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Title: A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee
Author: Cooke, John Esten, 1830-1886
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee" ***




  "Duty is the sublimest word in our language."
  "Human virtue should be equal to human calamity."







II.--The Lees of Virginia

III.--General "Light-Horse Harry" Lee


V.--Lee's Early Manhood and Career in the United States Army

VI.--Lee and Scott

VII.--Lee resigns

VIII.--His Reception at Richmond

IX.--Lee in 1861

X.--The War begins

XI.--Lee's Advance into Western Virginia

XII.--Lee's Last Interview with Bishop Meade



I.--Plan of the Federal Campaign

II.--Johnston is wounded

III.--Lee assigned to the Command--his Family at the White House

IV.--Lee resolves to attack

V.--Stuart's "Ride around McClellan"



I.--The Two Armies

II.--Lee's Plan of Assault

III.--The Battle of the Chickahominy

IV.--The Retreat

V.--Richmond in Danger--Lee's Views

VI.--Lee and McClellan--their Identity of Opinion



I.--Lee's Protest

II.--Lee's Manoeuvres

III.--Lee advances from the Rapidan

IV.--Jackson flanks General Pope

V.--Lee follows

VI.--The Second Battle of Manassas



I.--His Designs

II.--Lee in Maryland

III.--Movements of the Two Armies

IV.--The Prelude to Sharpsburg

V.--The Battle of Sharpsburg

VI.--Lee and McClellan--their Merits in the Maryland Campaign

VII.--Lee and his Men

VIII.--Lee passes the Blue Ridge

IX.--Lee concentrates at Fredericksburg

X.--The Battle of Fredericksburg

XI.--Final Movements of 1862

XII.--The Year of Battles

XIII.--Lee in December, 1862



I.--Advance of General Hooker

II--The Wilderness

III.--Lee's Determination

IV.--Jackson's Attack and Fall

V.--The Battle of Chancellorsville

VI.--Flank Movement of General Sedgwick

VII.--Lee's Generalship and Personal Demeanor during the Campaign

VIII.--Personal Relations of Lee and Jackson

IX.--Circumstances leading to the Invasion of Pennsylvania

X.--Lee's Plans and Objects

XI.--The Cavalry-fight at Fleetwood

XII.--The March to Gettysburg

XIII.--Lee in Pennsylvania

XIV.--Concentration at Gettysburg

XV.--The First Day's Fight at Gettysburg

XVI.--The Two Armies in Position

XVII.--The Second Day

XVIII.--The Last Charge at Gettysburg

XIX.--Lee after the Charge

XX.--Lee's Retreat across the Potomac

XXI.--Across the Blue Ridge again



I.--The Cavalry of Lee's Army

II.--Lee flanks General Meade

III.--A Race between Two Armies

IV.--The Fight at Buckland

V.--The Advance to Mine Run

VI.--Lee in the Autumn and Winter of 1863



I.--General Grant crosses the Rapidan

II.--The First Collision in the Wilderness

III.--The Battle of the 6th of May

IV.--The 12th of May

V.--From Spottsylvania to the Chickahominy

VI.--First Battles at Petersburg

VII.--The Siege of Richmond begun

VIII.--Lee threatens Washington

IX.--The Mine Explosion

X.--End of the Campaign of 1864

XI.--Lee in the Winter of 1864-'65

XII.--The Situation at the Beginning of 1865

XIII.--Lee attacks the Federal Centre

XIV.--The Southern Lines broken

XV.--Lee evacuates Petersburg

XVI.--The Retreat and Surrender

XVII.--Lee returns to Richmond

XVIII.--General Lee after the War

XIX.--General Lee's Last Years and Death


I.--The Funeral of General Lee

II.--Tributes to General Lee








The name of Lee is beloved and respected throughout the world. Men of
all parties and opinions unite in this sentiment, not only those who
thought and fought with him, but those most violently opposed to his
political views and career. It is natural that his own people should
love and honor him as their great leader and defender in a struggle of
intense bitterness--that his old enemies should share this profound
regard and admiration is due solely to the character of the
individual. His military genius will always be conceded, and his
figure remain a conspicuous landmark in history; but this does not
account for the fact that his very enemies love the man. His private
character is the origin of this sentiment. The people of the North, no
less than the people of the South, feel that Lee was truly great; and
the harshest critic has been able to find nothing to detract from this
view of him. The soldier was great, but the man himself was greater.
No one was ever simpler, truer, or more honest. Those who knew him
best loved him the most. Reserved and silent, with a bearing of almost
austere dignity, he impressed many persons as cold and unsympathetic,
and his true character was long in revealing itself to the world.
To-day all men know what his friends knew during his life--that under
the grave exterior of the soldier, oppressed with care and anxiety,
beat a warm and kindly heart, full of an even extraordinary gentleness
and sweetness; that the man himself was not cold, or stiff, or
harsh, but patient, forbearing, charitable under many trials of his
equanimity, and magnanimous without effort, from the native impulse of
his heart. Friend and foe thus to-day regard him with much the same
sentiment, as a genuinely honest man, incapable of duplicity in
thought or deed, wholly good and sincere, inspired always under all
temptations by that _prisca fides_ which purifies and ennobles, and
resolutely bent, in the dark hour, as in the bright, on the full
performance of his duty. "Duty is the sublimest word in our language,"
he wrote to his son; and, if we add that other august maxim, "Human
virtue should be equal to human calamity," we shall have in a few
words a summary of the principles which inspired Lee.

The crowning grace of this man, who was thus not only great but good,
was the humility and trust in God, which lay at the foundation of his
character. Upon this point we shall quote the words of a gentleman of
commanding intellect, a bitter opponent of the South in the war:

"Lee is worthy of all praise. As a man, he was fearless among men. As
a soldier, he had no superior and no equal. In the course of Nature my
career on earth may soon terminate. God grant that, When the day of
my death shall come, I may look up to Heaven with that confidence and
faith which the life and character of Robert E. Lee gave him. He
died trusting in God as a good man, with a good life, and a pure

He had lived, as he died, with this supreme trust in an overruling and
merciful Providence; and this sentiment, pervading his whole being,
was the origin of that august calmness with which he greeted the most
crushing disasters of his military career. His faith and humble trust
sustained him after the war, when the woes of the South wellnigh
broke his great spirit; and he calmly expired, as a weary child falls
asleep, knowing that its father is near.

Of this eminent soldier and man whose character offers so great
an example, a memoir is attempted in this volume. The work will
necessarily be "popular" rather than full and elaborate, as the public
and private correspondence of Lee are not at this time accessible.
These will throw a fuller light on the subject; but sufficient
material is at the disposal of the writer to enable him to present an
accurate likeness of Lee, and to narrate clearly the incidents of his
career. In doing so, the aim of the author is to measure out full
justice to all--not to arouse old enmities, which should be allowed to
slumber, but to treat his subject with the judicial moderation of the
student of history.

A few words will terminate this preface. The volume before the reader
was begun in 1866. The writer first, however, informed General Lee
of his design, and had the honor to receive from him in reply the
assurance that the work "would not interfere with any he might have in
contemplation; he had not written a line of any work as yet, and might
never do so; but, should he write a history of the campaigns of the
Army of Northern Virginia, the proposed work would be rather an
assistance than a hinderance."

As the writer had offered promptly to discontinue the work if it were
not agreeable to General Lee, this reply was regarded in the light of
an assurance that he did not disapprove of it. The composition was,
however, interrupted, and the work laid aside. It is now resumed and
completed at a time when the death of the illustrious soldier adds a
new and absorbing interest to whatever is connected with his character
or career.



The Lees of Virginia spring from an ancient and respectable family of
Essex, in England.

Of some members of the family, both in the Old World and the New, a
brief account will be given. The origin of an individual explains much
that is striking and peculiar in his own character; and it will be
found that General Lee inherited many of the traits of his ancestors,
especially of some eminent personages of his name in Virginia.

The family pedigree is traced back by Lee, in the life of his father,
to Launcelot Lee, of London, in France, who accompanied William the
Conqueror to England. After the battle of Hastings, which subjected
England to the sway of the Normans, Launcelot Lee, like others, was
rewarded by lands wrested from the subdued Saxons. His estate lay in
Essex, and this is all that is known concerning him. Lionel Lee is the
next member of the family of whom mention is made. He lived during the
reign of Richard Coeur de Lion, and, when the king went on his third
crusade, in the year 1192, Lionel Lee raised a company of gentlemen,
and marched with him to the Holy Land. His career there was
distinguished; he displayed special gallantry at the siege of Acre,
and for this he received a solid proof of King Richard's approbation.
On his return he was made first Earl of Litchfield; the king presented
him with the estate of "Ditchley," which became the name afterward of
an estate of the Lees in Virginia; and, when he died, the armor which
he had worn in the Holy Land was placed in the department of "Horse
Armory" in the great Tower of London.

The name of Richard Lee is next mentioned as one of the followers of
the Earl of Surrey in his expedition across the Scottish border in
1542. Two of the family about this period were "Knights Companions
of the Garter," and their banners, with the Lee arms above, were
suspended in St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The coat-of-arms
was a shield "band sinister battled and embattled," the crest a closed
visor surmounted by a squirrel holding a nut. The motto, which may be
thought characteristic of one of General Lee's traits as a soldier,
was, "_Non incautus futuri_"

Such are the brief notices given of the family in England. They seem
to have been persons of high character, and often of distinction. When
Richard Lee came to Virginia, and founded the family anew there, as
Launcelot, the first Lee, had founded it in England, he brought over
in his veins some of the best and most valiant blood of the great
Norman race.

This Richard Lee, the _princeps_ of the family in Virginia, was,
it seems, like the rest of his kindred, strongly Cavalier in his
sentiments; indeed, the Lees seem always to have been Cavalier. The
reader will recall the stately old representative of the family in
Scott's "Woodstock"--Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley--who is seen stalking
proudly through the great apartments of the palace, in his laced
doublet, slashed boots, and velvet cloak, scowling darkly at the
Puritan intruders. Sir Henry was not a fanciful person, but a real
individual; and the political views attributed to him were those of
the Lee family, who remained faithful to the royal cause in all its
hours of adversity.

It will be seen that Richard Lee, the first of the Virginia Lees, was
an ardent monarchist. He came over during the reign of Charles I., but
returned to England, bequeathing all his lands to his servants; he
subsequently came back to Virginia, however, and lived and died there.
In his will he styles himself "Richard Lee, of Strafford Langton, in
the County of Essex, Esquire." It is not certainly known whether he
sought refuge in Virginia after the failure of the king's cause, or
was tempted to emigrate with a view to better his fortunes in the New
World. Either may have been the impelling motive. Great numbers of
Cavaliers "came over" after the overthrow of Charles at Naseby; but a
large emigration had already taken place, and took place afterward,
induced by the salubrity of the country, the ease of living, and
the cheapness and fertility of the lands on the great rivers, where
families impoverished or of failing fortunes in England might "make
new settlements" and build on a new foundation. This would amply
account for the removal of Richard Lee to Virginia, and for the
ambition he seems to have been inspired with, to build and improve,
without attributing to him any apprehension of probable punishment for
his political course. Very many families had the first-named motives,
and commenced to build great manor-houses, which were never finished,
or were too costly for any one of their descendants to possess. The
abolition of primogeniture, despite the opposition of Pendleton and
others, overthrew all this; and the Lees, like other families, now
possess few of the broad acres which their ancestors acquired.

To return, however, to Richard Lee. He had already visited Virginia in
some official capacity under the royal governor, Sir William Berkeley,
and had been so much pleased with the soil and climate of the country,
that he, as we have said, emigrated finally, and cast his lot in the
new land. He brought a number of followers and servants, and, coming
over to Westmoreland County, in the Northern Neck of Virginia,
"took up" extensive tracts of land there, and set about building
manor-houses upon them.

Among these, it is stated, was the original "Stratford" House,
afterward destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt, however, and became the
birthplace of Richard Henry Lee, and afterward of General Robert E.
Lee. We shall speak of it more in detail after finishing, in a few
words, our notice of Richard Lee, its founder, and the founder of the
Lee family in Virginia. He is described as a person of great force of
character and many virtues--as "a man of good stature, comely visage,
enterprising genius, sound head, vigorous spirit, and generous
nature." This may be suspected to partake of the nature of epitaph;
but, of his courage and energy, the proof remains in the action taken
by him in connection with Charles II. Inheriting, it would seem, in
full measure, the royalist and Cavalier sentiments of his family, he
united with Sir William Berkeley, the royal governor, in the irregular
proclamation of Charles II. in Virginia, a year or two before his
reinstallment on the English throne. He had already, it is reported on
the authority of well-supported tradition, made a voyage across the
Atlantic to Breda, where Charles II. was then in exile, and offered
to erect his standard in Virginia, and proclaim him king there. This
proposition the young monarch declined, shrinking, with excellent good
sense, from a renewal, under less favorable circumstances, of the
struggle which terminated at Worcester. Lee was, therefore, compelled
to return without having succeeded in his enterprise; but he had made,
it seems, a very strong impression in favor of Virginia upon the
somewhat frivolous young monarch. When he came to his throne again,
Charles II. graciously wore a coronation-robe of Virginia silk, and
Virginia, who had proved so faithful to him in the hour of his need,
was authorized, by royal decree, to rank thenceforward, in the British
empire, with England, Scotland, and Ireland, and bear upon her shield
the motto, "_En dat Virginia quartam._"

Richard Lee returned, after his unsuccessful mission, to the Northern
Neck, and addressed himself thenceforward to the management of his
private fortunes and the affairs of the colony. He had now become
possessed of very extensive estates between the Potomac and
Rappahannock Rivers and elsewhere. Besides Stratford, he owned
plantations called "Mocke Neck," "Mathotick," "Paper-Maker's Neck,"
"War Captain's Neck," "Bishop's Neck," and "Paradise," with four
thousand acres besides, on the Potomac, lands in Maryland, three
islands in Chesapeake Bay, an interest in several trading-vessels, and
innumerable indented and other servants. He became a member of the
King's Council, and lived in great elegance and comfort. That he was a
man of high character, and of notable piety for an age of free living
and worldly tendencies, his will shows. In that document he bequeaths
his soul "to that good and gracious God that gave it me, and to my
blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ, assuredly trusting, in and by His
meritorious death and passion, to receive salvation."

The attention of the reader has been particularly called to the
character and career of Richard Lee, not only because he was the
founder of the family in Virginia, but because the traits of the
individual reappear very prominently in the great soldier whose life
is the subject of this volume. The coolness, courage, energy,
and aptitude for great affairs, which marked Richard Lee in the
seventeenth century, were unmistakably present in the character of
Robert E. Lee in the nineteenth century.

We shall conclude our notice of the family by calling attention to
that great group of celebrated men who illustrated the name in the
days of the Revolution, and exhibited the family characteristics as
clearly. These were Richard Henry Lee, of Chantilly, the famous orator
and statesman, who moved in the American Congress the Declaration of
Independence; Francis Lightfoot Lee, a scholar of elegant attainments
and high literary accomplishments, who signed, with his more renowned
brother, the Declaration; William Lee, who became Sheriff of London,
and ably seconded the cause of the colonies; and Arthur Lee,
diplomatist and representative of America abroad, where he displayed,
as his diplomatic correspondence indicates, untiring energy and
devotion to the interests of the colonies. The last of these brothers
was Philip Ludwell Lee, whose daughter Matilda married her second
cousin, General Henry Lee. This gentleman, afterward famous as
"Light-Horse Harry" Lee, married a second time, and from this union
sprung the subject of this memoir.



This celebrated soldier, who so largely occupied the public eye in the
Revolution, is worthy of notice, both as an eminent member of the Lee
family, and as the father of General Robert E. Lee.

He was born in 1756, in the county of Westmoreland--which boasts of
being the birthplace of Washington, Monroe, Richard Henry Lee, General
Henry Lee, and General Robert E. Lee, Presidents, statesmen, and
soldiers--and, after graduating at Princeton College, entered the
army, in 1776, as captain of cavalry, an arm of the service afterward
adopted by his more celebrated descendant, in the United States army.
He soon displayed military ability of high order, and, for the capture
of Paulus's Hook, received a gold medal from Congress. In 1781 he
marched with his "Legion" to join Greene in the Carolinas, carrying
with him the high esteem of Washington, who had witnessed his skilful
and daring operations in the Jerseys. His career in the arduous
campaigns of the South against Cornwallis, and the efficient commander
of his cavalry arm. Colonel Tarleton, may be best understood from
General Greene's dispatches, and from his own memoirs of the
operations of the army, which are written with as much modesty as
ability. From these it is apparent that the small body of the "Legion"
cavalry, under its active and daring commander, was the "eye and ear"
of Greene's army, whose movements it accompanied everywhere, preceding
its advances and covering its retreats. Few pages of military history
are more stirring than those in Lee's "Memoirs" describing Greene's
retrograde movement to the Dan; and this alone, if the hard work at
the Eutaws and elsewhere were left out, would place Lee's fame as a
cavalry officer upon a lasting basis. The distinguished soldier under
whose eye the Virginian operated did full justice to his courage and
capacity. "I believe," wrote Greene, "that few officers, either in
Europe or America, are held in so high a position of admiration as you
are. Everybody knows I have the highest opinion of you as an officer,
and you know I love you as a friend. No man, in the progress of the
campaign, had equal merit with yourself." The officer who wrote those
lines was not a courtier nor a diplomatist, but a blunt and honest
soldier who had seen Lee's bearing in the most arduous straits,
and was capable of appreciating military ability. Add Washington's
expression of his "love and thanks," in a letter written in 1789,
and the light in which he was regarded by his contemporaries will be

His "Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department" is a valuable
military history and a very interesting book. The movements of Greene
in face of Cornwallis are described with a precision which renders the
narrative valuable to military students, and a picturesqueness which
rivets the attention of the general reader. From these memoirs a
very clear conception of the writer's character may be derived, and
everywhere in them is felt the presence of a cool and dashing nature,
a man gifted with the _mens aequa in arduis_, whom no reverse of
fortune could cast down. The fairness and courtesy of the writer
toward his opponents is an attractive characteristic of the work,[1]
which is written with a simplicity and directness of style highly
agreeable to readers of judgment.[2]

[Footnote 1: See his observations upon the source of his successes
over Tarleton, full of the generous spirit of a great soldier. He
attributes them in no degree to his own military ability, but to the
superior character of his large, thorough-bred horses, which rode over
Tarleton's inferior stock. He does not state that the famous "Legion"
numbered only two hundred and fifty men, and that Tarleton commanded a
much larger force of the best cavalry of the British army.]

[Footnote 2: A new edition of this work, preceded by a life of the
author, was published by General Robert E. Lee in 1869.]

After the war General Henry Lee served a term in Congress; was then
elected Governor of Virginia; returned in 1799 to Congress; and, in
his oration upon the death of Washington, employed the well-known
phrase, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of
his countrymen." He died in Georgia, in the year 1818, having made a
journey thither for the benefit of his health.

General Henry Lee was married twice; first, as we have said, to his
cousin Matilda, through whom he came into possession of the old family
estate of Stratford; and a second time, June 18,1793, to Miss Anne
Hill Carter, a daughter of Charles Carter, Esq., of "Shirley," on
James River.

The children of this second marriage were three sons and two
daughters--Charles Carter, _Robert Edward_, Smith, Ann, and Mildred.

[Illustration: "STRATFORD HOUSE." The Birthplace of Gen. Lee.]



Robert Edward Lee was born at Stratford, in Westmoreland County,
Virginia, on the 19th of January, 1807.[1]

[Footnote 1: The date of General Lee's birth has been often given
incorrectly. The authority for that here adopted is the entry in the
family Bible, in the handwriting of his mother.]

Before passing to Lee's public career, and the narrative of the stormy
scenes of his after-life, let us pause a moment and bestow a glance
upon this ancient mansion, which is still standing--a silent and
melancholy relic of the past--in the remote "Northern Neck." As the
birthplace of a great man, it would demand attention; but it has other
claims still, as a venerable memorial of the past and its eminent
personages, one of the few remaining monuments of a state of society
that has disappeared or is disappearing.

The original Stratford House is supposed, as we have said, to have
been built by Richard Lee, the first of the family in the New World.
Whoever may have been its founder, it was destroyed in the time of
Thomas Lee, an eminent representative of the name, early in the
eighteenth century. Thomas Lee was a member of the King's Council, a
gentleman of great popularity; and, when it was known that his house
had been burned, contributions were everywhere made to rebuild it. The
Governor, the merchants of the colony, and even Queen Anne in person,
united in this subscription; the house speedily rose again, at a
cost of about eighty thousand dollars; and this is the edifice still
standing in Westmoreland. The sum expended in its construction must
not be estimated in the light of to-day. At that time the greater part
of the heavy work in house-building was performed by servants of the
manor; it is fair, indeed, to say that the larger part of the work
thus cost nothing in money; and thus the eighty thousand dollars
represented only the English brick, the carvings, furniture, and

The construction of such an edifice had at that day a distinct object.
These great old manor-houses, lost in the depths of the country, were
intended to become the headquarters of the family in all time.
In their large apartments the eldest son was to uphold the name.
Generation after generation was to pass, and some one of the old name
still live there; and though all this has passed away now, and
may appear a worn-out superstition, and, though some persons may
stigmatize it as contributing to the sentiment of "aristocracy," the
strongest opponents of that old system may pardon in us the expression
of some regret that this love of the hearthstone and old family
memories should have disappeared. The great man whose character is
sought to be delineated in this volume never lost to the last this
home and family sentiment. He knew the kinships of every one, and
loved the old country-houses of the old Virginia families--plain and
honest people, attached, like himself, to the Virginia soil. We pass
to a brief description of the old house in which Lee was born.

Stratford, the old home of the Lees, but to-day the property of
others, stands on a picturesque bluff on the southern bank of the
Potomac, and is a house of very considerable size. It is built in the
form of the letter H. The walls are several feet in thickness; in the
centre is a saloon thirty feet in size; and surmounting each wing is a
pavilion with balustrades, above which rise clusters of chimneys. The
front door is reached by a broad flight of steps, and the grounds are
handsome, and variegated by the bright foliage of oaks, cedars, and
maple-trees. Here and there in the extensive lawn rises a slender and
ghostly old Lombardy poplar--a tree once a great favorite in Virginia,
but now seen only here and there, the relic of a past generation.

Within, the Stratford House is as antique as without, and, with its
halls, corridors, wainscoting, and ancient mouldings, takes the
visitor back to the era of powder and silk stockings. Such was the
mansion to which General Harry Lee came to live after the Revolution,
and the sight of the old home must have been dear to the soldier's
heart. Here had flourished three generations of Lees, dispensing a
profuse and open-handed hospitality. In each generation some one of
the family had distinguished himself, and attracted the "best company"
to Stratford; the old walls had rung with merriment; the great door
was wide open; everybody was welcome; and one could see there a good
illustration of a long-passed manner of living, which had at least the
merit of being hearty, open-handed, and picturesque. General Harry
Lee, the careless soldier, partook of the family tendency to
hospitality; he kept open house, entertained all comers, and hence,
doubtless, sprung the pecuniary embarrassments embittering an old age
which his eminent public services should have rendered serene and

Our notice of Stratford may appear unduly long to some readers, but it
is not without a distinct reference to the subject of this volume. In
this quiet old mansion--and in the very apartment where Richard Henry
and Francis Lightfoot Lee first saw the light--Robert E. Lee was born.
The eyes of the child fell first upon the old apartments, the great
grounds, the homely scenes around the old country-house--upon the tall
Lombardy poplars and the oaks, through which passed the wind bearing
to his ears the murmur of the Potomac.

