General Lee did not break down when, on his return from Appomattox, he sat down behind the closed door of the house in Franklin Street, a paroled prisoner of war. He was exhausted in body, heavy of heart, and troubled for the future of the defeated Southern people. But there was for him no pacing of the floor, no moody musing, no reproaches, no despair. Inwardly, he must have suffered more than was realized even by those who knew him best. Outwardly he seemed, for the time, merely a very tired man who had passed through a bitter experience about which he did not wish to talk, though he would converse freely on other subjects. He spent long hours in bed and for some days did not leave the house. The remainder of the time he who had passed so many days in the saddle or in bivouac sat quietly in a chair in the back parlor, with some of his family around him. A week before, carnage, clamor, and the anguish of his country's death spasm. Now, four walls, silence, and a slow fire on the hearth.
Meantime the agonized city was close to chaos. The old government and the familiar landmarks were gone. Blue coats ruled where only gray had been honored. The Negroes, who had nearly all left their former masters' homes, were still half-intoxicated with their new freedom. Nobody had any money and few had any provisions.1 In the fire of April 2‑3 the public supplies of the Confederacy and the stock of the principal stores had been destroyed or looted. Many of the people were dependent for food on the relief agencies set up after the Federals had entered Richmond.2 Lack of information was worse even than lack of p189 food. No trains were running, for the railroads had all been cut or their rolling stock burned. The mail system had been wiped out; the telegraph was in the hands of the Federals. Only one newspaper was being printed, and that one, The Whig, had turned coat.3 All military operations were screened. The people did not know how Johnston's army was faring, nor what had become of the Confederate troops in Virginia who were not at Appomattox, nor when and how the thousands of prisoners who were eating out their hearts in Northern camps would get home again. The men who had remained in the city after its evacuation — cripples, clerks, and gray-beards — seemed to be dazed, and unable, as yet, to realize that the heart of the Confederacy was beating no more. Women stayed at home and worked and wept. The days were torture and the nights were dread. Darkness was on the streets as in the houses, for the conflagration had destroyed many of the gas mains.4 Everywhere was suspense or despair, a tension heightened on the one side by suspicion that the South inspired the assassination of Lincoln, April 14, 1865, and on the other by resentment that so foul a charge could be credited.
Then, slowly, like a man brought back from the maw of death, the city began again to live. Convalescents hobbled about the streets, released at last from the hospitals. The survivors of the retreat to Appomattox limped back and continued to arrive until Halleck estimated there were in the city between 10,000 and 15,000 former Confederates.5 Negroes flocked in from the plantations and swelled to 40,000 or 50,000 the colored population. Federal units on the march were often given a day in Richmond, and with their equipment and numbers amazed a city that had become accustomed to thin brigades and starving horses. The railroads were repaired and tourists descended in swarms. Adventurers and speculators, writers and artists, sharpers and schemers appeared every day in larger numbers.
There was, so far, no work for any one. Returned soldiers walked the streets but might not stop and talk one to another, for after the murder of President Lincoln orders had been given that no more than two men should be allowed to foregather p190 in a public place.6 They needed leadership, did those Confederates whose name, a few brief weeks before, had been terror to the North. No country was theirs and no cause, and they looked often and wistfully at the tall brick residence on Franklin Street, because, in defeat as in victory, they regarded Lee as still and always their leader. In front of the house a Federal sentinel usually stood, while a changing knot of curious strangers peered at the windows. These newcomers, especially the excursionists, trooped to Libby prison, and gaped at the fire-swept area, and gazed at the Capitol, and then, if they could, sought to get a glimpse of him who embodied in their eyes the diabolical "rebellion" against which their press and their preachers had declaimed. The staid building, with the door he had shut behind him, was as much the centre of that stricken city as ever his tent had been the headquarters for that city's defense. The whole bewildered life of Richmond, of Virginia, and of the South, revolved in those days about that street, about that house, and about one man in it.
The people did not let him sit long in the back parlor to rest from the strain those last months had put upon his arteries and heart. Before the first physical reaction was over, his doorbell was ringing. Rooney, Robert, and Dan Lee, his fine nephew of the navy, formed themselves into a staff of ushers7 and tried to save him from those who had no claim upon his time; but between the insistence of visitors and the General's sense of social obligation, they could do little to relieve him. His own people came to him, to comfort and to be comforted. Women whose sons or husbands were still among the missing besought his help, and, of course, could not be turned away. A Confederate imprisoned in Richmond asked General Lee to use his efforts to get him and his comrades released. "But if you can't," he wrote, "just ride by the Libby, and let us see you and give you a good cheer. We will all feel better after it." The General could not grant their wish, but he was moved by their distress and that of p191 the prisoners taken on the retreat to Appomattox. In their behalf he wrote General Grant asking that all who had been captured after April 2 should have the terms allowed at the McLean House.8
Often at night, for exercise and for the solace of starry skies, the General would walk through the mournful residential districts of the city, accompanied only by Mildred, and sometimes he would stop at the home of some understanding friend.9 One evening, when he called at General Chilton's home, from which not a glint of light was to be seen, he found a welcome as bright as the house was dark. A candle was lighted, and there before him stood Channing Smith, one of the most daring of the cavalry spies, who belonged then to Mosby's unsurrendered Rangers. Lee was surprised to see the boy, and the young trooper was shocked at the sight of the old commander to whose tent he had brought so many reports. "O! What a change in his appearance!" Smith wrote. "The last time I had seen him he was in the fullest glory of his splendid manhood, and now pale and wan with the sorrow of blighted hopes. I could not help nor was I ashamed of the tears which filled my eyes." Smith had a message from Mosby, a message and a question: What should the Rangers do? Should they surrender or fight on?
Lee answered: "Give my regards to Colonel Mosby, and tell him that I am under parole, and cannot, for that reason, give him any advice."
"But, General," said the young scout, "what must I do?"
"Channing," replied the General, "go home, all you boys who fought with me, and help to build up the shattered fortunes of p192 our old state."10 That was as far as Lee had found his way at this time: in the crisis of defeat, as in the day of the threat of war, his first thought was of Virginia.
Many put the same question that puzzled Channing Smith. Old officers called to bid their chieftain farewell, some of them bound for distant states, and convinced they would never see him again. Ministers and public men asked his counsel. Friends of his daughters came to beg souvenirs.11 Every group of his departing soldiers sent a delegation or moved en masse on his quarters to pledge him their love and their loyalty. Two came one day, ragged and diffident, telling him they represented sixty who were around the corner, too tattered to enter a private dwelling. Their homes were in the mountains, they explained, and they owned land. They wanted him to come and live among them, that they might work for him and guard him from his foes.
"You would not have your general run away and hide," he answered, deeply stirred. "He must stay and meet his fate." His parole protected him, he went on, and he relied on General Grant's word. At last, unwillingly, they went on their way, enriched with clothing he gave them from his own scant store.
