On his return to Lexington, General Lee found that instruction at the college had progressed without particular incident during his absence.1 The trustees had met on April 19, as they had a reason for wishing to be in session when he was not present. They had at that time approved the action of the faculty in urging Lee to take a rest, had recommended that his leave be extended until the end of the session, at least, and had designated Professor White to act as the president's confidential secretary and aide in case Lee returned before commencement. This had accorded with an earlier resolution of the faculty that had contemplated a plan for relieving the General of part of his work.2 The trustees had gone much farther than this: "In order that the president's mind be relieved of any concern for the support and comfort of his family," they determined to convey to Mrs. Lee the use of the president's house for life, and to pay her an annuity of $3000 a year in case the General died or suffered disability.3 This was done, the board insisted, because part of the gifts for the president's house had been made to provide for Mrs. Lee, and also because much of the new endowment of the college had been donated as a tribute to General Lee.
The whole resolution had been conceived in the friendliest spirit and was in keeping with the consideration shown General Lee during the whole of his administration by the appreciative trustees. It was consonant, also, with the facts attending many of the donations to the college. General Ewell, for example, had given $500 for the endowment, on condition that the interest go to Lee's salary, and admirers at the White Sulphur one summer had proposed to raise $50,000 "to be used by the college for his benefit during his life, and to revert to his family at his death."
p469 In both instances, Lee had urged that the money be dedicated to permanent endowment,4 and he would not now consent to the proposal of the trustees. On the very day he got home he wrote his acknowledgments to the board and said: "Though fully sensible of the kindness of the Board, and justly appreciating the manner in which they sought to administer to my relief, I am unwilling that my family should become a tax to the college, but desire that all its funds should be devoted to the purposes of education. I know that my wishes on this subject are equally shared by my wife,5 and I therefore request that the provisions of the fourth and fifth resolutions [covering the conveyance of the house and the annuity] . . . may not be carried into effect. I feel full assurance that, in case a competency should not be left to my wife, her children would not suffer her to want."6 Despite the General's wishes, the board quietly had the life-term lease recorded, and adhered to its resolution regarding the annuity.7 The election of Custis Lee as head of the college in succession to his father carried with it the occupancy of the president's house and thereby removed Mrs. Lee's objections to the continued use of that property after the death of the General. Mrs. Lee steadfastly declined, however, to accept the annuity.8
Scarcely had the General settled himself at home than Valentine made his promised visit to model the bust. Lee showed him the family pictures and offered him one of the first-floor rooms of his residence as a temporary studio, but the sculptor preferred not to disturb the family, and after much searching found a vacant store under the hotel that he could utilize. There, on a low platform, Lee sat for Valentine, with the understanding that nobody but Custis or Professor White was to be admitted. Lee was not comfortable during this ordeal. Often, unconsciously, he would put his hand to his heart, as if in pain, but he made no complaint. The nearest he came to it was when he asked if Custis might not come and sit in his stead, as there was said to be a resemblance between them. Veteran and artist talked of many p470 things — of the days of Lee's boyhood, of his swims in the Potomac, of his years at West Point, of his experience in the Mexican War, and of the themes of the day. Once Lee asked Valentine if he knew a certain sculptress, whose name he did not recall with precision. When Valentine identified her, Lee said: "Oh, that is the name! Well, the lady wrote me a very polite letter in which she asked if I would give her sittings for a bust, at the same time enclosing photographs of some of her works which were not too profusely draped. In her letter she also asked when she could come to make the bust, and a friend, who had been looking at the pictures, suggested July or August, as the most of her works seemed to have been done in the summer time."
Valentine had jokes of his own. He much wanted a pair of the General's boots for a statue he intended to design, and he very adroitly asked for them in this wise: An office-seeker, he said, besought Andrew Jackson to make him minister to England, and when told that post was filled, asked if he might not be secretary of legation. Advised that no vacancy was in prospect there, he appealed to be made vice-consul. Jackson gave the same answer. "Well, then, Mr. President," said the ambitious seeker after fame, "would you give me a pair of old boots!" Valentine added: "That is what I would like to have you do for me, General."