He left the old home of his family before it could have had any very
great effect upon him, it would seem; but it is impossible to estimate
these first influences, to decide the depth of the impression which
the child's heart is capable of receiving. The bright eyes of young
Robert Lee must have seen much around him to interest him and shape
his first views. Critics charged him with family pride sometimes;
if he possessed that virtue or failing, the fact was not strange.
Stratford opened before his childish eyes a memorial of the old
splendor of the Lees. He saw around him old portraits, old plate, and
old furniture, telling plainly of the ancient origin and high position
of his family. Old parchments contained histories of the deeds of his
race; old genealogical trees traced their line far back into the past;
old servants, grown gray in the house, waited upon the child; and, in
a corner of one of the great apartments, an old soldier, gray, too,
and shattered in health, once the friend of Washington and Greene, was
writing the history of the battles in which he had drawn his sword for
his native land.

Amid these scenes and surroundings passed the first years of Robert
E. Lee. They must have made their impression upon his character at
a period when the mind takes every new influence, and grows in
accordance with it; and, to the last, the man remained simple, hearty,
proud, courteous--the _country Virginian_ in all the texture of his
character. He always rejoiced to visit the country; loved horses; was
an excellent rider; was fond of plain country talk, jests, humorous
anecdote, and chit-chat--was the plain country gentleman, in a word,
preferring grass and trees and streams to all the cities and crowds in
the world. In the last year of his life he said to a lady: "My visits
to Florida and the White Sulphur have not benefited me much; but it
did me good to go to the White House, and see _the mules walking
round, and the corn growing_."

We notice a last result of the child's residence now, or visits
afterward to the country, and the sports in which he indulged--the
superb physical health and strength which remained unshaken afterward
by all the hardships of war. Lee, to the last, was a marvel of sound
physical development; his frame was as solid as oak, and stood the
strain of exhausting marches, loss of sleep, hunger, thirst, heat, and
cold, without failing him.

When he died, it was care which crushed his heart; his health was



Of Lee's childhood we have no memorials, except the words of his
father, long afterward.

"_Robert was always good_," wrote General Henry Lee.[1]

[Footnote 1: To C.C. Lee, February 9, 1817.]

That is all; but the words indicate much--that the good man was
"always good." It will be seen that, when he went to West Point, he
never received a demerit. The good boy was the good young officer, and
became, in due time, the good commander-in-chief.

In the year 1811 General Henry Lee left Stratford, and removed with
his family to Alexandria, actuated, it seems, by the desire of
affording his children facilities for gaining their education. After
his death, in 1818, Mrs. Lee continued to reside in Alexandria; was
a communicant of Christ Church; and her children were taught the
Episcopal catechism by young William Meade, eventually Bishop of
Virginia. We shall see how Bishop Meade, long afterward, recalled
those early days, when he and his pupil, young Robert Lee, were
equally unknown--how, when about to die, just as the war began
in earnest, he sent for the boy he had once instructed, now the
gray-haired soldier, and, when he came to the bedside, exclaimed: "God
bless you, Robert! I can't call you 'general'--I have heard you your
catechism too often!"

Alexandria continued to be the residence of the family until the young
man was eighteen years of age, when it was necessary for him to make
choice of a profession; and, following the bent of his temperament, he
chose the army. Application was made for his appointment from Virginia
as a cadet at West Point. He obtained the appointment, and, in 1825,
at the age of eighteen, entered the Military Academy. His progress in
his studies was steady, and it is said that, during his stay at West
Point, he was never reprimanded, nor marked with a "demerit." He
graduated, in July, 1829, second in his class, and was assigned to
duty, with the rank of lieutenant, in the corps of Engineers.

[Illustration: R.E. LEE, AS A YOUNG OFFICER New York D Apololay & Co.]

He is described, by those who saw him at this time, as a young man of
great personal beauty; and this is probably not an exaggeration, as he
remained to the last distinguished for the elegance and dignity of
his person. He had not yet lost what the cares of command afterward
banished--his gayety and _abandon_--and was noted, it is said, for the
sweetness of his smile and the cordiality of his manners. The person
who gave the writer these details added, "He was a perfect gentleman."
Three years after graduating at West Point--in the year 1832--he
married Mary Custis, daughter of Mr. George Washington Parke Custis,
of Arlington, the adopted son of General Washington; and by this
marriage he came into possession of the estate of Arlington and the
White House--points afterward well known in the war.

The life of Lee up to the beginning of the great conflict of 1861-'65
is of moderate interest only, and we shall not dwell at length upon
it. He was employed on the coast defences, in New York and Virginia;
and, in 1835, in running the boundary line between the States of Ohio
and Michigan. In September, 1836, he was promoted to the rank of first
lieutenant; in July, 1838, to a captaincy; in 1844 he became a member
of the Board of Visitors to the Military Academy; in 1845 he was a
member of the Board of Engineers; and in 1846, when the Mexican War
broke out, was assigned to duty as chief engineer of the Central Army
of Mexico, in which capacity he served to the end of the war.

Up to the date of the Mexican War, Captain Lee had attracted no public
attention, but had impressed the military authorities, including
General Winfield Scott, with a favorable opinion of his ability as a
topographical engineer. For this department of military science he
exhibited endowments of the first class--what other faculties of the
soldier he possessed, it remained for events to show. This opportunity
was now given him in the Mexican War; and the efficient character of
his services may be seen in Scott's Autobiography, where "Captain Lee,
of the Engineers," is mentioned in every report, and everywhere with
commendation. From the beginning of operations, the young officer
seems to have been summoned to the councils of war, and General Scott
particularly mentions that held at Vera Cruz--so serious an affair,
that "a death-bed discussion could hardly have been more solemn."
The passages in which the lieutenant-general mentions Lee are too
numerous, and not of sufficient interest to quote, but two entries
will exhibit the general tenor of this "honorable mention." After
Cerro Gordo, Scott writes, in his official report of the battle: "I am
compelled to make special mention of Captain R.E. Lee, engineer. This
officer greatly distinguished himself at the siege of Vera Cruz; was
again indefatigable during these operations, in reconnoissance as
daring, as laborious, and of the utmost value." After Chapultepec, he
wrote: "Captain Lee, so constantly distinguished, also bore important
orders for me (September 13th), until he fainted from a wound, and the
loss of two nights' sleep at the batteries."

We may add here the statement of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, that he
"had heard General Scott more than once say that his success in Mexico
was largely due to the skill, valor, and undaunted energy of Robert E.

For these services Lee received steady promotion. For meritorious
conduct at Cerro Gordo, he was made brevet major; for the same at
Contreras and Cherubusco, brevet lieutenant-colonel; and,
after Chapultepec, he received the additional brevet of
colonel--distinctions fairly earned by energy and courage.

When the war ended, Lee returned to his former duties in the Engineer
Corps of the U.S.A., and was placed in charge of the works, then
in process of construction, at Fort Carroll, near Baltimore. His
assignment to the duty of thus superintending the military defences
of Hampton Roads, New York Bay, and the approaches to Baltimore, in
succession, would seem to indicate that his abilities as engineer were
highly esteemed. Of his possession of such ability there can be no
doubt. The young officer was not only thoroughly trained in this high
department of military science, but had for his duties unmistakable
natural endowments. This fact was clearly indicated on many occasions
in the Confederate struggle--his eye for positions never failed him.
It is certain that, had Lee never commanded troops in the field, he
would have left behind him the reputation of an excellent engineer.

In 1855 he was called for the first time to command men, for his
duties hitherto had been those of military engineer, astronomer, or
staff-officer. The act of Congress directing that two new cavalry
regiments should be raised excited an ardent desire in the officers of
the army to receive appointments in them, and Lee was transferred from
his place of engineer to the post of lieutenant-colonel in the Second
Cavalry, one of the regiments in question. The extraordinary number
of names of officers in this regiment who afterward became famous
is worthy of notice. The colonel was Albert Sydney Johnston; the
lieutenant-colonel, R.E. Lee; the senior major, William J. Hardee; the
junior major, George H. Thomas; the senior captain, Earl Yan Dorn;
the next ranking captain, Kirby Smith; the lieutenants, Hood, Fields,
Cosby, Major, Fitzhugh Lee, Johnson, Palmer, and Stoneman, all of
whom became general officers afterward on the Southern side, with the
exception of Thomas, and the three last named, who became prominent
generals in the Federal army. It is rare that such a constellation of
famous names is found in the list of officers of a single regiment.
The explanation is, nevertheless simple. Positions in the new
regiments were eagerly coveted by the best soldiers of the army, and,
in appointing the officers, those of conspicuous ability only were
selected. The Second Regiment of cavalry thus became the _corps
d'élite_ of the United States Army; and, after Albert Sydney Johnston,
Robert E. Lee was the ranking officer.

Lee proceeded with his regiment to Texas, remaining there for several
years on frontier duty, and does not reappear again until 1859.

Such was the early career in the army of the soldier soon to
become famous on a greater theatre--that of a thoroughly-trained,
hard-working, and conscientious officer. With the single exception
of his brief record in the Mexican War, his life had been passed in
official duties, unconnected with active military operations. He
was undoubtedly what is called a "rising man," but he had had no
opportunity to display the greatest faculties of the soldier. The
time was coming now when he was to be tested, and the measure of his
faculties taken in one of the greatest wars which darken the pages of

A single incident of public importance marks the life of Lee between
1855 and 1861. This was what is known to the world as the "John Brown
raid"--an incident of the year 1859, and preluding the approaching
storm. This occurrence is too well known to require a minute account
in these pages, and we shall accordingly pass over it briefly,
indicating simply the part borne in the affair by Lee. He was in
Washington at the time--the fall of 1859--on a visit to his family,
then residing at Arlington, near the city, when intelligence came that
a party of desperadoes had attacked and captured Harper's Ferry, with
the avowed intent of arming and inciting to insurrection the slaves
of the neighborhood and entire State. Lee was immediately, thereupon,
directed by President Buchanan to proceed to the point of danger and
arrest the rioters. He did so promptly; found upon his arrival that
Brown and his confederates had shut themselves up in an engine-house
of the town, with a number of their prisoners. Brown was summoned to
surrender, to be delivered over to the authorities for civil trial--he
refused; and Lee then proceeded to assault, with a force of marines,
the stronghold to which Brown had retreated. The doors were driven in,
Brown firing upon the assailants and killing or wounding two; but he
and his men were cut down and captured; they were turned over to the
Virginia authorities, and Lee, having performed the duty assigned him
returned to Washington, and soon afterward to Texas.

He remained there, commanding the department, until the early spring
of 1861. He was then recalled to Washington at the moment when the
conflict between the North and the South was about to commence.



Lee found the country burning as with fever, and the air hot with
contending passions. The animosity, long smouldering between the two
sections, was about to burst into the flame of civil war; all men were
taking sides; the war of discussion on the floor of Congress was
about to yield to the clash of bayonets and the roar of cannon on the

Any enumeration of the causes which led to this unhappy state of
affairs would be worse than useless in a volume like the present. Even
less desirable would be a discussion of the respective blame to be
attached to each of the great opponents in inaugurating the bitter and
long-continued struggle. Such a discussion would lead to nothing, and
would probably leave every reader of the same opinion as before. It
would also be the repetition of a worn-out and wearisome story. These
events are known of all men; for the political history of the United
States, from 1820, when the slavery agitation began, on the question
of the Missouri restriction, to 1861, when it ended in civil
convulsion, has been discussed, rediscussed, and discussed again, in
every journal, great and small, in the whole country. The person who
is not familiar, therefore, with the main points at issue, must be
ignorant beyond the power of any writer to enlighten him. We need
only say that the election of Abraham Lincoln, the nominee of the
Republican party, had determined the Gulf States to leave the Union.
South Carolina accordingly seceded, on the 20th of December, 1860; and
by the 1st of February, 1861, she had been followed by Mississippi,
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. The struggle thus
approached. Military movements began at many points, like those
distant flashes of lightning and vague mutterings which herald the
tempest. Early in February Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was
elected President of the Confederate States, at Montgomery. On the
13th of April Fort Sumter surrendered to General Beauregard, and
on the next day, April 14, 1861, President Lincoln issued his
proclamation declaring the Gulf States in rebellion, and calling upon
the States which had not seceded for seventy-five thousand men to
enforce the Federal authority.

Tip to this time the older State of Virginia had persistently resisted
secession. Her refusal to array herself against the General Government
had been based upon an unconquerable repugnance, it seemed, for the
dissolution of that Union which she had so long loved; from real
attachment to the flag which she had done so much to make honorable,
and from a natural indisposition to rush headlong into a conflict
whose whole fury would burst upon and desolate her own soil. The
proclamation of President Lincoln, however, decided her course. The
convention had obdurately refused, week after week, to pass the
ordinance of secession. Now the naked question was, whether Virginia
should fight with or against her sisters of the Gulf States. She was
directed to furnish her quota of the seventy-five thousand troops
called for by President Lincoln, and must decide at once. On the 17th
of April, 1861, accordingly, an ordinance of secession passed the
Virginia Convention, and that Commonwealth cast her fortunes for weal
or woe with the Southern Confederacy.

Such is a brief and rapid summary of the important public events which
had preceded, or immediately followed, Lee's return to Washington in
March, 1861. A grave, and to him a very solemn, question demanded
instant decision. Which side should he espouse--the side of the United
States or that of the South? To choose either caused him acute pain.
The attachment of the soldier to his flag is greater than the civilian
can realize, and Lee had before him the brightest military prospects.
The brief record which we have presented of his military career in
Mexico conveys a very inadequate idea of the position which he had
secured in the army. He was regarded by the authorities at Washington,
and by the country at large, as the ablest and most promising of
all the rising class of army officers. Upon General Winfield Scott,
Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Army, he had made an impression
which is the most striking proof of his great merit. General Scott was
enthusiastic in his expressions of admiration for the young Virginian;
and with the death of that general, which his great age rendered a
probable event at any moment, Lee was sure to become a candidate for
the highest promotion in the service. To this his great ability gave
him a title at the earliest possible moment; and other considerations
operated to advance his fortunes. He was conceded by all to be a
person of the highest moral character; was the descendant of an
influential and distinguished family, which had rendered important
services to the country in the Revolution; his father had been the
friend of Washington, and had achieved the first glories of arms, and
the ample estates derived from his wife gave him that worldly prestige
which has a direct influence upon the fortunes of an individual.
Colonel Lee could thus look forward, without the imputation of
presumption, to positions of the highest responsibility and honor
under the Government. With the death of Scott, and other aged officers
of the army, the place of commander-in-chief would fall to the most
deserving of the younger generation; and of this generation there was
no one so able and prominent as Lee.[1]

[Footnote 1: "General Scott stated his purpose to recommend Lee as his
successor in the chief command of the army."--_Hon. Reverdy Johnson_.]

The personal relations of Lee with General Scott constituted another
powerful temptation to decide him against going over to the Southern
side. We have referred to the great admiration which the old soldier
felt for the young officer. He is said to have exclaimed on one
occasion: "It would be better for every officer in the army, including
myself, to die than Robert Lee." There seems no doubt of the fact that
Scott looked to Lee as his ultimate successor in the supreme command,
for which his character and military ability peculiarly fitted him.
Warm personal regard gave additional strength to his feelings in
Lee's favor; and the consciousness of this regard on the part of his
superior made it still more difficult for Lee to come to a decision.



It is known that General Scott used every argument to persuade Lee not
to resign. To retain him in the service, he had been appointed, on his
arrival at Washington, a full colonel, and in 1860 his name had been
sent in, with others, by Scott, as a proper person to fill the vacancy
caused by the death of Brigadier-General Jessup. To these tempting
intimations that rapid promotion would attend his adherence to the
United States flag, Scott added personal appeals, which, coming from
him, must have been almost irresistible.

"For God's sake, don't resign, Lee!" the lieutenant-general is said
to have exclaimed. And, in the protracted interviews which took place
between the two officers, every possible argument was urged by the
elder to decide Lee to remain firm.

The attempt was in vain. Lee's attachment to the flag he had so long
fought under, and his personal affection for General Scott, were
great, but his attachment to his native State was still more powerful.
By birth a Virginian, he declared that he owed his first duty to her
and his own people. If she summoned him, he must obey the summons. As
long as she remained in the Union he might remain in the United States
Army. When she seceded from the Union, and took part with the Gulf
States, he must follow her fortunes, and do his part in defending her.
The struggle had been bitter, but brief. "My husband has wept tears of
blood," Mrs. Lee wrote to a friend, "over this terrible war; but he
must, as a man and a Virginian, share the destiny of his State, which
has solemnly pronounced for independence."

The secession of Virginia, by a vote of the convention assembled
at Richmond, decided Lee in his course. He no longer hesitated. To
General Scott's urgent appeals not to send in his resignation, he
replied: "I am compelled to. I cannot consult my own feelings in this
matter." He accordingly wrote to General Scott from Arlington, on
the 20th of April, enclosing his resignation. The letter was in the
following words:

    GENERAL: Since my interview with you, on the 18th instant, I have
    felt that I ought not longer to retain my commission in the army.
    I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will
    recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but
    for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service
    to which I have devoted all the best years of my life, and all the
    ability I possessed.

    During the whole of that time--more than a quarter of a century--I
    have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors, and the
    most cordial friendship from my comrades. To no one, general, have
    I been as much indebted as to yourself for uniform kindness and
    consideration, and it has always been my ardent desire to merit
    your approbation. I shall carry to the grave the most grateful
    recollections of your kind consideration, and your name and fame
    will always be dear to me.

    Save in defence of my native State, I never desire again to draw
    my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the
    continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and believe me, most
    truly yours,

    States Army_.

In this letter, full of dignity and grave courtesy, Lee vainly
attempts to hide the acute pain he felt at parting from his friend and
abandoning the old service. Another letter, written on the same day,
expresses the same sentiment of painful regret:

    ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, _April 20,1861_.

    MY DEAR SISTER: I am grieved at my inability to see you ... I have
    been waiting "for a more convenient season," which has brought to
    many before me deep and lasting regret. Now we are in a state of
    war which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of
    revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been
    drawn, and, _though I recognize no necessity for this state of
    things_, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for
    redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I
    had to meet the question, _whether I should take part against my
    native State_. With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling
    of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able
    to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my
    children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission
    in the army, and, save in defence of my native State, with the
    sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I
    may never be called on to draw my sword.

    I know you will blame me, but you must think as kindly of me as
    you can, and believe that I have endeavored to do what I thought
    right. To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, I send
    a copy of my letter to General Scott, which accompanied my letter
    of resignation. I have no time for more.... May God guard and
    protect you and yours, and shower upon you every blessing, is the
    prayer of your devoted brother,

    R.E. LEE.

The expression used in this letter--"though I recognize no necessity
for this state of things"--conveys very clearly the political
sentiments of the writer. He did not regard the election of a
Republican President, even by a strictly sectional vote, as sufficient
ground for a dissolution of the Union. It may be added here, that
such, we believe, was the opinion of a large number of Southern
officers at that time. Accustomed to look to the flag as that which
they were called upon to defend against all comers, they were loath to
admit the force of the reasoning which justified secession, and called
upon them to abandon it. Their final action seems to have been taken
from the same considerations which controlled the course of Lee. Their
States called them, and they obeyed.

In resigning his commission and going over to the South, Lee
sacrificed his private fortunes, in addition to all his hopes of
future promotion in the United States Army. His beautiful home,
Arlington, situated upon the heights opposite Washington, must be
abandoned forever, and fall into the hands of the enemy. This old
mansion was a model of peaceful loveliness and attraction. "All
around here," says a writer, describing the place, "Arlington Heights
presents a lovely picture of rural beauty. The 'General Lee house,'
as some term it, stands on a grassy lot, surrounded with a grove of
stately trees and underwood, except in front, where is a verdant
sloping ground for a few rods, when it descends into a valley,
spreading away in beautiful and broad expanse to the lovely Potomac.
This part of the splendid estate is apparently a highly-cultivated
meadow, the grass waving in the gentle breeze, like the undulating
bosom of Old Atlantic. To the south, north, and west, the grounds are
beautifully diversified into hill and valley, and richly stored with
oak, willow, and maple, though the oak is the principal wood. The view
from the height is a charming picture. Washington, Georgetown, and the
intermediate Potomac, are all before you in the foreground."

In this old mansion crowning the grassy hill, the young officer had
passed the happiest moments of his life. All around him were spots
associated with his hours of purest enjoyment. Each object in the
house--the old furniture and very table-sets--recalled the memory of
Washington, and were dear to him. Here were many pieces of the "Martha
Washington china," portions of the porcelain set presented to Mrs.
Washington by Lafayette and others--in the centre of each piece the
monogram "M.W." with golden rays diverging to the names of the old
thirteen States. Here were also fifty pieces, remnants of the set
of one thousand, procured from China by the Cincinnati Society, and
presented to Washington--articles of elaborate decoration in blue and
gold, "with the coat-of-arms of the society, held by Fame, with a blue
ribbon, from which is suspended the eagle of the order, with a green
wreath about its neck, and on its breast a shield representing the
inauguration of the order." Add to these the tea-table used by
Washington and one of his bookcases; old portraits, antique furniture,
and other memorials of the Lee family from Stratford--let the reader
imagine the old mansion stored with these priceless relics, and he
will understand with what anguish Lee must have contemplated what came
duly to pass, the destruction, by rude hands, of objects so dear to
him. That he must have foreseen the fate of his home is certain. To
take sides with Virginia was to give up Arlington to its fate.

There is no proof, however, that this sacrifice of his personal
fortunes had any effect upon him. If he could decide to change his
flag, and dissolve every tie which bound him to the old service, he
could sacrifice all else without much regret. No one will be found to
say that the hope of rank or emolument in the South influenced him.
The character and whole career of the man contradict the idea. His
ground of action may be summed up in a single sentence. He went with
his State because he believed it was his duty to do so, and because,
to ascertain what was his duty, and perform it, was the cardinal maxim
of his life.



No sooner had intelligence of Lee's resignation of his commission
in the United States Army reached Richmond, than Governor Letcher
appointed him major-general of the military forces of Virginia. The
appointment was confirmed by the convention, rather by acclamation
than formal vote; and on the 23d of April, Lee, who had meanwhile
left Washington and repaired to Richmond, was honored by a formal
presentation to the convention.

The address of President Janney was eloquent, and deserves to be
preserved. Lee stood in the middle aisle, and the president, rising,

    "MAJOR-GENERAL LEE: In the name of the people of our native State,
    here represented, I bid you a cordial and heart-felt welcome to
    this hall, in which we may almost yet hear the echoes of the
    voices of the statesmen, the soldiers, and sages of by-gone days,
    who have borne your name, and whose blood now flows in your veins.

