Saturday, November 04, 2017
"... But years later, in 1866, one former slave at Arlington House, Wesley Norris, gave his testimony to the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Mr. Norris said that he and others at Arlington were indeed told by Mr. Custis they would be freed upon his death, but that Lee had told them to stay for five more years.
So Mr. Norris said he, a sister and a cousin tried to escape in 1859, but were caught. “We were tied firmly to posts by a Mr. Gwin, our overseer, who was ordered by Gen. Lee to strip us to the waist and give us fifty lashes each, excepting my sister, who received but twenty,” he said.
And when the overseer declined to wield the lash, a constable stepped up, Mr. Norris said. He added that Lee had told the constable to “lay it on well.”
Dr. Foner said that after the war, Lee did not support rights for black citizens, such as the right to vote, and was largely silent about violence perpetrated by white supremacists during Reconstruction.
The general did, however, object to the idea of raising Confederate monuments, writing in 1869 that it would be wiser “not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife.”
What Robert E. Lee Wrote to The Times About Slavery in 1858 - NYTimes.com