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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.


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Vol. IV
p245
Chapter XV

First Fruits at Washington College

Christmas came and passed, a very different Christmas from the dreadful season in the Petersburg trenches twelve months before. With the New Year, Lee had to make a hard trip to Richmond. On December 4, 1865, the general assembly of Virginia had met, undisturbed as yet by a hostile Congress. Friends of education decided to make an appeal to it on behalf of the colleges. Several of these institutions had bonds guaranteed by the state and were dependent on the interest for a part of their support. This interest had stopped with the collapse of the Confederacy: the schools were anxious that the legislature make good the arrears and resume payment. A demonstration before the committee of the house of delegates on schools and colleges was arranged, and General Lee was asked to appear with Colonel Bolivar Christian, of the board of trustees, in behalf of Washington College, which owned $88,000 of the bonds.1

It was a mission of a sort from which every sensibility of Lee's nature shrank, but with the college's welfare at stake, it had to be performed. The General travelled to Staunton and thence went by railroad to Richmond, where he arrived on January 11, 1866. The legislators expected to give him audience that evening, but on a statement by Colonel Christian that the General was wearied by his journey, his hearing was deferred until the next day. At 9:30 Lee went with Christian before the committee, which was assembled in the office of the first auditor, in the basement of the Capitol. Christian was to present a formal memorial from the college, setting forth its former resources and financial distresses, and General Lee was to speak briefly on this paper. Except for his broken remarks to the men at Appomattox it was the third speech, however condensed, he had ever undertaken to make. The p246 first had been delivered only a hundred feet away, on the next floor of the Capitol, that day when he had been received by the Virginia convention as commanding general of her army of defense. The second had been the warning he had given the over-confident people of Orange in the summer of 1861 on his return from his inspection of the Manassas defenses.

After his associate had explained the plight of the institution, Lee arose. He had little to add, he said, to what Mr. Christian had told the committee. There were about one hundred students at the school. The buildings had been repaired, though the Federal army had left nothing but the walls. All the philosophical and chemical apparatus had been destroyed2 but had been replaced by the trustees. The money used in repairing the buildings and restoring the equipment had been borrowed in the expectation of receiving the interest with which to repay it.

That was his whole speech. Perhaps it did not matter at all what he said: the members of the committee heard him with their hearts, rather than with their ears. He was still their chieftain, not to be denied, and they took a short recess in order that they might greet him.3

As Agnes Lee was then in Richmond, the General had a pleasant time with her and with Richmond friends, though he took pains to avoid functions and public appearances. He remained in Richmond for about a week, helping to make friends for the bill to aid the colleges, and left for home, at last, on a day when the snow was sifting ominously down. The weather grew worse as he approached the mountains. Darkness had fallen when he reached Staunton. He remained there all night, and the next morning, despite gloomy prognostications by his friends, he went on to Goshen, which was the nearest point to Lexington on the railroad. Arriving there at 10 o'clock, he found the road to Rockbridge Baths unbroken and the stage driver not anxious to keep his schedule, but Lee coaxed him into starting, and covered the distance in safety. As the North River was past fording, he was p247 ferried across. On the opposite bank he was lucky enough to find a delayed stage bound for Lexington.4

It was a rough, perhaps a dangerous, journey, but it was not in vain. The general assembly passed an act for the relief of the institutions, by which some $28,000 of interest was distributed among them.5 This measure was fathered by the senator from the Lexington district, David S. G. Cabell.

Other financial assistance was at hand, also. Even before General Lee had gone to Richmond, Reverend S. D. Stuart, one of the agents of the school, had returned from Baltimore, where he had raised $9000 toward the endowment of the presidency. Reverend Doctor W. S. White simultaneously collected $8000 from friends of the institution in the Valley of Virginia.6 Still another representative, Reverend E. P. Walton, had established headquarters at Memphis, Tenn., and was meeting with liberal responses to his appeal for the school. About the same time, as a result of one of the few letters of direct solicitation that Lee had written,7 Cyrus H. McCormick became interested in the college. He was a native of Rockbridge County, in which the institution was located, and he had made the first grain reaper in a shop not many miles from Lexington. On January 6, 1866, the board was told that Mr. McCormick had given $10,000 to the endowment fund. This was a great donation for the times, and was received with the thanks of the college. In appreciation of gift and benefactor, the trustees resolved to elect a professor to the McCormick chair of Experimental Philosophy and Practical Mechanics,8 later styled the McCormick chair of Natural Philosophy. The gift was the more encouraging because McCormick stated that if others made corresponding contributions he might present more money to the college.

These funds relieved somewhat a dark financial situation. Increasing fees paid by the students, who were coming in ever-larger p248 number, also eased somewhat the school's distress. Before the end of the session the total enrollment had reached 146, of whom 59 came from other Southern states than Virginia.9 A balanced budget, however, was by no means assured. Borrowing had to be continued. At some period of his administration — it is not possible to say when — General Lee himself made a loan of $6000 to the college. He had its bond for that amount at the time of his death.10

During the winter of 1865‑66 distresses came with satisfactions. Mistreatment of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.President Davis was a load on Lee's heart.11 The politicians had taken the saddle in Washington. Federal soldiers who had fought against the South and had come to respect the Confederates no longer spoke for the government. Thaddeus Stevens's voice was becoming more powerful than that of any other man in the Union. The moderate policy of President Johnson was bringing upon him the wrath of those who deserved B. H. Hill's withering denunciation as "invisible in war and invincible in peace." Stern "reconstruction" legislation was in the making. A "test oath" was being devised to keep out of office all those who had fought or had enacted laws for the South. The stage was set to make President Davis a shining victim.

This change gave General Lee deep concern. He could not believe that Congress would hold to the policy of repression displayed in the test oath. "I have hoped," he wrote Reverdy Johnson, "that congress would have thought proper to have repealed the acts imposing [the 'ironclad' oath], and all similar tests. To pursue a policy which will continue the prostration of one-half the country, alienate the affections of its inhabitants from the Government, and which must eventually result in injury to the country and the American people, appears to me so manifestly injudicious that I do not see how those responsible can tolerate it."12 Lee did not see, however, that he could personally do anything p249 to prevent the passage of this hard legislation. "I am not in a position to make it proper for me to take a public part in the affairs of the country," he wrote. "I have done and continue to do, in my private capacity, all in my power to encourage our people to set manfully to work to restore the country, to rebuild their homes and churches, to educate their children, and to remain with their states, their friends and countrymen. But as a prisoner on parole, I cannot do more; nor do I believe it would be advantageous for me to do so."13

Contrary to his wishes, and in a manner most obnoxious to him, the General was now unexpectedly brought into contact with the men who were shaping laws against the South. On December 13, 1865, Congress had agreed on the appointment of a joint committee to "inquire into the condition of the states which formed the so‑called Confederate States of America, and report whether they, or any of them, are entitled to be represented in either house of congress." Sub-committees had been named for the various geographical divisions of the South. That on Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina had Senator Jacob M. Howard of Michigan as its chief inquisitor. He and his associates began taking testimony on January 23, 1866, and continued at intervals until April 19. They examined all manner of witnesses — Southern legislators, ante-bellum politicians, demagogues, a few Confederate soldiers and sympathizers, some native Unionists of the South and a considerable number of Northerners residing in the subjugated states. Senator Howard's questions, as a rule, were civil but not always apropos. He spent much time in eliciting the opinion of his witnesses on such matters as the disposition of the South to pay taxes, the probability of its supporting a foreign country in case of a war involving the United States, and the willingness of the Southern people to receive Northern people socially.

