April 18th. No where, that I can find, mentions that Lincoln directly asked Lee to assume command.

Sumter fell on the 14th , Virginia seceded on the 17th, Lee resigned on the 18th and sided with the Confederacy on the 23rd. And remember, somtime during this week Lincoln called on the Governors of the states to provide 75,000 troops to "preserve the Union".

That's a lot of things taking place in the space of 8 days.

MStuart
01-07-2007, 05:35 PM
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/People/Robert_E_Lee/FREREL/home.html

From Freeman's "Lee". Several pictures are offered on this page.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/People/Robert_E_Lee/FREREL/1/Appendices/1*.html

This is a link regarding the offer of US command to R.E. Lee (from the same book)

Mark

jurgitemvaletem
01-07-2007, 08:12 PM
Not to criticize movie


Dont worry about that, we all do. Seeing that there is so much to criticize. My only hope is that in a couple hundred years or so when all conventional means of watching movies become obsolete that someone doesnt find a way to view this movi and think that everything about it is correct and spread the word about the american civil war as told by gag.

thanks,
Jurgitem Valetem

tompritchett
01-08-2007, 05:36 AM
My only hope is that in a couple hundred years or so when all conventional means of watching movies become obsolete that someone doesnt find a way to view this movi and think that everything about it is correct and spread the word about the american civil war as told by gag.

Fortunately, books seem to much more durable than film stock so there should be plenty of the former to counter-act any misconceptions that might arise from the movie.

Spare_Man
01-09-2007, 11:09 AM
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/People/Robert_E_Lee/FREREL/home.html

From Freeman's "Lee". Several pictures are offered on this page.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/People/Robert_E_Lee/FREREL/1/Appendices/1*.html

This is a link regarding the offer of US command to R.E. Lee (from the same book)

MarkAlas.... Freeman's biography is now considered too fawning and hagiographic to be a reliable source anymore.

LibertyHallVols
01-18-2007, 10:23 PM
In his book, "A Rebel's Recollections", John (?) Eggleston recalls seeing Lee early in the war and describes him has having "a dark mustache".

That is the only reference of which I am aware that describes Lee's appearance during that time period. However, I am sure there are probably more out there.

OK... I screwed that up royal. Here's the real reference:

"A Rebels Recollections" by George Cary Eggleston, 1959, Indiana University Press. The first edition was printed in 1875.

Page 127:
"I saw him for the first time, in Richmond, at the very beginning of the war, dining with him at the house of a friend. He was then in the midst of his first popularity. ...Lee was at this time a young-looking, middle-aged man, with dark hair, dark moustache, and an otherwise smooth vace, and a portrait taken then would hardly be recognized at all by those who new him only after the cares and toils of war had furrowed his face and bleached his hair and beard. He was a model of manly beauty: large, well made and graceful."

12thriv
02-16-2007, 05:31 PM
he never actually had a beard, contrary to popular belief. Thats what the government wants you to believe