"I think there is a pair at the house that you can have," Lee answered, after he had smiled at Valentine's jest and at his finesse. The next day General Lee delivered them in person — a pair of dress boots, size 4‑1/2C, that bore on the lining the words, "R. E. Lee, U. S. A."9
One day during the course of Valentine's work, the sitter heard a noise in the room. Looking up, he saw a student of the college who had learned that the General was sitting for a bust, and had determined, boy-like, to see what it was all about. General Lee showed no impatience at this intrusion. "How would you like to be in my place, Mr. Carlton?" he inquired. The student, much abashed, made a speedy exit.10
At last the modelling was done, and as Mrs. Lee could not come to look at the bust it was carried to her home in order that she might criticise it and, if she liked it, give it the approval p471 without which she would permit neither a portrait of the General, a photograph, nor a work of plastic art to go forth officially. A bad fifteen minutes for her husband followed. Several of Mrs. Lee's friends had gathered to serve as her advisers. Valentine turned the bust repeatedly, so as to afford the best views; and at the direction of his wife the General moved likewise, and stood now in profile, now with full face towards them. It was an ordeal as bad as battle, but it brought no protest from his lips. Was it not the first duty of an old soldier to obey the orders of superior authority?
One more visit and Valentine was gone. On his call to say good-bye, he found Lee chatting in the parlor. "I feel that I have an incurable disease coming on — old age," Valentine heard him say. "I would like to go to some quiet place in the country and rest."11
But there was little time for rest. The date for the college commencement was approaching. Final examinations kept the president for long hours. Then followed the formal exercises and the meeting of the trustees, a rather important meeting, at that. Lee reported at length on the work of the year.12 Only one student had been dismissed, two had been suspended, and three had been withdrawn by parents at the request of the faculty. Religiously the life of the college had been active. The Y. M. C. A. had erected a Sunday-school building near House Mountain and had organized a like school near Thorn Hill. Fifty students were teaching classes on the Sabbath. One hundred and twenty-nine were church members, and nineteen of these had joined during the session. The advancement of the students was noticeable. Their knowledge was declared to be larger and more precise. Classes had been divided into sections of convenient size. The School of English Language and Literature had been organized and its work apportioned among three professors of other departments. Instruction in the School of Applied Chemistry also had been given but required a regular professor.
Plans for the future included the closing of the preparatory department, which was no longer necessary, the reorganization of the business school, and the adoption of definite curricula for p472 the Schools of Agriculture and Commerce. The trustees approved most of these recommendations and, in addition, provided that the law department should become one of the regular schools of the college, with Judge Brockenbrough at its head. It was at this time that John Randolph Tucker was elected second professor.13 A junior law course was authorized, with the proviso that if a student followed only this course of law, he would be required to take work in one of the other departments of the college.14 Temporary instruction was arranged for the schools that did not have full professors, and an adjunct professor of ancient languages was named in the person of a Confederate veteran and recent graduate of the college, Milton W. Humphreys.15 No large gifts to the college were reported, but there were whispers that a great astronomical observatory was to be erected in Virginia and that it might be procured for Washington College.16 Finally, the trustees repeated their resolutions regarding provision for Mrs. Lee and urged the General to take all possible measures for the protection of his health, even if this involved travel in the United States or abroad. Professor White was continued as confidential secretary and aide to the president. The commencement itself was brilliant. Twenty-eight degrees were conferred. Reverend W. T. Brantly of Atlanta, Ga., a minister of much distinction, delivered the baccalaureate sermon,17 and Hugh Blair Grigsby told of the achievements of the trustees Liberty Hall Academy.18
Lee must have been heartily tired of doctors' examinations by this time, for he had been thumped and quizzed in Richmond, in Savannah, and in Richmond again, to say nothing of his consultation with Doctor Selden in Norfolk and his regular sieges at the hands of Doctors Barton and Madison in Lexington. But adherence to professional advice was part of his creed of obedience to constituted authority,19 and he yielded now to a new p473 request that he go to Baltimore and consult Doctor Thomas Hepburn Buckler, a physician of high standing who had gone to Paris after the War between the States and had come back to the United States on a visit.
