From: Los Angeles
I'm no expert on American history, but what little I have read on Lee suggests he fought for Virginia not the CSA. If Virginia had of been in the Northern Coalition he would have led the Union, would I be correct on seeing it this way?
Interesting. Perhaps someone knowledgeable on the US Civil War will add their insight. Seems strange though - and I only say this because that would mean he would have no personal interest in the politics of his state and who/what he would be fighting for - only that his state declares for one side or the other and he would follow.....
Also, if that was his avowed position, then why would he have become such a revered figure to the South post the war?
For whatever my opinion is worth, had Virginia stayed in the Union (highly unlikely, but we can speculate), Lee would have resigned from the U. S. Army. He did write that "save in defense of my native state, I never again desire to draw my sword." It is just possible that, had he been in command of a fort in a seceding state, his sense of duty would not have allowed him to surrender his command, and he might have been the man who first returned fire against the Confederates, rather than Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter.
It is indeed a great pity that, unlike almost everyone else who survived, he never wrote his memoirs. He had planned to write a history of the Army of Northern Virginia, but was felled by a stroke before he could spare the time from his job as head of Washington College.
As to his position in the South, he was already a revered figure before the war ended. Indeed, once Jefferson Davis and much of the Confederate government fled Richmond, he could be said to be the figurehead of the entire Confederacy. When he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia and about 25,000 men, there were still about 175,000 men in the Confederate ranks. But the other armies went down like dominoes when they heard Lee had surrendered.
A second and almost as important point is that he was just about the perfect figure to embody the Lost Cause mythos -- Prof. Gary Gallagher has lectured well on the subject:
Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?