    "We met in the month of February last, charged with the solemn
    duty of protecting the rights, the honor, and the interests of the
    people of this Commonwealth. We differed for a time as to the best
    means of accomplishing that object, but there never was, at any
    moment, a shade of difference among us as to the great object
    itself; and now, Virginia having taken her position, as far as
    the power of this convention extends, we stand animated by one
    impulse, governed by one desire and one determination, and that
    is, that she shall be defended, and that no spot of her soil shall
    be polluted by the foot of an invader.

    "When the necessity became apparent of having a leader for our
    forces, all hearts and all eyes, by the impulse of an instinct
    which is a surer guide than reason itself, turned to the old
    county of Westmoreland. We knew how prolific she had been in other
    days of heroes and statesmen. We knew she had given birth to the
    Father of his Country, to Richard Henry Lee, to Monroe, and last,
    though not least, to your own gallant father, and we knew well, by
    your deeds, that her productive power was not yet exhausted.

    "Sir, we watched with the most profound and intense interest the
    triumphal march of the army led by General Scott, to which you
    were attached, from Vera Cruz to the capital of Mexico. We read of
    the sanguinary conflicts and the blood-stained fields, in all
    of which victory perched upon our own banners. We knew of the
    unfading lustre that was shed upon the American arms by that
    campaign, and we know, also, what your modesty has always
    disclaimed, that no small share of the glory of those achievements
    was due to your valor and your military genius.

    "Sir, one of the proudest recollections of my life will be the
    honor that I yesterday had of submitting to this body confirmation
    of the nomination, made by the Governor of this State, of you
    as commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces of this
    Commonwealth. I rose to put the question, and when I asked if this
    body would advise and consent to that appointment, there rushed
    from the hearts to the tongues of all the members an affirmative
    response, which told with an emphasis that could leave no doubt
    of the feeling whence it emanated. I put the negative of the
    question, for form's sake, but there was an unbroken silence.

    "Sir, we have, by this unanimous vote, expressed our convictions
    that you are at this day, among the living citizens of Virginia,
    'first in war.' We pray to God most fervently that you may so
    conduct the operations committed to your Charge that it may soon
    be said of you that you are 'first in peace,' and when that time
    comes you will have earned the still prouder distinction of being
    'first in the hearts of your countrymen.'"

The president concluded by saying that Virginia on that day intrusted
her spotless sword to Lee's keeping, and Lee responded as follows:

with the solemnity of the occasion, for which I must say I was not
prepared, I accept the position assigned me by your partiality. I
would have much preferred had your choice fallen upon an abler man.
Trusting in Almighty God, an approving conscience, and the aid of my
fellow-citizens, I devote myself to the service of my native State, in
whose behalf alone will I ever again draw my sword."

Such were the modest and dignified expressions of Lee in accepting the
great trust. The reply is brief and simple, but these are very great
merits on such an occasion. No portion of the address contains a
phrase or word denunciatory of the Federal Government, or of the
motives of the opponents of Virginia; and this moderation and absence
of all rancor characterized the utterances of Lee, both oral and
written, throughout the war. He spoke, doubtless, as he felt, and
uttered no expression of heated animosity, because he cherished no
such sentiment. His heart was bleeding still from the cruel trial it
had undergone in abruptly tearing away from the old service to embark
upon civil war; with the emotions of the present occasion, excited by
the great ovation in his honor, no bitterness mingled--or at least, if
there were such bitterness in his heart, he did not permit it to rise
to his lips. He accepted the trust confided to him in terms of dignity
and moderation, worthy of Washington; exchanged grave salutations with
the members of the convention; and then, retiring from the hall where
he had solemnly consecrated his life to his native Commonwealth,
proceeded at once to energetic work to get the State in a posture of

The sentiment of the country in reference to Lee was even warmer than
that of the convention. For weeks, reports had been rife that he had
determined to adhere to the Federal Government in the approaching
struggle. Such an event, it was felt by all, would be a public
calamity to Virginia; and the general joy may be imagined when it was
known that Lee had resigned and come to fight with his own people. He
assumed command, therefore, of all the Virginia forces, in the
midst of universal public rejoicing; and the fact gave strength
and consistency to the general determination to resist the Federal
Government to the last.


LEE IN 1861.

At this time--April, 1861--General Lee was fifty-four years of age,
and may be said to have been in the ripe vigor of every faculty.
Physically and intellectually he was "at his best," and in the bloom
of manhood. His figure was erect, and he bore himself with the brief,
somewhat stiff air of command derived from his military education
and service in the army. This air of the professional soldier, which
characterized generally the graduates of West Point, was replaced
afterward by a grave dignity, the result of high command and great
responsibilities. In April, 1861, however, he was rather the ordinary
army officer in bearing than the commander-in-chief.

He had always been remarkable for his manly beauty, both of face and
figure, and the cares of great command had not yet whitened his hair.
There was not a gray hair in his head, and his mustache was dark and
heavy. The rest of his face was clean-shaven, and his cheeks had that
fresh, ruddy hue which indicates high physical health. This was not at
that time or afterward the result of high living. Of all the prominent
personages of his epoch. Lee was, perhaps, the most temperate. He
rarely drank even so much as a single glass of wine, and it was a
matter of general notoriety in the army afterward, that he cared not
what he ate. The ruddy appearance which characterized him from first
to last was the result of the most perfectly-developed physical
health, which no species of indulgence had ever impaired. He used no
tobacco then or afterward, in any shape--that seductive weed which has
been called "the soldier's comfort"--and seemed, indeed, superior
to all those small vices which assail men of his profession. Grave,
silent, with a military composure of bearing which amounted at times,
as we have said, to stiffness, he resembled a machine in the shape of
a man. At least this was the impression which he produced upon those
who saw him in public at this time.

The writer's design, here, is to indicate the personal appearance and
bearing of General Lee on the threshold of the war. It may be said, by
way of summing up all, that he was a full-blooded "West-Pointer" in
appearance; the _militaire_ as distinguished from the civilian; and
no doubt impressed those who held official interviews with him as a
personage of marked reserve. The truth and frankness of the man under
all circumstances, and his great, warm heart, full of honesty and
unassuming simplicity, became known only in the progress of the war.
How simple and true and honest he was, will appear from a letter to
his son, G.W. Custis Lee, written some time before:

"You must study," he wrote, "to be frank with the world; frankness
is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on
every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right. If a
friend asks a favor, you should grant it, if it is reasonable; if not,
tell him plainly why you cannot: you will wrong him and wrong yourself
by equivocation of any kind. Never do a wrong thing to make a friend
or keep one; the man who requires you to do so, is dearly purchased at
a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly, with all your classmates; you
will find it the policy which wears best. Above all, do not appear to
others what you are not. If you have any fault to find with any one,
tell him, not others, of what you complain; there is no more dangerous
experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's
face and another behind his back. We should live, act, and say,
nothing to the injury of any one. It is not only best as a matter of
principle, but it is the path to peace and honor.

"In regard to duty, let me, in conclusion of this hasty letter, inform
you that, nearly a hundred years ago, there was a day of remarkable
gloom and darkness--still known as 'the dark day'--a day when the
light of the sun was slowly extinguished, as if by an eclipse. The
Legislature of Connecticut was in session, and, as its members saw the
unexpected and unaccountable darkness coming on, they shared in the
general awe and terror. It was supposed by many that the last day--the
day of judgment--had come. Some one, in the consternation of the hour,
moved an adjournment. Then there arose an old Puritan legislator,
Davenport, of Stamford, and said that, if the last day had come, he
desired to be found at his place doing his duty, and, therefore, moved
that candles be brought in, so that the House could proceed with
its duty. There was quietness in that man's mind, the quietness of
heavenly wisdom and inflexible willingness to obey present duty. Duty,
then, is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all
things, like the old Puritan. You cannot do more, you should never
wish to do less. Never let me and your mother wear one gray hair for
any lack of duty on your part."

The maxims of this letter indicate the noble and conscientious
character of the man who wrote it. "Frankness is the child of honesty
and courage." "Say just what you mean to do on every occasion." "Never
do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one." "Duty is the sublimest
word in our language ... do your duty in all things ... you cannot do
more." That he lived up to these great maxims, amid all the troubled
scenes and hot passions of a stormy epoch, is Lee's greatest glory.
His fame as a soldier, great as it is, yields to the true glory of
having placed duty before his eyes always as the supreme object of
life. He resigned his commission from a sense of duty to his native
State; made this same duty his sole aim in every portion of his
subsequent career; and, when all had failed, and the cause he had
fought for was overthrown, it was the consciousness of having
performed conscientiously, and to his utmost, his whole duty, which
took the sting from defeat, and gave him that noble calmness which the
whole world saw and admired. "Human virtue should be equal to human
calamity," were his august words when all was lost, and men's minds
were sinking under the accumulated agony of defeat and despair.
Those words could only have been uttered by a man who made duty the
paramount object of living--the performance of it, the true glory and
crown of virtuous manhood. It may be objected by some critics that
he mistook his duty in espousing the Southern cause. Doubtless many
persons will urge that objection, and declare that the words here
written are senseless panegyric. But that will not affect the truth or
detract from Lee's great character. He performed at least what in his
inmost soul _he_ considered his duty, and, from the beginning of his
career, when all was so bright, to its termination, when all was so
dark, it will be found that his controlling sentiment was, first,
last, and all the time, this performance of duty. The old Puritan,
whose example he admired so much, was not more calm and resolute.
When "the last day" of the cause he fought for came--in the spring of
1865--it was plain to all who saw the man, standing unmoved in the
midst of the general disaster, that his sole desire was to be "found
at his place, and doing his duty."

From this species of digression upon the moral constituents of the
individual, we pass to the record of that career which made the great
fame of the soldier. The war had already begun when Lee took command
of the provisional forces of Virginia, and the collisions in various
portions of the Gulf States between the Federal and State authorities
were followed by overt acts in Virginia, which all felt would be the
real battle-ground of the war. The North entered upon the struggle
with very great ardor and enthusiasm. The call for volunteers to
enforce obedience to the Federal authority was tumultuously responded
to throughout the entire North, and troops were hurried forward to
Washington, which soon became an enormous camp. The war began in
Virginia with the evacuation and attempted destruction of the works at
Harper's Ferry, by the Federal officer in command there. This was on
the 19th of April, and on the next day reinforcements were thrown into
Fortress Monroe; and the navy-yard at Norfolk, with the shipping, set
on fire and abandoned.

Lee thus found the Commonwealth in a state of war, and all his
energies were immediately concentrated upon the work of placing her
in a condition of defence. He established his headquarters in the
custom-house at Richmond; orderlies were seen coming and going; bustle
reigned throughout the building, and by night, as well as by day,
General Lee labored incessantly to organize the means of resistance.
From the first moment, all had felt that Virginia, from her
geographical position, adjoining the Federal frontier and facing the
Federal capital, would become the arena of the earliest, longest, and
most determined struggle. Her large territory and moral influence, as
the oldest of the Southern States, also made her the chief object of
the Federal hostility. It was felt that if Virginia were occupied, and
her people reduced under the Federal authority again, the Southern
cause would be deprived of a large amount of its prestige and
strength. The authorities of the Gulf States accordingly hurried
forward to Richmond all available troops; and from all parts of
Virginia the volunteer regiments, which had sprung up like magic,
were in like manner forwarded by railway to the capital. Every train
brought additions to this great mass of raw war material; large camps
rose around Richmond, chief among which was that named "Camp Lee;" and
the work of drilling and moulding this crude material for the great
work before it was ardently proceeded with under the supervision of

An Executive Board, or Military Council, had been formed, consisting
of Governor Letcher and other prominent officials; but these gentlemen
had the good sense to intrust the main work of organizing an army to
Lee. As yet the great question at Richmond was to place Virginia in a
state of defence--to prepare that Commonwealth for the hour of trial,
by enrolling her own people. It will be remembered that Lee held no
commission from the Confederate States; he was major-general of the
Provisional Army of Virginia, and to place this Provisional Army in
a condition to take the field was the first duty before him. It was
difficult, not from want of ardor in the population, but from the want
of the commonest material necessary in time of war. There were
few arms, and but small supplies of ammunition. While the Federal
Government entered upon the war with the amplest resources, the South
found herself almost entirely destitute of the munitions essential
to her protection. All was to be organized and put at once into
operation--the quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and other
departments. Transportation, supplies of rations, arms, ammunition,
all were to be collected immediately. The material existed, or could
be supplied, as the sequel clearly showed; but as yet there was
almost nothing. And it was chiefly to the work of organizing these
departments, first of all, that General Lee and the Military Council
addressed themselves with the utmost energy.

The result was, that the State found herself very soon in a condition
to offer a determined resistance. The troops at the various camps of
instruction were successively sent to the field; others took their
places, and the work of drilling the raw material into soldiers went
on; supplies were collected, transportation found, workshops for the
construction of arms and ammunition sprung up; small-arms, cannon,
cartridges, fixed and other ammunition, were produced in quantities;
and, in a time which now seems wholly inadequate for such a result,
the Commonwealth of Virginia was ready to take the field against the
Federal Government.



Early in May, Virginia became formally a member of the Southern
Confederacy, and the troops which she had raised a portion of the
Confederate States Army. When Richmond became the capital
soon afterward, and the Southern Congress assembled, five
brigadier-generals were appointed, Generals Cooper, Albert S.
Johnston, Lee, J.E. Johnston, and Beauregard. Large forces had been
meanwhile raised throughout the South; Virginia became the centre
of all eyes, as the scene of the main struggle; and early in June
occurred at Bethel, in Lower Virginia, the first prominent affair, in
which General Butler, with about four thousand men, was repulsed and
forced to retire.

The affair at Bethel, which was of small importance, was followed
by movements in Northern and Western Virginia--the battles at Rich
Mountain and Carrick's Ford; Johnston's movements in the Valley; and
the advance of the main Federal army on the force under Beauregard,
which resulted in the first battle of Manassas. In these events,
General Lee bore no part, and we need not speak of them further than
to present a summary of the results. The Federal design had been to
penetrate Virginia in three columns. One was to advance from the
northwest under General McClellan; a second, under General Patterson,
was to take possession of the Valley; and a third, under General
McDowell, was to drive Beauregard back from Manassas on Richmond. Only
one of these columns--that of McClellan--succeeded in its undertaking.
Johnston held Patterson in check in the Valley until the advance upon
Manassas; then by a flank march the Confederate general hastened to
the assistance of Beauregard. The battle of Manassas followed on
Sunday, the 21st of July. After an unsuccessful attempt to force the
Confederate right, General McDowell assailed their left, making for
that purpose a long _détour_--and at first carried all before him.
Reënforcements were hurried forward, however, and the Confederates
fought with the energy of men defending their own soil. The obstinate
stand made by Evans, Bee, Bartow, Jackson, and their brave associates,
turned the fortunes of the day, and, when reënforcements subsequently
reached the field under General Kirby Smith and General Early, the
Federal troops retreated in great disorder toward Washington.



General Lee nowhere appears, as we have seen, in these first great
movements and conflicts. He was without any specific command, and
remained at Richmond, engaged in placing that city in a state of
defence. The works which he constructed proved subsequently of great
importance to the city, and a Northern officer writes of Lee: "While
the fortifications of Richmond stand, his name will evoke admiration;
the art of war is unacquainted with any defence so admirable."

Lee's first appearance in the war, as commander of troops in the
field, took place in the fall of 1861, when he was sent to operate
against the forces under General Rosecrans in the fastnesses of
Western Virginia. This indecisive and unimportant movement has been
the subject of various comment; the official reports were burned in
the conflagration at Richmond, or captured, and the elaborate plans
drawn up by Lee of his intended movement against General Reynolds,
at Cheat Mountain, have in the same manner disappeared. Under these
circumstances, and as the present writer had no personal knowledge of
the subject, it seems best to simply quote the brief statement which
follows. It is derived from an officer of high rank and character,
whose statement is only second in value to that of General Lee

    "After General Garnett's death, General Lee was sent by the
    President to ascertain what could be done in the trans-Alleghany
    region, and to endeavor to harmonize our movements, etc., in that
    part of the State. He was not ordered to take command of the
    troops, nor did he do so, during the whole time he was there.

    "Soon after his arrival he came to the decided conclusion that
    _that_ was not the line from which to make an offensive movement.
    The country, although not hostile, was not friendly; supplies
    could not be obtained; the enemy had possession of the Baltimore
    and Ohio Railroad, from which, and the Ohio River as a base, he
    could operate with great advantage against us, and our only chance
    was to drive him from the railroad, take possession, and use it
    ourselves. We had not the means of doing this, and consequently
    could only try to hold as much country as possible, and occupy as
    large a force of the enemy as could be kept in front of us. The
    movement against Cheat Mountain, which failed, was undertaken with
    a view of causing the enemy to contract his lines, and enable
    us to unite the troops under Generals Jackson (of Georgia) and
    Loring. After the failure of this movement on our part, General
    Rosecrans, feeling secure, strengthened his lines in that part of
    the country, and went with a part of his forces to the Kanawha,
    driving our forces across the Gauley. General Lee then went to
    that line of operations, to endeavor to unite the troops under
    Generals Floyd and Wise, and stop the movements under Rosecrans.
    General Loring, with a part of his force from Valley Mountain,
    joined the forces at Sewell Mountain. Rosecrans's movement was
    stopped, and, the season for operations in that country being
    over, General Lee was ordered to Richmond, and soon afterward sent
    to South Carolina, to meet the movement of the enemy from Port
    Royal, etc. He remained in South Carolina until shortly before the
    commencement of the campaign before Richmond, in 1862."

The months spent by General Lee in superintending the coast defences
of South Carolina and Georgia, present nothing of interest, and we
shall therefore pass to the spring of 1862, when he returned to
Richmond. His services as engineer had been highly appreciated by the
people of the South, and a writer of the period said: "The time will
yet come when his superior abilities will be vindicated, both to his
own renown and the glory of his country." The time was now at hand
when these abilities, if the individual possessed them, were to have
an opportunity to display themselves.



A touching incident of Lee's life belongs to this time--the early
spring of 1862. Bishop Meade, the venerable head of the Episcopal
Church in Virginia, lay at the point of death, in the city of
Richmond. When General Lee was informed of the fact, he exhibited
lively emotion, for the good bishop, as we have said in the
commencement of this narrative, had taught him his catechism when he
was a boy in Alexandria. On the day before the bishop's death. General
Lee called in the morning to see him, but such was the state of
prostration under which the sick man labored, that only a few of his
most intimate friends were permitted to have access to his chamber. In
the evening General Lee called again, and his name was announced
to Bishop Meade. As soon as he heard it, he said faintly, for
his breathing had become much oppressed, and he spoke with great
difficulty: "I must see him, if only for a few moments."

General Lee was accordingly introduced, and approached the dying man,
with evidences of great emotion in his countenance. Taking the thin
hand in his own, he said:

"How do you feel, bishop?"

"Almost gone," replied Bishop Meade, in a voice so weak that it was
almost inaudible; "but I wanted to see you once more."

He paused for an instant, breathing heavily, and looking at Lee with
deep feeling.

"God bless you! God bless you, Robert!" he faltered out, "and fit you
for your high and responsible duties. I can't call you 'general'--I
must call you 'Robert;' I have heard you your catechism too often."

General Lee pressed the feeble hand, and tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Yes, bishop--very often," he said, in reply to the last words uttered
by the bishop.

A brief conversation followed, Bishop Meade making inquiries in
reference to Mrs. Lee, who was his own relative, and other members
of the family. "He also," says the highly-respectable clergyman who
furnishes these particulars, "put some pertinent questions to General
Lee about the state of public affairs and of the army, showing the
most lively interest in the success of our cause."

It now became necessary to terminate an interview which, in the feeble
condition of the aged man, could not be prolonged. Much exhausted, and
laboring under deep emotion, Bishop Meade shook the general by the
hand, and said:

"Heaven bless you! Heaven bless you! and give you wisdom for your
important and arduous duties!"

These were the last words uttered during the interview. General Lee
pressed the dying man's hand, released it, stood for several minutes
by the bedside motionless and in perfect silence, and then went out of
the room.

On the next morning Bishop Meade expired.

[Illustration: Environs of Richmond.]





The pathetic interview which we have just described took place in the
month of March, 1862.

By the latter part of that month, General McClellan, in command of an
army of more than one hundred thousand men, landed on the Peninsula
between the James and York Rivers, and after stubbornly-contested
engagements with the forces of General Johnston, advanced up the
Peninsula--the Confederates slowly retiring. In the latter part of
May, a portion of the Federal forces had crossed the Chickahominy, and
confronted General Johnston defending Richmond.

Such was the serious condition of affairs in the spring of 1862. The
Federal sword had nearly pierced the heart of Virginia, and, as the
course of events was about to place Lee in charge of her destinies,
a brief notice is indispensable of the designs of the adversaries
against whom he was to contend on the great arena of the State.

While the South had been lulled to sleep, as it were, by the battle of
Manassas, the North, greatly enraged at the disaster, had prepared to
prosecute the war still more vigorously. The military resources of the
South had been plainly underestimated. It was now obvious that the
North had to fight with a dangerous adversary, and that the people of
the South were entirely in earnest. Many journals of the North had
ridiculed the idea of war; and one of them had spoken of the great
uprising of the Southern States from the Potomac to the Gulf of Mexico
as a mere "local commotion" which a force of fifty thousand men would
be able to put down without difficulty. A column of twenty-five
thousand men, it was said, would be sufficient to carry all before it
in Virginia, and capture Richmond, and the comment on this statement
had been the battle of Manassas, where a force of more than fifty
thousand had been defeated and driven back to Washington.

It was thus apparent that the war was to be a serious struggle, in
which the North would be compelled to exert all her energies. The
people responded to the call upon them with enthusiasm. All the roving
and adventurous elements of Northern society flocked to the Federal
standard, and in a short time a large force had once more assembled at
Washington. The work now was to drill, equip, and put it in efficient
condition for taking the field. This was undertaken with great energy,
the Congress coöperating with the Executive in every manner. The city
of Washington resounded with the wheels of artillery and the tramp
of cavalry; the workshops were busy night and day to supply arms and
ammunition; and the best officers devoted themselves, without rest, to
the work of drilling and disciplining the mass.

By the spring of 1862 a force of about two hundred thousand men was
ready to take the field in Virginia. General Scott was not to command
in the coming campaigns. He had retired in the latter part of the
year 1861, and his place had been filled by a young officer of
rising reputation--General George B. McClellan, who had achieved the
successes of Rich Mountain and Carrick's Ford in Western Virginia.
General McClellan was not yet forty, but had impressed the authorities
with a high opinion of his abilities. A soldier by profession, and
enjoying the distinction of having served with great credit in the
Mexican War, he had been sent as United States military commissioner
to the Crimea, and on his return had written a book of marked ability
on the military organizations of the powers of Europe. When the
struggle between the North and South approached, he was said--with
what truth we know not--to have hesitated, before determining upon his
course; but it is probable that the only question with him was whether
he should fight for the North or remain neutral. In his politics he
was a Democrat, and the war on the South is said to have shocked his
State-rights view. But, whatever his sentiments had been, he accepted
command, and fought a successful campaign in Western Virginia. From
that moment his name became famous; he was said to have achieved
"two victories in one day," and he received from the newspapers the
flattering name of "the Young Napoleon."