"One day," it has been recorded by Colonel Clement Sullivane, aide to Custis Lee, "all visitors were turned away, generals and statesmen, high and low alike, with the statement that General Lee had such an arrearage of correspondence that he must dispatch it, and he had given instructions during the day to excuse him to all visitors. I was seated at a window in the parlor only a few feet from the door; and as the windows and doors were all open, I could see and hear all that passed. By and by a tall, ragged Confederate soldier, with his left arm in a sling, came up the steps and was met at the door by Custis Lee. He asked to see General Lee. 'I am sorry,' replied Custis, giving him the familiar explanation. The soldier hesitated a moment and then said that he belonged to Hood's Texas brigade, that he had followed General Lee for four years, that he was about to set off and walk to Texas, and he had hoped before he left to shake his old commander by the hand and bid him good-bye; but if he couldn't, he p193 couldn't, and it could not be helped, and with this he turned away and went down the steps. Custis Lee hesitated a few moments and then called to the soldier to come back, that possibly General Lee would make an exception in his case, and he would see. So he ushered him into the parlor and went off upstairs. I offered the old soldier a seat and entered into a friendly conversation with him about his wounds, etc. Presently I heard the stately step of General Robert E. Lee descending the stairway. As we both arose on his entrance into the room, he bowed gravely to me and then advanced to the Texan, with his hand extended. The poor fellow grasped it, looked General Lee straight in the eye, struggled to say something, but choked and could not, and, wringing Lee's hand, he dropped it as he burst into tears; then, covering his face with his arm, he turned away and walked out of the room and the house. General Lee gazed after him for a few moments motionless, his fine, deep, dark eyes suffused and darkened with emotion, and then, again gravely bowing to me, he left the room and returned upstairs. Not a single word was spoken during the meeting by any of the three participants. . . ."12
Others wished to see the face on which the Texan had gazed, and if they might not behold him in the flesh, they wanted pictures of Lee. Photographers importuned him — among them Brady, for whom he sat in the rear of his home, with his son Rooney and Walter Taylor standing by. It was a stern picture. The jaw was strongly set and a shadow both of anguish and of defiance lingered on his face.
Journalists dogged him. Federal officers climbed his steps, some from ill-concealed curiosity and some to pay an honest tribute to him as soldier and as man. He disliked these interviews, but he did not feel he could decline them, and once, when he thought the young men of the household had denied him to three Union officers whom he should have received, he had his nephew ride across the river in what proved to be a futile attempt to find them and to apologize to them.13
One Irish bluecoat who called at the house proved to be an old p194 regular of the Second United States Cavalry, Lee's own former regiment. He had a Negro with him, carrying a heavily laden basket of provisions. He told Captain Robert Lee, who met him, that he had heard down the street the Lees were in need of food, and that as long as he had a cent, his colonel should not want. The General heard the conversation and came into the hall. He was met with a salute from his old-time soldier, and had much difficulty in persuading the Irishman that he was not hungry. In the end he had to accept the basket, with the understanding that he would send it to the sanitary commission, which was caring for the sick. The veteran tried to embrace Lee on leaving and cried, "Good-bye, Colonel! God bless ye! If I could have got over in time, I would have been with ye!"14
Not one of all these visitors observed in General Lee any evidence of collapse, or even the slightest wavering in his self-control. Men saw new lines in his face and sadness in his eyes, but if they were discerning, they were quick to observe that this did not come from any rage at his defeat or from any personal humiliation over the surrender. He grieved then and to the end of his days, sometimes so deeply that he had to get up from his bed and pace the floor until he was weary, but it was never in self-pity. It was always for the victims of the war — old people left childless and poor, young mothers doomed to struggling widowhood, orphans whose fathers' bones lay on distant fields. The sorrows of the South were the burden of his life, manifest from the hour he came home, never eased until the autumn of 1867, and never removed until his death. Not a day in the last five years of his life can be understood unless it be remembered that the weight on his heart was that of others' woes. For himself, he summed it up when he told one of the chaplains at Washington College, "Yes, all that is very sad, and might be a cause of self-reproach, but that we are conscious that we have humbly tried to do our duty. We may, therefore, with calm satisfaction, trust in God, and leave results with Him."15 To that view he held, regardless of what the effort cost him.
He had no intention of further, futile resistance. All too plainly he saw it would be vain. Throughout his life he had submitted p195 himself to existing authority, and he would do so now. But what of the future of the South, and what of those thousands of hot-blooded young men who had fought so passionately against the Union they were now commanded to respect as the only government in existence? What of those whose lives might be at the mercy of the liberated Negroes? He must shape his course to serve them.
On April 26 Johnston surrendered. A week thereafter, as if to evidence the belief that its service would no longer be needed, the Army of the Potomac approached Richmond in all its might. It was on the march to Washington, where it was to be reviewed and disbanded. Ahead of the endless divisions rode General Meade, willing then as always to practise the lofty doctrine of reconciliation. In Meade's entourage was Markoe Bache, who happened to know Custis Lee and called on him. In some way, the suggestion of a visit by Meade to Lee was made, whereupon Custis, of course, said that his father would be glad to see the General. On May 5, the forthright commander called and had a long conversation with Lee. In the frankness of old friendship, he urged Lee to take the oath of allegiance, not only to establish his own status but for the influence his action would have on the South. Lee replied, in the same spirit, by telling Meade what he had been thinking — that he had no personal objections to renewing allegiance to the United States, and that he intended to submit to their authority, but that he did not propose to change his footing as a paroled prisoner of war until he knew what policy the Federal Government intended to pursue toward the South. Meade argued that the government could make no decision of policy until it was satisfied the Southern people had returned to their allegiance. The best evidence of an intention to obey the Federal law, he contended, would be the oath. Lee did not combat this logic, nor did he deny that the military power of the Confederacy was destroyed. With the realism that always marked his acts, he agreed that the government of the United States was the only one that possessed any authority. Those who proposed to live under it should acknowledge it by the oath. But he would wait and see how the Federal Government itself acted. Then the question turned to the condition of the Negroes, concerning which the two talked at p196 length. When Meade left he was, as he wrote, "really sad to think of [Lee's] position, his necessities, and the difficulties which surround him."16
Both men doubtless thought often of this conversation. What Lee had said, he had determined from the very day of the surrender to make the first rule of his conduct. No matter what happened, he would not abandon Virginia, as many heavy-hearted Confederates were planning to do.17 He would remain with his state and share her fate. "Now, more than at any other time," he told a friend, "Virginia and every other state in the South needs us. We must try and, with as little delay as possible, go to work to build up their prosperity." He similarly counselled others.18