On June 30, 1870, just a week after the trustees adjourned, General Lee set out for Baltimore alone.20 He went by canal boat to Lynchburg and thence by rail past Orange and Culpeper, scene of many a week's encampment, to his own city of Alexandria. "We arrived at Alexandria at 5:00 P.M. [July 1]," he duly chronicled for Mrs. Lee, "and were taken to Washington and kept in the cars till 7:45, when we were sent on. It was the hottest day I ever experienced, or I was in the hottest position I ever occupied, both on board the packet and in the railroad cars, or I was less able to stand it, for I never recollect having suffered so much."21
He was met at the train by Mr. and Mrs. Tagart and was driven to their home. So exhausted was he by the journey that he stayed abed the next morning until 8 o'clock — something almost without precedent. It was a rainy day and it brought confinement to house and a two-hour physical examination at the hands of Doctor Buckler, who was more encouraging than some of the other physicians had been. "He says he finds my lungs working well, the action of the heart a little too much diffused, but nothing to injure. He is inclined to think my whole difficulty arises from rheumatic excitement, both the first attack in front of Fredericksburg and the second last winter. Says I appear to have a rheumatic constitution, must guard against cold, keep out in the air, exercise, etc., as the other physicians prescribe. . . . In the meantime, he has told me to try lemon-juice and watch the effect."22
Neither the weather, the heat, nor the doctor's examination quite daunted the General. In the very letter in which he recounted all this, he teased Mrs. Lee for her familiar tardiness by holding high the example of Mrs. Tagart, who had come with Mr. Tagart to the station more than an hour before the arrival of the train bearing Lee. His host, the General admiringly avowed, p474 had "a punctual wife, who regulates everything for him, so that he had plenty of time for reflection."23 Nor did his physical condition dim Lee's love of the pleasant company of his kin. He paid a visit, probably on July 4, to Washington Peter, and after a second examination by Doctor Buckler he went for a leisured stay at Goodwood, near Ellicott City, the home of his cousin, Charles Henry Carter.
In that friendly atmosphere he remained considerably more than a week. Then, on July 14, he crossed the Potomac for the last time, southward bound. Perhaps he gazed at the pillars of Arlington, gleaming in the sunlight, as he had seen them so often when he had ridden home from Washington. But if they moved his heart, he said nothing of it to Mrs. Lee. He wrote, instead, that he had caught cold and that he found it "piping hot" at the Mansion House in Alexandria, where he put up for the night. On the 15th he had a conference with his old attorney, Francis L. Smith, about the possible recovery of Arlington, but he got little encouragement.24 At the instance of Mr. Smith, Lee removed from the hotel to the lawyer's residence, where many of his friends came to "pay their respects," in the good old phrase of the times. Among them was Colonel John S. Mosby. Lee talked with him and, as they were about to part, said to him, "Colonel, I hope we shall have no more wars."25
That afternoon, if his plans worked out according to his schedule, he went to Cassius Lee's home, which was his headquarters for a round of visits — parting calls in the most sombre sense — to old friends in the neighborhood of Arlington.26 In the company of Cassius Lee, whom he had known all his life in closest intimacy, the General felt none of the restraint he usually displayed in talking about the past. Together, with no audience except Cassius Lee's silently attentive sons, they ranged the years. When they came to the dark era of blood, Cassius Lee questioned and the General explained. They talked of Jackson, and Lee told how the failure of "Stonewall" to get on McClellan's p475 flank had forced him to fight the battle of Mechanicsville, lest the Federals on the other side of the Chickahominy sweep into Richmond. But he must have had ample praise for Jackson, for he expressed the belief that if his great lieutenant had been with him at Gettysburg that battle would have been a Confederate victory. "Jackson," said he, "would have held the heights which Ewell took on the first day." Ewell he accounted a good officer, but one who would never exceed his orders. Directed to go to Gettysburg, Ewell would not occupy a position beyond the town.
