But as I read along, I thought I would toss out some interest passages here and there and open it up for discussion. I came across my first discussion point fairly quickly. In describing Lee's opposition to sending reinforcements west, Professor Guelzo argues:
Robert E. Lee had thrown away a lifelong career, thrown away, in fact, an oath sworn on his honor, for the sake of Virginia and all of the Virginians like his Carter cousins--"my relatives, my children, my home." Virginia was his all, and Virginia's success was the only hope he had of recouping all he had ventured for the Old Dominion's sake. What he would not give up for Winfield Scott and Abraham Lincoln, he was certainly not going to endanger for the sake of Jefferson Davis and James A. Seddon. "Save in defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword"--those words, which Lee wrote to Scott back in the springtime of the war, had as much application to the Richmond government as to Winfield Scott.What do you think? Did Lee's loyalty to Virginia influence the making of his strategy in May and June of 1863? And did he choose to invade the North because it was good for the Confederacy, or because it was good for Virginia?