ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — Historians cleaning out an upstairs hall closet at the former residence of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Arlington National Cemetery have made an amazing discovery, and this morning at a press conference they made their discovery public.
“This morning, one of our three person crews that has been going through the various cupboards and closets in the residence here at Arlington discovered a coat that belonged to Robert E. Lee,” Dr. Jane McTavish of the University of Washington, D.C. told reporters morning. “While making an inventory of the jacket’s pockets, two enormously important discoveries were made.”
First, researchers found an old doctor’s prescription made out to Lee, and secondly they found a note Lee wrote to the entire country not long after the Civil War had ended.
“The prescription was written for General Lee by Dr. Scott Farthington for Ambien,” McTavish announced. “This is of course quite earth shattering because heretofore we didn’t know that Ambien existed in the 19th century, but we also had no idea that Lee was taking it, presumably for sleep deprivation issues.”
As surprising as it was for Dr. McTavish’s team to find the prescription for Ambien in Lee’s coat pocket, perhaps the note that accompanied it, addressed to the entire country, is even more surprising. McTavish says the letter “might fundamentally change” what historians have known about Lee for quite some time.
“Apparently, this was a short time after his surrender at Appomattox, and he’d had some time to reflect on all the events that led to the war, as well as the war itself,” McTavish said of the letter. “He wanted to address his own racism, his letter said. Some fringe people have suggested that Lee wasn’t so racist, but in this letter he specifically writes, ‘Don’t let any fucking idiots 150 years from now tell you I’m not racist because I only fought for states’ rights. I fought for the states’ rights to own black people, fuckin’ duh.'”
McTavish says the letter must have been at least some attempt by Lee to acknowledge his racism “but also blame it on something ridiculously lame and obviously not the root issue of his racism.”
“Surely I would never have fought a war against my own countrymen to preserve the practice of enslaving black people if I wouldn’t have been put on that Devil’s Ambien,” Lee’s journal states. “I regret that while I have overseen the murder of many a thousand of my fellow countrymen so that my fellow Southerner could own a black or two…hundred…I apologize now to Lincoln and the entire country for my regrettable and ill-timed treason.”