Every once in a while, I read a book that is so flawed, biased and outright wrong that I can hardly finish it. Such is the case with “Robert E. Lee and Me” by Tyrus Seidule. I have always sought to give those who disagree me a fair hearing. Occasionally I may even learn something. But in Mr. Seidule’s case, his book is nothing more than a vile anti-Southern rant.

What is even more odd, is that Mr. Seidule was raised in Virginia by a good Southern family. As a boy and young man he naturally and rightfully revered Robert E. Lee, who along with George Washington, are considered to be the two greatest men in American history.

Perhaps because Mr. Seidule was once a Southerner (he now resides with the Yankees in New York), he exhibits what psychoanalysts call a reaction formation against the South, particularly most white Southerners, who are little more than irredeemable racists in his assessment.

This book is little more than an exercise in virtue signaling. Certainly as an Army officer he was subject to the usual Defense Department “woke” ideology, and it appears that Seidule took the bait. Wokeness, along with virtue signaling and shutting up and following orders summarizes current DoD policy.

I have a particularly good understanding of the current mentality across all branches of the service. Unlike Seidule, I have served in every branch of the armed forces except for the Coast Guard. I was most impressed with the Marine Corps, who were definitely a cut above the rest. Seidule’s experience was limited to the Army.

At times, Seidule’s hate for the South practically leaps off the pages of his book. For someone who claims to be a historian, his arguments are extremely one-sided. He makes no attempt to present a rational and unbiased presentation. Mr. Seidule believes he was betrayed in his youth regarding his Southern heritage. His historical analysis is reduced to the simplistic believe that slavery is bad and the South had slaves, and slavery caused the war and thus the South is evil.

Of course, this is a completely false belief, as the North also had slaves and Yankee fortunes were made in the slave trade. The federal government made millions of dollars taxing slaves as property. During the excavation of a site in Manhattan, approximately 400 graves of slaves were discovered. Many of the skeletons showed evidence of severe abuse. Northern states, like Abe Lincoln’s Illinois, passed laws forbidding the entry of slaves into their state. Seidule’s belief that the Yankees were somehow the defender of the slaves is totally inaccurate.

Speaking of Lincoln, when he was a lawyer in Illinois, he represented a slave owner in a custody case to return his escaped slave. Lincoln also famously told Horace Greeley that if he could free all the slaves to save the Union, he would do so, or keep all slaves in bondage to save the Union he would do so. Lincoln’s ultimate “solution” to the slave problem was to deport the slaves. There’s compassion for you. Of course, Lincoln’s top general U.S. Grant kept slaves during the war. When ask why he didn’t free them, he allegedly replied, “Good help is so hard to come by these days!”

The northern history books are so biased that the fact of Lincoln being America’s greatest executioner is little known. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find that on December 26, 1862, Lincoln ordered the execution of 38 Sioux Indians in Minnesota. After “trials” lasting as little as five minutes and no legal representation, the 38 men were found guilty and hanged. This execution easily surpassed any lynchings in the South. Originally, the plan was to hang 303, but Lincoln feared disapproval from potential European allies.

Lincoln also famously told Frederick Douglass that whites and blacks could never live together as equals. He apparently was unaware that in the South whites and blacks lived and worked side by side. Many slaves were alarmed at the prospect of losing their homes and the care provided for them if the North won the war. Their fears were justified, as nearly one million slaves died in the years following the war due to starvation, disease and neglect. The incompetent federal government was entirely unprepared to care for the massive number of homeless slaves.

As most honest scholars believe, the cause of the War for Southern Independence (it was not a civil war, as the South was not seeking to overthrow the U.S. government, but rather peacefully withdraw from the Union) cannot simply be reduced to slavery, as Seidule believes. Like all wars, it was about power and greed on one side (Union) and fear and self-preservation on the other side (South).

Mr. Seidule makes a big point of the lynching in the South, certainly a great evil. But it is curious that he omits the lynchings in New York City during the NYC Draft Riots of 1863. Over 5 days at least 11 black men were lynched. Some estimates say that 1200 people were killed, many of them black. The riots were started by Irish-Americans, who resented being drafted for what they perceived was a war to free the slaves. So, lynchings were not exclusive to the South

If they were not fighting for slavery, then what were Southerners fighting for? My ancestors were farmers in Tennessee who, like the majority of Southerners, did not own slaves. They fought in the Confederate Army in response to the Yankees invading their homeland. Resisting invaders is a perfectly honorable response. A true man cannot stand by while an army from another country invades his home. To do otherwise would be dishonorable. It is never treason to defend one’s home from invaders.