This was not all he decided, even when the memory of Appomattox still burned: he would, as a corollary, do nothing that would inflame the victors against the South. As he was hated by the North and was accounted responsible for the death of many of its sons, he would efface himself from public affairs, lest Virginia be hurt when his enemies struck at him. No word, no act of his, he resolved, should bring injury to her, or add to the woes p197 of a defeated people. He would seek, also, to moderate the opinion of the South while not exciting that of the North. The old, bitter issues he would not discuss; the finished battles he would not revive. Nothing that he said or did should make it more difficult than it was to live under the government of the victorious Union. If men asked his counsel, he would advise silence, hard work, quiet behavior and avoidance of everything that might arouse the spirit of resistance or react against the defenseless. When visitors denounced the Federals, his was the first voice of moderation and his the first acknowledgment of generosity. "General Grant has acted with magnanimity," he said.19
This rule of conduct, which after Appomattox he never relaxed for a moment, he applied in small things as in large. When neighborhood youths set upon a juvenile "Yankee" whom they caught alone in the street in front of Lee's home, the General came out and reproved them for attacking an "innocent little boy that had never done any harm to any one." He told the attackers that as Virginia gentlemen they should treat the stranger civilly, even if he was a Northerner. He took the frightened lad into his house and kept him there until the assailants had gone away.20 His conciliatory attitude soon became known. Halleck heard while in Richmond that Lee intended to take the oath of allegiance, and both he and Grant predicted that if Lee did so, most Southerners would follow his example.21
Where and how could he best lead the life he had shaped for himself? He was not penniless, for in the general wreck of Southern fortunes, he had saved some of his modest investments;22 but their yield was uncertain and was not enough to maintain the family in Richmond, even had he desired to stay there. His inclination and his financial circumstances alike disposed him to leave the old capital, with its curious crowds and its Federal garrison. "I am looking for some little quiet house in the woods," he wrote General Long, "where I can procure shelter and my daily p198 bread if permitted by the victor. I wish to get Mrs. Lee out of the city as soon as practicable."23 This last was no small consideration. Mrs. Lee had never doubted the success of the Southern cause.24 The final defeat had been a bewildering blow, especially as the evacuation of Richmond had forced her temporarily to leave her home, which was threatened by fire.25 She rallied courageously, however. "I feel," she wrote about a week after the General's return, "that I could have blessed God if those who were prepared had filled a soldier's grave. [Now] I bless Him that they are spared, I trust for future usefulness to their unhappy country. . . . For my part, it will always be a source of pride and consolation to me to know that all mine have perilled their lives, fortune, and even fame in so holy a cause."26 Brave as she was, General Lee felt it was not prudent to keep her amid the excitements and irritations of the occupied city, and he sent Rooney to the Pamunkey to see if place could be found for her there.27 As his son's report was not encouraging, the General decided to make some inquiries of his own.
Late in May,28 without sending any word in advance, he mounted Traveller, and, all alone, rode out of Richmond, across the Chickahominy and on toward the Pamunkey. The first part of his journey lay past Mechanicsville, scene of his initial major engagement as commander in eastern Virginia. A little farther, and Lee passed through the gray earthworks that Early's men had thrown up almost precisely a year before, while Grant was moving toward Cold Harbor, where the field was covered with fallen Federals. Bloody scenes they were, and grim memories they may have awakened, but if so, they were hidden in his own heart. The country changed somewhat, and the battle-grounds were left behind, as the morning wore away. At 3 o'clock he drew rein in the yard of Pampatike,29 home of his cousin, the gallant artillerist. p199
PAMPATIKE, RESIDENCE OF COLONEL THOMAS H. CARTER, KING WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA, THE FIRST HOME VISITED BY GENERAL LEE, BEYOND THE CONFINES OF RICHMOND, AFTER HIS RETURN FROM APPOMATTOX
It probably was at Pampatike that Lee decided to apply for the return of civil rights
under the first amnesty proclamation.
After a photograph reproduced by courtesy of Spencer L. Carter of Richmond.
The General was recognized and welcomed on the instant and soon was in the circle of admiring relations. He was pleased when they told him Mrs. Carter had wept when her husband came back safe from Appomattox, because she grieved of think he could no longer fight for his country. Lee applauded her, but he did not talk much about the war. Instead, he chatted about Mexico and much about the farm he wished to purchase, and often of the kin of the Carters and of the Lees. Colonel Carter, in the matter of a farm, recommended Clarke County if the General desired a grass country, and Gloucester if he preferred salt-water. Lee declared for the grass. In his turn, he advised his cousin not to depend for labor on the Negroes, ninety and more in number, who still lived at Pampatike. The government would provide for them, said Lee. In their place, Carter should employ white help. Carter argued politely that this was the counsel of perfection: he had to use what he could get. The General held on. "I have always observed," said he, "that wherever you find the Negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever you find the white man, you see everything around him improving."30
He played for hours with two small daughters of the house, aged three and five, who, at his special request, were sent up to his room in the early morning to visit him before he arose. He delighted, too, in watching Traveller, after the horse had been turned out on the lush lawn to graze and to wallow. "I am sure the days passed here," said the son who must have shared some of them with him, "were the happiest he had spent for many years."31
As news spread that the General was at Pampatike, invitations began to pour in. One was to dinner with Mrs. Corbin Braxton of Chericoke, widow of a grandson of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration.32 Along with General and the Carters, she p200 invited young Rooney and young Robert Lee and one of their cousins, all of whom by this time were hard at work raising a crop of corn at the White House.
A great and sumptuous dinner Mrs. Braxton set for her guests in the old, over-bountiful Virginia style. The younger men ate with much heartiness and with no reflections on the waste. "We had been for so many years in the habit of being hungry, Bob Lee explained years after, "that it was not strange we continued to be so awhile yet." But General Lee noticed Mrs. Braxton's lavishness and though of course he did not refer to it while he was her guest, his mind dwelt on it as he drove back to Pampatike with Colonel Carter. "Thomas," said he, "there was enough dinner today for twenty people. All this now will have to be changed; you cannot afford it; we shall have to practise economy."33
The next day saw the end of his stay at Pampatike. When Traveller was brought around, he was not quite satisfied with the way the blanket was folded, so he had the servant take off the saddle, and kneeling on the ground he arranged the cloth as he thought it best fitted the animal's back. He kept a close eye on the girthing, also, and only when he was satisfied that his mount was comfortable did he say good-bye to his kinsfolk and start back to Richmond. On the way he stopped for a call at Ingleside, another Braxton home. "After this visit away from the city," wrote his son, ". . . he began looking about more than ever to find a country home."34
Lee's sojourn at Pampatike meant much more than rest. It marked the second great decision he reached after the war, a decision almost as important in its consequences as that to which he had come instinctively when he sat down at Arlington and wrote his resignation from the United States army. For it was at Pampatike that he saw for the first time President Johnson's proclamation of May 29. In this document, to all except fourteen designated classes of Confederates, amnesty and pardon were offered those who would take a specified oath to support the constitution and laws of the United States.35 Full property rights, other than in slaves, were to be restored every man who took the oath. Those like Lee, in the excepted classes of the prominent, were privileged p201 to make special application for individual pardon, with the assurance that "clemency will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case and the peace and dignity of the United States."
