Saturday, April 13, 2019

Respect Across the Bows

Thomas Morris Chester, the war correspondent in the Eastern Theater for the Philadelphia Press paid homage to General Robert E. Lee on his return from Appomattox and arrival in Richmond, Virginia in 1865. Chester was the only Black American figure to serve in this role for a major newspaper on either side. (1) Chester’s account of the South and Confederates as he moved with the Army of the James was scathing, but his column describing the arrival of Lee into conquered-Richmond in 1865 is notably different. Therein, without any trace of hagiography and/or Lost Cause prose, he wrote with a tone of respect that in the author’s opinion, captured better than any of his contemporaries the simple human heroism of the Gray Fox. The copy Chester wrote reads:

Related image

‘Arrival of Lee & Staff – His Reception

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