The result of this successful campaign, slight in importance as
it was, procured for General McClellan the high post of
commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States. Operations in
every portion of the South were to be directed by him; and he was
especially intrusted with the important work of organizing the new
levies at Washington. This he performed with very great ability. Under
his vigorous hand, the raw material soon took shape. He gave his
personal attention to every department; and the result, as we have
said, in the early spring of 1862, was an army of more than two
hundred thousand men, for operations in Virginia alone.

The great point now to be determined was the best line of operations
against Richmond. President Lincoln was strongly in favor of an
advance by way of Manassas and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad,
which he thought would insure the safety of the Federal capital. This
was always, throughout the whole war, a controlling consideration with
him; and, regarded in the light of subsequent events, this solicitude
seems to have been well founded. More than once afterward, General
Lee--to use his own expression--thought of "swapping queens," that is
to say, advancing upon Washington, without regard to the capture of
Richmond; and President Lincoln, with that excellent good sense which
he generally exhibited, felt that the loss of Washington would prove
almost fatal to the Federal cause.--Such was the origin of the
President's preference for the Manassas line. General McClellan did
not share it. He assented it seems at first, but soon resolved
to adopt another plan--an advance either from Urbanna on the
Rappahannock, or from West Point on the York. Against his views and
determination, the President and authorities struggled in vain.
McClellan treated their arguments and appeals with a want of ceremony
amounting at times nearly to contempt; he adhered to his own plan
resolutely, and in the end the President gave way. In rueful protest
against the continued inactivity of General McClellan, President
Lincoln had exclaimed, "If General McClellan does not want to use the
army, I would like to borrow it;" and "if something is not soon done,
the bottom will be out of the whole affair."

At last General McClellan carried his point, and an advance against
Richmond from the Peninsula was decided upon. In order to assist this
movement, General Fremont was to march through Northwestern Virginia,
and General Banks up the Valley; and, having thus arranged their
programme, the Federal authorities began to move forward to the great
work. To transport an army of more than one hundred thousand men
by water to the Peninsula was a heavy undertaking; but the ample
resources of the Government enabled them to do so without difficulty.
General McClellan, who had now been removed from his post of
commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States, and assigned to
the command only of the army to operate against Richmond, landed his
forces on the Peninsula, and, after several actions of an obstinate
description, advanced toward the Chickahominy, General Johnston, the
Confederate commander, deliberately retiring. Johnston took up a
position behind this stream, and, toward the end of May, McClellan
crossed a portion of his forces and confronted him.



The army thus threatening the city which had become the capital of the
Confederacy was large and excellently equipped. It numbered in all,
according to General McClellan's report, one hundred and fifty-six
thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight men, of whom one hundred and
fifteen thousand one hundred and two were effective troops--that is to
say, present and ready for duty as fighting-men in the field.

Results of such magnitude' were expected from this great army, that
all the resources of the Federal Government had been taxed to bring
it to the highest possible state of efficiency. The artillery was
numerous, and of the most approved description; small-arms of the best
patterns and workmanship were profusely supplied; the ammunition was
of the finest quality, and almost inexhaustible in quantity; and
the rations for the subsistence of the troops, which were equally
excellent and abundant, were brought up in an unfailing stream from
the White House, in General McClellan's rear, over the York River
Railroad, which ran straight to his army.

Such was the admirable condition of the large force under command of
General McClellan. It would be difficult to imagine an army better
prepared for active operations; and the position which it held had
been well selected. The left of the army was protected by the wellnigh
impassable morass of the White-oak Swamp, and all the approaches from
the direction of Richmond were obstructed by the natural difficulties
of the ground, which had been rendered still more forbidding by an
abattis of felled trees and earthworks of the best description. Unless
the right of McClellan, on the northern bank of the Chickahominy, were
turned by the Confederates, his communications with his base at the
White House and the safety of his army were assured. And even the
apparently improbable contingency of such an assault on his right had
been provided for. Other bodies of Federal troops had advanced into
Virginia to coöperate with the main force on the Peninsula. General
McDowell, the able soldier who had nearly defeated the Confederates at
Manassas, was at Fredericksburg with a force of about forty thousand
men, which were to advance southward without loss of time and unite
with General McClellan's right. This would completely insure the
communications of his army from interruption; and it was no doubt
expected that Generals Fremont and Banks would coöperate in the
movement also. Fremont was to advance from Northwestern Virginia,
driving before him the small Confederate force, under Jackson, in the
Valley; and General Banks, then at Winchester, was to cross the Blue
Ridge Mountains, and, posting his forces along the Manassas Railroad,
guard the approaches to Washington when McDowell advanced from
Fredericksburg to the aid of General McClellan. Thus Richmond would be
half encircled by Federal armies. General McClellan, if permitted by
the Confederates to carry out his plan of operations, would soon be in
command of about two hundred thousand men, and with this force it was
anticipated he would certainly be able to capture Richmond.

Such was the Federal programme of the war in Virginia. It promised
great results, and ought, it would seem, to have succeeded. The
Confederate forces in Virginia did not number in all one hundred
thousand men; and it is now apparent that, without the able strategy
of Johnston, Lee, and Jackson, General McClellan would have been in
possession of Richmond before the summer.

Prompt action was thus necessary on the part of the sagacious soldier
commanding the army at Richmond, and directing operations throughout
the theatre of action in Virginia. The officer in question was General
Joseph E. Johnston, a Virginian by birth, who had first held General
Patterson in check in the Shenandoah Valley, and then hastened to the
assistance of General Beauregard at Manassas, where, in right of his
superior rank, he took command. Before the enemy's design to advance
up the Peninsula had been developed, Johnston had made a masterly
retreat from Manassas. Reappearing with his force of about forty
thousand men on the Peninsula, he had obstinately opposed McClellan,
and only retired when he was compelled by numbers to do so, with
the resolution, however, of fighting a decisive battle on the
Chickahominy. In face, figure, and character, General Johnston was
thoroughly the soldier. Above the medium height, with an erect figure,
in a close-fitting uniform buttoned to the chin; with a ruddy face,
decorated with close-cut gray side-whiskers, mustache, and tuft on the
chin; reserved in manner, brief of speech, without impulses of any
description, it seemed, General Johnston's appearance and bearing were
military to stiffness; and he was popularly compared to "a gamecock,"
ready for battle at any moment. As a soldier, his reputation
was deservedly high; to unshrinking personal courage he added a
far-reaching capacity for the conduct of great operations. Throughout
his career he enjoyed a profound public appreciation of his abilities
as a commander, and was universally respected as a gentleman and a

General Johnston, surveying the whole field in Virginia, and
penetrating, it would seem, the designs of the enemy, had hastened to
direct General Jackson, commanding in the Valley, to begin offensive
operations, and, by threatening the Federal force there--with
Washington in perspective--relieve the heavy pressure upon the main
arena. Jackson carried out these instructions with the vigor which
marked all his operations. In March he advanced down the Valley in the
direction of Winchester, and, coming upon a considerable force of
the enemy at Kernstown, made a vigorous assault upon them; a heavy
engagement ensued, and, though Jackson was defeated and compelled to
retreat, a very large Federal force was retained in the Valley
to protect that important region. A more decisive diversion soon
followed. Jackson advanced in May upon General Banks, then at
Strasburg, drove him from that point to and across the Potomac; and
such was the apprehension felt at Washington, that President Lincoln
ordered General McDowell, then at Fredericksburg with about forty
thousand men, to send twenty thousand across the mountains to
Strasburg in order to pursue or cut off Jackson.

Thus the whole Federal programme in Virginia was thrown into
confusion. General Banks, after the fight at Kernstown, was kept in
the Valley. After Jackson's second attack upon him, when General Banks
was driven across the Potomac and Washington threatened, General
McDowell was directed to send half his army to operate against
Jackson. Thus General McClellan, waiting at Richmond for McDowell to
join him, did not move; with a portion of his army on one side of the
stream, and the remainder on the other side, he remained inactive,
hesitating and unwilling, as any good soldier would have been, to
commence the decisive assault.

His indecision was brought to an end by General Johnston. Discovering
that the force in his front, near "Seven Pines," on the southern bank
of the Chickahominy, was only a portion of the Federal army, General
Johnston determined to attack it. This resolution was not in
consequence of the freshet in the Chickahominy, as has been supposed,
prompting Johnston to attack while the Federal army was cut in two, as
it were. His resolution, he states, had already been taken, and was,
with or without reference to the rains, that of a good soldier.
General Johnston struck at General McClellan on the last day of May,
just at the moment, it appears, when the Federal commander designed
commencing his last advance upon the city. The battle which took place
was one of the most desperate and bloody of the war. Both sides fought
with obstinate courage, and neither gained a decisive advantage. On
the Confederate right, near "Seven Pines," the Federal line was
broken and forced back; but, on the left, at Fair Oaks Station, the
Confederates, in turn, were repulsed. Night fell upon a field where
neither side could claim the victory. The most that could be claimed
by the Southerners was that McClellan had received a severe check; and
they sustained a great misfortune in the wound received by General
Johnston. He was struck by a fragment of shell while superintending
the attack at Fair Oaks, and the nature of his wound rendered it
impossible for him to retain command of the army. He therefore retired
from the command, and repaired to Richmond, where he remained for a
long time an invalid, wholly unable to continue in service in the

This untoward event rendered it necessary to find a new commander for
the army without loss of time. General Lee had returned some time
before from the South, and to him all eyes were turned. He had had no
opportunity to display his abilities upon a conspicuous theatre--the
sole command he had been intrusted with, that in trans-Alleghany
Virginia, could scarcely be called a real command--and he owed his
elevation now to the place vacated by General Johnston, rather to his
services performed in the old army of the United States, than to any
thing he had effected in the war of the Confederacy. The confidence
of the Virginia people in his great abilities had never wavered, and
there is no reason to suppose that the Confederate authorities were
backward in conceding his merits as a soldier. Whatever may have been
the considerations leading to his appointment, he was assigned on the
3d day of June to the command of the army, and thus the Virginians
assembled to defend the capital of their State found themselves under
the command of the most illustrious of their own countrymen.



Lee had up to this time effected, as we have shown, almost nothing in
the progress of the war. Intrusted with no command, and employed
only in organizing the forces, or superintending the construction of
defences, he had failed to achieve any of those successes in the field
which constitute the glory of the soldier. He might possess the great
abilities which his friends and admirers claimed for him, but he was
yet to show the world at large that he did really possess them.

The decisive moment had now arrived which was to test him. He was
placed in command of the largest and most important army in the
Confederacy, and to him was intrusted the defence of the capital not
only of Virginia, but of the South. If Richmond were to fall, the
Confederate Congress, executive, and heads of departments, would all
be fugitives. The evacuation of Virginia might or might not follow,
but, in the very commencement of the conflict, the enemy would achieve
an immense advantage. Recognition by the European powers would be
hopeless in such an event, and the wandering and fugitive government
of the Confederacy would excite only contempt.

Such were the circumstances under which General Lee assumed command of
the "Army of Northern Virginia," as it was soon afterward styled. The
date of his assignment to duty was June 3, 1862--three days after
General Johnston had retired in consequence of his wound. Thirty days
afterward the great campaign around Richmond had been decided, and to
the narrative of what followed the appointment of Lee we shall at once
proceed, after giving a few words to another subject connected with
his family.

When General Lee left "Washington to repair to Richmond," he removed
the ladies of his family from Arlington to the "White House" on the
Pamunkey, near the spot where that river unites with the Mattapony to
form the York River. This estate, like the Arlington property, had
come into possession of General Lee through his wife, and as Arlington
was exposed to the enemy, the ladies had taken refuge here, with the
hope that they would be safe from intrusion or danger. The result was
unfortunate. The White House was a favorable "base" for the Federal
army, and intelligence one day reached Mrs. Lee and her family that
the enemy were approaching. The ladies therefore hastened from the
place to a point of greater safety, and before her departure Mrs. Lee
is said to have affixed to the door a paper containing the following

"Northern soldiers who profess to reverence Washington, forbear to
desecrate the home of his first married life, the property of his
wife, now owned by her descendants.


When the Federal forces took possession of the place, a Northern
officer, it is said, wrote beneath this:

"A Northern officer has protected your property, in sight of the
enemy, and at the request of your overseer."

The resolute spirit of Mrs. Lee is indicated by an incident which
followed. She took refuge with her daughters in a friend's house near
Richmond, and, when a Federal officer was sent to search the house,
handed to him a paper addressed to "the general in command," in which
she wrote:

"Sir: I have patiently and humbly submitted to the search of my house,
by men under your command, who are satisfied that there is nothing
here which they want. All the plate and other valuables have long
since been removed to Richmond, and are now beyond the reach of any
Northern marauders who may wish for their possession.


The ladies finally repaired for safety to the city of Richmond, and
the White House was burned either before or when General McClellan
retreated. The place was not without historic interest, as the scene
of Washington's first interview with Martha Custis, who afterward
became his wife. He was married either at St. Peter's Church near by,
or in the house which originally stood on the site of the one now
destroyed by the Federal forces. Its historic associations thus failed
to protect the White House, and, like Arlington, it fell a sacrifice
to the pitiless hand of war.

From this species of digression we come back to the narrative of
public events, and the history of the great series of battles which
were to make the banks of the Chickahominy historic ground. On
taking command, Lee had assiduously addressed himself to the task of
increasing the efficiency of the army: riding incessantly to and
fro, he had inspected with his own eyes the condition of the troops;
officers of the commissary, quartermaster, and ordnance departments
were held to a strict accountability; and, in a short time, the army
was in a high state of efficiency.

"What was the amount of the Confederate force under command of Lee?"
it may be asked. The present writer is unable to state this number
with any thing like exactness. The official record, if in existence,
is not accessible, and the matter must be left to conjecture. It is
tolerably certain, however, that, even after the arrival of Jackson,
the army numbered less than seventy-five thousand. Officers of high
rank and character state the whole force to have been sixty or seventy
thousand only.

It will thus be seen that the Federal army was larger than the
Confederate; but this was comparatively an unimportant fact. The event
was decided rather by generalship than the numbers of the combatants.



General Lee assumed command of the army on the 3d of June. A week
afterward, Jackson finished the great campaign of the Valley, by
defeating Generals Fremont and Shields at Port Republic.

Such had been the important services performed by the famous
"Stonewall Jackson," who was to become the "right arm" of Lee in the
greater campaigns of the future. Retreating, after the defeat of
General Banks, and passing through Strasburg, just as Fremont from the
west, and the twenty thousand men of General McDowell from the east,
rushed to intercept him, Jackson had sullenly fallen back up the
Valley, with all his captured stores and prisoners, and at Cross
Keys and Port Republic had achieved a complete victory over his two
adversaries. Fremont was checked by Ewell, who then hastened across to
take part in the attack on Shields. The result was a Federal defeat
and retreat down the Valley. Jackson was free to move in any
direction; and his army could unite with that at Richmond for a
decisive attack upon General McClellan.

The attack in question had speedily been resolved on by Lee. Any
further advance of the Federal army would bring it up to the very
earthworks in the suburbs of the city; and, unless the Confederate
authorities proposed to undergo a siege, it was necessary to check the
further advance of the enemy by a general attack.

How to attack to the best advantage was now the question. The position
of General McClellan's army has been briefly stated. Advancing up the
Peninsula, he had reached and passed the Chickahominy, and was in
sight of Richmond. To this stream, the natural line of defence of the
city on the north and east, numerous roads diverged from the capital,
including the York River Railroad, of which the Federal commander made
such excellent use; and General McClellan had thrown his left wing
across the stream, advancing to a point on the railroad four or five
miles from the city. Here he had erected heavy defences to protect
that wing until the right wing crossed in turn. The tangled thickets
of the White-oak Swamp, on his left flank, were a natural defence; but
he had added to these obstacles, as we have stated, by felling trees,
and guarding every approach by redoubts. In these, heavy artillery
kept watch against an approaching enemy; and any attempt to attack
from that quarter seemed certain to result in repulse. In front,
toward Seven Pines, the chance of success was equally doubtful. The
excellent works of the Federal commander bristled with artillery, and
were heavily manned. It seemed thus absolutely necessary to discover
some other point of assault; and, as the Federal right beyond the
Chickahominy was the only point left, it was determined to attack, if
possible, in that quarter.

An important question was first, however, to be decided, the character
of the defences, if any, on General McClellan's right, in the
direction of Old Church and Cold Harbor. A reconnoissance in force was
necessary to acquire this information, and General Lee accordingly
directed General Stuart, commanding the cavalry of the army, to
proceed with a portion of his command to the vicinity of Old Church,
in the Federal rear, and gain all the information possible of their
position and defences.



General James E.B. Stuart, who now made his first prominent appearance
upon the theatre of the war, was a Virginian by birth, and not yet
thirty years of age. Resigning his commission of lieutenant in the
United States Cavalry at the beginning of the war, he had joined
Johnston in the Valley, and impressed that officer with a high opinion
of his abilities as a cavalry officer; proceeded thence to Manassas,
where he charged and broke a company of "Zouave" infantry; protected
the rear of the army when Johnston retired to the Rappahannock, and
bore an active part in the conflict on the Peninsula. In person he was
of medium height; his frame was broad and powerful; he wore a heavy
brown beard flowing upon his breast, a huge mustache of the same
color, the ends curling upward; and the blue eyes, flashing beneath a
"piled-up" forehead, had at times the dazzling brilliancy attributed
to the eyes of the eagle. Fond of movement, adventure, bright colors,
and all the pomp and pageantry of war, Stuart had entered on the
struggle with ardor, and enjoyed it as the huntsman enjoys the chase.
Young, ardent, ambitious, as brave as steel, ready with jest or
laughter, with his banjo-player following him, going into the hottest
battles humming a song, this young Virginian was, in truth, an
original character, and impressed powerfully all who approached him.
One who knew him well wrote: "Every thing striking, brilliant, and
picturesque, seemed to centre in him. The war seemed to be to Stuart a
splendid and exciting game, in which his blood coursed joyously, and
his immensely strong physical organization found an arena for the
display of all its faculties. The affluent life of the man craved
those perils and hardships which flush the pulses and make the heart
beat fast. He swung himself into the saddle at the sound of the bugle
as the hunter springs on horseback; and at such moments his cheeks
glowed and his huge mustache curled with enjoyment. The romance and
poetry of the hard trade of arms seemed first to be inaugurated when
this joyous cavalier, with his floating plume and splendid laughter,
appeared upon the great arena of the war in Virginia." Precise people
shook their heads, and called him frivolous, undervaluing his great
ability. Those best capable of judging him were of a different
opinion. Johnston wrote to him from the west: "How can I eat or sleep
in peace without _you_ upon the outpost?" Jackson said, when he fell
at Chancellorsville: "Go back to General Stuart, and tell him to act
upon his own judgment, and do what he thinks best, I have implicit
confidence in him." Lee said, when he was killed at Yellow Tavern:
"I can scarcely think of him without weeping." And the brave General
Sedgwick, of the United States Army, said: "Stuart is the best cavalry
officer ever _foaled_ in North America!"

In the summer of 1862, when we present him to the reader, Stuart had
as yet achieved little fame in his profession, but he was burning to
distinguish himself. He responded ardently, therefore, to the order of
Lee, and was soon ready with a picked force of about fifteen hundred
cavalry, under some of his best officers. Among them were Colonels
William H.F. Lee and Fitz-Hugh Lee--the first a son of General Lee, a
graduate of West Point, and an officer of distinction afterward;
the second, a son of Smith Lee, brother of the general, and famous
subsequently in the most brilliant scenes of the war as the gay and
gallant "General Fitz Lee," of the cavalry. With his picked force,
officered by the two Lees, and other excellent lieutenants, Stuart set
out on his adventurous expedition to Old Church. He effected more
than he anticipated, and performed a daring feat of arms in addition.
Driving the outposts from Hanover Court-House, he charged and broke a
force of Federal cavalry near Old Church; pushed on to the York River
Railroad, which he crossed, burning or capturing all Federal stores
met with, including enormous wagon-camps; and then, finding the
way back barred against him, and the Federal army on the alert, he
continued his march with rapidity, passed entirely around General
McClellan's army, and, building a bridge over the Chickahominy,
safely reëntered the Confederate lines just as a large force made its
appearance in his rear. The temporary bridge was destroyed, however,
and Stuart hastened to report to his superiors. His information was
important. General McClellan's right and rear were unprotected by
works of any strength. If the Confederate general desired to attack in
that quarter, there was nothing to prevent.

The results of Stuart's famous "ride around McClellan," as the people
called it, determined General Lee to make the attack on the north bank
of the stream, if he had not already so decided. It was necessary now
to bring Jackson's forces from the Valley without delay, and almost
equally important to mask the movement from General McClellan. To this
end a very simple _ruse_ was adopted. On the 11th of June, Whiting's
division was embarked on the cars of the Danville Railroad at
Richmond, and moved across the river to a point near Belle Isle, where
at that moment a considerable number of Federal prisoners were about
to be released and sent down James River. Here the train, loaded with
Confederate troops, remained for some time, and _the secret_ was
discovered by the released prisoners. General Lee was reënforcing
Jackson, in order that the latter might march on Washington. Such was
the report carried to General McClellan, and it seems to have really
deceived him. [Footnote: "I have no doubt Jackson has been reënforced
from here."--_General McClellan to President Lincoln, June 20th_.]
Whiting's division reached Lynchburg, and was thence moved by railway
to Charlottesville--Jackson marched and countermarched with an
elaborate pretence of advancing down the Valley--at last, one morning,
the astute Confederate, who kept his own counsels, had disappeared; he
was marching rapidly to join Lee on the Chickahominy. Not even his own
soldiers knew what direction they were taking. They were forbidden
by general order to inquire even the names of the towns they passed
through; directed to reply "I don't know" to every question; and it
is said that when Jackson demanded the name and regiment of a soldier
robbing a cherry-tree, he could extract from the man no reply but "I
don't know."

Jackson advanced with rapidity, and, on the 25th of June, was near
Ashland. Here he left his forces, and rode on rapidly to Richmond.
Passing unrecognized through the streets, after night, he went on
to General Lee's headquarters, at a house on the "Nine-mile road,"
leading from the New Bridge road toward Fair Oaks Station; and here
took place the first interview, since the commencement of the war,
between Lee and Jackson.

What each thought of the other will be shown in the course of this
narrative. We shall proceed now with the history of the great series
of battles for which Jackson's appearance was the signal.