This was a declaration of the sort for which Lee had told Meade he had been waiting before deciding whether he would take the oath. The statement of the President's intentions greatly relieved General Lee's mind. It opened a way, he thought, for the South's recovery. Her people realized the Confederacy was dissolved, and most of them were willing to accept the outcome. President Johnson's offer indicated that the administration was not to impose the harsh law of the conqueror and would not visit retribution upon the disarmed South, but, on the contrary, would respect the property and, by inference, the other rights of the great majority of those who had so recently been branded as "rebels" and "traitors." If Southerners embraced the offer in this proclamation, they might escape the worst horrors that had been threatened them when their cause was lost. And if, again, as a result of the President's amnesty and the South's acceptance, the states of the former Confederacy could regain the places they had held before 1861, they would be safe from rule by soldiers or by blacks. The future of the restored nation would then be bright. An early return to a union of all the states accordingly became in General Lee's eyes as desirable for the South as it was logical for people of a common stock who had settled the issues that divided them.
That was not all. Modest as he was, he knew that the men who had looked to him in battle were looking to him now. Once again he told himself that, as he had sought to set them an example during the life of the Confederacy, he must do no less in the hour of its death; and if there was no guarantee of personal security for them other than that of allegiance to the United States, he must show them so. Besides, he had some protection under his parole as a prisoner of war. Mr. Davis and all the other civil officers of the government lacked that. Were he to take the oath and recover his citizenship, he might be able to help them. He was not sure he could aid them, but he felt that perhaps a way would be found, and if so, he must be ready to follow it.
Would it be inconsistent in him to take this course? He probably p202 answered then as he did the following October when he told Beauregard: "True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them — the desire to do right — is precisely the same. The circumstances which govern their actions change; and their conduct must conform to the new order of things. History is full of illustrations of this. Washington himself is an example. At one time he fought against the French under Braddock, in the service of the King of Great Britain; at another, he fought with the French at Yorktown, under the orders of the Continental Congress of America, against him. He has not been branded by the world with reproach for this; but his course has been applauded."36 Here Lee avowed a personal ideal as surely as he drew an historical parallel. At Arlington, Washington had been his model. After Appomattox he still looked for guidance to the example of that majestic man.
But what of the special application that had to be made by all those who were excepted from the amnesty proclamation? Was that a humiliation that ought not to be borne? If this complication occurred to him, he disposed of it as he did, some months later, in a letter to Josiah Tatnall. He told that officer: "Both [those embraced in the amnesty proclamation and those excepted], in order to be restored to their former rights and privileges, were required to perform a certain act, and I do not see that an acknowledgment of fault is expressed in one more than the other."37
Reasoning in this way, Lee came back to Richmond to ascertain what he should do to comply with the President's proclamation, but when he arrived in the city he heard that District Judge John C. Underwood had called on a Federal grand jury sitting in Norfolk to indict him and other Confederates for treason against the United States.38 The threat of criminal proceedings did not move him, for he was quite willing to meet any accusation that might be brought against him, but it raised a question that puzzled p203 him: Would his decision to ask for a pardon be regarded as an effort to escape trial? Might it hurt the very people he wished to help? Would it mar the example he felt he should set? He reasoned that a trial was unlikely, inasmuch as he had been formally paroled, and he concluded that if the Federals did bring him into court, they might leave others alone.39 So he adopted a direct expedient: he would enter his application for pardon, under the amnesty, but he would make it contingent on the non-prosecution of the charges against him. If he was to be brought to the bar he would not ask for pardon but would face the charge and accept the outcome. For the sake of the tens of thousands of Southern men who held paroles similar to his own, he would endeavor to have the terms of their surrender respected, and in dealing with the government he would assume this would be done. He would address his communication to General Grant, the officer who had taken his parole, and he would enclose it in his application to the President for pardon. There could then be no doubt that the application was not to be considered unless the authorities honored his parole and did not press a criminal prosecution. But how would General Grant view the matter? Sympathetically? His conduct at Appomattox certainly indicated that he would, but his views might have changed. Lee must find out. And through whom? On reflection, Lee decided to make verbal inquiry through his friend Reverdy Johnson, United States senator from Maryland, who had supported the Union cause yet was a firm advocate of reconciliation. Lee communicated with Senator Johnson, who consulted Colonel Adam Badeau, military secretary to General Grant. In a few days Lee learned that Grant would insist that the paroles be respected, and would endorse Lee's application for pardon, which he urged him to make.40
Apparently, Lee consulted no one else. Regarding the question as one of personal duty, he said nothing until he handed Custis Lee two papers, on June 13, and asked him to copy them.
p204 This was the letter he wrote Grant:
Richmond, Virginia, June 13, 1865.
Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, Commanding the Armies of the United States.
General: Upon reading the President's proclamation of the 29th ult., I came to Richmond to ascertain what was proper or required of me to do, when I learned that, with others, I was to be indicted for treason by the grand jury at Norfolk. I had supposed that the officers and men of the Army of Northern Virginia were, by the terms of their surrender, protected by the United States Government from molestation so long as they conformed to its conditions. I am ready to meet any charges that may be preferred against me, and do not wish to avoid trial; but, if I am correct as to the protection granted by my parole, and am not to be prosecuted, I desire to comply with the provisions of the President's proclamation, and, therefore, inclose the required application, which I request, in that event, may be acted on. I am, with great respect,
Your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee.
The enclosed application to the President was in this language:
Richmond, Virginia, June 13, 1865.
His Excellency Andrew Johnson,
President of the United States.