Volumes have been written about Union General Sherman’s war crimes against the Southern people, including the slaves. Sherman’s men raped and murdered many slaves on his forced march to the sea. When one of Sherman’s staff officers, Capt. Poe remarked to Sherman about all the dead women and children in the streets of Atlanta, Sherman remarked that it was a “beautiful sight.” Of the 400 buildings in Atlanta before Sherman’s arrival, only 40 were left standing. Robert E. Lee and his officers strictly avoided warfare against Yankee civilians. In contrast, if the South had won the war, Sherman and Lincoln would be rightly executed as war criminals.

Seidule fails to appreciate that you cannot fairly judge the past by modern-day standards. By today’s standards, all whites in the 1860’s, North and South, were racists; even Saint Abraham. We must look to the past and learn from it, not judge it. We never have all the information. Of course, for the “Wokester” who is merely virtue signaling, facts are not particularly important. So many lies have been told about the War that the facts are often obscured.

Seidule criticized the South’s secession as an “armed rebellion.” Of course that’s exactly what the colonies did when fighting the British Empire. The United States was born from armed rebellion, so it was nothing new in 1861. A fundamental disagreement between Yankee sympathizers like Seidule and true Southerners was expressed by President Jefferson Davis, who said, “We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for independence …”

Several times Seidule makes a point of saying that “Lee and his comrades killed more U.S. Army soldiers than any other enemy, ever.” But he fails to mention that Lincoln and Grant killed more Confederate States of America soldiers than any other enemy, ever.

Seidule also insists numerous times that Lee committed treason. This simplistic statement is of course totally false. At this time in American history, a man’s first loyalty was to his state; in Lee’s case Virginia. Loyalty to the United States was purely secondary. No true Virginian could be expected to raise his hand against his home state and his family.

It was not until Lincoln’s time that the states were permanently diminished and the all-powerful federal government that we labor under today came into existence. The author appears angry that while the North won the war, the South has won the peace. Yankees by the millions have escaped the cold, inhospitable North to enjoy the warm, friendly South.

Seidule doesn’t seem to understand that each of the 13 states entered into an agreement to form an alliance, the United States of America. There was never an understanding that this was a perpetual union. A state could leave the union as easily as it entered. In fact, several New England states threatened to leave the Union in the early 1800’s and even refused to support the War of 1812. So were these New England states plotting treason? Of course not! The South has never had any problem with Yankee states leaving the Union, especially since they such disagreeable people.

There is no surprise that Washington and Lee University gave Seidule a standing ovation for his speech dishonoring Robert E. Lee and the South. University faculties have succumbed to Wokeism, weak minded liberalism, virtue signaling and white guilt. There is a move to rename Washington and Lee, which Seidule heartily supports. My suggestion is “Woke University.” Southerners should no longer consider attending a school that despises its heritage.

While our country is far from perfect, it is certainly true that African Americans fare much better than their African brothers in countries like Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Ghana, to name a few. This is a simple fact of life that has nothing to do with racism. Today’s African Americans owe much to the sacrifices of their slave ancestors. America has made great strides toward racial equality. We are not perfect and never will be.

Mr. Seidule recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal (Aug 26-27, 2023) attempting to further his cause, even resorting to the use of exclamation marks. He also proudly refers to his appointment as vice chair of the “naming commission,” which was tasked by the Department of Defense to remove all references to the Confederacy at DoD installations. The main outcome of this so-called commission’s actions was to insult and inflame Southerners. But this is of course typical of Yankees, who excel at telling others how they should think.

Seidule and I will never agree, and that’s fine. Unlike Yankees, I have no compulsion to force my beliefs upon other people. As for me, I will soon have raised five sons and a daughter who have been taught to honor their Southern heritage, and especially the great American hero, Robert E. Lee. My children will teach their sons and daughters and so on down the line. Millions of Southerners feel as I do, so Mr. Seidule, your cause and your misguided book are doomed to failure.

Joe Haines

Joe Haines is a medical doctor in North Carolina.


  • Albert Alioto says:


  • Paul Yarbrough says:

    “…so Mr. Seidule, your cause and your misguided book are doomed to failure.”
    And he will never understand.
    Nice article Dr. Haines

  • R R Schoettker says:

    An excellent article and an accurate summary of facts. Regrettably it is just ‘preaching to the choir’ because those with the views of Seidule are apostates to truth of any kind. I will continue to mark with respect and remembrance RE Lee on his birthdate; a day made even more memorable by being shared with the births of L Spooner and EA Poe in subsequent years.

