Bonnie - I'm pleased to answer your question about the figure in my pictures. He is General Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Confederate Army of the South during the Civil War. Following is information that might explain why I chose him to express my sadness generated by the Gettysburg scene of the Challenge picture:
At the onset of the Civil War, he [Robert E. Lee] resigned his commission in the US Army and took command of the Army of Northern Virginia. His string of victories throughout that war earned him praise on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line and he has since earned a well-earned reputation for excellence in the art of war. Lee's surrender to Ulysses Grant at Appomattox Court House ended the Civil War and he was finally pardoned of all wrong doing by President Jimmy Carter.
In July of 1863, General Robert E. Lee's Army Of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men and the 97,000 man Union Army Of The Potomac under General George G. Meade met, by chance, when a Confederate brigade sent forward for supplies observed a forward column of Meade's cavalry.
Of the more than 2,000 land engagements of the Civil War, Gettysburg ranks supreme. Although the Battle of Gettysburg did not end the war, nor did it attain any major war aim for the North or the South, it remains the great battle of the war. Here at Gettysburg on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, more men actually fought and more men died than in any other battle before or since on North American soil.
Lee's retreat began on the afternoon of July 4. Behind him, this small town of only 2,400 was left with a total (from both sides) of over 51,000 casualties. Over 172,000 men and 634 cannon had been positioned in an area encompassing 25 square miles. Additionally, an estimated 569 tons of ammunition was expended and, when the battle had ended, 5,000 dead horses and the other wreckage of war presented a scene of terrible devastation.
The Confederate army that staggered back from the fight at Gettysburg was physically and spiritually exhausted. Lee would never again attempt an offensive operation of such proportions. Meade, though he was criticized for not immediately pursuing Lee's army, had carried the day in the battle that has become known as the High Water Mark of the Confederacy.
The war was to rage for two more terrible and tormenting years but the Confederacy never recovered from the losses of Gettysburg. And through the deepening twilight of Confederate military might, all who had been to Gettysburg would remember.
* * * * * Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia - by Robert E. Lee
After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.
You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.
With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.