Sir: Being excluded from the provisions of the amnesty and pardon contained in the proclamation of the 29th ult., I hereby apply for the benefits and full restoration of all rights and privileges extended to those included in its terms. I graduated at the Military Academy at West Point in June, 1829; resigned from the United States Army, April, 1861; was a general in the Confederate Army, and included in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865. I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee.41
To the decision represented by this application, General Lee adhered for the rest of his life. With him, mental opposition to the government was at an end. Submission to civil authority was real. In letters to his friends, he began to voice the sentiments that were to find fuller expression, six weeks thereafter, when he decided to take up, once again, the leadership of youth. "Tell [our returned soldiers]," he wrote Colonel Walter Taylor on June 17, four days after he addressed the President, "they must all set to work, and if they cannot do what they prefer, do what they can. Virginia wants all their aid, all their support, and the presence of all her sons to sustain and recuperate her. They must therefore put themselves in a position to take part in her government, and but to be deterred by obstacles in their way. There is much to be done which they only can do."43
News that General Lee had asked for a pardon soon became known. It had much the effect with the South that Grant and Halleck had predicted.44 Many of those who had fought with General Lee reasoned that they could safely follow his leadership in this particular and could accept the President's amnesty. But there were die-hards who did not understand that Lee was taking this course to save the South from new anguish and to aid in the re-establishment of an equal union of all the states. Thinking he had acted both hastily in improperly, they criticised him accordingly and swore they would never follow his example. No single act of his career aroused so much antagonism. Twenty years after his death some of the "unreconstructed" Southerners were still insistent that Lee had erred, and, by asking a pardon, had admitted a fault. In the North his action was received with mild satisfaction as something in the nature of a dying sinner's repentance, but it was honestly applauded by Henry Ward Beecher.45
The possibility of Lee's trial for treason created as much talk as p206 his application to Johnson. Offers of legal help came quickly, and were gratefully acknowledged.46 "I have heard of the indictment. . .," he said, "and made up my mind to let the authorities take their course. I have no wish to avoid any trial the government may order, and I cannot flee."47 Holding to the view expressed in his letter to Grant — that paroled prisoners of war could not be brought to trial — he exerted himself chiefly to allay the resentment of his friends over the course the Federal authorities threatened to take in dealing with him. When one of a company of callers, a minister, declaimed bitterly against the indictment, Lee said simply: "Well! it matters little what they may do to me; I am old, and have but a short time to live anyway." And he turned the subject. A little later, when the clergyman was leaving, Lee followed him to the door and spoke with much earnestness. "Doctor," he said, "there is a good old book which I read and you preach from, which says, 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.' Do you think your remarks this evening were quite in the spirit of that teaching?" The preacher apologized for his bitterness, whereupon General Lee concluded: "I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South dearestº rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them."48
It could not have been long after this that Lee received General Grant's letter of June 20, in which the Federal commander upheld Lee's view that paroled prisoners of war could not be tried for treason so long as they observed their paroles. In endorsing and forwarding the application of General Lee to the President, General Grant went so far as to say: "I would ask that [Judge Underwood] be ordered to quash all indictments found against paroled prisoners of war, and to desist from the further prosecution of them." Grant also transcribed in his letter to Lee his "earnest p207 recommendation" to the President that Lee's application for amnesty and pardon be allowed.49
No early action to quash the indictment was taken, despite Grant's letter, but Lee was not arrested and prosecution was not begun. When General Lee went away from Richmond, later in the month, he left a copy of Grant's letter with William H. Macfarlane, a lawyer and a friend, whom he authorized to show it to other officers who were in his condition. He declined to let the communication be printed, however, unless Grant's consent was procured.50 By the end of July, Lee was about convinced that the treason indictment would not be pressed and that, on the other hand, he would not soon be granted a pardon. "I think . . .," he wrote Fitzhugh, "we may expect procrastination in measures of relief, denunciatory threats, etc. We must be patient, and let them take their course."51 He was right. The individual pardon was never granted.b
Pardon or no pardon, treason or no treason, Lee felt he should now set an example by going to work. Fitzhugh and Robert were progressing on their farms, but the General himself had no land. The lot in Washington which had been bequeathed him under the will of Mr. Custis, had been sold in 1864 for taxes.52 He had lost $20,500 in Confederate and Carolina bonds. His holdings of $4000 in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company had yielded nothing for years.53 The return on his other securities was doubtful for the time being.54 Arlington had shared the fate of the Washington property, and the $40,000 due his daughters from the estate of Mr. Custis could not be raised. The General did not even own the house in which his family was then sheltered. It belonged to John Stewart, a Scotch philanthropist of Richmond. With characteristic generosity and thoughtfulness, Mr. Stewart now offered the place to Mrs. Lee for as long as she was willing p208 to stay there, and stipulated that if she insisted on paying for the use of the premises, he would take only Confederate money, in accordance with the terms of the original lease.55 Appreciative as General Lee was of his landlord's kindness, he did not desire to remain in the city and did not feel that he could live on the bounty of Mr. Stewart.
Nor did he feel that he could accept any of the numerous other offers of hospitality that came to him — one to go to England as the life-guest of a generous nobleman. "I am deeply grateful," he wrote the Britisher. "I cannot desert my native state in the hour of her adversity. I must abide her fortunes, and share her fate."56 Although General Meade had privately suggested him for governor of Virginia,57 he would not consider entering politics. There is no evidence to show that he canvassed the outlook for his old specialty, engineering. As a man whose prime aim was to get away from the world, he clung to his idea of purchasing and working a small farm where Mrs. Lee and his daughters might live in quietness. Moreover, he believed that agriculture offered the best opportunity of the Southern soldier who had no profession and no money, and he often commended that vocation to his old soldiers. The suggestion that he undertake this new life on one of the Pamunkey properties he put aside at length because, as Mrs. Lee explained, he "seemed to think it would be difficult for us to obtain supplies down there or to get servants to remain, and that it would be better for us to go higher up the country."58 He considered Clarke County, which Colonel Carter had praised, and at length he became interested in a tract in Orange County, near the railroad bridge over the Rapidan, in a beautiful section close to the scene of some of his campaigns.59 He withheld a final decision about buying the place, however, probably in view of his uncertainty as to the treason proceedings.60
p209 While he waited, there came a letter from Mrs. Elizabeth Randolph Cocke, a widow of wealth and station, who resided at Oakland, a fine estate in Cumberland and Powhatan Counties, on the south side of the James River, •some fifty-five miles above Richmond. She had a vacant cottage on a quiet part of her Powhatan property; would the General and his family use it, and the land that went with it, at their pleasure? Her letter may have been written in some understanding of Lee's needs and wishes, and it was followed by a visit to Mrs. Lee from Mrs. Cocke. Her desire to entertain them was so manifest and her tone so cordial that the family accepted,61 the more readily because Mrs. Lee, who could not travel far, would be able to make most of the journey by canal boat.62
Prior to June 9 — probably at the time he first contemplated moving into the country — General Lee had inquired of the provost-marshal whether he would need a passport for leaving Richmond, and had been assured that he would not, but as there had been a change in the office, he took pains to write again.63 Encountering no obstacle, he proceeded to case up the domestic goods, which was no small task for a large household that had been refugees in Richmond for nearly two years.
The General's spirits were visibly raised at the near prospect of getting away from crowds and callers, bustle, and bluecoats. While he was packing his own trunk, with some desultory feminine assistance, he passed several times into the adjoining room to show to his girls and to their guest, a minister's daughter, odd belongings of interest that he chanced upon. Presently he appeared with a wide-brimmed, drab, felt hat, flat-crowned. "Miss Josie," he said, "has your father a good hat?"
As the young woman, Miss Josephine Stiles, had not seen her father for some time, she could not answer for his wardrobe.