  • Thank you Dr. Haines,
    You have been true to your heritage. I, too, am Virginia born and breed and raised.I have sat at my Grand Parants knees and absorbed every word that they told me about the old South. Only one of my Great Grandfathers was sufficiently wealthy enough to have been a slave owner. I have been told that he was very kind to his slaves. They refused to leave his plantation at the end of the war. They begged to stay there because had been good to them and the said that they did not know where to go or what to do. He loved them as if they were his own children and he allowed them to stay on his property. They, very unintentionally managed to bankrupt him over the post war years. In my opinion people like Seidule are grossly wrong and inaccurate. Just keep in mind, many more Northerners retire and move to the South to live out their retirement years than Southerners retiring to the North! In my personal opinion, people like Seidel are very very wrong minded, grossly ignorant and are poor examples of Americans! Thank you for your article!

  • Robert Caffery Sr says:

    Thank you, Dr. Haines.
    Excellent response to the twisted half-truths and outright lies of the despicable Ty Seidule.
    Seidule is a poster child for the woke joke that the US of A has become, sadly!

  • Gary Wright says:

    If slavery was the issue,
    Seidule should try objectively explaining the details of the 1863 Emancipation proclamation.

  • Douglas J. Barrett says:

    Excellent! I am saddened as a retired military officer that so many I served with or trained, now practice situational ethics. I was raised as a soldier to follow the concept of endeavoring to be guided by the constitution and doing nothing that was illegal, immoral, or unethical. I remember a time when the excuse “I was just following orders,” was the last recourse of the guilty.

  • Bruce Hendricks says:

    Seidule is not fit to be anywhere near any statute of Confederate heroes. Also, let’s not forget the generations of African slavery.

  • Sam McGowan says:

    An excellent article, except for one thing. The author states that the Marine Corps is “the best.” When the Marine recruiters came to my Tennessee high school, he emphasized that the Corps was not looking for men who could think, but rather for C students who would follow orders.

    • Paul Yarbrough says:

      I served in the Marine Corps many decades ago. What the present politicians have done to the Marine Corps (recruiting, training, etc.) is shameful. But then what would you expect from the cowardly ilk who love war and profit but hide from any danger or truth or decency! Mark my words—you heard it here this day. One day those no good $%^&!! will propose removing the monument of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima. You’ll see—it will be called racist, or too many men or some other verbal nausea.
      These people in the realm and bottomland mire of politics are the lowest form of dignity.

      • Gordon says:

        I use to deliver Cokes to Ft. Lee (Va.)… (still) Commissary. One day gate getting checked in at the gate, the guard, a still young USAF retiree told me, “These people are a bunch of babies”. I asked him, “Who? Suppliers – like me?” He said, “No, retired military. They act like I’m here to serve them… except the Marines. They’re just ‘Yes, sir. No, sir. Anything else I can do, sir. Thank you, sir. Have a good day, sir’ “.

        Now that you mention it, it was 20 years ago.

  • Tony K. Tilley says:

    I am old enough to have been taught the glories of the South. Although I have moved on, I once hated Yankees. I no longer hate them but perhaps detest them even now. I no longer will allow them to ruin my life. They ruin plenty of lives without me pitching in.

  • Barbara says:

    Tyrus Seidule is a product not of the south but of his tribe. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Just consider the source and thanks for the heads up.

  • Gordon says:

    Nice review of a book which I knew I would never read, Dr. Haines. It’s still it’s an informative and impassioned summary of recent events in the ongoing war against Southerners. Somehow, though, Ty Sedule doesn’t bother me. He’s just a clerk, an agent doing what will be done with or without him. I don’t doubt he’s thrilled with attention but he’s another Adam Kinzinger; assuming ability for critical thinking, both forever after have to wonder whether they’re anything more than a tool – and that’s pathetic.

    We’re never going back to 1980, 1990, 2000… or even 2010. I’m certain things are going to continue to get worse as long as Marxists own the education industry. I’m equally certain, as long as free will remains, Lee, Jackson, Forrest, their boys and the women and family back home won’t be forgotten.

    …. and Sam Davis. Anybody might not know him, look up “sam davis confederate soldier”.

  • Nicki Cribb says:

    “Doomed for failure,” and thank God.
    Erasing our history will only lead to another conflagration on American soil.
    My children were taught the true history and traditions of my native Dixie, and their children are being our history and ways and carrying on our traditions.

  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    More people know the truth now than in any time in the past 50 years.

    Try this…”Why do the yankees insist on calling it the “American Civil War”, if the war was about slavery?” You know yankees love to lie…so why won’t they claim credit for the cause of the War? Why don’t the yankees call the conflict, “The War to End Slavery”?