Cassius Lee asked him why he had not moved on Washington after the second battle of Manassas. The General answered: "Because my men had nothing to eat. I could not tell my men to take that fort" — pointing to the nearby ramparts of Fort Wade — "when they had nothing to eat three days. I went to Maryland to feed my army." That led him to describe the mismanagement of the Confederate commissary.
The Southern press came in for stern criticism. Patriotism, the General said, seemed to have no weight with the newspapers. They would print troop movements regardless of the effect on the plans of the army. Lee explained to his cousin that when Longstreet was sent south in the summer of 1863 every effort was made to keep the facts from the enemy, but the papers told all about it.
Who was the ablest Federal general he had opposed? He did not hesitate a moment for the answer. "McClellan, by all odds," he said emphatically.27
This was the fullest conversation on military matters that General Lee ever had after the war, and is the only one of which a measurably adequate record exists. The talk with Wade Hampton was brief and, it will be remembered, was but partially reported.28 Lee's reticence in discussing the war was always noticeable and extended to his correspondence.29 Concerning the incidents of his resignation in 1861, he seems to have written only two letters — the familiar one to Reverdy Johnson30 and another to Sidney Herbert in which he denied the oft-repeated story that he remained "on the staff of General Scott" to the last possible hour in order that he might discover the military secrets of the Federal Government.31
So far as is known, he wrote only two general letters on his campaigns. The more lengthy of the two was in answer to some inquiries from W. M. McDonald, who was writing a school history. In this letter, dated April 15, 1868, Lee explained why he went into Maryland in 1862, and why he chose to stand on the hills behind Fredericksburg rather than to dispute Burnside's crossing. In describing the strategy of these operations, he wrote with the same clear and direct logic displayed in so many of his letters to President Davis. "As to the battle of Gettysburg," he went on, "I must again refer you to my official acts. Its loss was occasioned by a combination of circumstances. It was commenced in the absence of correct intelligence. It was continued in the effort to overcome the difficulties by which we were surrounded, and it would have been gained could one determined and united blow have been delivered by our whole line. As it was, victory trembled in the balance for three days, and the battle resulted in the infliction of as great amount of injury as was received, and in frustrating Federal plans for the season."32
Lee used somewhat the same language, though he was more reserved, in replying to questions from B. H. Wright of Rome, N. Y., a West Pointer and an engineer. "The failure of the Confederate army at Gettysburg," Lee told Wright, "was owing to a combination of circumstances, but from which success might have been reasonably expected."33 In the remainder of this letter, Lee answered queries from Wright regarding Burnside's movements to Fredericksburg, and the feasibility, after the campaign of 1862, of an alternative plan of Federal operations devised by p477 Wright. "As regards General McClellan," said Lee, "I have always entertained a high opinion of his capacity, and have no reason to think that he omitted to do anything that was in his power." This letter to Wright was so cautiously written that publication would have done no harm. The answers to McDonald concluded with the request, "I must ask that you will consider what I have said as intended solely for yourself."
Comment on particular campaigns was rare. Lee twice gave his estimate of the strength of his army at the Wilderness-Spotsylvania campaign.34 He confirmed as substantially correct a narrative of "Lee to the rear,"35 and he wrote Doctor A. T. Bledsoe the well-known letter regarding responsibility for Jackson's movement at Chancellorsville — a letter that exhibits alike his candor and his respect for the fame of his dead lieutenant.36 Beyond this, he held to the silence he imposed upon himself when he returned home from Appomattox. Perhaps in those two days with Cassius Lee, in the summer of 1870, he talked more of his battles than in all the rest of his post-bellum career. And it was with less heaviness of heart.