"Well," said he, "I have two good hats, and I don't think a good rebel ought to have two good articles of one kind in these hard times. This was my dress-parade hat" — it probably was the one he p210 had worn at Appomattox. "Take it, please, and if your father has not a good hat, give him this one from me."64
He similarly bestowed quite a number of the buttons off his uniform coats, along with photographs65 and other souvenirs, on girl friends of his daughters, who begged them when they came to say good-bye; but after the Federals issued an order requiring all Confederate buttons to be covered or removed, he parted with no more of them, lest he get some young beskirted rebel into trouble with the provost-marshal.66
Finally, the preparations for departure were complete. Custis journeyed ahead as courier, riding Traveller, who, of course, had to go wherever his master rusticated. The rest of the family, one afternoon between June 26 and June 30, went down to "the Basin," a few squares below their home, and took the packet-boat, which started up the James River and Kanawha Canal a little before sunset.67
The ladies soon went below, into the long saloon that was divided, after supper, into one compartment for men and another for women. There they retired. The captain of the packet busied himself and made ready for the General the best bed his boat could provide. But Lee would not accept special favors. Instead, he spread his military cloak over him and slept on deck — the last night that he ever spent under the open sky. In moderate weather it was not usually an unpleasant journey, with the boat moving slowly along the canal, pulled by the stout horse on the tow-path, while the water swished against the sides of the laden craft, and the driver's horn sounded musically every few miles to warn the lock-keeper of the vessel's approach. Worse travel there was, p211 surely, than that of a June night on the "Jeems River and Kanaw'y Canal"!
About sunrise the boat reached Pemberton, the landing nearest Oakland. Custis Lee and Edmund Cocke, a veteran of the Army of Northern Virginia, were waiting for the packet and helped get the party across the ferry and up to the mansion, where breakfast was ready.68 It must have been a relief past words to the General to be in the country again, with his family, in an atmosphere reminiscent of the old days at Arlington.
A week at Oakland69 and then to Derwent, •two miles away, the property Mrs. Cocke had placed at his disposal. It was a plain tenant's house, with two rooms above and two below, and had an "office" in the yard. Mrs. Cocke had equipped it with furniture from Oakland and had given it a simple air of comfort, which was heightened by a fine grove of trees.70 The neighborhood was secluded, the land was poor, the summer was hot, but the large, hard-working family of Palmores, who surrounded Derwent,71 supplied butter and vegetables to supplement frequent baskets from Oakland. Lee was more than content. He had what he most desired — quiet and an opportunity to rest. For a while he travelled nowhere except to church. Then he began to ride about the neighborhood. One of his first visits was to Palmore's store, where he discussed crops with the owner. Turning at last, he found that virtually the whole countryside had flocked the place to see him and to hear him talk. He apologized with dignity, when he saw the crowd, for having kept Mr. Palmore from waiting on his "numerous customers."72 Ere long, he went to p212 General Cocke's old mansion at Bremo, visited his brother Carter Lee, and when he had no mission, rode his gray daily for exercise.73 The only one of his military family whom he met during these first weeks was Major Giles B. Cooke, who was visiting at Belmead.74 "We have a quiet time, which is delightful to me," he cheerfully wrote Robert.75 "Our neighbors are kind," he told Rooney, "and do everything in the world to promote our comfort."76
DERWENT, THE COTTAGE IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY, VIRGINIA, LENT TO GENERAL LEE
IN JUNE, 1865, BY MRS. ELIZABETH RANDOLPH COCKE OF OAKLAND
This humble place was the home of the Lee family in the summer of 1865.
There is no way of measuring the strain on General Lee's nerves and self-control during the weeks before he came to this retreat. He had been upheld not only by the power of his will, but also by his deep spirituality, which seemed, somehow, never to be touched by the emotions of the warrior. Always able to pray for his enemies throughout the war, he could forgive them now. But the calm bearing must have been bought at a heavy price, for there was no stoppage, no check, in the rapid degeneration of heart and arteries that had been going on since the spring of 1863, at least. He aged as much, each year after the war, as he did during any twelve months of the struggle.
His social nature he commanded as usual at Derwent, and he could send cheery messages to Norvell Caskie about the suitors of the neighborhood.77 He could so exercise his self-mastery that he read nothing about the war and felt no desire to do so. But he was acutely conscious of the sufferings of the Southern people, he agonized over the mistreatment of President Davis, and, willingly or not, he dwelt in memory on the achievements of his soldiers. He reflected, in particular, on the odds they had faced, of men and material, and he felt impelled to set before the world the truth about the scanty numbers of those who had been proud to style themselves "Lee's Miserables." Although he urged his principal p213 lieutenants to write their memoirs,78 he was not interested in pondering his own mistakes or in reviewing the strategy of his opponents. Seemingly he held no military post mortems. His one thought was of the men who had fought under him, and his sole purpose in planning a history of his campaigns was that their "bravery and devotion might "be correctly transmitted to posterity." Said he: "This is the only tribute that can now be paid to the worth of [the army's] noble officers and soldiers." He declined, however, to make the book a commercial undertaking and rejected proposals to that end.79
His materials for the history were meagre. He had copies of his reports through the Gettysburg campaign, but most of the later reports, along with much correspondence and other documents, had been burned by headquarters' clerks, it will be recalled, on the retreat from Petersburg. The archives of the Confederate War Department had of course been seized. His one hope was that he could recover from other sources something of what had been lost. On July 31, in a circular letter to a number of his general officers, he set forth his purpose to record the story of his men's valor, and asked for any reports, orders, or returns his comrades might have or might be able to procure for him.80 The project continued to be a theme of considerable importance during the months that followed. He was not moved to undertake early composition of the book and may even had been deterred by the later remark of his brother Carter that "everybody says the copyright of Lee's History of the War would bring $100,000."81 To make money by capitalizing the story of America strife would have seemed monstrous to him.
This work apart, the contention that was rising again as ominously as in 1861 he desired to avoid. He had hoped in the year of secession that he would not be compelled to share in the strife that was then in the making. Equally was he anxious now to live a retired life. But just as there had been brought to Arlington Judge Robertson's message from Governor Letcher that had p214 thrown him into the struggle for Southern independence, so now one day in August there came up the road to Derwent, unannounced and unexpected, a tall and bulky gentleman with another summons to service for Virginia and the South.
1 Mrs. McGuire, 358.
2 From April 8 to April 15, inclusive, according to the relief committee, tickets for 85,555 rations were issued (Miss Brock, 373).
3 New York Times, April 11, 1865, p4.
4 New York Times, April 14, 1865, p2.
6 De Leon, 368. General Lee made no public comment on the assassination of President Lincoln because of his desire to avoid everything that might make him conspicuous, but he was shocked by the act, and subsequently he wrote: "It is a crime previously unknown to this Country, and one that must be deprecated by every American" (R. E. Lee to Count Joannes, Sept. 4, 1865, Jones, 204).