General Lee's name had frequently come into the testimony of the committee. Judge John C. Underwood had testified that, in his opinion, eleven in twelve of any jury that could be drawn in Virginia "would say that Lee was almost equal to Washington, and was the noblest man in the State." John Minor Botts had p250 informed the committee of plans to make General Lee governor of Virginia. Colonel Orlando Brown, assistant commissioner in the bureau of freedmen, refugees, and abandoned lands, had stated of Lee, "I know of no man who has more fully the hearts of a people than he has the hearts of Virginians."14

The committee could not resist the temptation to summon and examine at first hand the man whom Botts with venom had said was "at the head of the rebellion." Lee was accordingly called as a witness. He went by way of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, arrived during the afternoon of February 16, and drove direct to the Metropolitan Hotel, where he registered. It was the first time he had been in Washington since April 18, 1861, when he had gone him with Blair's offer and Scott's exhortation ringing in his ears. He denied himself to callers, where practicable, as he did not wish to make himself conspicuous. Some of Lee's younger friends organized an impromptu force of ushers, a "staff" they called it from military habit, and they tried to keep the boorish and the importunate from Lee. He was overwhelmed, however, with callers and could not combat the curiosity of the public. His box was soon overflowing with cards and notes.15

Most of those who thronged about him were content to shake his hand or to seek autographs and souvenirs, but there was one embarrassing moment. An ex-Confederate persistently wheedled an usher with requests to be presented, until at last the former officer thought the quickest way to end the bother was to take the man to Lee, let him shake the General's hand, and then hustle him off. No sooner was the veteran before Lee than he took the floor. "General," he began, "I have always thought that if I ever had the honor meeting you face to face, and there was an opportunity allowed me, I would like to ask you a question which nobody but you can answer. I seem to have that opportunity now. This is what I want to know: What was the reason that you failed to gain the victory at the battle of Gettysburg?" Lee's ushers, of course, were aghast, and the other auditors were outraged at such presumption. But Lee did not frown or redden or turn aside. Advancing straight to the man, he took him by the hand. "My p251 dear sir," he said quietly, "that would be a long story, and would require more time than you see I can possibly command at present; so we will have to defer the matter to another occasion." To the credit of ushers and admirers it may be added that they did not commit homicide on the person of the inquirer.16

On February 17, Lee was called before the committee, was sworn, and then was examined by Senator Howard. The interrogation occupied two hours. General Lee did not want to testify, and though he was resolved to lose neither his dignity nor his temper, he was determined to say no more than was demanded of him. Explaining at the first opening that he lived "very retired" and had little communication with politicians, he gave only the most general, cautious answers to Senator Howard's inquiries about the sentiment of the people on reunion, the payment of taxes, and the treatment of the Negro.

Senator Howard thereupon asked one of his favorite questions: "In the event of a war between the United States and any foreign power," said he, "such as England or France, if there should be held out to the secession portion of the people of Virginia, or the other recently rebel states, a fair prospect of gaining their independence, and shaking off the government of the United States, is it, or is it not, your opinion that they would avail themselves of the opportunity?"

"I cannot speak with any certainty on that point," answered General Lee. "I do not know how far they might be actuated by their feelings. I have nothing whatever to base an opinion upon. So far as I know, they contemplate nothing of the kind now. What may happen in the future I cannot say."

Howard pressed him: "Do you not frequently hear, in your intercourse with secessionists in Virginia, expressions of a hope that such a war may break out?"

The General did not like the reference to secessionists. "I cannot say I have heard it," he answered. "On the contrary, I have heard people (I do not know whether you would call them secessionists or not — I mean those people in Virginia with whom I associate) express a hope that the country may not be led into a war."

Still Howard hung on: "In such an event, do you not think p252 that many of that class of persons whom I call secessionists would join the common enemy?"

"It is possible. It depends upon the feelings of the individual."

"If it is a fair question," asked Howard, "— you may answer it, or not, as you choose — what, in such an event, might be your own choice."

"I have no disposition now to do it, and I never have had."

Howard was not content to let that simple answer suffice: "And you cannot foresee that such would be your inclination in such an event?"

"No," said Lee, evidently not pleased with so needless a catechizing. "I can only judge by the past. I do not know what circumstances may produce. I cannot pretend to foresee events. So far as I know the feeling of the people of Virginia, they want peace."

Howard then asked something about the Confederacy's plan of foreign alliances, and inquired: "The question I am about to put to you you may answer, or not, as you choose: Did you take any oath of fidelity or allegiance to the Confederate Government?"

Lee replied with simple dignity: "I do not recollect having done so; but it is possible that, when I was commissioned, I did. I do not recollect whether it was required. If it was required, I took it; or, if it had been required, I would taken it; but I do not recollect whether it was or not."

Henry T. Blow, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Missouri, next started a line of inquiry regarding industrial conditions in Virginia and the South's opinion of President Johnson's reconstruction policy.

"You do not feel down there," Mr. Blow said, "that while you accept the result, that we are as generous as we ought to be under the circumstances?"

"They think that the North can afford to be generous."

"That is the feeling down there?" Blow went on.

"Yes, and they think it is the best policy — those who reflect upon the subject and are able to judge."

"I understand it to be your opinion," Blow next said, "that generosity and liberality toward the entire South would be the surest means of regaining their good opinion?"

"Yes, and the speediest," answered General.

p253 Howard then returned to the attack with more hypothetical questions about the South's attitude in case a President like Buchanan should again recognize the right of secession; and when he had exhausted that theme, he proceeded to quiz Lee concerning the willingness of Southerners to convict Jefferson Davis of crime because of his action during the war.

"They do not generally suppose that it was treason against the United States, do they?" Howard asked.

I do not think that they so consider it," General Lee replied.

"In what light would they view it? What would be their excuse or justification? How would they escape in their own mind? I refer to the past."

"I am referring to the past and as to the feelings they would have. So far as I know, they look upon the action of the state, in withdrawing itself from the government of the United States, as carrying the individuals of the state along with it; that the state was responsible for the act, not the individual."

"And that the ordinance of secession, so‑called, or those acts of the state which recognized a condition of war between the state and the general government, stood as their justification for their bearing arms against the government of the United States?" Howard elaborated.

"Yes, sir," General Lee answered. "I think they considered the act of the state as legitimate; that they were merely using the reserved right which they had a right to do."

Once again Mr. Howard made the case personal to the witness: "State, if you please — and if you are disinclined to answer the question you need not do so — what your own personal views on that question were."

"That was my view," replied Lee in an even voice, without attempting to justify secession; "that the act of Virginia in withdrawing herself from the United States carried me along as a citizen of Virginia, and that her laws and her acts were binding on me."

"I have been told, General," said Howard after a minute, "that you have remarked to some friends in conversation that you were wheedled or cheated into that course by politicians."

p254 "I do not recollect making any such remark. I do not think I ever made it."