The Chickahominy, whose banks were now to be the scene of a bitter and
determined conflict between the great adversaries, is a sluggish and
winding stream, which, rising above Richmond, describes a curve around
it, and empties its waters into the James, far below the city. Its
banks are swampy, and thickly clothed with forest or underwood. From
the nature of these banks, which scarcely rise in many places above
the level of the water, the least freshet produces an overflow, and
the stream, generally narrow and insignificant, becomes a sort of
lake, covering the low grounds to the bases of the wooded bluffs
extending upon each side. Numerous bridges cross the stream, from
Bottom's Bridge, below the York River Railroad, to Meadow Bridge,
north of the city. Of these, the Mechanicsville Bridge, about four
miles from the city, and the New Bridge, about nine miles, were points
of the greatest importance.

General McClellan's position has been repeatedly referred to. He had
crossed a portion of his army east of Richmond, and advanced to within
four or five miles of the city. The remainder, meanwhile, lay on the
north bank of the stream, and swept round, in a sort of crescent, to
the vicinity of Mechanicsville, where it had been anticipated General
McDowell would unite with it, thereby covering its right flank, and
protecting the communications with the Federal base at the White
House. That this disposition of the Federal troops was faulty, in face
of adversaries like Johnston and Lee, there could be no doubt. But
General McClellan was the victim, it seems, of the shifting and
vacillating policy of the authorities at Washington. With the arrival
of the forty thousand men under McDowell, his position would have been
a safe one. General McDowell did not arrive; and this unprotected
right flank--left unprotected from the fact that McDowell's presence
was counted on--became the point of the Confederate attack.

The amount of blame, if any, justly attributable to General McClellan,
first for his inactivity, and then for his defeat by Lee, cannot be
referred to here, save in a few brief sentences. A sort of feud
seems to have arisen between himself and General Halleck, the
commander-in-chief, stationed at Washington; and General Halleck then
and afterward appears to have regarded McClellan as a soldier without
decision or broad generalship. And yet McClellan does not seem to
have merited the censure he received. He called persistently for
reinforcements, remaining inactive meanwhile, because he estimated
the Confederate army before him at two hundred thousand men, and
was unwilling to assail this force, under command of soldiers
like Johnston and Lee, until his own force seemed adequate to the
undertaking. Another consideration was, the Confederate position in
front of the powerful earthworks of the city. These works would double
the Confederate strength in case of battle in front of them; and,
believing himself already outnumbered, the Federal commander was
naturally loath to deliver battle until reënforced. The faulty
disposition of his army, divided by a stream crossed by few bridges,
has been accounted for in like manner--he so disposed the troops,
expecting reënforcements. But Jackson's energy delayed these.
Washington was in danger, it was supposed, and General McDowell did
not come. It thus happened that General McClellan awaited attack
instead of making it, and that his army was so posted as to expose him
to the greatest peril.

A last point is to be noted in vindication of this able soldier.
Finding, at the very last moment, that he could expect no further
assistance from the President or General Halleck, he resolved promptly
to withdraw his exposed right wing and change his base of operations
to James River, where at least his communications would be safe. This,
it seems, had been determined upon just before the Confederate attack;
or, if he had not then decided, General McClellan soon determined upon
that plan.

To pass now to the Confederate side, where all was ready for the
great movement. General Lee's army lay in front of Richmond, exactly
corresponding with the front of General McClellan. The divisions of
Magruder and Huger, supported by those of Longstreet and D.H. Hill,
were opposite McClellan's left, on the Williamsburg and York River
roads, directly east of the city. From Magruder's left, extended the
division of General A.P. Hill, reaching thence up the river toward
Mechanicsville; and a brigade, under General Branch lay on Hill's left
near the point where the Brook Turnpike crosses the Chickahominy north
of Richmond. The approaches from the east, northeast, and north, were
thus carefully guarded. As the Confederates held the interior line,
the whole force could be rapidly concentrated, and was thoroughly in
hand, both for offensive or defensive movements.

The army thus held in Lee's grasp, and about to assail its great
Federal adversary, was composed of the best portion of the Southern
population. The rank and file was largely made up of men of education
and high social position. And this resulted from the character of the
struggle. The war was a war of invasion on the part of the North;
and the ardent and high-spirited youth of the entire South threw
themselves into it with enthusiasm. The heirs of ancient families and
great wealth served as privates. Personal pride, love of country,
indignation at the thought that a hostile section had sent an army to
reduce them to submission, combined to draw into the Confederate ranks
the flower of the Southern youth, and all the best fighting material.
Deficient in discipline, and "hard to manage," this force was yet of
the most efficient character. It could be counted on for hard work,
and especially for offensive operations. And the officers placed over
it shared its character.

Among these, General A.P. Hill, a Virginian by birth, was soon to be
conspicuous as commander of the "Light Division," and representative
of the spirit and dash and enthusiasm of the army. Under forty years
of age, with a slender figure, a heavily-bearded face, dark eyes, a
composed and unassuming bearing, characterized when off duty by a
quiet cordiality, he was personally popular with all who approached
him, and greatly beloved, both as man and commander. His chief merit
as a soldier was his dash and impetus in the charge. A braver heart
never beat in human breast; throughout the war he retained the respect
and admiration of the army and the country; and a strange fact in
relation to this eminent soldier is, that his name was uttered by both
Jackson and Lee as they expired.

Associated with him in the battles of the Chickahominy, and to the
end, was the able and resolute Longstreet--an officer of low and
powerful stature, with a heavy, brown beard reaching to his breast,
a manner marked by unalterable composure, and a countenance whose
expression of phlegmatic tranquillity never varied in the hottest
hours of battle. Longstreet was as famous for his bull-dog obstinacy,
as Hill for his dash and enthusiasm. General Lee styled him his "old
war-horse," and depended upon him, as will be seen, in some of the
most critical operations of the war.

Of the young and ardent Virginian, General Magruder, the brave
and resolute North-Carolinian, D.H. Hill, and other officers who
subsequently acquired great reputations in the army, we have no space
at present to speak. All were to coöperate in the assault on General
McClellan, and do their part.

On the night of the 25th of June, all was ready for the important
movement, and the troops rested on their arms, ready for the coming



General Lee had been hitherto regarded as a soldier of too great
caution, but his plan for the assault on General McClellan indicated
the possession of a nerve approaching audacity.

Fully comprehending his enemy's strength and position, and aware that
a large portion of the Federal army had crossed the Chickahominy, and
was directly in his front, he had resolved to pass to the north
bank of the stream with the bulk of his force, leaving only about
twenty-five thousand men to protect the city, and deliver battle where
defeat would prove ruinous. This plan indicated nothing less than
audacity, as we have already said; but, like the audacity of the flank
movement at Chancellorsville afterward, and the daring march, in
disregard of General Hooker, to Pennsylvania in 1864, it was founded
on profound military insight, and indicated the qualities of a great

Lee's design was to attack the Federal right wing with a part of his
force, while Jackson, advancing still farther to the left, came in on
their communications with the White House, and assailed them on their
right and rear. Meanwhile Richmond was to be protected by General
Magruder with his twenty-five thousand men, on the south bank; if
McClellan fell back down the Peninsula, this force was to cross and
unite with the rest; thus the Federal army would be driven from all
its positions, and the fate of the whole campaign against Richmond
would be decided.

Lee's general order directing the movement of the troops is here
given. It possesses interest as a clear and detailed statement of his
intended operations; and it will be seen that what was resolved on by
the commander in his tent, his able subordinates translated detail by
detail, with unimportant modifications, into action, under his eyes in
the field:


_June_ 24, 1862.


I. General Jackson's command will proceed to-morrow from Ashland
toward the Slash Church, and encamp at some convenient point west of
the Central Railroad. Branch's brigade, of A.P. Hill's division, will
also, to-morrow evening, take position on the Chickahominy, near Half
Sink. At three o'clock Thursday morning, 26th instant, General Jackson
will advance on the road leading to Pale Green Church, communicating
his march to General Branch, who will immediately cross the
Chickahominy, and take the road leading to Mechanicsville. As soon as
the movements of these columns are discovered, General A.P. Hill, with
the rest of his division, will cross the Chickahominy near Meadow
Bridge, and move direct upon Mechanicsville. To aid his advance, the
heavy batteries on the Chickahominy will at the proper time open
upon the batteries at Mechanicsville. The enemy being driven from
Mechanicsville, and the passage across the bridge opened, General
Longstreet, with his division and that of General D.H. Hill, will
cross the Chickahominy at or near that point--General D.H. Hill moving
to the support of General Jackson, and General Longstreet supporting
General A.P. Hill--the four divisions keeping in communication with
each other, and moving in _echelon_ on separate roads, if practicable;
the left division in advance, with skirmishers and sharp-shooters
extending in their front, will sweep down the Chickahominy and
endeavor to drive the enemy from his position above New Bridge;
General Jackson, bearing well to his left, turning Beaver Dam Creek,
and taking the direction toward Cold Harbor. They will then press
forward toward York River Railroad, closing upon the enemy's rear and
forcing him down the Chickahominy. Any advance of the enemy toward
Richmond will be prevented by vigorously following his rear, and
crippling and arresting his progress.

II. The divisions under Generals Huger and Magruder will hold their
positions in front of the enemy against attack, and make such
demonstrations, Thursday, as to discover his operations. Should
opportunity offer, the feint will be converted into a real attack;
and, should an abandonment of his intrenchments by the enemy be
discovered, he will be closely pursued.

III. The Third Virginia cavalry will observe the Charles City road.
The Fifth Virginia, the First North Carolina, and the Hampton Legion
cavalry will observe the Darbytown, Varina, and Osborne roads. Should
a movement of the enemy, down the Chickahominy, be discovered, they
will close upon his flank, and endeavor to arrest his march.

IV. General Stuart, with the First, Fourth, and Ninth Virginia
cavalry, the cavalry of Cobb's Legion, and the Jeff Davis Legion, will
cross the Chickahominy, to-morrow, and take position to the left
of General Jackson's line of march. The main body will be held in
reserve, with scouts well extended to the front and left. General
Stuart will keep General Jackson informed of the movements of the
enemy on his left, and will coöperate with him in his advance.
The Sixteenth Virginia cavalry, Colonel Davis, will remain on the
Nine-mile road.

V. General Ransom's brigade, of General Holmes's command, will be
placed in reserve on the Williamsburg road, by General Huger, to whom
he will report for orders.

VI. Commanders of divisions will cause their commands to be provided
with three days' cooked rations. The necessary ambulances and
ordinance-trains will be ready to accompany the divisions, and receive
orders from their respective commanders. Officers in charge of all
trains will invariably remain with them. Batteries and wagons will
keep on the right of the road. The Chief-Engineer, Major Stevens, will
assign engineer officers to each division, whose duty it will be to
make provision for overcoming all difficulties to the progress of the
troops. The staff-departments will give the necessary instructions to
facilitate the movements herein directed.

By command of General LEE: R.H. CHILTON, _A.A. General_.

This order speaks for itself, and indicates Lee's plan of battle in
all its details. Further comment is unnecessary; and we proceed to
narrate the events which followed. In doing so, we shall strive to
present a clear and intelligible account of what occurred, rather than
to indulge in the warlike splendors of style which characterized the
"army correspondents" of the journals during the war. Such a treatment
of the subject is left to others, who write under the influence of
partisan afflatus, rather than with the judicious moderation of
the historian. Nor are battles themselves the subjects of greatest
interest to the thoughtful student. The combinations devised by great
commanders are of more interest than the actual struggles. We have
therefore dwelt at greater length upon the plans of Generals Lee
and McClellan than we shall dwell upon the actual fighting of their



On the morning of the 26th of June, 1862, all was ready for the great
encounter of arms between the Confederates and the Federal forces on
the Chickahominy. General Jackson had been delayed on his march from
the mountains, and had not yet arrived; but it was known that he was
near, and would soon make his appearance; and, in the afternoon,
General Lee accordingly directed that the movement should commence.
At the word, General A.P. Hill moved from his camps to Meadow Bridge,
north of Richmond; crossed the Chickahominy there, and moved rapidly
on Mechanicsville, where a small Federal force, behind intrenchments,
guarded the head of the bridge. This force was not a serious obstacle,
and Hill soon disposed of it. He attacked the Federal works, stormed
them after a brief struggle, and drove the force which had occupied
them back toward Beaver Dam Creek, below. The Mechanicsville bridge
was thus cleared; and, in compliance with his orders from Lee, General
Longstreet hastened to throw his division across. Hill had meanwhile
pressed forward on the track of the retreating enemy, and, a mile or
two below, found himself in front of a much more serious obstruction
than that encountered at the bridge, namely, the formidable position
held by the enemy on Beaver Dam Creek.

The ground here is of a peculiar character, and admirably adapted for
a defensive position against an enemy advancing from above. On the
opposite side of a narrow valley, through which runs Beaver Dam Creek,
rises a bold, almost precipitous, bluff, and the road which the
Confederates were compelled to take bends abruptly to the right when
near the stream, thus exposing the flank of the assaulting party to a
fire from the bluff. As Hill's column pushed forward to attack this
position, it was met by a determined fire of artillery and small-arms
from the crest beyond the stream, where a large force of riflemen, in
pits, were posted, with infantry supports. Before this artillery-fire,
raking his flanks and doing heavy execution, Hill was compelled to
fall back. It was impossible to cross the stream in face of the
fusillade and cannon. The attack ended after dark with the withdrawal
of the Confederates; but at dawn Hill resumed the struggle, attempting
to cross at another point, lower down the stream. This attempt was in
progress when the Federal troops were seen rapidly falling back from
their strong position; and intelligence soon came that this was in
consequence of the arrival of Jackson, who had passed around the
Federal right flank above, and forced them to retire toward the main
body of the Federal army below.

No time was now lost. The memorable 27th of June had dawned clear and
cloudless, and the brilliant sunshine gave promise of a day on which
no interference of the elements would check the bloody work to be
performed. Hill advanced steadily on the track of the retiring Federal
forces, who had left evidences of their precipitate retreat all along
the road, and, about noon, came in front of the very powerful position
of the main body of the enemy, near Cold Harbor.

General McClellan had drawn up his forces on a ridge along the
southern bank of Powhite Creek, a small water-course which, flowing
from the northeast, empties below New Bridge into the Chickahominy.
His left, nearest the Chickahominy, was protected by a deep ravine in
front, which he had filled with sharp-shooters; and his right rested
upon elevated ground, near the locality known as Maghee's House. In
front, the whole line of battle, which described a curve backward to
cover the bridges in rear, was protected by difficult approaches. The
ground was either swampy, or covered with tangled undergrowth, or
both. The ridge held by the Federal forces had been hastily fortified
by breastworks of felled trees and earth, behind which the long lines
of infantry, supported by numerous artillery, awaited the attack.

The amount of the Federal force has been variously stated. The
impression of the Confederates differed from the subsequent statements
of Federal writers. "The principal part of the Federal army," says
General Lee, in his report, "was now on the north side of the
Chickahominy." The force has been placed by Northern writers at only
thirty, or at most thirty-five thousand. If this was the whole number
of troops engaged, from first to last, in the battle, the fact is
highly creditable to the Federal arms, as the struggle was long
doubtful. No doubt the exact truth will some day be put upon record,
and justice will be done to both the adversaries.

The Federal force was commanded by the brave and able General
Fitz-John Porter, with General Morell commanding his right, General
Sykes his left, and General McCall forming a second line. Slocum's
division, and the brigades of Generals French and Meagher, afterward
reënforced Porter, who now prepared, with great coolness, for the
Confederate attack.

The moment had come. A.P. Hill, pressing forward rapidly, with
Longstreet's division on the right, reached Cold Harbor, in front of
the Federal centre, about noon. Hill immediately attacked, and an
engagement of the most obstinate character ensued. General Lee,
accompanied by General Longstreet, had ridden from his headquarters,
on the Nine-mile road, to the scene of action, and now witnessed in
person the fighting of the troops, who charged under his eye, closing
in in a nearly hand-to-hand conflict with the enemy. This was, no
doubt, the first occasion on which a considerable portion of the men
had seen him--certainly in battle--and that air of supreme calmness
which always characterized him in action must have made a deep
impression upon them. He was clad simply, and wore scarcely any badges
of rank. A felt hat drooped low over the broad forehead, and the eyes
beneath were calm and unclouded. Add a voice of measured calmness, the
air of immovable composure which marked the erect military figure,
evidently at home in the saddle, and the reader will have a correct
conception of General Lee's personal appearance in the first of the
great battles of his career.

Hill attacked with that dash and obstinacy which from this time
forward characterized him, but succeeded in making no impression on
the Federal line. In every assault he was repulsed with heavy loss.
The Federal artillery, which was handled with skill and coolness,
did great execution upon his column, as it rushed forward, and the
infantry behind their works stood firm in spite of the most determined
efforts to drive them from the ridge. Three of Hill's regiments
reached the crest, and fought hand to hand over the breastworks, but
they were speedily repulsed and driven from the crest, and, after two
hours' hard fighting, Hill found that he had lost heavily and effected

It was now past two o'clock in the afternoon, and General Lee listened
with anxiety for the sound of guns from the left, which would herald
the approach of General Jackson. Nothing was heard from that quarter,
however, and affairs were growing critical. The Confederate attack had
been repulsed--the Federal position seemed impregnable--and "it became
apparent," says General Lee, "that the enemy were gradually gaining
ground." Under these circumstances, General McClellan might
adopt either one of the two courses both alike dangerous to the
Confederates. He might cross a heavy force to the assistance of
General Porter, thus enabling that officer to assume the offensive;
or, finding Lee thus checked, he might advance on Magruder, crush the
small force under him, and seize on Richmond, which would be at his
mercy. It was thus necessary to act without delay, while awaiting the
appearance of Jackson. General Lee, accordingly, directed General
Longstreet, who had taken position to the right of Cold Harbor, to
make a feint against the Federal left, and thus relieve the pressure
on Hill. Longstreet proceeded with promptness to obey the order;
advanced in face of a heavy fire, and with a cross-fire of artillery
raking his right from over the Chickahominy, and made the feint which
had been ordered by General Lee. It effected nothing; and, to attain
the desired result, it was found necessary to turn the feint into a
real attack. This Longstreet proceeded to do, first dispersing with a
single volley a force of cavalry which had the temerity to charge his
infantry. As he advanced and attacked the powerful position before
him, the roar of guns, succeeded by loud cheers, was heard on the left
of Lee's line.

Jackson had arrived and thrown his troops into action without delay.
He then rode forward to Cold Harbor, where General Lee awaited him,
and the two soldiers shook hands in the midst of tumultuous cheering
from the troops, who had received intelligence that Jackson's corps
had joined them. The contrast between the two men was extremely
striking. We have presented a brief sketch of Lee's personal
appearance upon the occasion--of the grave commander-in-chief, with
his erect and graceful seat in the saddle, his imposing dignity of
demeanor, and his calm and measured tones, as deliberate as though he
were in a drawing-room. Jackson was a very different personage. He was
clad in a dingy old coat, wore a discolored cadet-cap, tilted almost
upon his nose, and rode a rawboned horse, with short stirrups, which
raised his knees in the most ungraceful manner. Neither in his face
nor figure was there the least indication of the great faculties of
the man, and a more awkward-looking personage it would be impossible
to imagine. In his hand he held a lemon, which he sucked from time to
time, and his demeanor was abstracted and absent.

As Jackson approached, Lee rode toward him and greeted him with a
cordial pressure of the hand.

"Ah, general," said Lee, "I am very glad to see you. I hoped to be
with you before!"

Jackson made a twitching movement of his head, and replied in a few
words, rather jerked from the lips than deliberately uttered.

Lee had paused, and now listened attentively to the long roll of
musketry from the woods, where Hill and Longstreet were engaged; then
to the still more incessant and angry roar from the direction of
Jackson's own troops, who had closed in upon the Federal forces.

"That fire is very heavy," said Lee. "Do you think your men can stand

Jackson listened for a moment, with his head bent toward one shoulder,
as was customary with him, for he was deaf, he said, in one ear, "and
could not hear out of the other," and replied briefly:

"They can stand almost any thing! They can stand that!"

He then, after receiving General Lee's instructions, immediately
saluted and returned to his corps--Lee remaining still at Cold Harbor,
which was opposite the Federal centre.

[Illustration: Lee and Jackson at Cold harbor.]

The arrival of Jackson changed in a moment the aspect of affairs
in every part of the field. Whitney's division of his command took
position on Longstreet's left; the command of General D.H. Hill, on
the extreme right of the whole line, and Ewell's division, with part
of Jackson's old division, supported A.P. Hill. No sooner had these
dispositions been made, than General Lee ordered an attack along the
whole line. It was now five or six o'clock, and the sun was sinking.
From that moment until night came, the battle raged with a fury
unsurpassed in any subsequent engagement of the war. The Texan troops,
under General Hood, especially distinguished themselves. These,
followed by their comrades, charged the Federal left on the bluff,
and, in spite of a desperate resistance, carried the position. "The
enemy were driven," says General Lee, "from the ravine to the first
line of breastworks, over which one impetuous column dashed, up to the
intrenchments on the crest." Here the Federal artillery was captured,
their line driven from the hill, and in other parts of the field a
similar success followed the attack. As night fell, their line gave
way in all parts, and the remnants of General Porter's command
retreated to the bridges over the Chickahominy.

The first important passage of arms between General McClellan and
General Lee--and it may be added the really decisive one--had
terminated in a great success on the side of the Confederates.



The battle of Cold Harbor--or, as General Lee styles it in his report,
the "battle of the Chickahominy"--was the decisive struggle between
the great adversaries, and determined the fate of General McClellan's
campaign against Richmond.

This view is not held by writers on the Northern side, who represent
the battle in question as only the first of a series of engagements,
all of pretty nearly equal importance, and mere incidents attending
General McClellan's change of base to the shores of the James River.
Such a theory seems unfounded. If the battle at Cold Harbor had
resulted in a Federal victory, General McClellan would have advanced
straight on Richmond, and the capture of the city would inevitably
have followed. But at Cold Harbor he sustained a decisive defeat.
His whole campaign was reversed, and came to naught, from the events
occurring between noon and nightfall on the 27th of June. The result
of that obstinate encounter was not a Federal success, leading to the
fall of Richmond, but a Federal defeat, which led to the retreat to
the James River, and the failure of the whole campaign against the
Confederate capital.

It is conceded that General McClellan really intended to change his
base; but after the battle of Cold Harbor every thing had changed.
He no longer had under him a high-spirited army, moving to take up
a stronger position, but a weary and dispirited multitude of human
beings, hurrying along to gain the shelter of the gunboats on the
James River, with the enemy pursuing closely, and worrying them at
every step. To the condition of the Federal army one of their own
officers testifies, and his expressions are so strong as wellnigh
to move the susceptibilities of an opponent. "We were ordered to
retreat," says General Hooker, "and it was like the retreat of a
whipped army. We retreated like a parcel of sheep; everybody on the
road at the same time; and a few shots from the rebels would have
panic-stricken the whole command."[1]

[Footnote 1: Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, part
i., p. 580.]

Such was the condition of that great army which had fought so bravely,
standing firm so long against the headlong assaults of the flower
of the Southern troops. It was the battle at Cold Harbor which had
produced this state of things, thereby really deciding the result
of the campaign. To attribute to that action, therefore, no more
importance than attached to the engagements on the retreat to James
River, seems in opposition to the truth of history.

