1865. The Civil War is over, and the South lies in ruins. But for some people, former slaveholders have not been punished enough. A cabal of powerful men, led by Charles A. Dana, the assistant secretary of war, plot to break the spirit of the South once and for all – by convicting General Robert E. Lee of treason and hanging him like a common criminal.
To this end, they have convened a secret military tribunal in Lee’s former home in Arlington, Virginia.
Jeremiah O’Brien of the New-York Tribune, a long-time protégé of Dana’s, is the only reporter allowed to attend the trial. His exclusive reports on this momentous event, and the book he intends to write, will surely make his fortune.
Yet as the trial proceeds, pitting the general against his accusers, O’Brien finds himself torn between his loyalty to Dana, his love for a Confederate spy, and his growing respect and compassion for Lee himself. The young reporter is supposed to be only an observer, but, in the end, it is O’Brien who must evaluate the evidence and determine the true meaning of honor.
Written by New York Times bestselling author and historian Thomas Fleming, The Secret Trial of Robert E. Lee brings to life a fascinating chapter in American history that might well have happened – and perhaps truly did.