Five days were spent in the pleasant company of Alexandria friends; then on the morning of July 1937 the General went to Ravensworth. The weather continued uncomfortably hot. Coupled with his pain, it kept him close to the house and compelled him to forego anticipated visits to his sons and to his sister-in‑law, the widow of Sydney Smith Lee. He remained at Ravensworth until July 25 and then returned home.
Despite the heat, his trip of nearly four weeks had done him temporary good. He had moved slowly, had rested much, had avoided all crowds, and had enjoyed the fellowship of his own kin, fellowship always precious to him. In thanking Doctor Buckler for his treatment and for an invitation to go back with him to Paris, General Lee reported himself improved. "I shall endeavor to be well by the fall," he wrote. His spirits were said to be "fine," and he was reported to be looking better.38
In June, 1870, Leander J. McCormick had confirmed rumors that he contemplated the erection of a large astronomical observatory in Virginia. As he belonged to the inventor's family, long resident in the neighborhood of Lexington, the trustees had hoped that he might be prevailed upon to establish the observatory in connection with Washington College. A committee had been named at that time to correspond with Mr. McCormick on the subject. Soon after General Lee returned from his trip to Baltimore and Alexandria, the project was thought to be nearer realization, and further steps to procure the observatory for the school were considered necessary. General Lee accordingly asked for a special meeting of the trustees on August 6, at which time the committee was instructed to inquire of McCormick on what terms he would permit the institution to co-operate. If he would agree to put the observatory there, the trustees pledged themselves to keep it in order, to appoint a professor of astronomy, and to raise an endowment of $100,000.39 That offer epitomized the progress the college had made during General Lee's administration. In 1865, when he came to Lexington, talk of raising $100,000 for the endowment of a single new department would have seemed madness. Now the trustees spoke of it confidently.
General Lee was named chairman of the committee to report the board's action to the philanthropist. Subsequently Mr. McCormick came to Lexington, and, in conference with members of the faculty and of the board, reasserted his purpose to finance the observatory. He said he was not committed to any location, but was determined to have it under the control of some Virginia college of established position. A movement forthwith was launched in Lexington to support the trustees' plan and to raise funds. On October 1, after General Lee had been stricken, the trustees in special meeting had renewed their previous offer and guaranteed an appropriation of $6000 a year, pledging $100,000 of the endowment to that purpose.40 Had General Lee lived, it is quite probable that the observatory, which was ultimately placed at the University of Virginia, would have been erected at Lexington.
General Lee's doctors were determined that his duties should p479 not exhaust him; so, on August 9, about two weeks after his return home from Northern Virginia, they packed him off to the Hot Springs. He started alone with Captain White, and determined to go as far as he could by railway, but after he had taken the train at Goshen the pleasures of the mountain allured him. The two companions quit the railroad and rode to the Bath Alum Springs, where they spent the night. "[We] were in luck," he announced to Mrs. Lee, "in finding several schools or parts of them rusticating on alum-water. . . . They presented a gay and happy appearance." Early the next morning, he and Professor White went on to the Warm Springs. There they had breakfast and met a number of the General's friends — "small company but select," as he described it. From "The Warm" it was but a short ride to the Hot Springs, which they reached at 9:30.
Lee forthwith, as in duty bound, consulted the resident physician, who prescribed thermal treatment and predicted that, if the patient stayed long enough, the results would be good. "I hope I may be benefited," Lee wrote, "but it is a tedious prospect." In the letter reporting this to Mrs. Lee,41 there is discernible a temporary change in Lee's epistolary style. Its smoothness was lost. His sentences became short and abrupt, as if they had been spoken aloud by a man who found it difficult to catch his breath. A week of this, and then, as he grew better, he returned to his usual manner of writing.
