Admired for his serious sense of duty toward God and man, Lee’s lighter side is not as well known to many Civil War buffs, who may not be aware of the wide range of his humorous observations and antics. Robert E. Lee consistently displayed a good sense of humor, at home and on the battlefield, in letters, at parties and during political events, at family gatherings, and even from his sickbed. He joked about himself, academia, military food, spiritualism, courtship and marriage, artists, newspaper editors, fashion, and more.
Compiled here are 125 examples of the width and breadth of Lee’s humor, dating from his youth to his last working day as president of Washington College. Also noted are some of the less-frequently published points about the Lee family, including wife Mary’s concern over the “depth and sincerity” of Lee’s faith, their family connection to Napoleon, and stories of Lee’s father during the War of 1812.
This collection of surprising vignettes, amusing comments, and good-natured pranks makes an ideal gift for Civil War enthusiasts who may think they know all there is to know about Robert E. Lee.