Robert E. Lee, You've Got Company

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

We now are in the first month of the "Year of Lee," so proclaimed by the Georgia House of Representatives to honor Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

In spite of a couple minor setbacks, the Battle of Gettysburg and the accompanying Pickett's Charge, the state decided to honor Lee on the 200th anniversary of the Virginian's birth.

Others have honored Lee by naming their sons after him.

"I take it as an honor," Robert E. Lee of Cordele said of his name. But it didn't carry much honor when he was Pfc. Lee fighting in Germany with the 95th Infantry Division during World War II.

"I got a lot of kidding about it," he said. " 'The famous General Robert E. Lee,' they would say."

His buddies' kidding he could take; getting shot was different.

"One [of] my buddies shot me accidentally while we were pulling back from the front for a rest," he said.

Robert E. Lee of Hortense also took his share of barbs.

He lived for a while in Oak Hill, W.Va., right near the border with the original Robert E. Lee's beloved Virginia.

"They'd ask me where old Traveler was tied up and all that stuff," he said.

That was a valid question because there was a monument nearby where Lee tethered Traveler when he crossed through West Virginia. The latter-day Lee of Hortense said he regrets not getting his picture taken there. At least he has something to remember it by. His son, Robert E. Lee, was born there.

Robert E. Lee of Cairo had several problems with his name. When he was farming, he went down to the John Deere place for some parts. The new man in the parts department asked, "Who do you want me to charge these to," Lee said.

"I said, 'Robert E. Lee,' " Lee said. …

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