"If there be any other matter about which you wish to speak on this occasion," said the Michigan senator, "do so freely."

"Only in reference to that last question you put to me," Lee answered. "I may have said, and I may have believed, that the position of the two sections which they held to each other was brought about by the politicians of the country; that the great masses of the people, if they understood the real question would have avoided it; but not that I had been individually wheedled by the politicians."

"That is probably the origin of the whole thing?"

"I may have said that; but I do not even recollect that. But I did believe at the time that it was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forbearance and wisdom had been practised on both sides."

The sub-committee then turned the inquiry to the enfranchisement of the Negro and asked Lee's judgment of the South's attitude. He avoided the political aspects of the subject and said he thought the South would decide primarily on whether it considered the Negroes qualified for the ballot. "My own opinion," said he, "is that, at this time, they cannot vote intelligently, and that giving them the right of suffrage would open the door to a great deal of demagogism, and lead to embarrassments in various ways. What the future may prove, how intelligent they may become, with what eyes they may look upon the interests of the state in which they may reside, I cannot say more than you can."

Next came questions about Lee's knowledge of "cruelties practiced towards the Union prisoners at Libby prison and Belle Isle." Lee told the sub-committee that he was unaware of any, and had no reason to suppose that any had been practised, though he believed that privation had been suffered by prisoners for whom the South could not provide food and shelter. "I never had any control over the prisoners," he said, "except those that were captured on the field of battle. Them it was my business to send to Richmond to the proper officer, who was then the provost marshal general. In regard to their disposition afterwards, I had no control. p255 I never gave an order about it. It was entirely in the hands of the War Department." He was unacquainted, he explained with commanders and with conditions at Andersonville and at Salisbury.

"And of course," said Mr. Howard, "you knew nothing of the scenes of cruelty, about which complaints have been made, at those places."

"Nothing in the world," insisted the General. "As I said before, I suppose they suffered from the want of ability on the part of the Confederate states to supply their wants. At the very beginning of the war I knew there were sufferings of prisoners on both sides, but, as far as I could, I did everything in my power to relieve them, and urged the establishment of the cartel, which was established."

He returned to this point a little later: "I made several efforts to exchange the prisoners after the cartel was suspended; I do not know why it was suspended; I do not know to this day which side took the initiative; I know that there were constant complaints made on both sides; I merely know it from public rumor. I offered to General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Grant, around Richmond, that we should ourselves exchange all the prisoners in our hands. There was a committee from the Christian Association, I think, which reached Petersburg and made application to me for a passport to visit all the prisons in the South. My letter to them I suppose they have. I told them that I had not the authority; that it could only be obtained from the War Department at Richmond, but that neither they nor I could relieve the sufferings of the prisoners; that the only thing to be done for them was to exchange them; and to show that I would do whatever was in my power, I offered then to send to City Point all the prisoners in Virginia and North Carolina, over which my command extended, provided they returned an equal number of mine, man for man. I reported this to the War Department, and received an answer that they would place at my command all the prisoners of the South, if the proposition was accepted. I heard nothing more on the subject."

"Has there been any considerable change in the number of the Negro population in Virginia during the last four years?" asked Mr. Blow, in a manifest desire to change the subject.

p256 Lee answered this calmly, and after a few more questions about the Negro, was allowed to leave the stand.17

His testimony was not of a sort to charge editorial bombs, and it received no more than casual mention in the news columns.18 If the committee had any other motive than curiosity in summoning him as a witness, it failed to accomplish its purpose.

There is a story that after he had been excused by the committee, General Lee went over to Arlington in the late afternoon and gazed long at the old mansion that never again was to be his home. Already it was taking on the appearance of a cemetery. New roads had been cut through it. The old spirit of the place was gone.19 The story of a visit is, however, apocryphal. "I did not approach Arlington nearer than the railway. I know very well how things are there" — so Lee wrote.20

The next day General Lee attended church in Washington, but is said to have entered very quietly and to have seated himself in the last pew in the auditorium. The following morning, February 20, he started home by the same route over which he had come.21

So far as is known, Lee penned no account of his journey or his p257 impressions of it except to Markie Williams. He wrote her, April 7, 1866:

"In my late visit to Washington, knowing how our God mixes in the cup he gives us to drink in this World, the sweet with the bitter, I had hoped I might have found you there. But you were far beyond my reach. The changed times and circumstances did recall sad thoughts, but I rejoiced to think, that those who were so prominent in my thoughts, at former periods when returning from long and distant excursions, and whose welcome was so grateful, were now above all human influences and enjoying eternal peace and rest. I saw however other friends, whose kind reception gave me much pleasure, yet I am now considered such a monster, that I hesitate to darken with my shadow, the doors of those I love best lest I should bring upon them some misfortune."22

If the journey had any other effect than this on Lee, it was to deepen his taciturnity on public questions. "I have thought from the time of the cessation of hostilities," he wrote Mrs. Davis, shortly after his return to Lexington, "that silence and patience on the part of the South was the true course; and I think so still. Controversies of all kinds will, in my opinion, only serve to continue excitement and passion, and will prevent the public mind from acknowledgment and acceptance of the truth."23 And to General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Early he wrote the next month, "We shall have to be patient, and suffer for a while at least; and all controversy, I think, will only serve to prolong angry and bitter feelings, and postpone the period when reason and charity may resume their sway. At present the public mind is not prepared to receive the truth."24 Even at the college, he never talked of war or of politics, except in the presence of the most intimate friends, otherwise than with the greatest reserve.25

Silence was his rule in the face of accusations brought against himself, as well as in dealing with those directed at the cause for which he had fought. "The statement is not true," he wrote that p258 same spring, regarding the familiar libel of his mistreatment of slaves, which was revived in The Baltimore American, "but I have not thought proper to publish a contradiction, being unwilling to be drawn into a newspaper discussion, believing that those who know me would not credit it and those who do not would care nothing about it. . . . It is so easy to make accusations against the people at the South upon similar testimony that those so disposed, should one be refuted, will immediately create another; and thus you would be led into endless controversy. I think it better to leave their correction to the return of reason and good feeling."26

College duties and correspondence alike grew heavier with the spring. Lee's interest in his work was increasing and his zeal for education was becoming more pronounced. The previous October he had written his son Robert, "If I find I can accomplish no good here, I will then endeavor to pursue the course to which my inclinations point," that of procuring a small farm.27 He wrote after his return from Washington:

"I consider the proper education of [the South's] youth one of the most important objects now to be attained, and one from which the greatest benefits may be expected. Nothing will compensate us for the depression of the standard of our moral and intellectual culture, and each state should take the most energetic measures to revive its schools and colleges, and, if possible, to increase the facilities of instruction, and to elevate the standard of living."28

