Lost Cause Sentiments Expressed by Douglas Southall Freeman
In a note dated June 29, 1915, historian Douglas Southall Freeman inscribes a copy of his book Lee's Dispatches to John Stewart Bryan, publisher of the Richmond News Leader. (At the time, Freeman served as editor of that newspaper.) The book consists of previously unpublished letters by Confederate general Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate War Department—letters, Freeman says, he annotated "with reverent hands." The historian refers to Lee as "our great chieftain" and compares the newspaper publisher to the defeated Confederate general, writing that both men shared the same "ideals of courtesy, of constancy and of service." Lee, he wrote, was the very incarnation of those ideals. This heroic and sanitized view of Lee helped fuel the mythology of the Lost Cause and influenced media coverage of the Confederate general in the Richmond News Leader and other newspapers throughout the country.