Robert E. Lee was quoted as saying,
"my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; and of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour."
Robert E. Lee was critical of plans to erect statues in memory of the Confederate states, battles and military personnel. General Lee also was in favor of discarding with the Confederate flag and specifically did not allow it to be flown at Washington College, where he was President after the Civil War. Furthermore he was not in favor of preserving Confederate battle fields.
At his funeral General Lee insisted that no Confederate symbols be present. Soldiers in attendance did not wear uniforms and the only flag present were the stars and stripes that represented the United States of America. He was not buried in any military uniform and his daughter stated that her father felt being buried in "his confederate uniform would have been treason!"
The leader of the Confederate Army was very aware that memorials and symbols of the fallen Confederacy would invariably lead to discord and stunt America's progress from its Civil War.
"I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavoured to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered," - General Robert E. Lee
As General Lee's family try in his vain and many around the country attempt to have monuments of him and other Confederate symbols removed it seems General Lee's thoughts and words are extremely prescient in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, VA, conflict around the country and ongoing disputes regarding government buildings flying the Confederate Battle Flag
It seems important to ask ourselves what is more important. Preserving symbols of history or working towards a more civil future. Our past is our past and will not change. Destruction of monuments and symbols will not erase history but preservation of them is and will create conflict
The Man Who Would Not Be Washington by Jonathan Horn
(both cite the book and other biographers)