Some of this heavy correspondence during the winter of 1865‑66 was with those who contributed to the endowment of the college. Lee was loath to write "begging letters," and he much resented the action of one of the college's financial agents in seeking to collect funds with which to raise his salary as president;29 but he p259 had to struggle daily with the financial distress of the school, and he was greatly pleased when gifts were received. Not long after Lee came back from Washington, Warren Newcomb of New York donated $10,000 with which to endow ten scholarships.30 General Lee acknowledged the benefaction with unwonted warmth: "In presenting you [the trustees'] grateful thanks for your generous aid in behalf of the college, I beg leave to express my sense of your liberality to the cause of education, now so essential to the prosperity of the South. The re-establishment of her colleges upon a broad and enlightened basis, calculated to provide for the proper instruction of her people, and to develop her dormant resources, is one of the greatest benefits that can be conferred upon the country. Those contributing to this great result will be ranked by posterity among the most meritorious citizens."31 A gift of books he acknowledged with the assurance that "they form the most valuable collection in the library, will do much for the advancement of science, give an impulse to the spread and development of that knowledge so highly valued by your esteemed brother, and cause his memory to be revered and cherished by the wise and good."32

Personal gifts came with those for the college and were acknowledged painstakingly. If it was a dressing gown from a fair in Baltimore, he valued it the more highly "in remembrance of [the] munificent bounty bestowed on thousands of destitute women and children by the 'Association for the Relief of Southern Sufferers,' the fruit of which shall live long after those who have received it have mouldered into dust."33 If it was membership in a Petersburg literary society that bore the name of the great "Stonewall," he accepted it and praised the "laudable design of self-improvement, in accomplishing which I can commend them to no more worthy example than his whose name they have adopted."34 Of a saddle and bridle sent by admirers in Maryland, he wrote, "Were I not reminded at every point to which I p260turn, at the South, of their benevolent labors for its relief, their gift would serve to keep me in mind of their sympathy and generosity."35 An autographed copy of Worsley's translation of the Iliad with a fine dedicatory poem, he praised discriminately and in a different tone: "Its perusal has been my evening's recreation, and I have never enjoyed the beauty and grandeur of the poem more than as recited by you. The translation is as truthful as powerful, and faithfully reproduces the imagery and rhythm of the bold original. The undeserved compliment to myself in prose and verse, on the first leaves of the volume, I receive as your tribute to the merit of my countrymen who struggled for constitutional liberty."36

During the spring of 1866 a tragedy far closer to his daily life than Homer's line was prevented by General Lee. A horse thief who had been troubling the countryside was caught and brought to Lexington. No sooner was word of his incarceration received than farmers from Rockbridge began to ride into town. Soon p261 there was a crowd in front of the jail, and talk of lynching the thief, whose name was Jonathan Hughes. Word of this reached General Lee — for rumor quickly covered the little town — and he went at once to the scene of the trouble. He found the old jailer on the steps of the prison doggedly facing the crowd, and holding the keys high above his head. Either from respect for the man's years or else from admiration of his courage, the mob hesitated to rush him and take his keys. That gave Lee his opportunity. Moving about quickly and quietly, he urged each knot of men not to attempt violence but to let the law take its course. Most of those in the gathering had fought under General Lee, and in answer to his appeal, they began to leave. Soon the danger of violence was past. Then, as inconspicuously as he had come, Lee walked away. Hughes was convicted and sent to prison for eighteen years.37

It was during this period of great college activity that Lee first began to doubt whether he could write the history he had projected the previous summer.38 He continued to collect material and to urge his old comrades to gather it. From Walter Taylor he received some careful estimates of the army's strength,39 but from most other sources Lee found the haul very scanty. "It will be difficult to get the world to understand the odds against which we fought, he wrote Early, "and the destruction, or loss, of all the returns from the army embarrasses me very much."40 To a prospective German translator he wrote, "It has been my desire to write a history of the campaigns in Virginia; but I have not yet been able to commence it, and it is so uncertain that I shall be able to accomplish my purpose, that I think it unnecessary to make any arrangements for its translation into a foreign language. Should circumstances hereafter render such a course proper, I shall not forget your kind proposition."41 This letter was written within a day or two of the first anniversary of his return to Richmond from Appomattox. How far the tides of time had carried him in those twelve months!

p262 On April 26‑28 the trustees held a most important three-day session, during which they debated and endorsed a revision of the course of study. The plan was drafted by the faculty and was approved by General Lee. In some part, it may have been his own creation. The old curriculum was abolished, and in its place an elective system was introduced, with nine separate "Schools" from which the student might choose.

The first three were Latin, Greek, and Mathematics, in each of which three years of instruction were to be given. In the fourth school, Moral Philosophy, two years were to be provided. In Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, and Practical Chemistry, only one course each was to be offered. The ninth school, Modern Languages, was to embrace French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and, temporarily, English, Philology, and Modern History, arranged in such classes as the professor thought necessary. In each school students who attained a fixed minimum were to be declared proficients. Those who fulfilled special requirements set in each instance by the faculty were to be recognized as graduates.

While matriculates were free to consult their personal needs and to follow their own desires in selecting their classes, they were, of course, to be admitted only to those for which their preparation equipped them, and all of them had to have at least fifteen recitations a week. Those who wished to proceed to the degree of Bachelor of Arts must be proficient in Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Chemistry, Moral Philosophy, and Natural Philosophy. For the degree of Master of Arts, graduation was necessary in Greek, Latin, Mathematics, Chemistry, Moral Philosophy, Applied Mathematics, English Philology, and two of the modern languages. A distinctly scientific course was to be offered, leading to baccalaureate in philosophy. This would be awarded those proficient in Chemistry, Mathematics, Practical Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Applied Mathematics, Modern History, and two of the modern languages. The classics and moral philosophy could be omitted altogether.42

The action taken in April by the trustees was supplemented at two meetings in June and at a special sitting in July. As fully developed at that time for the session 1866‑67, the new curriculum p263 offered in the academic departments a considerable range of study.

The preparatory course, which General Lee had found in existence when he came to Lexington, was continued. "This course," the catalogue read, "has been temporarily organized to meet the wants of applicants for admission, who, though in many cases grown young men, are unprepared to enter the regular classes. In many instances the backwardness of the applicant is due not to incapacity or want of diligence but to the almost entire suspension of preparatory schools during the late war, and to the fact that many of these young men were themselves during those years in the military service. As the want of good preparatory schools still exists, and will probably continue for some time in many parts of the Southern states, and as young men are likely to make more rapid and satisfactory progress when associated, as here, with those of their own age, than when classed with boys in the preparatory schools — it is believed that this department meets a real need of the country as at present situated. . . . A student may find it convenient to study some subjects, in this department, while pursuing others in the regular course."43

Admission to the school of Latin presupposed the declensions and conjugations and Caesar, Sallust, and Ovid. The first year covered composition and grammar, Caesar, Nepos, and Cicero. The senior class read Horace, Virgil, Terence, Juvenal, and Persius, with exercises in Latin composition and some study of Roman literature and institutions.

Greek was taught from the foundations, the Anabasis and Memorabilia being read in the first year. In the senior of the three classes, the reading was Thucydides, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Homer.

As the School of Modern Languages and English Philology was new, its curriculum was not set forth in detail, though due warning was given that Anglo-Saxon would be taught.

The course in Moral Philosophy was to cover Mental Philosophy, Logic, Rhetoric, and "belles-lettres" in the first year, and "Moral Philosophy with Evidences of Christianity and Political Economy" in the second.

