The Columns

W&L Commemorates 138th Anniversary of Lee’s Death

— by on October 13th, 2008

Washington and Lee University observed the 138th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s death on Monday, Oct. 13, with a recognition ceremony for donors to the Campaign for Lee Chapel and Museum and a speech by Civil War scholar and author Ken Masterson Brown.

The campaign for the Chapel and Museum, which began in 2005, has a goal of $6 million with $1 million for the capital effort to renovate and revitalize the museum exhibition and $5 for an endowment for the perpetual care of Lee Chapel and its collection.

The ceremony featured the unveiling of a donor board that recognizes gifts of $5,000 and above to the campaign, which has almost reached the halfway point with a total of $2.8 million.

Brown’s talk, “Retreat from Gettysburg,” described the challenges that Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia faced after losing at Gettysburg and retreating back to Virginia. The importance of a successful treat, Brown argued, cannot be underestimated since even after the tactical defeat at Gettysburg, Lee’s army stayed intact and fought for two more years.

Brown, of Lexington, Ky., a practicing attorney who serves as counsel to Webster, Chamberlain & Bean in Washington, D.C., is a 1974 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law.

As president and content developer for Witnessing History L.L.C., Brown has written, hosted and produced three DVD documentaries, two of which are nominated for 2008 Telly and Emmy Awards. He authored “Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander”; “The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State”; and most recently, “Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign.”

Retreat from Gettysburg received the Bachelder-Coddington Award for the best book on the Gettysburg Campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg, the U.S. Army Historical Foundation Award for Distinguished Writing and the Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. Literary Prize.

Brown is also the creator and first editor of “The Civil War” magazine.