We shall present only a general narrative of the famous retreat which
reflected the highest credit upon General McClellan, and will remain
his greatest glory. He, at least, was too good a soldier not to
understand that the battle of the 27th was a decisive one. He
determined to retreat, without risking another action, to the banks
of the James River, where the Federal gunboats would render a second
attack from the Confederates a hazardous undertaking; and, "on the
evening of the 27th of June," as he says in his official report,
"assembled the corps commanders at his headquarters, and informed
them of his plan, its reasons, and his choice of route, and method of
execution." Orders were then issued to General Keyes to move with his
corps across the White-Oak Swamp Bridge, and, taking up a position
with his artillery on the opposite side, cover the passage of the rest
of the troops; the trains and supplies at Savage Station, on the
York River Railroad, were directed to be withdrawn; and the corps
commanders were ordered to move with such provisions, munitions,
and sick, as they could transport, on the direct road to Harrison's

These orders were promptly carried out. Before dawn on the 29th the
Federal army took up the line of march, and the great retrograde
movement was successfully begun. An immense obstacle to its success
lay in the character of the country through which it was necessary to
pass. White Oak Swamp is an extensive morass, similar to that skirting
the banks of the Chickahominy, and the passage through it is over
narrow, winding, and difficult roads, which furnish the worst possible
pathways for wagons, artillery, or even troops. It was necessary,
however, to use these highways or none, and General McClellan
resolutely entered upon his critical movement.

General Lee was yet in doubt as to his opponent's designs, and the
fact is highly creditable to General McClellan. A portion of the
Federal army still remained on the left bank of the Chickahominy, and
it might be the intention of McClellan to push forward reënforcements
from the Peninsula, fight a second battle for the protection of his
great mass of supplies at the White House, or, crossing his whole army
to the left bank of the Chickahominy by the lower bridges, retreat
down the Peninsula by the same road followed in advancing. All that
General Lee could do, under these circumstances, was to remain near
Cold Harbor with his main body, send a force toward the York River
road, on the eastern bank of the Chickahominy, to check any Federal
attempt to cross there, and await further developments.

It was not until the morning of the 29th that General McClellan's
designs became apparent. It was then ascertained that he had commenced
moving toward James River with his entire army, and Lee issued prompt
orders for the pursuit. While a portion of the Confederate army
followed closely upon the enemy's rear, other bodies were directed to
move by the Williamsburg and Charles City roads, and intercept him,
or assail his flanks. If these movements were promptly made, and no
unnecessary delay took place, it was expected that the Federal army
would be brought to bay in the White-Oak Swamp, and a final victory be
achieved by the Confederates.

These complicated movements were soon in full progress, and at
various points on the line of retreat fierce fighting ensued. General
Magruder, advancing to Savage Station, an important depot of Federal
stores, on the York River Railroad, encountered on the 29th, the
powerful Federal rear-guard, which fought obstinately until night,
when it retired. Next day Generals Longstreet and A.P. Hill had pushed
down the Long Bridge road, and on the next day (June 30th) came on the
retreating column which was vigorously engaged. From the character
of the ground, little, however, was effected. The enemy fought with
obstinate courage, and repulsed every assault. The battle raged until
after nightfall, when the Federal army continued to retreat.

These actions were the most important, and in both the Confederates
had failed to effect any important results.

Even Jackson, who had been delayed, by the destruction of the
Chickahominy bridges, in crossing to the south bank from the vicinity
of Cold Harbor, and had followed in rear of the rest of the army,
found himself checked by General McClellan's admirable disposition
for the protection of his rear. Jackson made every effort to strike a
decisive blow at the Federal rear in the White-Oak Swamp, but he found
a bridge in his front destroyed, the enemy holding the opposite side
in strong force, and, when he endeavored to force a passage, the
determined fire from their artillery rendered it impossible for him to
do so. General McClellan had thus foiled the generalship of Lee,
and the hard fighting of Stonewall Jackson. His excellent military
judgement had defeated every attempt made to crush him. On the 1st of
July he had successfully passed the terrible swamp, in spite of all
his enemies, and his army was drawn up on the wellnigh impregnable
heights of Malvern Hill.

A last struggle took place at Malvern Hill, and the Confederate
assault failed at all points. Owing to the wooded nature of the
ground, and the absence of accurate information in regard to it, the
attack was made under very great difficulties and effected nothing.
The Federal troops resisted courageously, and inflicted heavy loss
upon the assailing force, which advanced to the muzzles of the Federal
cannon, but did not carry the heights; and at nightfall the battle
ceased, the Confederates having suffered a severe repulse.

On the next morning, General McClellan had disappeared toward
Harrison's Landing, to which he conducted his army safely, without
further molestation, and the long and bitter struggle was over.



We have presented a sufficiently full narrative of the great battles
of the Chickahominy to enable the reader to form his own opinion of
the events, and the capacity of the two leaders who directed them.
Full justice has been sought to be done to the eminent military
abilities of General McClellan, and the writer is not conscious that
he has done more than justice to General Lee.

Lee has not escaped criticism, and was blamed by many persons for not
putting an end to the Federal army on the retreat through White-Oak
Swamp. To this criticism, it may be said in reply, that putting an
end to nearly or quite one hundred thousand men is a difficult
undertaking; and that in one instance, at least, the failure of one of
his subordinates in arriving promptly, reversed his plans at the most
critical moment of the struggle. General Lee himself, however, states
the main cause of failure: "Under ordinary circumstances," he says,
"the Federal army should have been destroyed. Its escape is due to the
causes already stated. Prominent among them is the want of timely and
correct information. This fact, attributed chiefly to the character
of the country, enabled General McClellan skilfully to conceal his
retreat, and to add much to the obstruction with which Nature had
beset the way of our pursuing columns. But regret that more was not
accomplished, gives way to gratitude to the Sovereign Ruler of the
Universe for the results achieved."

The reader will form his own opinion whether Lee was or was not
to blame for this want of accurate information, which would seem,
however, to be justly attributable to the War Department at Richmond,
rather than to an officer who had been assigned to command only three
or four weeks before. Other criticisms of Lee referred to his main
plan of operations, and the danger to which he exposed Richmond by
leaving only twenty-five thousand men in front of it, when he began
his movement against General McClellan's right wing, beyond the
Chickahominy. General Magruder, who commanded this force of
twenty-five thousand men left to guard the capital, expressed
afterward, in his official report, his views of the danger to which
the city had been exposed. He wrote:

"From the time at which the enemy withdrew his forces to this side
of the Chickahominy, and destroyed the bridges, to the moment of his
evacuation, that is, from Friday night until Saturday morning, I
considered the situation of our army as extremely critical and
perilous. The larger portion of it was on the opposite side of
the Chickahominy. The bridges had been all destroyed; but one was
rebuilt--the New Bridge--which was commanded fully by the enemy's guns
from Goulding's; and there were but twenty-five thousand men between
his army of one hundred thousand and Richmond.... Had McClellan massed
his whole force in column, and advanced it against any point of our
line of battle, as was done at Austerlitz under similar circumstances
by the greatest captain of any age, though the head of his column
would have suffered greatly, its momentum would have insured him
success, and the occupation of our works about Richmond, and
consequently the city, might have been his reward. His failure to do
so is the best evidence that our wise commander fully understood the
character of his opponent."

To this portion of General Magruder's report General Lee appended the
following "Remarks" in forwarding it:

"General Magruder is under a misapprehension as to the separation of
troops operating on the north side of the Chickahominy from those
under himself and General Huger on the south side. He refers to this
subject on pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, of his report.

"The troops on the two sides of the river were only separated until we
succeeded in occupying the position near what is known as New Bridge,
which occurred before twelve o'clock M. on Friday, June 27th, and
before the attack on the enemy at Gaines's Mill.

"From the time we reached the position referred to, I regarded
communication between the two wings of our army as reëstablished.

"The bridge referred to, and another about three-quarters of a mile
above, were ordered to be repaired before noon on Friday, and the New
Bridge was sufficiently rebuilt to be passed by artillery on Friday
night, and the one above it was used for the passage of wagons,
ambulances, and troops, early on Saturday morning.

"Besides this, all other bridges above New Bridge, and all the fords
above that point, were open to us."

To this General Magruder subsequently responded as follows:

"New Bridge was finished on Friday evening, the 27th, instead of
Saturday, 28th of June.

"I wrote from memory in reference to the time of its being finished.

"It was reported to me that the bridge three-quarters of a mile above
was attempted to be crossed by troops (I think Ransom's brigade), on
Saturday morning, from the south to the north side, but that, finding
the bridge or the approach to it difficult, they came down and crossed
at New Bridge on the same morning.

"My statement in regard to these bridges was not intended as a
criticism on General Lee's plan, but to show the position of the
troops, with a view to the proper understanding of my report, and to
prove that the enemy might have reasonably entertained a design, after
concentrating his troops, to march on Richmond."

We shall not detain the reader by entering upon a full discussion of
the interesting question here raised. General Lee, as his observations
on General Magruder's report show, did not regard Richmond as exposed
to serious danger, and was confident of his ability to recross the
Chickahominy and go to its succor in the event of an attack on the
city by General McClellan. Had this prompt recrossing of the stream
here, even, been impracticable, it may still be a question whether
General Lee did not, in his movement against the Federal right wing
with the bulk of his army, follow the dictates of sound generalship.
In war, something must be risked, and occasions arise which render
it necessary to disregard general maxims. It is one of the first
principles of military science that a commander should always keep
open his line of retreat; but the moment may come when his best policy
is to burn the bridges behind him. Of Lee's movement against General
McClellan's right, it may be said that it was based on the broadest
good sense and the best generalship. The situation of affairs rendered
an attack in some quarter essential to the safety of the capital,
which was about to be hemmed in on all sides. To attack the left of
General McClellan, promised small results. It had been tried and had
failed; his right alone remained. It was possible, certainly, that he
would mass his army, and, crushing Magruder, march into Richmond;
but it was not probable that he would make the attempt. The Federal
commander was known to be a soldier disposed to caution rather than
audacity. The small amount of force under General Magruder was a
secret which he could not be expected to know. That General Lee took
these facts into consideration, as General Magruder intimates, may or
may not have been the fact; and the whole discussion may be fairly
summed up, perhaps, by saying that success vindicated the course
adopted. "Success, after all, is the test of merit," said the brave
Albert Sydney Johnston, and Talleyrand compressed much sound reasoning
in the pithy maxim, "Nothing succeeds like success."

On the 2d of July the campaign was over, and General McClellan must
have felt, in spite of his hopeful general orders to the troops, and
dispatches to his Government, that the great struggle for Richmond had
virtually ended. A week before, he had occupied a position within a
few miles of the city, with a numerous army in the highest spirits,
and of thorough efficiency. Now, he lay on the banks of James River,
thirty miles away from the capital, and his army was worn out by the
tremendous ordeal it had passed through, and completely discouraged.
We have not dwelt upon the horrors of the retreat, and the state of
the army, which Northern writers painted at the time in the gloomiest
colors. For the moment, it was no longer the splendid war-engine it
had been, and was again afterward. Nothing could be done with it,
and General McClellan knew the fact. Without fresh troops, a renewed
advance upon Richmond was a mere dream.

No further attack was made by General Lee, who remained for some
days inactive in the hot forests of Charles City. His reasons for
refraining from a new assault on General McClellan are summed up in
one or two sentences of his report: "The Federal commander," he says,
"immediately began to fortify his position, which was one of great
natural strength, flanked on each side by a creek, and the approach to
his front commanded by the heavy guns of his shipping, in addition
to those mounted in his intrenchments. It was deemed inexpedient to
attack him, and in view of the condition of our troops, who had been
marching and fighting almost incessantly for seven days under the
most trying circumstances, it was determined to withdraw, in order to
afford them the repose of which they stood so much in need."

On the 8th of July, General Lee accordingly directed his march back
toward Richmond, and the troops went into camp and rested.



General Lee had thus, at the outset of his career, as commander of the
Confederate army, saved the capital by a blow at the enemy as sudden
as it was resistless. The class of persons who are never satisfied,
and delight in fault-finding under all circumstances, declared that
a great general would have crushed the enemy on their retreat; these
certainly were in a minority; the people at large greeted Lee as the
author of a great deliverance worked out for them, and, on his return
to Richmond, he was received with every mark of gratitude and honor.
He accepted this public ovation with the moderation and dignity which
characterized his demeanor afterward, under all circumstances, either
of victory or defeat. It was almost impossible to discover in his
bearing at this time, as on other great occasions, any evidences
whatever of elation. Success, like disaster, seemed to find him calm,
collected, and as nearly unimpressible as is possible for a human

The character of the man led him to look upon success or failure with
this supreme composure, which nothing seemed able to shake; but in
July, 1862, he probably understood that the Confederate States were
still as far as ever from having achieved the objects of the war.
General McClellan had been defeated in battle, but the great resources
of the United States Government would enable it promptly to put other
and larger armies in the field. Even the defeated army was still
numerous and dangerous, for it consisted, according to McClellan's
report, of nearly or quite ninety thousand men; and the wise brain of
its commander had devised a plan of future operations which
promised far greater results than the advance on Richmond from the

We shall touch, in passing, on this interesting subject, but shall
first ask the reader's attention to a communication addressed, by
General McClellan, at this time to President Lincoln. It is one of
those papers which belong to history, and should be placed upon
record. It not only throws the clearest light on the character and
views of General Lee's great adversary, but expresses with admirable
lucidity the sentiments of a large portion of the Federal people at
the time. The President had invited a statement of General McClellan's
views on the conduct of the war, and on July 7th, in the very midst of
the scenes of disaster at Harrison's Landing, McClellan wrote these
statesmanlike words:

"This rebellion has assumed the character of a war; as such it should
be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest principles
know to Christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the
subjugation of the people of any State in any event. It should not be
at all a war upon population, but against armed forces and political
organization. Neither confiscation of property, political executions,
territorial organizations of States, nor forcible abolition of
slavery, should be contemplated for a moment. In prosecuting the war
all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected,
subject only to the necessity of military operations. All private
property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for;
pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary
trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military
toward citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be
tolerated, except in places where active hostilities exist, and oaths
not required by enactments constitutionally made should be neither
demanded nor received. Military government should be confined to the
preservation of public order and the protection of political right.
Military power should not be allowed to interfere with the relations
of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the
master, except for repressing disorder, as in other cases. Slaves
contraband under the Act of Congress, seeking military protection,
should receive it. The right of the Government to appropriate
permanently to its own service claims to slave-labor should be
asserted, and the right of the owner to compensation therefor should
be recognized.

"This principle might be extended upon grounds of military necessity
and security to all the slaves of a particular State, thus working
manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western
Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expediency of such a
measure is only a question of time.

"A system of policy thus constitutional, and pervaded by the
influences of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support of
almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses
and all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped that it would
commend itself to the favor of the Almighty.

"Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our struggle
shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite
forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views,
especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies.

"The policy of the Government must be supported by concentrations
of military power. The national forces should not be dispersed in
expeditions, posts of occupation, and numerous armies; but should be
mainly collected into masses, and brought to bear upon the armies
of the Confederate States. Those armies thoroughly defeated, the
political structure which they support would soon cease to exist.

    "In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you will
    require a commander-in-chief of the army--one who possesses your
    confidence, understands your views, and who is competent to
    execute your orders, by directing the military forces of the
    nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do
    not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in such
    positions as you may assign me, and I will do so as faithfully
    as ever subordinate served superior. I may be on the brink of
    eternity, and, as I hope forgiveness from my Maker, I have written
    this letter with sincerity toward you, and from love for my

This noble and earnest exposition of his opinion, upon the proper mode
of conducting the war, will reflect honor upon General McClellan when
his military achievements are forgotten. It discusses the situation
of affairs, both from the political and military point of view, in a
spirit of the broadest statesmanship, and with the acumen of a great
soldier. That it had no effect, is the clearest indication upon which
the war was thenceforward to be conducted.

The removal of General McClellan, as holding views opposed to the
party in power, is said to have resulted from this communication.
It certainly placed him in open antagonism to General Halleck, the
Federal Secretary of War, and, as this antagonism had a direct effect
upon even connected with the subject of our memoir, we shall briefly
relate now it was now displayed.

Defeated on the Chickahominy, and seeing little to encourage an
advance, on the left bank of the James, upon Richmond, General
McClellan proposed to cross that river and operate against the capital
and its communications, near Petersburg. The proof of McClellan's
desire to undertake this movement, which afterward proved so
successful under General Grant, is found in a memorandum, by General
Halleck himself, of what took place on a visit paid by him to
McClellan, at Harrison's Landing, on July 25, 1862.

"I stated to him," says General Halleck, "that the object of my visit
was to ascertain from him his views and wishes in regard to future
operations. He said that he proposed to cross the James River at that
point, attack Petersburg, and cut off the enemy's communications by
that route South, making no further demonstration for the present
against Richmond. I stated to him very frankly my views in regard to
the manner and impracticability of the plan;" and nothing further, it
seems, was said of this highly "impracticable" plan of operations. It
became practicable afterward under General Grant; McClellan was not
permitted to essay it in July, 1862, from the fact that it had been
resolved to relieve him from command, or from General Halleck's
inability to perceive its good sense.

General Lee's views upon this subject coincided completely with those
of General McClellan. He expressed at this time, to those in his
confidence, the opinion that Richmond could be assailed to greater
advantage from the South, as a movement of the enemy in that direction
would menace her communications with the Gulf States; and events
subsequently proved the soundness of this view. Attacks from all
other quarters failed, including a repetition by General Grant of
McClellan's attempt from the side of the Chickahominy. When General
Grant carried out his predecessor's plan of assailing the city from
the direction of Petersburg, he succeeded in putting an end to the





General Lee remained in front of Richmond, watching General McClellan,
but intelligence soon reached him from the upper Rappahannock that
another army was advancing in that quarter, and had already occupied
the county of Culpepper, with the obvious intention of capturing
Gordonsville, the point of junction of the Orange and Alexandria and
Virginia Central Railroads, and advancing thence upon Richmond.

The great defeat on the Chickahominy had only inspired the Federal
authorities with new energy. Three hundred thousand new troops
were called for, large bounties were held out as an inducement to
enlistment, negro-slaves in regions occupied by the United States
armies were directed to be enrolled as troops, and military commanders
were authorized to seize upon whatever was "necessary or convenient
for their commands," without compensation to the owners. This
indicated the policy upon which it was now intended to conduct the
war, and the army occupying Culpepper proceeded to carry out the new
policy in every particular.

This force consisted of the troops which had served under Generals
Banks, McDowell, and Fremont--a necleus--and reënforcements from the
army of McClellan, together with the troops under General Burnside,
were hastening to unite with the newly-formed army. It was styled the
"Army of Virginia," and was placed under command of Major-General John
Pope, who had hitherto served in the West. General Pope had procured
the command, it is said, by impressing the authorities with a high
opinion of his energy and activity. In these qualities, General
McClellan was supposed to be deficient; and the new commander, coming
from a region where the war was conducted on a different plan, it was
said, would be able to infuse new life into the languid movements in
Virginia. General Pope had taken special pains to allay the fears of
the Federal authorities for the safety of Washington. He intended
to "lie off on the flanks" of Lee's army, he said, and render it
impossible for the rebels to advance upon the capital while he
occupied that threatening position. When asked if, with an army like
General McClellan's, he would find any difficulty in marching through
the South to New Orleans, General Pope replied without hesitation, "I
should suppose not."

This confident view of things seems to have procured General Pope his
appointment, and it will soon be seen that he proceeded to conduct
military operations upon principles very different from those
announced by General McClellan. War, as carried on by General Pope,
was to be war _à l'outrance._ General McClellan had written: "The war
should not be at all a war upon population, but against armed forces
... all private property, taken for military use, should be paid for;
pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes; all unnecessary
trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military
toward citizens promptly rebuked." The new commander intended to act
upon a very different principle, and to show that he possessed more
activity and resolution than his predecessor.

General Pope's assumption of the command was signalized by much pomp
and animated general orders. He arrived in a train decked out with
streamers, and issued an order in which he said to the troops: "I
desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry
to find much in vogue among you. I hear constantly of taking strong
positions and holding them, _of lines of retreat and bases of
supplies_. Let us discard such ideas. The strongest position which
a soldier should desire to occupy is the one from which he can most
easily advance upon the enemy. Let us study the probable line of
retreat of our opponents, _and leave our own to take care of itself.
Let us look before, and not behind. Disaster and shame look in the
rear_." The result, as will be seen, furnished a grotesque commentary
upon that portion of General Pope's order which we have italicized. In
an address to the army, he added further: "I have come to you from the
West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies--from an army
whose business it has been to seek the adversary, and beat him when
found--where policy has been attack, and not defence. I presume I have
been called here to pursue the same system."

Such was the tenor of General Pope's orders on assuming
command--orders which were either intended seriously as an
announcement of his real intentions, or as a blind to persuade the
Confederates that his force was large.

Unfortunately for the region in which he now came to operate, General
Pope did not confine himself to these flourishes of rhetoric. He
proceeded to inaugurate a military policy in vivid contrast to General
McClellan's. His "expatriation orders" directed that all male citizens
disloyal to the United States should be immediately arrested; the oath
of allegiance to the United States Government should be proffered
them, and, "if they furnished sufficient security for its observance,"
they should be set free again. If they refused the oath, they should
be sent beyond the Federal lines; and, if afterward found within his
lines, they should be treated as spies, "and shot, their property
to be seized and applied to the public use." All communication
with persons living within the Southern lines was forbidden; such
communication should subject the individual guilty of it to be treated
as _a spy_. Lastly, General Pope's subordinates were directed to
arrest prominent citizens, and hold them as hostages for the good
behavior of the population. If his soldiers were "bushwhacked"--that
is to say, attacked on their foraging expeditions--the prominent
citizens thus held as hostages were to _suffer death_.

It is obvious that war carried on upon such principles is rapine.
General Pope ventured, however, upon the new programme; and a foreign
periodical, commenting upon the result, declared that this commander
had prosecuted hostilities against the South "in a way that cast
mankind two centuries back toward barbarism." We shall not pause to
view the great outrages committed by the Federal troops in Culpepper.
They have received thus much comment rather to introduce the following
communication to the Federal authorities, from General Lee, than
to record what is known now to the Old World as well as the New.
Profoundly outraged and indignant at these cruel and oppressive acts,
General Lee, by direction of the Confederate authorities, addressed,
on the 2d of August, the following note to General Halleck:


    NEAR RICHMOND, VA., _August_ 2, 1862.;

    _To the General commanding the U.S. Army, Washington_:

    GENERAL: In obedience to the order of his Excellency, the
    President of the Confederate States, I have the honor to make you
    the following communication:

    On the 22d of July last a cartel for a general exchange of
    prisoners was signed by Major-General John A. Dix, on behalf of
    the United States, and by Major-General D.H. Hill, on the part of
    this government. By the terms of that cartel it is stipulated that
    all prisoners of war hereafter taken shall be discharged on parole
    until exchanged. Scarcely had the cartel been signed, when the
    military authorities of the United States commenced a practice
    changing the character of the war, from such as becomes civilized
    nations, into a campaign of indiscriminate robbery and murder.