    I got to work on 2 yankees this weekend at a wedding. Amazingly, they’d never heard of the Corwin Amendment…they were still amazed at the end of the two-day session at the facts they’d never been taught. They were able (incredibly) to pull up the Corwin Amendment on their gonkulators…on their own search engines…and regardless of the source, it seems the Corwin Amendment was passed by the yankee House and Senate to protect slavery from federal interference FOREVER in the United States…5 States ratified the Amendment until the War sidelined it for the duration.

    These two yankees were also able to pull up the 1830 military officer’s oath as well as the yankee-amended oath of 1862. Both agreed there were major differences between the two oaths.

    Keep spreading truth…when your enemies are relying on pathetic defenders such as the above named, you are winning on all fronts.

  • Pete Hale says:

    “I have always sought to give those who disagree me a fair hearing.”

    Wise words in today’s Puritan age!

  • Yates says:

    “If they were not fighting for slavery, then what were Southerners fighting for? My ancestors were farmers in Tennessee who, like the majority of Southerners, did not own slaves.”

    If you pull out a single support beam from a questionable structure, it all comes down.
    The Republicans and Democrats legacy is such that it cannot really concede on anyone’s right to refuse their duopoly, which was fixed/imposed on us with the conquest of the Civil War.

    There is an argument of fact as opposed to an argument of necessity, and this fixation of “South = racist” is agreeable to two very corrupt – albeit opposing – monopoly parties because if it falls, so do their justifications for mass murder. This party criminality and hijacking of the interests of the average american is just as pervasive circa 1860 as it is today, and the reason that chattel slavery is later written into the Confederate Constitution is because, as with our own society, the interests of a corrupt few dominate the rights of the many.

    There is a great study of actual voting patterns during the last pre-war election in the South that you could not actually publish today without being personally destroyed. The author is Seymour Lipset, and this was researched circa 1950-ish.

    Lipset divided the Southern states that still had voting records available (includes VA and another 6 states) into Low /Medium/High Counties for the prevalence of ‘owning’ enslaved persons, and cross-referenced this to voting for Breckenridge (Southern Democrat) and Bell (Whig/Constitutional Unionist) – the counterparts of the Whig/Republicans.

    What Lipset shows is that the Southern Counties who voted for the Southern Whigs/Republicans were the heaviest / majority Slave owning Counties, while the Southern Counties that voted for the Democrat – Breckenridge – were primarily Low-slave owning counties –

    Quote; “The strength of the Seccessionist Democrat Breckenridge lay with the Whites living in the areas with few slaves, the table seems to suggest that the fewer slaves in a county, the greater the support for succession, since Breckenridge carried almost 2/3 of the counties which were low in slaves, while almost half the counties that were HIGH in slaves, voted against (the Democrat) him.”

    Lipset notes – “In the North, the Whigs were the party of industrial capitalism, while in the South, they were the party of Plantation Slavery”. Lipset was a Jewish Socialist Academic from NYC, so declaring him a partisan Southern fascist, is rather hard to pull off, not that it would not be attempted today…

    Like your family in TN, my paternal ancestors fight, but it is only when they are invaded, and a rolling battle of VA militia against a fully equipped Northern Army forces them as far East as Dublin, Wytheville and Saltville, using basically antique hunting weapons against a modern invading US army under Burbridge.

    Notably, the Commander of these defending Forces in this Western Va campaign was from the Department of Tennessee and West Virginia, raising old men and boys to fight against a looter army that outnumbered them, was none other than the former candidate for President on the Southern Democrat ticket – John Breckenridge – who as we have shown, derived his votes primarily from the Southern counties that had very few slaves/slave owners..

  • David Yelle says:

    Such an excellent and truthful article! I added the exclamation point, not only emphasize my point, but, to rebuff Seidule!

    I am a northerner and an avid Civil War reader since I was a child. I always admired how well the Southern soldiers fought at such disadvantage, but I always held back in my admiration because they were “fighting for slavery.” Well, since I’ve done more reading and I understand things better, I realize I was ignorant. And now I see clearly Seidule is ignorant; ignorant and a fool.

    Once a person understands the Constitution and how Lincoln destroyed the founders’ federal republic and, essentially, the Constitution itself, anyone who is informed can clearly see Lincoln and every soldier who wore blue were the traitors. They were traitors to their country and every principle upon which it was founded. The founders would have been appalled by Lincoln and would have never signed the Constitution if they knew someone like him would one day become president.

    Once Confederate States seceded and formed a new government, which, according to every founding document, they had every right to do, all the many complicated reasons for seceding, which, yes, included slavery, no longer mattered. It was a war for independence. Self determination and the right to independence were as American as George Washington.

    Slavery was going away in the mid to late 1800’s. The world would not tolerate it. And, yes, slavery did go away, thank God, but we lost a Constitution!!! More exclamation points for you, Mr. Seidule.

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