Citadel Perpetuates Fake Lee Quote

A quote attributed to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee hands in the entryway to Murray Barracks, built in 1999. Each of The Citadel’s barracks has the quote engraved on a plaque, and every freshman cadet is required to recite it on command. The quote is a forgery that has been known since 1914.

At The Citadel, every freshman cadet is required to memorize a quotation from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the importance of duty.

These words loom large in the military environment of the public college, mounted on plaques in each barracks. The quote echoes in the checkered quadrangles as upperclassmen demand their recitation from petrified freshmen, or knobs.

“Duty is the sublimest word in the English language,” begins the quote. “You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more. You should never wish to do less.”

The source of the quote, a letter that Lee purportedly wrote to his son in 1852, was exposed as a forgery in 1914 when University of Virginia law professor Charles Alfred Graves published a meticulous debunking in the Virginia State Bar proceedings. Even before Graves’ scholarship, members of Lee’s own family had expressed misgivings about the letter’s …

Read more at Southern Partisan Online
(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)

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