The General held faithfully to the "spouts" and "broilers" that were supposed to benefit rheumatism, but he did not enjoy them. "Society has a rather solemn appearance," he told Mrs. Lee, "and conversation runs mostly on personal ailments, baths and damp weather. . . . I am having a merry time with my old cronies, tell Mildred. I am getting too heavy for them now. They soon drop me."42 And again: "It is very wearying at these public places and the benefit hardly worth the cost. I do not think I can even stand Lexington long. . . . A Mr. and Mrs. Leeds, from New Orleans [have arrived], with ten children, mostly little girls. The latter are a great addition to my comfort."43
p480 The General felt somewhat improved as his stay was prolonged,44 but on August 29 he left the springs for Staunton, to attend a meeting of the stockholders of the Valley Railroad. The project for the construction of this line was now slowly taking shape. Although Baltimore had subscribed nothing, the town of Staunton had bought 1000 shares, Botetourt County had subscribed for 2000, and Rockbridge County had taken up 4000. The general feeling was that the rest of the money could be raised for the road, and that if the enterprise got the support of individuals of means in the territory it was to serve, construction could be commenced. Colonel M. G. Harmon, the president of the company, had done much, but when the stockholders met in Staunton on the morning of August 30 he announced that he could not stand for re-election and that he desired General Lee be named his successor. Lee's name, influence, and management, in the opinion of Colonel Harmon, were precisely what was needed to carry the railroad into the realm of reality.
Lee, of course, had no wish to take on new burdens and, from his knowledge of the poverty of the people, he had no great faith in the enterprise. "It seems to me," he wrote Cyrus H. McCormick, "that I have already led enough forlorn hopes."45 At another time he would have reasoned that it was not prudent for a struggling railroad to have a president whose death might come any day. When, however, old friends and associates insisted that he and he alone could make a success of a carrier that would serve the Valley, help the town of Lexington, and benefit the college, he accepted the post. His salary, which had been fixed, and may not even have been mentioned until after he consented to take the place, was put at $5000 a year. This money was hardly a consideration, for it is said, though on vague authority, that he declined, the same summer, a business offer of $50,000 per annum.46
Upon the conclusion of the stockholders' meeting, General Lee returned to Lexington. It was his last journey. The session was p481 scheduled to be opened shortly, and many preliminaries had to be arranged. On September 5 the faculty met and discussed, among other things, the means of procuring a better representation of students at chapel, a subject that had concerned the trustees. Professors were of opinion that if a clock and a bell were put in the chapel tower, to give the boys notice of the hour, more of them might come. Installation of an organ, the staff also decided, would help.47 The faculty met again on the 10th, and still again on the 13th, for preliminary conferences.48 On the same days the trustees assembled for a variety of miscellaneous business — a discussion of chapel attendance, debate on whether Professor Campbell should be permitted to act as county superintendent of schools, and consideration of the act of Judge Brockenbrough in resigning as trustee and rector because he had become a regular professor of law in the college.49 All these meetings required General Lee's direct attendance, or his accessibility in case the trustees wished to consult him. Despite the strain, he began to feel stronger and soon accounted himself definitely better.50 The members of the faculty were much encouraged by the evidences of his zeal and energy.51
On Thursday, September 15, came the formal opening of the college session. The entire student body gathered in the chapel, where General Pendleton conducted the usual brief worship. The president was there, of course, and had much in mind the deliberations of trustees and of faculty on the attendance of students on the morning services; so, when the acting chaplain had finished, the General arose, made a number of announcements regarding the organization of the classes, and then "expressed his earnest hope that both professors and students would attend regularly the daily prayers at the chapel." It was a short appeal but was remarked as perhaps the longest "speech" the General had ever made at the college.52
