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07.03.07 Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command, a 3-volume biography group of Robert E. Lee’s top generals, by Douglas Southall Freeman, published in 1942-44.

Notes Concerning the Author

Douglas Southall Freeman (1886 – 1953) was a Southern historian, biographer, newspaper editor, and author.  Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Walker Burford Freeman, who fought for 4 years in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, he is best known for his multi-volume biographies of Robert E. Lee (1934-1935) and George Washington (1948-1957), for which he was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes.  The Society is also eager to recommend Freeman’s 1939 one-volume work The South to Prosperity, which is reviewed  at 02.08.09, and his biography of General Lee, which is reviewed at 07.03.01.

Freeman received an AB degree from Richmond College in 1904 and a PhD in history at John Hopkins University in 1908.  He then entered newspaper work and became editor of “The Richmond New Leader,” a position he held for 34 years.  During these years he produced outstanding histories and biographies, many the best on the subject.  Here the Society again sees evidence of outstanding work in history and biography from a person who was beyond the influences of the academic community.


Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command is the most colorful and popular of Douglas Southall Freeman’s works.  It is a sweeping narrative that presents a multiple biography against a background of horrific fighting during the War Between the States, particularly in the defense of Virginiaof the American Civil War.  It is the story of the great figures of the Army of Northern Virginia who fought under Robert E. Lee.  The Confederacy won resounding victories throughout the war, but seldom easily or without tremendous casualties.  Death was always on the heels of fame, but the men who commanded — among them Jackson, Longstreet, and Ewell — developed as leaders and men. Lee’s Lieutenants follows these men to the costly battle at Gettysburg, through the deepening twilight of the South’s declining military might, and finally to the collapse of Lee’s command and his formal surrender in 1865.  To his unparalleled descriptions of men and operations, Dr. Freeman adds an insightful analysis of the lessons learned and their bearing upon the future military development of the nation.
Availability of this Book
Used copies of the original 3-volume set are very expensive, but paperback reprints are available as are one-volume abridgements.  You can also get this as a digital book and as an abridged Kindle e-book.