In Mathematics the preliminary requirements were only arithmetic, though it was "very desirable" that students should have studied algebra, at least to equations of the second degree, and that they should have some knowledge of plane geometry. The regular instruction began with algebra and plane and solid geometry. The other classes followed the usual progression, with differential and integral calculus and the calculus of variations in the senior class.

The new School of Applied Mathematics covered civil engineering and analytical mechanics. For civil engineering the second-year mathematics was prerequisite, and for analytical mechanics, the third class in mathematics. In physics, the course covered a wide range in a single session.

The School of Chemistry included general instruction for one year, with some semblance of laboratory work. "Three days [a week]," read the department's announcement, "are devoted to lectures, illustrated by elaborate experiments; the other two days to recitations on the lectures and text-book. At each recitation some members of the class are required to repeat experiments previously given in connection with lectures. The laboratory is also accessible at convenient hours for students to practice manipulations privately." The senior class studied mineralogy and geology. A School of Practical Chemistry was described in the catalogue and was to cover "metallurgy and the application of the principles of chemistry to agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and the mechanic arts, together with vegetable and animal physiology." But this instruction, for the time, was to be distributed among the teachers in the other scientific schools. The same arrangement was announced for the School of History and Literature, which was to include "Modern History, English Literature and Criticism; Rhetoric, Elocution, Philosophical Grammar, and Comparative Philology."

The Schools of Applied Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and Practical Chemistry, according to the new plan, "embraced a complete course of civil engineering." The catalogue announced: "Young men wishing to become 'professional engineers' will be allowed to confine themselves to such branches of study in these schools, as are requisite to make them accomplished p265 in their profession. To such as become proficient in the studies of this department a certificate to that effect will be awarded." That was equivalent to the definite establishment of a department of engineering as distinguished from the courses in the liberal arts.44

This was not the only extension. The law school long conducted in Lexington by Judge John W. Brockenbrough, rector of the college, had attracted desirable students and had won no little reputation. At a special meeting in June, 1866, a committee was named to confer with Judge Brockenbrough and to report a plan by which the "Lexington Law School," as it was called, should become connected with the college.45 This was arranged at a meeting in July, and the affiliated School of Law and Equity was duly announced.46 It was to include junior and senior courses, in both of which three recitations of three hours each were to be given weekly. Seemingly, the college assumed no financial responsibility for the Law School and exercised no authority over it.

Before the end of the session, Cyrus W. McCormick gave another $5000 for the establishment of the chair of Experimental Philosophy and Practical Mechanics.47 A gift of approximately $1000 of desirable books was also received.48 Three excellent men were chosen to the faculty — Richard S. McCulloh, as McCormick Professor of Experimental Philosophy and Practical Mechanics, Colonel William Allan as professor of Applied Mathematics, and E. S. Joynes as professor of Modern Languages.49 Colonel Allan had been Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jackson's ordnance officer and subsequently wrote an admirable study of the Valley Campaign of 1862. He later conducted a very successful boys' school near Baltimore. McCulloh had been in Confederate service and had devised an elaborate plan for the destruction of Federal shipping. After the war he had been temporarily imprisoned by the Federals. Joynes had p266 been in the War Department. General Lee made it his rule, in choosing among men of equal qualifications, to give preference to Confederate veterans.50

All these circumstances combined to round out a session that marked a definite advance. A struggling college that opened with four professors and a thin platoon of students was able to print a catalogue that listed 146 matriculates and a faculty for the next year of 14 members, exclusive of the president. In scope, its curriculum had been virtually doubled. Schools of Engineering and of Law had been established. For the inquiring student, the library had been partially restored. The election of courses had been made the privilege of every one, and the honor system in its fulness had been established.

Interest on the $88,000 of the pre-war endowment had again been made available. The financial campaign had been vigorously prosecuted. Mr. McCormick's gifts and the activities of Doctor W. S. White and Reverend S. D. Stuart had yielded cash or pledges amounting to $42,000. Reverend E. P. Walton of Baltimore, one of the endowment agents, as already noted, had gone to Memphis and from that base had visited Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. He had appointed numerous local agents, and seems to have known his business thoroughly. Very carefully, he kept two subscription books, one for gifts of $100 or more and the other for smaller contributions. In the second book he subdivided the donations of $1 from those of a greater size, and when he made the mistake of having the book opened with a subscription of $10, he carefully pinned up that page and started a new "because $10," in his pencilled note, "was deemed too small an amount to open this book with." In the first year, Mr. Walton procured subscriptions of $45,280 to the endowment fund. No gifts below $100 were included in this total. In addition, two friends had contributed 640 acres of Texas land. Most of these subscriptions were represented by notes, rather by cash, for the times were hard, but in nearly every case interest was promised. Apparently Mr. Walton had met with some skepticism as to General Lee's intention of remaining at the head of Washington College, for in one of the cities he had visited, probably p267 Memphis, he had written a vigorous newspaper letter in which he insisted that though Virginia would "lavish her treasures" on Lee, the General would not dissolve his connection with Washington College "to preside over the University or Military Institute, or any other institution."51

The trustees proceeded to expand and improve the college plant as the endowment increased. Provision for the enclosure of the college grounds was made.52 A superintendent of grounds and buildings was chosen, as was a clerk to the faculty.53 Without the president's knowledge, his salary was doubled and was put at $3000.54 Fifteen hundred dollars were appropriated for new scientific equipment.55 Ambitious plans were made for the erection of a new dormitory for 100 men,56 though subsequently it was found that facilities at the college and in the town were ample to house the students.57 A new chapel was authorized, at a cost not to exceed $10,000.58 Appropriation was made for gymnastic apparatus,59 repairs to the professors' houses were ordered,60 and a resolution was adopted for the construction of "a mansion" for the president, as soon as the funds were available.61 To find the money for all these enlargements, without encroaching on the principal of recent donations, the college named Colonel William Allan the general agent of endowment,62 and resolved to make another effort to procure part of the sum voted to the states by Congress for the promotion of agricultural and mechanical training.63 A college that had been very near death was to live again with a vigor it never had known.

The summer passed very quietly. Building and repairs at the p268 college occupied much of the General's time. He felt he should supervise the construction in person, because he wished to economize, and also because he held no high opinion of some of those engaged in this sort of work. "You will have to attend to your contractors," he wrote Robert the next fall. "They will generally bear great attention, and then circumvent you."64

Although remaining in Lexington himself, he sent Mrs. Lee to the Rockbridge Baths, eleven miles from the town, and as often as he could, he rode over to see her.65 In this way he came very soon to know most of the people who lived by the roadside, especially the children. When he saw them, his eyes would light up and he would begin to smile. Almost always he would draw rein and chat with them. Soon they came to look on him as peculiarly their own.