7 They doubtless had abundant helpers, for when kinsmen or friends came to Richmond without shelter or money, they were cared for on pallets at the Lee house till they were able to go home.
9 Mrs. Mary Pegram Anderson in Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jan. 20, 1907. Mrs. Robert Dabney Minor, wife of a gallant officer of the Virginia, invited Lee to call, with the promise that if he did so she would give him a "nice cup of tea," still a rarity among impoverished Richmonders. Lee duly called with Agnes — more for the company than for tea — and fortunately found Captain Minor at home. While the two were engaged in conversation, Mrs. Minor brewed the tea, but when she returned she brought only three cups, one for the General, one for her husband, and one for Agnes. "I'll not drink any until you get yourself a cup," the General announced. Mrs. Minor duly rose, left the room and came back with a full cup. Seating herself on an ottoman at the General's feet, she sipped and chatted with the rest. General Lee never knew that the young woman had discovered that she had only enough tea for three cups and that, when the General insisted that she drink, she had resourcefully filled her cup with muddy James River water, which she drank from her spoon as if it had been the finest Orange Pekoe.— Statement of Miss Annie Minor of Richmond.
10 Smith in 35 Confederate Veteran, 327.
12 28 Confederate Veteran, 459‑60.
13 Major T. T. Graves, of Weitzel's staff, one of the first two officers to enter Richmond, was sent by Weitzel to offer help to Fitz Lee, with whom he had been at West Point. Graves, from the front parlor, saw General Lee in the back parlor "with a tired, worn expression on his face . . . leaning over" (4 B. and L., 728).
14 R. E. Lee, Jr., 157 ff.; Miss Mason, 318 ff.
15 Jones, 144.
16 2 Meade, 278‑79.
17 Cf. De Leon, 369.
18 Jones, 145; R. E. Lee, Jr., 163; Avary: Dixie After the War, 68; personal statement of G. Percy Hawes, Oct. 5, 1925; Margaret J. Preston in 38 Century Magazine (cited hereafter as Mrs. Preston), 271‑72. Among those whom he thus advised at a later date was General Early, who had left the country and was then in Mexico. Another was Captain Matthew Fontaine Maury, the inventor and oceanographer, who had been on a mission in Europe at the end of the war and had accepted an appointment from Maximilian of Mexico as imperial commissioner of agriculture (Lewis: Matthew Fontaine Maury, 190). General Lee was careful not to dispute the wisdom of the acts of individuals in emigrating and he did not think that Maury should attempt to return at once to the United States (Lewis, op. cit., 188). Neither did he want to throw cold water on a great scheme of land settlement that Maury was maturing. But his own decision and his counsel to others were alike explicit. "As long as virtue was dominant in the republic," he wrote Maury, "so long was the happiness of the people secure. I cannot, however, despair of it yet. I look forward to better days, and trust that time and experience, the great teachers of men, under the guidance of an ever-merciful God, may save us from destruction, and restore to us the bright hopes and prospects of the past. The thought of abandoning the country and all that must be lost in it is abhorrent to my feelings, and I prefer to struggle for its restoration and share its fate, rather than give up all as lost. I have a great admiration for Mexico; the salubrity of its climate, the fertility of its soil, and the magnificence of its scenery, possess for me great charm; but I still look with delight upon the mountains of my native state . . . [Virginia] has need for all her sons, and can ill afford to spare you" (R. E. Lee to M. F. Maury, Sept. 8, 1865; Jones, 206; Cf. ibid., 202, 208, 215, for somewhat similar letters to Colonel Richard L. Maury, General C. M. Wilcox, and General Early. Cf. also, R. E. Lee, Jr., 163). To Beauregard he wrote, still later in the year, after he had gone to Lexington: "I am glad to see no indication in your letter of an intention to leave the country. I think the South requires the aid of her sons now more than at any period of her history. As you ask my purpose, I will state that I have no thought of abandoning her unless compelled to do so" (Jones, 207).
19 T. N. Page: Robert E. Lee, Man and Soldier, 640.
20 Judge Daniel Grinnan, quoting W. A. Stanard, who got the story from the "little Yankee" sixty years after; American Issue, Virginia Edition, Feb. 21, 1925.
22 He was one of the earliest depositors in the new First National Bank of Richmond. His signature slip is still preserved in its records.
23 Long, 439.
24 Mrs. R. E. Lee to Mrs. R. H. Chilton, MS., May 6, 1867; Chilton Papers.
25 Mrs. Mark Valentine in 10 Confederate Veteran, 279‑81.
26 Mrs. R. E. Lee to Miss Mary Meade, MS., [April] 23, , for a copy of which the writer acknowledges the kindness of Matthew Page Andrews of Baltimore, Md.
28 Or perhaps early in June, as R. E. Lee, Jr., stated (op. cit., 166). The reason for thinking he left late in May is that he had not seen President Johnson's amnesty proclamation of May 29 at the time of his departure.
29 The name is pronounced with the accent on the "ti," and with the "i" of the "tike" given the same value as the name "Ike."
30 R. E. Lee, Jr., p168.
31 R. E. Lee, Jr., p166.
32 Honorable Henry T. Wickham has given the descent and the relationship as follows: Carter Braxton the signer married as his second wife, Elizabeth Corbin. Their son George married Mary Carter, daughter of Charles Carter of Shirley by his first marriage to Mary W. Carter of Cleve. The son of George and Mary Carter Braxton was Corbin Braxton. His wife, General Lee's hostess, was Mary Tomlin. Corbin Braxton was thus Lee's half-first cousin.
33 R. E. Lee, Jr., p168.
34 R. E. Lee, Jr., 269.
36 R. E. Lee to G. T. Beauregard, Oct. 3, 1865; Jones, L. and L., 390.
37 R. E. Lee to J. Tatnall, Sept. 7, 1865; Jones, 208. Cf. Jones, 218‑19.
38 Actually he had been indicted on June 7, 1865. For ascertaining the date of this indictment, thanks are due the late Joseph P. Brady, the clerk of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. After much search, Mr. Brady found this long-sought entry in the criminal docket of the presiding judge. All the other records of the indictment have disappeared.
39 For this latter point, see Fitz Lee, 400. In the Taylor MSS. is a copy of the letter to Grant with this notation in the autograph of General Custis Lee: "When Gen. Lee requested to me to make a copy of this letter to Presdt. Johnson, he remarked: It was but right for him to set an example of making formal submission to the Civil Authorities; and that he thought, by so doing, he might possibly be in a better position to be of use to the Confederates, who were not protected by Military paroles — especially Mr. Davis."
40 Adam Badeau: Grant in Peace, 25‑27.
41 R. E. Lee, Jr., 164, 165; O. R., 46, part 3, pp1275‑76. For Lee's view that no paroled prisoner should be required to take the oath as a condition of returning home, see his letter of April 25, 1865, to Grant, Jones, 204.