1 Richmond Dispatch, May 30, 1870.
2 MS. Faculty Minutes, March 29, 1870.
3 Trustees' Minutes, April 19, 1870.
4 Jones, 117‑18, 178.
5 Mrs. Lee had not then returned from her visit to her son.
6 R. E. Lee to J. W. Brockenbrough, May 28, 1870; Jones, 116; Trustees' Minutes, June 23, 1870.
7 Trustees' Minutes, June 21, 1870.
8 Jones, 116‑17, 178.
9 These boots are now in Richmond.
10 MS. note of H. G. Carlton, Jan. 17, 1923.
11 Valentine, in Riley, 148 ff.
12 Lee's MS. Letter Book, June 21, 1870.
14 Trustees' Minutes, June 22, 1870.
15 Trustees' Minutes, June 23, 1870.
16 Trustees' Minutes, June 21, June 22, 1870.
17 His observations on Lee's Christian life appear in Jones, 480.
18 Trustees' Minutes, June 22, June 23, 1870.
19 Cf. his letter from Savannah to Mrs. Lee, April 7, 1870: "Please say to Dr. Barton that I have received his letter and am obliged to him for his kind advice. I shall begin today with his new prescriptions and will follow them strictly" (R. E. Lee, 395).
20 R. E. Lee, Jr., (op. cit., 412) said the General left on July 1, but from the itinerary given in the General's letter of July 2 (ibid., 412‑13), it is obvious that the journey could not have been made in a single day.
21 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, July 2, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 413.
22 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, July 2, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 413.
23 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, July 2, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 412‑13.
24 R. E. Lee to G. W. C. Lee, MS., July 22, 1870; Duke Univ. MSS.
25 John S. Mosby's Memoirs, 380; Watson's Notes on Southside Virginia, 247. The Alexandria Gazette of July 18, 1870, recorded that Lee was Smith's guest.
26 Packard (op. cit., 158) noted that Lee, from young manhood, was always meticulous in visiting his kinspeople.
27 Cazenove Lee, quoted in R. E. Lee, Jr., 415‑16. Lee was never ungenerous in praising Federal officers. He told D. H. Maury (op. cit., 239) that he did not see why Sherman should have been so much praised for his march to the sea "when the only question before him to decide was whether he could feed his army by consuming all the people had to eat"; but in conversation with David Macrae he spoke highly of the abilities of Sherman who, he said, "had always been a good soldier."
29 Jones recorded only one instance in which Lee talked with him of the war, and that was to procure confirmation of his memory — for the use of some correspondent — that he had never asked for a truce in which to bury his dead (Jones, 239).
31 This yarn, generally believed during the war, had been printed in Harpers Weekly during the summer of 1870 (Alexandria Gazette, July 14, 1870, quoting Lee's letter of June 29, 1870).
32 Jones, 266.
33 R. E. Lee to B. H. Wright, Jan. 18, 1869; Jones, L. and L., 452‑53, the name and address being supplied from Lee's MS. Letter Book.
34 R. E. Lee to Colonel J. A. White, Oct. 4, 1867; Jones, 264; R. E. Lee to W. S. Smith, July 27, 1868; Jones, 268.
35 R. E. Lee to J. T. Mason, Dec. 7, 1865; Jones, 318.
37 Alexandria Gazette, July 19, 1870.
38 Lexington Gazette, July 29, 1870.
39 Trustees' Minutes, Aug. 6, 1870.
40 Trustees' Minutes, Oct. 1, 1870.
41 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, Aug. 10, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 421.
42 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, Aug. 14, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 424, 425.
43 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, Aug. 23, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 428, 429.
44 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Lee, Aug. 27, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 431.
45 McCormick MSS., cited in Winston, 407.
46 Jones, 176‑77; Valley Virginian, Aug. 25 and Sept. 1, 1870. For the latter reference, which for the first time gives the date of General Lee's acceptance of the presidency of the railroad, the author is indebted to General H. L. Opie, publisher of The Staunton News-Leader.
47 Trustees' Minutes, Sept. 13, 1870.
48 MS. Faculty Minutes.
49 Trustees' Minutes, Sept. 10 and 13, 1870.
50 R. E. Lee to S. H. Tagart, Sept. 28, 1870; R. E. Lee, Jr., 433.
51 W. P. Johnston in Riley, 207.
52 Richmond Dispatch, Sept. 24, 1870, quoting a letter from Lexington.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
Robert E. Lee
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 17 Mar 11