It was the same way in Lexington. Every Christmas he had presents for all the children of his acquaintance66 and often he let them ride Traveller.67 One of his small sweethearts met him on the street while she was trying to escape from a tiny sister who insisted on following her. "Oh, General!" she said in exasperation. "Fanny won't go home — please make her!" Obediently and diplomatically the General prevailed on both of them to reverse their runaway steps, and with one on either hand he led them back home. Another young friend of five, a boy who had been fired by his pastor to go in quest of Sunday-school recruits, hurried to Lee one Sabbath morning and besought the General to be his "new scholar." Seeing the lad was disappointed because he could not attend, and observing that some college boys had stopped to listen to his colloquy with the young evangelist, Lee delivered himself for the benefit of the students: "Ah, C[image ALT: an underscored blank], we must all try to be good Christians — that is the most important thing. I can't go to your Sunday-school to be your new scholar p269 today, but I am very glad that you asked me. It shows that you are zealous in a good cause, and I hope that you will continue to be so as you grow up. And I don't want you to think that I consider myself too old to be a Sunday-school scholar" — this was especially addressed to the listening college boys. "No one ever becomes too old to study the precious truths of the Bible!"68 This five-year‑old may have been the same youngster who slipped away from his mother during the college commencement exercises and calmly trotted up on the platform to be with General Lee. He sat down on the floor at Lee's feet, leaned over, put his head against the General's knee and soon went to sleep. Lee continued immobile and in an uncomfortable position for the remainder of the meeting, so as not to disturb the little sleeper.69 Another time, as he was starting out for his ride, the General met the tiny daughters of two of his professors. Both of them were wearing sunbonnets and were cautiously riding a slow and sleepy horse up a back street. Lee promptly invited them to go with him and escorted them out on one of his favorite rambles. They had high converse and much sport as well, for one of the little girls was just recovering from mumps and had her jaws covered up. Lee professed great concern lest she give the disease to Traveller.70

Occasionally the General encountered a timid child whose reserve was not easily overcome. One small miss visited in his house for days and would not come to him or even talk to him, being afraid, perhaps, of his beard. While Lee was in his chamber one morning she tiptoed to the door and paused. He invited her to enter, but she declined. She condescended, however, to glance about the room and happened to spy a little stuffed penwiper in the figure of a man that some female member of the household had stuck on the wall. "Is that your doll-baby?" the child inquired. "Yes," said Lee, delighted to find a ground of common understanding. From that hour the girl was his friend: possession of a doll made youth and age akin.71

If General Lee triumphed in this instance over diffidence, he p270 was thwarted once in dealing with juvenile pugnacity. Stopping one afternoon during a thunderstorm at the house of acquaintances, he found both the master and the mistress away from home and only the youngsters there, busily playing marbles on the floor. He insisted that they continue their game as he sat and waited for the storm to end. Finally, two of the boys fell to quarrelling and soon came to blows. Lee at once intervened, but in vain. "I argued," he said in recounting the episode, "I remonstrated, I commanded; but they were like two young mastiffs, and never in all my military service had I to own myself so perfectly powerless. I retired beaten from the field, and let the little fellows fight it out."72

Lee made many young friends through his mail. A correspondent from Georgia announced to the General the existence of a proud young namesake and probably asked Lee to write him a letter of counsel. The General carefully penned it in kindly paragraphs, concluding with the admonition: "Above all things, learn at once to worship your Creator and to do His will as revealed in His Holy Book."73

Often, on his rambles, Lee met and talked with his former soldiers. The oddest of all his encounters, and one that he related in much amusement to his family, occurred in a dense forest, where he met a man who had served in the ranks. The veteran at once recognized his former commander and stopped his horse. "General Lee," he said, "I am powerful glad to see you, and I feel like cheering you." Lee expostulated: they were alone in the woods and there was no reason for such a salutation. But the soldier insisted, and until distance drowned the sound, Lee could hear the loyal warrior crying "Hurrah for General Lee" — doubtless with a rebel yell following it.74

At the end of his rides to visit his wife, the General usually found Mrs. Lee temporarily benefited by the baths. In August she sustained a fall that was thought to retard her progress,75 but p271 this accident apart, it was a pleasant and busy summer. Lee's only complaint — if it might be so styled — was over the weight of his correspondence. "I have about a bushel of letters to answer and other things to do," he wrote Mrs. Lee.76 Appeals of every imaginable sort came to him almost every day. One writer wanted him to find an orphan child for her to adopt; the head of a convent sought through him to get ten or twelve fatherless girls to be educated; another asked him to locate a lost lover who had "belonged" either to "Mr. Lee's" or to "Mr. Johnston's" army; soldiers invoked his counsel; widows implored his help; newspaper editors solicited interviews; lecturers offered their services — the load was heavy, month after month, from the time he returned to Richmond after Appomattox until his death.77

"I hope," Mrs. Margaret Preston once said to him, "you do not feel obliged to reply to all these letters."

"I certainly do," he answered. "Think of these poor people! It is against deal of trouble for them to write; why should I not be willing to take the trouble to answer them? And as that is all I can give most of them, I give it ungrudgingly."78

In addition, he had a more personal correspondence his feelings and his sense of duty would not permit him to neglect. Marriages were occurring frequently in the wide circle of his acquaintanceship, and deaths came often. Old friends entered new business or met with ill-fortune. Lee wrote to all of them.79 Once he confessed he did not have the heart to offer consolation to a minister on the loss of his young wife, but he did it nonetheless,80 and to many a Southern widow he addressed a message of sympathy on the passing of her husband. When boys died in the college, his letters had a special note of personal distress.81

The letter he wrote William F. Wickham, father of General p272 Williams C. Wickham, on the demise of his venerable wife, a niece of General Lee's mother, deserves to be quoted in full. It was written when William Lloyd Garrison, The Independent, and their supporters were assailing the college because of an affair presently to be described.82

Lexington 4 March 1868

My dear Mr. Wickham

I grieve most deeply over the great sorrow that has fallen upon you and your house.

Death in its silent, sure march is fast gathering those whom I have longest loved, so that when he shall knock at my door I will more willingly follow. She whom we mourn is among those whom I have longest and most dearly loved. She was the favorite of my mother, the object of my boyish affection and admiration, and has been cherished, fondly cherished, in the long years of manhood. She will always live in my memory, and the farthest recollection of her brings me nothing but pleasure.

May He who has dealt the blow in mercy temper its affliction, and enable us to say, His will be done.

          Yours in true friendship
R. E. Lee83

Mr. Wm. F. Wickham

His letters to girls who were about to embark on matrimony were cordially written, but in some of them there seems to be a note of farewell, as if marriage in those hard times meant an end of visits and of jests. It was in this spirit he wrote Laura Chilton, daughter of his old friend and one-time chief of staff, General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Chilton. She was about to marry Colonel Peyton Wise.

Lexington Va., 22 Nov. 1869.

My dear Miss Laura —

Your invitation to your wedding has carried me back to the pleasant days when you were a little girl in Texas, when you and Emmie gave me so much pleasure, the purest if not the greatest I enjoyed while there. Ever since that time I have entertained for you both the truest affection & have watched with much anxiety p273 your progress in life. You will not be surprised then at the interest I feel in your approaching marriage, & at my sincere prayer that the Great God of Mercy may shower upon you his richest blessing & so direct your course in this world that you may enjoy his peace, his blessed peace, here & life eternal hereafter. My thoughts will be with you though I cannot be present on the day of your wedding, & I cordially sympathize with your father & mother in all their feelings, to whom & to Miss Emmie, you must give my affectionate love, & must tell them they had better send the latter to me now, or that they will soon lose her.