43 Taylor's General Lee, 298; Avary: Dixie After the War, 70‑71; Barton H. Wise: Life of Henry A. Wise, 376, 377; D. H. Maury, 236.
45 "Of course we are full of complacency at Mr. Beecher's approval of Genl. Lee's course, but when he exalts Dalgren [sic] into a hero and martyr, we have less respect for (p206)his judgment" (Mrs. R. E. Lee to Miss Emma Chilton, MS., September n. d.  — Chilton Papers). It is possible that Beecher's approval was given to Lee's decision to enter education rather than to his application for pardon.
46 Among those who offered their services was Reverdy Johnson. See Cooke, 553.
47 Jones, L. and L., 383; R. E. Lee, Jr., 175.
48 Jones, 195‑96.
50 R. E. Lee, Jr., 175.
51 R. E. Lee, Jr., 178.
52 Washington, D. C., Liber N. C. T., 39, Folio 444; deed of July 11, 1864. This lot had never been transferred to General Lee. For establishing this fact, the writer's thanks are due Robert M. Lynn, of Washington, D. C.
53 Inventory of the estate of Robert E. Lee, Rockbridge County (Va.) MS. Records.
54 He had been able, however, to retain his bonds in the Erie Railroad and did not cash them until December, 1866 (Markie Letters, 71).
55 R. E. Lee, Jr., 170.
56 R. E. Lee, Jr., 170, quoting Long. Names and dates connected with this offer are missing, but the incident itself has verisimilitude. De Leon in Belles, Beaux and Brains of the 60's, 427, stated that Lee was offered also the command of the Rumanian army.
57 Moncure D. Conway in 17 Mag. of American History, 469.
58 Mrs. R. E. Lee to Mrs. W. Hartwell Macon, MS., June 23, 1865, Johnston MSS. graciously made available to the writer by J. Ambler Johnston of Richmond. Mrs. Macon had offered the Lees the hospitality of her home.
59 Fitz Lee, 402.
60 Cf. R. E. Lee to R. E. Lee, Jr., undated. R. E. Lee, Jr., 174; "I can do nothing until I learn what decision in my case is made in Washington."
61 R. E. Lee, Jr., 171; Mrs. R. E. Lee to Mrs. W. Hartwell Macon, MS., June 23, 1865, loc. cit.
62 Markie Letters, 62.
64 Stiles, 357. The hat is now in the Confederate Museum, Richmond, Va.
65 One of the most beautiful and characteristic of his letters, sending photographs to his young admirers, was that of May 9, 1865, to Miss Belle Stewart of Brook Hill: "I am surprized Miss Belle that you should want the likeness of an old man when you can get that of so many young ones, but as Keith says such is the case, I send you the last I have. I hope it may serve to recall sometimes one who will never forget you" (Bryan MSS.). He was constantly asked for autographs and pictures and gave them freely. Cf. Markie Letters, 69‑70; Lee to Miss Annie W. Owens, MSS., March 22, 1866, Nov. 29, 1869, June 18, 1870, for copies of which the writer is indebted to Mrs. Frank Screven of Savannah, Ga.
66 Brock, 341.
67 The date of departure cannot be fixed with certainty, but as Mrs. Lee sat for a photograph, on which the cancelled stamps are marked "June 28," it is probable that this is the date of their delivery in Richmond. This would indicate that the family left on June 29 or 30, though it is possible, of course, that the pictures were mailed to her at Derwent. The picture in question is by Vannerson and Jones and is reproduced in Volume III, opposite p210.
68 R. E. Lee, Jr., 171, quoting Captain E. R. Cocke.
69 While he was there, Mrs. Preston's butler entered the dining room, where family and guests were seated at a meal. The Negro came to say farewell as he was leaving to try his fortune as a freedman. "I well remember," Mrs. Preston wrote, "the kindness with which the General rose from his seat, and, shaking the old servant cordially by the hand, gave him some good advice and asked Heaven to bless him" (Mrs. Preston, 272).
70 G. M. Graves in Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jan. 20, 1907; Mrs. Preston, 272.
71 Cf. Mrs. R. E. Lee to Miss Mason [Sept. 14, 1865], quoted in Avary: Dixie After the War, 159: "The settlement of Palmore's surrounding us does not suffer us to want for anything their gardens or farms can furnish." Mrs. Lee had Mrs. Spencer Palmore make a new pair of trousers for the General and, when they had been delivered, thriftily sent for the scraps, so that she could patch the garment when it had worn thin (Mrs. R. E. Lee to Mrs. Spencer Palmore, MS. n. d., 1865 — Palmore MSS.). In acknowledgment of the kindness of the family she gave Miss Willie Hooper Palmer a photograph of herself and one of the General and sent the boys some tracts and religious poems (Palmore Papers).
72 Mrs. Preston, 272.
73 R. E. Lee, Jr., 174, 175, 176, 177.
74 G. B. Cooke: Just Before and After Lee Surrendered to Grant, 7.
75 R. E. Lee, Jr., 177.
76 R. E. Lee, Jr., 178.
77 "Tell [Miss Norvell] that Miss Anna Logan was driven over here yesterday in a buggy by Captain Owens of Louis' — I fear these Louisianians think our Virginia girls belong to them. I met Capt. Bridges at Belmead the other day, where he had been refreshing himself since the war. None of them shall bear her off, I assure her (R. E. Lee to James H. Caskie, MS., July 29, 1865. Caskie MSS.). In this letter Lee asked Caskie to transfer to his nephew, Louis H. Marshall, certain stock in the Bank of Virginia and in the Farmers' Bank that Lee had held as trustee for his sister, Mrs. Wm. L. Marshall, of Baltimore. Mrs. Marshall had died without a will but she had always told General Lee she wished the stock to go to her only child, and Judge Marshall, her husband, had acquiesced in this.
78 Cf. Lee to Longstreet, March 9, 1866. 5 S. H. S. P., 268.
79 Jones, 180, 221. Cf. R. E. Lee to J. A. Early, Nov. 22, 1865, ibid., 181. Cf. Markie Letters, 66.
80 Letter in Jones, 180. He wrote a special letter to Walter H. Taylor, who had handled the returns of the army. Taylor's General Lee, 309. Cf. Irvine Walker, 199.
81 Quoted in Winston, 367.
a Lee signed the oath in October, 1865; see my next note.
b The oath of allegiance subscribed to by General Lee in October of 1865 was mislaid on its way to the authorities of the time, and was only discovered in the National Archives in 1970. A resolution to restore Lee's citizenship was introduced in Congress, passed and signed into law (Public Law 94‑67, 89 Stat. 380) by President Gerald Ford at Arlington House on August 5, 1975. For the text of the President's speech on this occasion, speaking not of 'pardon' but of restoration of citizenship, see this page at the Ford Presidential Library site.
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Robert E. Lee
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