    A general order issued by the Secretary of War of the United
    States, in the city of Washington, on the very day that the cartel
    was signed in Virginia, directs the military commanders of
    the United States to take the property of our people, for the
    convenience and use of the army, without compensation.

    A general order issued by Major-General Pope, on the 23d of July
    last, the day after the date of the cartel, directs the murder of
    our peaceful citizens as spies, if found quietly tilling their
    farms in his rear, even outside of his lines.

    And one of his brigadier-generals, Steinwehr, has seized innocent
    and peaceful inhabitants, to be held as hostages, to the end that
    they may be murdered in cold blood if any of his soldiers
    are killed by some unknown persons whom he designates as
    "bushwhackers." Some of the military authorities seem to suppose
    that their end will be better attained by a savage war in which no
    quarter is to be given, and no age or sex is to be spared, than by
    such hostilities as are alone recognized to be lawful in modern
    times. We find ourselves driven by our enemies by steady progress
    toward a practice which we abhor, and which we are vainly
    struggling to avoid.

    Under these circumstances, this Government has issued the
    accompanying general order, which I am directed by the President
    to transmit to you, recognizing Major-General Pope and his
    commissioned officers to be in the position which they have chosen
    for themselves--that of robbers and murderers, and not that of
    public enemies, entitled, if captured, to be treated as prisoners
    of war. The President also instructs me to inform you that we
    renounce our right of retaliation on the innocent, and will
    continue to treat the private soldiers of General Pope's army as
    prisoners of war; but if, after notice to your Government that
    they confine repressive measures to the punishment of commissioned
    officers who are willing to participate in these crimes, the
    savage practices threatened in the orders alluded to be persisted
    in, we shall reluctantly be forced to the last resort of accepting
    the war on the terms chosen by our enemies, until the voice of an
    outraged humanity shall compel a respect for the recognized usages
    of war. While the President considers that the facts referred to
    would justify a refusal on our part to execute the cartel by which
    we have agreed to liberate an excess of prisoners of war in our
    hands, a sacred regard for plighted faith, which shrinks from the
    semblance of breaking a promise, precludes a resort to such an
    extremity, nor is it his desire to extend to any other forces of
    the United States the punishment merited by General Pope and such
    commissioned officers as choose to participate in the execution of
    his infamous order.

    I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    R.E. LEE, _General commanding_.

This communication requires no comment. It had the desired effect,
although General Halleck returned it as couched in language too
insulting to be received. On the 15th of August, the United States War
Department so far disapproved of General Pope's orders as to direct
that "no officer or soldier might, without proper authority, leave his
colors or ranks to take private property, or to enter a private house
for the purpose, under penalty of death."



General Pope had promptly advanced, and his army lay in Culpepper, the
right reaching toward the Blue Ridge, and the left extending nearly to
the Rapidan.

The campaign now became a contest of brains between Lee and the
Federal authorities. Their obvious aim was to leave him in doubt
whether a new advance was intended under McClellan from James River,
or the real movement was to be against Richmond from the North. Under
these circumstances, General Lee remained with the bulk of his army
in front of Richmond; but, on the 13th of July, sent Jackson with two
divisions in the direction of Gordonsville. The game of wits had thus
begun, and General Lee moved cautiously, looking in both directions,
toward James River and the Upper Rappahannock. As yet the real design
of the enemy was undeveloped. The movement of General Pope might or
might not be a real advance. But General McClellan remained inactive,
and, on the 27th of July, A.P. Hill's division was sent up to
reënforce Jackson--while, at the same time, General D.H. Hill,
commanding a force on the south bank of the James River, was directed
to make demonstrations against McClellan's communications by opening
fire on his transports.

The moment approached now when the game between the two adversaries
was to be decided. On the 2d of August, Jackson assumed the offensive,
by attacking the enemy at Orange Court-House; and, on the 5th, General
McClellan made a prompt demonstration to prevent Lee from sending him
further reinforcements. A large Federal force advanced to Malvern
Hill, and was drawn up there in line of battle, with every indication
on the part of General McClellan of an intention to advance anew upon
Richmond. Lee promptly went to meet him, and a slight engagement
ensued on Curl's Neck. But, on the next morning, the Federal army had
disappeared, and the whole movement was seen to have been a feint.

This state of indecision continued until nearly the middle of August.
An incident then occurred which clearly indicated the enemy's
intentions. General Burnside was known to have reached Hampton Roads
from the Southern coast with a considerable force, and the direction
which his flotilla now took would show the design of the Federal
authorities. If a new advance was intended from the James, the
flotilla would ascend that river; if General Pope's army was looked to
for the real movement, General Burnside would go in that direction.
The secret was discovered by the afterward celebrated Colonel John S.
Mosby, then a private, and just returned, by way of Fortress Monroe,
from prison in Washington. He ascertained, when he disembarked, that
Burnside's flotilla was about to move toward the Rappahannock, and,
aware of the importance of the information, hastened to communicate
it to General Lee. He was admitted, at the headquarters of the latter
near Richmond, to a private interview, and when General Lee had
finished his conversation with the plain-looking individual, then
almost unknown, he was in possession of the information necessary to
determine his plans. The Rappahannock, and not the James, was seen
to be the theatre of the coming campaign, and General Lee's whole
attention was now directed to that quarter.

Jackson had already struck an important blow there, coöperating
vigorously, as was habitual with him, in the general plan of action.
General McClellan had endeavored by a feint to hold Lee at Richmond.
By a battle now, Jackson hastened the retreat of the army under
McClellan from James River. With his three divisions, Jackson crossed
the Rapidan, and, on the 9th of August, attacked the advance force of
General Pope at Cedar Mountain. The struggle was obstinate, and at
one time Jackson's left was driven back, but the action terminated at
nightfall in the retreat of the Federal forces, and the Confederate
commander remained in possession of the field. He was too weak,
however, to hold his position against the main body of the Federal
army, which was known to be approaching; he accordingly recrossed
the Rapidan to the vicinity of Gordonsville, and here he was
soon afterward joined by General Lee, with the great bulk of the
Confederate army.

Such were the events which succeeded the battles of the Chickahominy,
transferring hostilities to a new theatre, and inaugurating the great
campaigns of the summer and autumn of 1862 in Northern Virginia and



General Lee, it will thus be seen, had proceeded in his military
manoeuvres with the utmost caution, determined to give his adversaries
no advantage, and remain in front of the capital until it was free
from all danger. But for the daring assault upon General McClellan,
on the Chickahominy, his critics would no doubt have charged him with
weakness and indecision now; but, under any circumstances, it is
certain that he would have proceeded in the same manner, conducting
operations in the method which his judgment approved.

At length the necessity of caution had disappeared. General Burnside
had gone to reënforce General Pope, and a portion of McClellan's army
was believed to have followed. "It therefore seemed," says
General Lee, "that active operations on the James were no longer
contemplated," and he wisely concluded that "the most effectual way to
relieve Richmond from any danger of attack from that quarter would
be to reënforce General Jackson, and advance upon General Pope." In
commenting upon these words, an able writer of the North exclaims:
"Veracious prophecy, showing that _insight_ which is one of the
highest marks of generalship!" The movement, indeed, was the right
proceeding, as the event showed; and good generalship may be defined
to be the power of seeing what is the proper course, and the decision
of character which leads to its adoption.

General Lee exhibited throughout his career this mingled good judgment
and daring, and his cautious inactivity was now succeeded by one
of those offensive movements which, if we may judge him, by his
subsequent career, seemed to be the natural bent of his character.
With the bulk of his army, he marched in the direction of General
Pope; the rest were speedily ordered to follow, and active operations
began for driving the newly-formed Federal "Army of Virginia" back
toward Washington.

We have presented Lee's order for the attack on General McClellan, and
here quote his order of march for the advance against General Pope,
together with a note addressed to Stuart, commanding his cavalry, for
that officer's guidance.


_August_ 19, 1862.


I. General Longstreet's command, constituting the right wing of
the army, will cross the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford, and move in the
direction of Culpepper Court-House. General Jackson's command,
constituting the left wing, will cross at Summerville Ford, and move
in the same direction, keeping on the left of General Longstreet.
General Anderson's division will cross at Summerville Ford, follow the
route of General Jackson, and act in reserve. The battalion of light
artillery, under Colonel S.D. Lee, will take the same route. The
cavalry, under General Stuart, will cross at Morton's Ford, pursue the
route by Stevensburg to Rappahannock Station, destroy the railroad
bridge, cut the enemy's communications, telegraph line, and,
operating toward Culpepper Court-House, will take position on General
Longstreet's right.

II. The commanders of each wing will designate the reserve for their
commands. Medical and ammunition wagons will alone follow the troops
across the Rapidan. The baggage and supply trains will be parked under
their respective officers, in secure positions on the south side, so
as not to embarrass the different roads.

III. Cooked rations for three days will be carried in the haversacks
of the men, and provision must be made for foraging the animals.
Straggling from the ranks is strictly prohibited, and commanders will
make arrangements to secure and punish the offenders.

IV. The movements herein directed will commence to-morrow, 20th
instant, at dawn of day.

By command of General R.E. Lee:

A.P. MASON, _A.A. G_.

           _August_ 19, 1862.}

_General J.E.B. Stuart, commanding Cavalry_:

General: I desire you to rest your men to-day, refresh your horses,
prepare rations and every thing for the march to-morrow. Get what
information you can of fords, roads, and position of the enemy, so
that your march can be made understandingly and with vigor. I send to
you Captain Mason, an experienced bridge-builder, etc., whom I think
will be able to aid you in the destruction of the bridge, etc. When
that is accomplished, or when in train of execution, as circumstances
permit, I wish you to operate back toward Culpepper Court-House,
creating such confusion and consternation as you can, without
unnecessarily exposing your men, till you feel Longstreet's right.
Take position there on his right, and hold yourself in reserve, and
act as circumstances may require. I wish to know during the day how
you proceed in your preparations. They will require the personal
attention of all your officers. The last reports from the
signal-stations yesterday evening were, that the enemy was breaking
up his principal encampments, and moving in direction of Culpepper

Very respectfully, etc., R.E. LEE, _General_.

These orders indicate General Lee's design--to reach the left flank
of the enemy, prevent his retreat by destroying the bridges on the
Rappahannock, and bring him to battle in the neighborhood of Culpepper
Court-House. The plan failed in consequence of a delay of two days,
which took place in its execution--a delay, attributed at that time,
we know not with what justice, to the unnecessarily deliberate
movements of the corps commanded by General Longstreet. This delay
enabled the enemy to gain information of the intended movement; and
when General Lee advanced on the 20th of August, instead of on the
18th, as he had at first determined to do, it was found that General
Pope had broken up his camps, and was in rapid retreat. Lee followed,
and reached the Rappahannock only to find that the Federal army had
passed that stream. General Pope, who had promised to conduct none but
offensive operations, and never look to the rear, had thus hastened
to interpose the waters of the Rappahannock between himself and his
adversary, and, when General Lee approached, he found every crossing
of the river heavily defended by the Federal infantry and artillery.

In face of this large force occupying a commanding position on the
heights, General Lee made no effort to cross. He determined, he says,
"not to attempt the passage of the river at that point with the army,"
but to "seek a more favorable place to cross, higher up the river, and
thus gain the enemy's right." This manoeuvre was intrusted to Jackson,
whose corps formed the Confederate left wing. Jackson advanced
promptly to the Warrenton Springs Ford, which had been selected as
the point of crossing, drove away a force of the enemy posted at the
place, and immediately began to pass the river with his troops. The
movement was however interrupted by a severe rain-storm, which swelled
the waters of the Rappahannock, and rendered a further prosecution of
it impracticable. General Lee was thus compelled to give up that plan,
and ordered Jackson to withdraw the force which had crossed. This was
done, and General Lee was now called upon to adopt some other method
of attack; or to remain inactive in face of the enemy.

But to remain inactive was impossible. The army must either advance
or retire; information which had just reached the Confederate general
rendered one of these two proceedings indispensable. The information
referred to had been obtained by General Stuart. The activity and
energy of this officer, especially in gaining intelligence, now
proved, as they proved often afterward, of the utmost importance to
Lee. Stuart had been directed by General Lee to make an attack, with a
cavalry force, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, in the enemy's
rear; he had promptly carried out his orders by striking the Federal
communications at Catlett's Station, had destroyed there all that he
found, and torn up the railroad, but, better than all, had captured
a box containing official papers belonging to General Pope. These
papers, which Stuart hastened--marching day and night, through storm
and flood--to convey to General Lee, presented the clearest evidence
of the enemy's movements and designs. Troops were hastening from every
direction to reënforce General Pope, the entire force on James River
especially was to be brought rapidly north of the Rappahannock, and
any delay in the operations of the Confederates would thus expose them
to attack from the Federal forces concentrated from all quarters in
their front.

[Illustration: Map--Upper Rappahannock]



It was thus necessary to act with decision, and General Lee resolved
upon a movement apparently of the most reckless character. This was to
separate his army into two parts, and, while one remained confronting
the enemy on the Rappahannock, send the other by a long circuit to
fall on the Federal rear near Manassas. This plan of action was
opposed to the first rule of the military art, that a general should
never divide his force in the face of an enemy. That Lee ventured to
do so on this occasion can only be explained on one hypothesis, that
he did not highly esteem the military ability of his opponent. These
flank attacks undoubtedly, however, possessed a great attraction for
him, as they did for Jackson, and, in preferring such movement, Lee
was probably actuated both by the character of the troops on both
sides and by the nature of the country. The men of both armies were
comparatively raw levies, highly susceptible to the influence of
"surprise," and the appearance of an enemy on their flanks, or in
their rear, was calculated to throw them into disorder. The wooded
character of the theatre of war generally rendered such movements
practicable, and all that was requisite was a certain amount of daring
in the commander who was called upon to decide upon them. This daring
Lee repeatedly exhibited, and the uniform success of the movements
indicates his sound generalship.

To command the force which was now to go on the perilous errand of
striking General Pope's rear, General Lee selected Jackson, who had
exhibited such promptness and decision in the campaigns of the Valley
of Virginia. Rapidity of movement was necessary above all things,
and, if any one could be relied upon for that, it was the now famous
Stonewall Jackson. To him the operation was accordingly intrusted, and
his corps was at once put in motion. Crossing the Rappahannock at an
almost forgotten ford, high up and out of view of the Federal right,
Jackson pushed forward day and night toward Manassas, reached
Thoroughfare Gap, in the Bull Run Mountain, west of that place, passed
through, and completely destroyed the great mass of supplies in the
Federal depot at Manassas. The whole movement had been made with
such rapidity, and General Stuart, commanding the cavalry, had so
thoroughly guarded the flank of the advancing column from observation,
that Manassas was a mass of smoking ruins almost before General Pope
was aware of the real danger. Intelligence soon reached him, however,
of the magnitude of the blow aimed by Lee, and, hastily breaking
up his camps on the Rappahannock, he hurried to attack the force
assailing his communications.

The first part of General Lee's plan had thus fully succeeded. General
Pope, who had occupied every ford of the Rappahannock, so as to render
the passage difficult, if not impossible, had disappeared suddenly, to
go and attack the enemy in his rear. General Lee promptly moved in
his turn, with the great corps under Longstreet, and pushed
toward Manassas, over nearly the same road followed by Jackson.

[Illustration: T.J. Jackson]



The contest of generalship had now fully begun, and the brain of
General Lee was matched against the brain of General Pope. It is no
part of the design of the writer of this volume to exalt unduly the
reputation of Lee, and detract from the credit due his adversaries.
Justice has been sought to be done to General McClellan; the same
measure of justice will be dealt out to his successors on the Federal
side; nor is it calculated to elevate the fame of Lee, to show that
his opponents were incapable and inefficient. Of General Pope,
however, it must be said that he suffered himself to be outgeneralled
in every particular; and the pithy comment of General Lee, that he
"did not appear to be aware of his situation," sums up the whole

It is beyond our purpose to enter upon any thing resembling a detailed
narrative of the confused and complicated movements of the various
corps of the army under General Pope. These have been the subject of
the severest criticism by his own followers. We shall simply notice
the naked events. Jackson reached Manassas on the night of August
26th, took it, and on the next day destroyed the great depot. General
Pope was hastening to protect it, but was delayed by Ewell at Bristoe,
and a force sent up from Washington, under the brave General Taylor,
was driven off with loss. Then, having achieved his aim, Jackson fell
back toward Sudley.

If the reader will look at the map, he will now understand the
exact condition of affairs. Jackson had burned the Federal depot of
supplies, and retired before the great force hastening to rescue them.
He had with him about twenty thousand men, and General Pope's force
was probably triple that number. Thus, the point was to hold General
Pope at arm's-length until the arrival of Lee; and, to accomplish this
great end, Jackson fell back beyond Groveton. There he formed line of
battle, and waited.

It is obvious that, under these circumstances, the true policy of
General Pope was to obstruct Thoroughfare Gap, the only road by which
Lee could approach promptly, and then crush Jackson. On the night of
the 27th, General McDowell was accordingly sent thither with forty
thousand men; but General Pope ordered him, on the next morning, to
Manassas, where he hoped to "bag the whole crowd," he said--that is
to say, the force under Jackson. This was the fatal mistake made by
General Pope. Thoroughfare Gap was comparatively undefended. While
General Pope was marching to attack Jackson, who had disappeared, it
was the next thing to a certainty that General Lee would attack _him_.

All parties were thus moving to and fro; but the Confederates enjoyed
the very great advantage over General Pope of knowing precisely
how affairs stood, and of having determined upon their own plan of
operations. Jackson, with his back to the mountain, was waiting for
Lee. Lee was approaching rapidly, to unite the two halves of his army.
General Pope, meanwhile, was marching and countermarching, apparently
ignorant of the whereabouts of Jackson,[1]

General Lee, in personal command of Longstreet's corps, reached the
western end of Thoroughfare Gap about sunset, on the 28th, and the
sound of artillery from the direction of Groveton indicated that
Jackson and General Pope had come in collision. Jackson had himself
brought on this engagement by attacking the flank of one of General
Pope's various columns, as it marched across his front, over the
Warrenton road, and this was the origin of the sound wafted to General
Lee's ears as he came in sight of Thoroughfare. It was certainly
calculated to excite his nerves if they were capable of being excited.
Jackson was evidently engaged, and the disproportion between his
forces and those of General Pope rendered such an engagement extremely
critical. Lee accordingly pressed forward, reached the Gap, and the
advance force suddenly halted: the Gap was defended. The Federal force
posted here, at the eastern opening of the Gap, was small, and wholly
inadequate for the purpose; but this was as yet unknown to General
Lee. His anxiety under these circumstances must have been great.
Jackson might be crushed before his arrival. He rode up to the
summit of the commanding hill which rises just west of the Gap, and
dismounting directed his field-glass toward the shaggy defile in

[Footnote 1: "Not knowing at the time where was the enemy."--_General
Porter_.] and undecided what course to pursue.

[Illustration: Lee Reconnoitring at Throughfare Gap.]

The writer of these pages chanced to be near the Confederate commander
at this moment, and was vividly impressed by the air of unmoved
calmness which marked his countenance and demeanor. Nothing in the
expression of his face, and no hurried movement, indicated excitement
or anxiety. Here, as on many other occasions, Lee impressed the writer
as an individual gifted with the most surprising faculty of remaining
cool and unaffected in the midst of circumstances calculated to arouse
the most phlegmatic. After reconnoitring for some moments without
moving, he closed his glass slowly, as though he were buried in
reflection, and deliberating at his leisure, and, walking back slowly
to his horse, mounted and rode down the hill.

The attack was not delayed, and flanking columns were sent to cross
north of the Gap and assail the enemy's rear. But the assault in front
was successful. The small force of the enemy at the eastern opening of
the Gap retired, and, by nine o'clock at night, General Longstreet's
corps was passing through.

All the next morning (August 29th), Longstreet's troops were coming
into position on the right of Jackson, under the personal supervision
of Lee. By noon the line of battle was formed.[1] Lee's army was
once more united. General Pope had not been able to crush less than
one-half that army, for twenty-four hours nearly in his clutches, and
it did not seem probable that he would meet with greater success, now
that the whole was concentrated and held in the firm hand of Lee.

[Footnote 1: The hour of Longstreet's arrival has been strangely a
subject of discussion. The truth is stated in the reports of Lee,
Longstreet, Jones, and other officers. But General Pope was ignorant
of Longstreet's presence _at five in the evening_; and General Porter,
his subordinate, was dismissed from the army for not at that hour
attacking Jackson's right, declared by General Pope to be undefended.
Longstreet was in line of battle by noon.]



Lee's order of battle for the coming action was peculiar. It resembled
an open V, with the opening toward the enemy--Jackson's corps forming
the left wing, and extending from near Sudley, to a point in rear of
the small village of Groveton, Longstreet's corps forming the right
wing, and reaching from Jackson's right to and beyond the Warrenton
road which runs to Stonebridge.

The field of battle was nearly identical with that of July 21, 1861.
The only difference was, that the Confederates occupied the ground
formerly held by the Federal troops, and that the latter attacked, as
Johnston and Beauregard had attacked, from the direction of Manassas,
and the tableland around the well-known Henry House.

The Southern order of battle seems to have contemplated a movement on
one or both of General Pope's flanks while he attacked in front. An
assault on either wing would expose him to danger from the other,
and it will be seen that the fate of the battle was decided by this
judicious arrangement of the Confederate commander.

The action began a little after noon, when the Federal right,
consisting of the troops of Generals Banks, Sigel, and others,
advanced and made a vigorous attack on Jackson's left, under A.P.
Hill. An obstinate conflict ensued, the opposing lines fighting almost
bayonet to bayonet, "delivering their volleys into each other at the
distance of ten paces." At the first charge, an interval between two
of Hill's brigades was penetrated by the enemy, and that wing of
Jackson's corps was in great danger of being driven back. This
disaster was, however, prevented by the prompt stand made by two or
three regiments; the enemy was checked, and a prompt counter-charge
drove the Federal assaulting columns back into the woods.

The attempt to break Jackson's line at this point was not, however,
abandoned. The Federal troops returned again and again to the
encounter, and General Hill reported "six separate and distinct
assaults" made upon him. They were all repulsed, in which important
assistance was rendered by General Early. That brave officer attacked
with vigor, and, aided by the fire of the Confederate artillery from
the elevated ground in Jackson's rear, drove the enemy before him with
such slaughter that one of their regiments is said to have carried
back but three men.

This assault of the enemy had been of so determined a character, that
General Lee, in order to relieve his left, had directed Hood and
Evans, near his centre, to advance and attack the left of the
assaulting column. Hood was about to do so, when he found a heavy
force advancing to charge his own line. A warm engagement followed,
which resulted in the repulse of the enemy, and Hood followed them a
considerable distance, inflicting heavy loss.