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

And now with the most sincere affection for yourself & my cordial regards for Col. Wise

I remain truly & as ever                
Your friend       
R. E. Lee

Miss Laura Mason Chilton84

Letters of felicitation went, likewise, to friends embarking on new business ventures. This one went to a firm with which was associated a man who had received hundreds of dispatches from Lee, written in a far different strain:

Lexington, Va: 26 Jan. '66

Gentn

I am much obliged to you for your business card and the pleasure it has afforded me, to know that you have entered into partnership. I know you will do your work well, I please myself therefore with the prospect of your great success.

I wrote to your Senior, a few days since at 'Mason Mississippi,' and hope he will receive my letter. I do not consider my partnership with him yet dissolved, and shall not let him go during life.

Wishing you all happiness and prosperity, I am with great affect'n

Your ob't ser't

Longstreet, Owen & Co.

New Orleans.85

p274 Lee's correspondence of this sort must have run to thousands of letters, which are cherished by their owners but are now unduly scattered. The General kept copies of comparatively few of them.

So busy was Lee with his correspondence, this particular summer of 1866, and so far was his mind turned to the work of peace that he did not follow closely the operations of the world's newest conflict, the Seven Weeks' War between Austria and Prussia.86 As for the accumulating literature of the struggle in which he had been engaged, he continued to leave it alone and still have no inclination to read any of it.87


The Author's Notes:

1 Trustees' Minutes, Dec. 28, 1865; 17 S. H. S. P., 358 ff.

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2 The newspaper account reads that "all the philosophical and chemical apparatus had been destroyed by the same party, but," etc. It is not certain this language is Lee's.

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3 Richmond Enquirer,º Jan. 11, 12, 1866. Cf. H. K. Beale, The Critical Year, quoting J. W. Sharp to Thaddeus Stevens (from the Stevens MSS.): "When Genl. Lee's name was mentioned in the House of Delegates . . . it was received with cheers on all sides."

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4 R. E. Lee to Agnes Lee, Jan. 29, 1866; R. E. Lee, Jr., 208; R. E. Lee to Reverdy Johnson, Jan. 27, 1866; Jones, 210‑11.

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5 Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1865‑66, pp73, 438. The bill passed the senate unanimously but barely escaped defeat in the house (Journal of the House of Delegates, 1865‑66, 340, 386‑87).

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6 Richmond Dispatch of Jan. 5, 1866, quoting The Staunton Spectator; Richmond Dispatch, Jan. 11, 1866, quoting The Central Presbyterian.

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7 Cf. supra, p233 and infra, p258; Winston, 374.

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8 Trustees' Minutes, Jan. 6, 1866; Richmond Dispatch, Jan. 11, 1866.

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9 Catalogue of Washington College . . . for the Collegiate Year Ending June, 1866. Published by Order of the Board of Trustees (cited hereafter as 1865‑66 Catalogue), 12.

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10 Inventory attached to the will of Robert E. Lee, Rockbridge County (Va.) MS. Records. Lee, of course, may have taken this bond at a time when the college was unable to pay his salary, or he may have advanced the money toward the construction of the chapel. Dean Campbell stated that $1000 of the total was advanced toward the building of the "new" president's house.

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11 R. E. Lee to Walter H. Taylor, May 25, 1866; Taylor's General Lee, 310.

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12 R. E. Lee to Reverdy Johnson, Jan. 27, 1866; Jones, 211.

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13 R. E. Lee to J. W. Brockenbrough, Jan. 23, 1866; Jones, 179.

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14 Reports of the Reconstruction Committee, 39th Congress; Part II, pp7, 121, 126. Cf. also testimony of J. M. Wood of Lynchburg, ibid., 87.

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15 Richmond Dispatch, Feb. 21, 1866; Mrs. Clay, 368.

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16 Mrs. Preston, 274.

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17 Lee's testimony, verbatim, is in Report of the Reconstruction Committee, 39th Congress; Part II, pp129 ff.

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18 New York Tribune, Feb. 19, 1866, p1, col. 1; Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 19, 1866, p1, col. 4.

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19 The story that he went to Arlington rests on the authority of the Washington correspondent of The New York Tribune, whose article on the subject was reprinted in The National Intelligencer of Feb. 22 (p2, col. 2) and read as follows: "General Lee at Arlington. — A gentleman of this city having occasion to pass through Arlington at dusk on Saturday saw a lonely figure with folded arms standing at the foot of a tree. Struck with the sorrowful attitude of the person, he walked past him, and saw that it was Robert E. Lee standing in the street that passes through the middle of his old estate. Mrs. Lee had applied to the President for a restoration of this estate, which has virtually become a National Union soldiers' cemetery. The expectation is general that the president will order its restoration."

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20 Markie Letters, 68‑69.

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21 The National Intelligencer of Feb. 22 (p2, col. 6) wrongly credited this report to The Alexandria Gazette of "Monday" (Feb. 19). The correct date is given in The Alexandria Gazette of Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1866. The Richmond Dispatch of Feb. 14, 1866, stated, on the alleged authority of The Baltimore Sun, that General Lee had been in Baltimore on the preceding Sunday, Feb. 11, but as he was in Lexington on Feb. 10 (R. E. Lee, Jr., 213), this report seems based on error. All the evidence is that he arrived in Washington direct from Virginia. Cf. National Intelligencer, Feb. 17 (p3, col. 3). The files of The Baltimore Sun do not show the item The Richmond Dispatch published. There seems no foundation for the report in The Philadelphia Inquirer (Feb. 19, 1866, p1, col. 1) that while Lee was in Washington he was "the recipient of a large dinner party, tendered him by Rebel sympathizers who have been trying to get him into Washington for the four years of the war."

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22 Markie Letters, 68.

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23 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Jefferson Davis, Feb. 23, 1866; R. E. Lee, Jr., 223.

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24 R. E. Lee to J. A. Early, March 15, 1866; Jones, 215.

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25 Joynes in Cent. U. S. C., 31.

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26 R. E. Lee to "a gentleman in Baltimore," April 13, 1866; R. E. Lee, Jr., 224‑25. Cf. R. E. Lee to E. J. Quirk, March 1, 1866, Jones, 213. For the original charge, see vol. I, pp390 ff.

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27 R. E. Lee to R. E. Lee, Jr., Oct. 30, 1865; Jones, 404.

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28 R. E. Lee to G. W. Leyburn, MS., March 20, 1866; Lee's MS. Letter Book. Apparently Mr. Leyburn wanted to use this letter in soliciting contributions to Washington College.

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29 Jones, 178‑79; see infra, p368.

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30 Trustees' Minutes, March 10, 1866.

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31 R. E. Lee to Warren Newcomb, MS., March 22, 1866; Lee's MS. Letter Book. This was the same Newcomb whose widow established H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, now a unit of Tulane University, New Orleans.

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32 R. E. Lee to Rathmell Wilson, March 26, 1866; Jones, 245.

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33 R. E. Lee to unnamed Baltimore woman, May 3, 1866; Jones, 250.

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34 R. E. Lee to C. R. Bishop, Jr., May 5, 1866; Jones, 250.

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35 R. E. Lee to the Ladies of the Southern Relief Fair, May 12, 1866; Jones, 251.

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36 R. E. Lee to P. S. Worsley, Feb. 10, 1866; Jones, 248. On hearing that Worsley was ill, he invited him to Lexington (ibid.). The poem to Lee appears in Jones, 78, and reads as follows:

. . . . οἶος γὰρ ἐρύετο Ἴλιον Ἕκτωρ

Iliad, VI, 403.

The grand old bard that never dies,

Receive him in our English tongue!
I send thee, but with weeping eyes,

The story that he sung.

Thy Troy is fallen, thy dear land

Is marred beneath the spoiler's heel,
I cannot trust my trembling hand

To write the things I feel.

Ah, realm of tombs! — but let her bear

This blazon to the last of times:
No nation rose so white and fair,

Or fell so pure of crimes.

The widow's moan, the orphan's wail,

Come round thee; yet in truth be strong!
Eternal right, though all else fail,

Can never be made wrong.

An angel's heart, an angel's mouth,

Not Homer's, could alone for me
Hymn well the great Confederate South,

Virginia first, and Lee.

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37 C. A. Graves, an eye-witness, in Riley, 28‑30.

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38 It was during this period, also, that Lee had the interview with the Marquess of Lorne described on pp300 ff.

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39 R. E. Lee to C. A. White, Oct. 4, 1867; Jones, 264.

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40 R. E. Lee to J. A. Early, March 15, 1866; Jones, 214, cf. ibid., 219, 221.

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41 R. E. Lee to Lieutenant von Clausenitz [sic], April 16, 1866; Jones, 249. The name may have been Clausewitz and the addressed perhaps a kinsman of the great writer on strategy.

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42 Trustees' Minutes, April 26, 27, 1866.

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43 1865‑66 Catalogue, 14.

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44 All these details are from 1865‑66 Catalogue, 15 ff.

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45 Trustees' Minutes, June 9, 1866.

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46 Trustees' Minutes, July 18, 1866; 1865‑66 Catalogue, 23.

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47 Trustees' Minutes, June 27, 1866.

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48 Trustees' Minutes, June 28, 1866.

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49 Trustees' Minutes, April 26, 1866. Reverend J. A. Lefevre was elected professor of Moral Philosophy but declined (Trustees' Minutes, April 26, June 27, 1866). Reverend John L. Kirkpatrick of Davidson College was elected in his stead (Trustees' Minutes, July 17,º 1866).

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50 Jones, 322.

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51 Subscription Books of Rev. E. P. Walton: Treasurer's Records, Washington and Lee University. For locating these interesting documents, the author is indebted to Professor W. M. Brown, formerly of the department of education, Washington and Lee University. The letter to the "Editors Commercial, regarding Lee's intention to remain at Lexington, is conspicuously pasted in the front of Mr. Walton's subscription book of larger gifts.

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52 Trustees' Minutes, April 28, June 8, 1866.

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53 Trustees' Minutes, June 27, 1866.

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54 Trustees' Minutes, June 27, 1866.

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55 Trustees' Minutes, June 28, 1866.

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56 Trustees' Minutes, June 28, 1866.

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57 Trustees' Minutes, July 17‑18, 1866. See infra, p285,º note 58, and p318.

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58 Trustees' Minutes, July 18, 1866. It is quite possible that General Lee advanced part of the $6000 which the trustees resolved the college might spend at once on the chapel if thereby it might be advanced to the stage where it could be used. See supra, p248, note 10.

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59 Trustees' Minutes, July 18, 1866.

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60 Trustees' Minutes, July 18, 1866.

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61 Trustees' Minutes, July 18, 1866.

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62 Trustees' Minutes, June 28, 1866.

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63 Trustees' Minutes, July 18, 1866.

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64 R. E. Lee to R. E. Lee, Jr., Oct. 18, 1866; R. E. Lee, Jr., 243.

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65 Long, op. cit., 467, quoted a charming little story of Lee's courtesy to a friend of the family who came to the house one day in the absence of Mrs. Lee to do some canning for her.

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66 Mrs. Preston, 273.

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67 One of the most pleasant memories of the late Doctor Henry van Dyke was that of being permitted by General Lee to ride Traveller while at one of the Virginia springs, probably in 1867. "Gen. Lee," van Dyke wrote, "was a hero of my boyish admiration" (Henry van Dyke to Thomas Smyth, July 20, 1912, in Thomas Smyth: Autobiographical Notes, Letters and Reflections, 595).

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68 Jones, 412‑13.

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69 Jones, 413. In Mrs. Preston's version of this incident (loc. cit., 272), it is stated that the General beckoned to the child, who had lost his parents in the crowded auditorium and was running in fright up and down the aisles looking for them.

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70 R. E. Lee, Jr., 372‑73.

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71 McDonald, 7.

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72 Mrs. Preston, 273.

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73 R. E. Lee to A. P. M. [image ALT: an underscored blank], May 29, 1866; Jones, 411. For a somewhat similar acknowledgment of a namesake, see ibid., R. E. Lee to Mrs. Robert W. [image ALT: an underscored blank], Aug. 29, 1866; Jones, 411.

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74 R. E. Lee, Jr., 372.

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75 On Aug. 9, Mrs. Lee's crutch slipped on a wet floor and she was thrown off a low porch. Her eye and face were much bruised (R. E. Lee to R. H. Chilton, MS., Aug. 13, 1866; Chilton Papers; R. E. Lee, Jr., 238).

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76 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, Aug. 2, 1866; R. E. Lee, Jr., 241; cf. ibid., 237 ff.

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77 Long, 468; Jones, 238. Cf. R. E. Lee to Colonel F. R. Farrar, MS., Feb. 12, 1869; Lee's MS. Letter Book.

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78 Mrs. Preston, 275.

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79 Cf. R. E. Lee to W. T. Sherman, March 27, 1867, Lee's MS. Letter Book, regarding an insane man who was threatening an appeal to the military authorities.

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80 Jones, 439; P. H. Hoge: M. D. Hoge, 256.

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81 Cf. R. E. Lee to Mrs. Elliott, Feb. 21, 1867; Jones, 434; R. E. Lee to Mrs. G. W. Randolph, April 11, 1867; Jones, 434; R. E. Lee to Samuel Boykin, Nov. 7, 1868, regarding the death of Howell Cobb; Jones, 264; R. E. Lee to Mrs. [image ALT: an underscored blank], April 6, 1868, on the demise of her student-son; Jones, 433; R. E. Lee to Samuel R. Gordon, Feb. 28, 1870; Jones, 435.

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82 See infra, pp345 ff.

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83 Wickham MSS., placed at the writer's disposal, along with much invaluable critical assistance, by Honorable H. T. Wickham.

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84 Chilton Papers. The omitted paragraph contained merely an unimportant message to friends.

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85 Original MS. belonging to Professor Wm. Warner Moss, Jr., of New York, who graciously placed a copy at the writer's disposal.

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86 R. E. Lee to A. T. Bledsoe, Oct. 28, 1867; Jones, 158. Lee noted, however, "at the time of the occurrence, I thought I saw the mistake committed by the Austrians; but I did not know all the facts, and you are aware that, though it is easy to write on such a subject, it is difficult to elucidate the truth."

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87 Ibid. Cf. also R. E. Lee to Charles Carter, April 17, 1867, Jones, 193; R. E. Lee to J. M. Mason, April 3, 1870; Jones, 233.


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