It was now nearly nine o'clock at night, and the darkness rendered
further operations impossible. The troops which had driven the enemy
were recalled from their advanced position, the Southern line was
reformed on the same ground occupied at the commencement of the
action, and General Lee prepared for the more decisive struggle of the
next day.

Morning came (August 30th), but all the forenoon passed without a
resumption of the battle. Each of the adversaries seemed to await some
movement on the part of the other, and the Federal commander made
heavy feints against both the Confederate right and left, with the
view of discovering some weak point, or of inducing Lee to lay himself
open to attack. These movements had, however, no effect. Lee remained
obstinately in his strong position, rightly estimating the advantage
it gave him, and no doubt taking into consideration the want of
supplies General Pope must labor under, a deficiency which rendered a
prompt assault on his part indispensable. The armies thus remained in
face of each other, without serious efforts upon either side, until
nearly or quite the hour of three in the afternoon.

General Pope then resumed the assault on Lee's left, under Jackson,
with his best troops. The charge was furious, and a bloody struggle
ensued; but Jackson succeeded in repulsing the force. It fell back in
disorder, but was succeeded by a second and a third line, which rushed
forward at the "double-quick," in a desperate attempt to break the
Southern line. These new attacks were met with greater obstinacy than
at first, and, just as the opponents had closed in, a heavy fire was
directed against the Federal column by Colonel S.D. Lee, commanding
the artillery at Lee's centre. This fire, which was of the most rapid
and destructive character, struck the enemy in front and flank at
once, and seemed to sweep back the charging brigades as they came. The
fire of the cannon was then redoubled, and Jackson's line advanced
with cheers. Before this charge, the Federal line broke, and Jackson
pressed forward, allowing them no respite.

General Lee then threw forward Longstreet, who, knowing what was
expected of him, was already moving. The enemy were pressed thus in
front and on their flank, as Lee had no doubt intended, in forming his
peculiar line. The corps of Jackson and Longstreet closed in like two
iron arms; the Federal forces were driven from position to position;
the glare of their cannon, more and more distant, indicated that they
had abandoned further contest, and at ten at night the darkness put an
end to the battle and pursuit. General Pope was retreating with his
defeated forces toward Washington.

On the next day, Lee dispatched Jackson to turn Centreville and cut
off the retreat of General Pope. The result was a severe engagement
near Germantown, which was put an end to by a violent storm. General
Pope, now reënforced by the commands of Generals Sumner and Franklin,
had been enabled to hold his ground until night. When, on the next day
(September 2d), the Confederates advanced to Fairfax Court-House,
it was found that the entire Federal army was in rapid retreat upon

Such had been the fate of General Pope.





The defeat of General Pope opened the way for movements not
contemplated, probably, by General Lee, when he marched from Richmond
to check the advance in Culpepper. His object at that time was
doubtless simply to arrest the forward movement of the new force
threatening Gordonsville. Now, however, the position of the pieces
on the great chess-board of war had suddenly changed, and it was
obviously Lee's policy to extract all the advantage possible from the
new condition of things.

He accordingly determined to advance into Maryland--the fortifications
in front of Washington, and the interposition of the Potomac, a
broad stream easily defended, rendering a movement in that direction
unpromising. On the 3d of September, therefore, and without waiting to
rest his army, which was greatly fatigued with the nearly continuous
marching and fighting since it had left the Rapidan, General Lee moved
toward Leesburg, crossed his forces near that place, and to the
music of the bands playing the popular air, "Maryland, my Maryland,"
advanced to Frederick City, which he occupied on the 7th of September.

Lee's object in invading Maryland has been the subject of much
discussion, one party holding the view that his sole aim was to
surround and capture a force of nine or ten thousand Federal troops
stationed at Harper's Ferry; and another party maintaining that he
proposed an invasion of Pennsylvania as far as the Susquehanna,
intending to fight a decisive battle there, and advance thereafter
upon Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Washington. The course pursued by an
army commander is largely shaped by the progress of events. It can
only be said that General Lee, doubtless, left the future to
decide his ultimate movements; meanwhile he had a distinct and
clearly-defined aim, which he states in plain words.

His object was to draw the Federal forces out of Virginia first. The
movement culminating in the victory over the enemy at Manassas had
produced the effect of paralyzing them in every quarter. On the coast
of North Carolina, in Western Virginia, and in the Shenandoah Valley,
had been heard the echo of the great events in Middle and Northern
Virginia. General Burnside's force had been brought up from the
South, leaving affairs at a stand-still in that direction; and,
contemporaneously with the retreat of General Pope, the Federal forces
at Washington and beyond had fallen back to the Potomac. This left
the way open, and Lee's farther advance, it was obvious, would now
completely clear Virginia of her invaders. The situation of affairs,
and the expected results, are clearly stated by General Lee:

"The war was thus transferred," he says, "from the interior to the
frontier, and the supplies of rich and productive districts made
accessible to our army. To prolong a state of affairs in every way
desirable, and not to permit the season for active operations to pass
without endeavoring to inflict other injury upon the enemy, the best
course appeared to be the transfer of the army into Maryland."

The state of things in Maryland was another important consideration.
That great Commonwealth was known to be sectionally divided in its
sentiment toward the Federal Government, the eastern portion adhering
generally to the side of the South, and the western portion generally
to the Federal side. But, even as high up as Frederick, it was hoped
that the Southern cause would find adherents and volunteers to march
under the Confederate banner. If this portion of the population had
only the opportunity to choose their part, unterrified by Federal
bayonets, it was supposed they would decide for the South. In any
event, the movement would be important. The condition of affairs in
Maryland, General Lee says, "encouraged the belief that the presence
of our army, however inferior to that of the enemy, would induce the
Washington Government to retain all its available force to provide for
contingencies which its course toward the people of that State gave
it reason to apprehend," and to cross the Potomac "might afford us an
opportunity to aid the citizens of Maryland in any efforts they might
be disposed to make to recover their liberty."

It may be said, in summing up on this point, that Lee expected
volunteers to enroll themselves under his standard, tempted to do so
by the hope of throwing off the yoke of the Federal Government, and
the army certainly shared this expectation. The identity of sentiment
generally between the people of the States of Maryland and Virginia,
and their strong social ties in the past, rendered this anticipation
reasonable, and the feeling of the country at the result afterward was
extremely bitter.

Such were the first designs of Lee; his ultimate aim seems as clear.
By advancing into Maryland and threatening Baltimore and Washington,
he knew that he would force the enemy to withdraw all their troops
from the south bank of the Potomac, where they menaced the Confederate
communications with Richmond; when this was accomplished, as it
clearly would be, his design was, to cross the Maryland extension of
the Blue Ridge, called there the South Mountain, advance by way of
Hagerstown into the Cumberland Valley, and, by thus forcing the enemy
to follow him, draw them to a distance from their base of supplies,
while his own communications would remain open by way of the
Shenandoah Valley. This was essentially the same plan pursued in
the campaign of 1863, which terminated in the battle of Gettysburg.
General Lee's movements now indicated similar intentions. He doubtless
wished, in the first place, to compel the enemy to pursue him--then
to lead them as far as was prudent--and then, if circumstances were
favorable, bring them to decisive battle, success in which promised to
open for him the gates of Washington or Baltimore, and end the war.

It will now be seen how the delay caused by the movement of Jackson
against Harper's Ferry, and the discovery by General McClellan of the
entire arrangement devised by Lee for that purpose, caused the failure
of this whole ulterior design.

[Illustration: Map--Map of the MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.]



The Southern army was concentrated in the neighborhood of Frederick
City by the 7th of September, and on the next day General Lee issued
an address to the people of Maryland.

We have not burdened the present narrative with Lee's army orders and
other official papers; but the great force and dignity of this address
render it desirable to present it in full:

   NEAR FREDERICKTOWN, _September_ 8, 1862.}

    _To the People of Maryland_:

    It is right that you should know the purpose that has brought the
    army under my command within the limits of your State, so far as
    that purpose concerns yourselves.

    The people of the Confederate States have long watched with the
    deepest sympathy the wrongs and outrages that have been inflicted
    upon the citizens of a Commonwealth allied to the States of the
    South by the strongest social, political, and commercial ties.

    They have seen, with profound indignation, their sister State
    deprived of every right, and reduced to the condition of a
    conquered province. Under the pretence of supporting the
    Constitution, but in violation of its most valuable provisions,
    your citizens have been arrested and imprisoned upon no charge,
    and contrary to all forms of law. The faithful and manly protest
    against this outrage, made by the venerable and illustrious
    Marylanders--to whom in better days no citizen appealed for right
    in vain--was treated with scorn and contempt. The government
    of your chief city has been usurped by armed strangers; your
    Legislature has been dissolved by the unlawful arrest of its
    members; freedom of the press and of speech have been suppressed;
    words have been declared offences by an arbitrary desire of the
    Federal Executive, and citizens ordered to be tried by military
    commission for what they may dare to speak.

    Believing that the people of Maryland possessed a spirit too lofty
    to submit to such a government, the people of the South have long
    wished to aid you in throwing off this foreign yoke, to enable
    you again to enjoy the inalienable rights of freemen, and restore
    independence and sovereignty to your State.

    In obedience to this wish, our army has come among you, and is
    prepared to assist you, with the power of its arms, in regaining
    the rights of which you have been despoiled. This, citizens
    of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. No
    constraint upon your free will is intended--no intimidation will
    be allowed. Within the limits of this army, at least, Marylanders
    shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech.
    We know no enemies among you, and will protect all of every
    opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny, freely, and without
    constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may
    be; and, while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to
    your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when
    you come of your own free will.

    R.E. LEE, _General commanding_.

This address, full of grave dignity, and highly characteristic of the
Confederate commander, was in vivid contrast with the harsh orders of
General Pope in Culpepper. The accents of friendship and persuasion
were substituted for the "rod of iron." There would be no coercive
measures; no arrests, with the alternative presented of an oath to
support the South, or instant banishment. No intimidation would be
permitted. In the lines of the Southern army, at least, Marylanders
should enjoy freedom of thought and speech, and every man should
"decide his destiny freely, and without constraint."

This address, couched in terms of such dignity, had little effect
upon the people. Either their sentiment in favor of the Union was too
strong, or they found nothing in the condition of affairs to encourage
their Southern feelings. A large Federal force was known to be
advancing; Lee's army, in tatters, and almost without supplies,
presented a very uninviting appearance to recruits, and few joined his
standard, the population in general remaining hostile or neutral.

The condition of the army was indeed forlorn. It was worn down by
marching and fighting; the men had scarcely shoes upon their feet;
and, above the tattered figures, flaunting their rags in the sunshine,
were seen gaunt and begrimed faces, in which could be read little of
the "romance of war." The army was in no condition to undertake
an invasion; "lacking much of the material of war, feeble in
transportation, poorly provided with clothing, and thousands of them
destitute of shoes," is Lee's description of his troops. Such was the
condition of the better portion of the force; on the opposite side of
the Potomac, scattered along the hills, could be seen a weary, ragged,
hungry, and confused multitude, who had dragged along in rear of the
rest, unable to keep up, and whose miserable appearance said little
for the prospects of the army to which they belonged.

From these and other causes resulted the general apathy of the
Marylanders, and Lee soon discovered that he must look solely to his
own men for success in his future movements. He faced that conviction
courageously; and, without uttering a word of comment, or indulging in
any species of crimination against the people of Maryland, resolutely
commenced his movements looking to the capture of Harper's Ferry and
the invasion of Pennsylvania.[1]

[Footnote 1: The reader will perceive that the intent to _invade_
Pennsylvania is repeatedly attributed in these pages to General Lee.
His own expression is, "by _threatening_ Pennsylvania, to induce
the enemy," etc. That he designed invasion, aided by the recruits
anticipated in Maryland, seems unquestionable; since, even after
discovering the lukewarmness of the people there by the fact that few
joined his standard, he still advanced to Hagerstown, but a step from
the Pennsylvania line. These facts have induced the present writer to
attribute the design of actual invasion to Lee with entire confidence;
and all the circumstances seem to him to support that hypothesis.]

The promises of his address had been kept. No one had been forced to
follow the Southern flag; and now, when the people turned their backs
upon it, closing the doors of the houses in the faces of the Southern
troops, they remained unmolested. Lee had thus given a practical proof
of the sincerity of his character. He had promised nothing which he
had not performed; and in Maryland, as afterward in Pennsylvania,
in 1863, he remained firm against the temptation to adopt the harsh
course generally pursued by the commanders of invading armies. He
seems to have proceeded on the principle that good faith is as
essential in public affairs as in private, and to have resolved that,
in any event, whether of victory or disaster, his enemies should not
have it in their power to say that he broke his plighted word, or
acted in a manner unbecoming a Christian gentleman.

Prompt action was now necessary. The remnants of General Pope's army,
greatly scattered and disorganized by the severe battle of Manassas,
had been rapidly reformed and brought into order again, and to this
force was added a large number of new troops, hurried forward from the
Northern States to Washington. This new army was not to be commanded
by General Pope, who had been weighed and found wanting in ability to
contend with Lee. The force was intrusted to General McClellan, in
spite of his unpopularity with the Federal authorities; and the urgent
manner in which he had been called upon to take the head of affairs
and protect the Federal capital, is the most eloquent of all
commentaries upon the position which he held in the eyes of the
country and the army. It was felt, indeed, by all that the Federal
ship was rolling in the storm, and an experienced pilot was necessary
for her guidance. General McClellan was accordingly directed, after
General Pope's defeat, to take command of every thing, and see to the
safety of Washington; and, finding himself at length at the head of an
army of about one hundred thousand men, he proceeded, after the manner
of a good soldier, to protect the Federal capital by advancing into
upper Maryland in pursuit of Lee.



General Lee was already moving to the accomplishment of his designs,
the capture of Harper's Ferry, and an advance into the Cumberland

His plan to attain the first-mentioned object was simple, and promised
to be successful. Jackson was to march around by way of "Williamsport
and Martinsburg," and thus approach from the south. A force was
meanwhile to seize upon and occupy the Maryland Heights, a lofty
spot of the mountain across the Potomac, north of the Ferry. In like
manner, another body of troops was to cross the Potomac, east of the
Blue Ridge, and occupy the Loudon Heights, looking down upon Harper's
Ferry from the east. By this arrangement the retreat of the enemy
would be completely cut off in every direction. Harper's Ferry must
be captured, and, having effected that result, the whole Confederate
force, detached for the purpose, was to follow the main body of this
army in the direction of Hagerstown, to take part in the proposed
invasion of Pennsylvania.

This excellent plan failed, as will be seen, from no fault of the
great soldier who devised it, but in consequence of unforeseen
obstacles, and especially of one of those singular incidents which
occasionally reverse the best-laid schemes and abruptly turn aside the
currents of history.

Jackson and the commanders coöperating with him moved on September
10th. General Lee then with his main body crossed the South Mountain,
taking the direction of Hagerstown. Meanwhile, General McClellan had
advanced cautiously and slowly, withheld by incessant dispatches from
Washington, warning him not to move in such a manner as to expose that
city to danger. Such danger existed only in the imaginations of the
authorities, as the army in advancing extended its front from the
Potomac to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. General McClellan,
nevertheless, moved with very great precaution, feeling his way, step
by step, like a man in the dark, when on reaching Frederick City,
which the Confederates had just evacuated, good fortune suddenly came
to his assistance. This good fortune was the discovery of a copy of
General Lee's orders of march for the army, in which his whole plan
was revealed. General McClellan had therein the unmistakable evidence
of his opponent's intentions, and from that moment his advance was as
rapid as before it had been deliberate.

The result of this fortunate discovery was speedily seen. General Lee,
while moving steadily toward Hagerstown, was suddenly compelled to
turn his attention to the mountain-passes in his rear. It had not been
the intention of Lee to oppose the passage of the enemy through the
South Mountain, as he desired to draw General McClellan as far as
possible from his base, but the delay in the fall of Harper's
Ferry now made this necessary. It was essential to defend the
mountain-defiles in order to insure the safety of the Confederate
troops at Harper's Ferry; and Lee accordingly directed General
D.H. Hill to oppose the passage of the enemy at Boonsboro Gap, and
Longstreet was sent from Hagerstown to support him.

An obstinate struggle now ensued for the possession of the main South
Mountain Gap, near Boonsboro, and the roar of Jackson's artillery from
Harper's Ferry must have prompted the assailants to determined efforts
to force the passage. The battle continued until night (September
14th), and resulted in heavy loss on both sides, the brave General
Reno, of the United States army, among others, losing his life.
Darkness put an end to the action, the Federal forces not having
succeeded in passing the Gap; but, learning that a column of the enemy
had crossed below and threatened him with an attack in flank, General
Lee determined to retire in the direction of Sharpsburg, where Jackson
and the forces coöperating with him could join the main body of the
army. This movement was effected without difficulty, and Lee notices
the skill and efficiency of General Fitz Lee in covering the rear with
his cavalry. The Federal army failed to press forward as rapidly as
it is now obvious it should have done. The head of the column did
not appear west of the mountain until eight o'clock in the morning
(September 15th), and, nearly at the same moment ("the attack began at
dawn; in about two hours the garrison surrendered," says General Lee),
Harper's Ferry yielded to Jackson.

Fast-riding couriers brought the welcome intelligence of Jackson's
success to General Lee, as the latter was approaching Sharpsburg,
and official information speedily came that the result had been
the capture of more than eleven thousand men, thirteen thousand
small-arms, and seventy-three cannon. It was probably this large
number of men and amount of military stores falling into the hands of
the Confederates which afterward induced the opinion that Lee's sole
design in invading Maryland had been the reduction of Harper's Ferry.

General McClellan had thus failed, in spite of every effort which he
had made, to relieve Harper's Ferry,[1] and no other course remained
now but to follow Lee and bring him to battle. The Federal army
accordingly moved on the track of its adversary, and, on the afternoon
of the same day (September 15th), found itself in sight of Lee's
forces drawn up on the western side of Antietam Creek, near the
village of Sharpsburg.

[Footnote 1: All along the march he had fired signal-guns to inform
the officer in command at Harper's Ferry of his approach.]

At last the great opponents were in face of each other, and a battle,
it was obvious, could not long be delayed.



General Lee had once more sustained a serious check from the skill and
soldiership of the officer who had conducted the successful retreat of
the Federal army from the Chickahominy to James River.

The defeat and dispersion of the army of General Pope on the last day
of August seemed to have opened Pennsylvania to the Confederates. On
the 15th of September, a fortnight afterward, General McClellan, at
the head of a new army, raised in large measure by the magic of his
name, had pursued the victorious Confederate, checked his further
advance, and, forcing him to abandon his designs of invasion, brought
him to bay a hundred miles from the capital. This was generalship,
it would seem, in the true acceptation of the term, and McClellan,
harassed and hampered by the authorities, who looked but coldly upon
him, could say, with Coriolanus, "Alone I did it."

Lee was thus compelled to give up his movement in the direction of
Pennsylvania, and concentrate his army to receive the assault of
General McClellan. Jackson, marching with his customary promptness,
joined him with a portion of the detached force on the next day
(September 16th), and almost immediately those thunders which prelude
the great struggles of history began.

General Lee had drawn up his army on the high ground west of the
Antietam, a narrow and winding stream which flows, through fields
dotted with homesteads and clumps of fruit and forest trees, to the
Potomac. Longstreet's corps was posted on the right of the road from
Sharpsburg to Boonsboro, his right flank guarded by the waters of the
stream, which here bends westward; on the left of the Boonsboro road
D.H. Hill's command was stationed; two brigades under General Hood
were drawn up on Hill's left; and when Jackson arrived Lee directed
him to post his command on the left of Hood, his right resting on the
Hagerstown road, and his left extending backward obliquely toward the
Potomac, here making a large bend, where Stuart with his cavalry and
horse-artillery occupied the ground to the river's bank.

This arrangement of his troops was extremely judicious, as the sequel
proved. It was probable that General McClellan would direct his main
attack against the Confederate left, with the view of turning that
flank and hemming in the Southern army, or driving it into the river.
By retiring Jackson's left, Lee provided for this contingency, and it
will be seen that the design attributed by him to his adversary was
that determined upon.

General McClellan occupied the ground on the eastern bank of the
Antietam. He had evidently massed his forces opposite the Confederate
left, but a heavy order of battle stood opposite the centre and right
of Lee, where bridges crossed the stream.

The respective numbers of the adversaries can be stated with accuracy.
"Our forces at the battle of Antietam," said General McClellan, when
before the committee of investigation afterward, "were, total in
action, eighty-seven thousand one hundred and sixty-four."

General Lee says in his report: "This great battle was fought by less
than forty thousand men on our side."

Colonel Walter H. Taylor, a gentleman of the highest character, and
formerly adjutant-general of the army, makes the Confederate numbers
somewhat less. In a memorandum before the writer, he says:

Our strength at Sharpsburg. I think this is correct:

  Jackson _(including A.P. Hill_)    10,000

  Longstreet                              12,000

  D.H. Hill and Walker                    7,000
  Effective infantry                      29,000

  Cavalry and artillery                    8,000
  Total of all arms                       37,000

This disproportion was very great, amounting, as it did, to more than
two for one. But this was unavoidable. The Southern army had been worn
out by their long marching and fighting. Portions of the command were
scattered all over the roads of Northern Virginia, wearily dragging
their half-clothed limbs and shoeless feet toward Winchester, whither
they were directed to repair. This was the explanation of the fact
that, in spite of the ardent desire of the whole army to participate
in the great movement northward, Lee had in line of battle at
Sharpsburg "less than forty thousand men."

General McClellan made a demonstration against his adversary on the
evening of the 16th, before the day of the main struggle. He threw his
right, commanded by General Hooker, across the Antietam at a point out
of range of fire from the Confederates, and made a vigorous attack
on Jackson's two divisions lying near the Hagerstown road running
northward, and thus parallel with Lee's line of battle. A brief
engagement took place in the vicinity of the "Dunker Church," in a
fringe of woods west of the road, but it was too late to effect any
thing of importance; night fell, and the engagement ceased. General
Hooker retaining his position on the west side of the stream.

The opposing lines then remained at rest, waiting for the morning
which all now saw would witness the commencement of the more serious



The battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam, for it is known by both names,
began at early dawn on the 17th of September.

General McClellan had obviously determined to direct his main assault
against the Confederate left, a movement which General Lee had
foreseen and provided for,[1] and at dawn commenced a rapid fire of
artillery upon that portion of the Confederate line. Under cover
of this fire, General Hooker then advanced his infantry and made
a headlong assault upon Jackson's line, with the obvious view of
crushing that wing of Lee's army, or driving it back on Sharpsburg and
the river. The Federal force making this attack, or advancing promptly
to support it, consisted of the corps of Generals Hooker, Mansfield,
and Sumner, and numbered, according to General Sumner, forty thousand
men, of whom eighteen thousand belonged to General Hooker's corps.

[Footnote 1: "In anticipation of a movement to turn the line of
Antietam, Hood's two brigades had been transferred from the right to
the left," etc.--_Lee_.]

Jackson's whole force was four thousand men. Of the truth of this
statement of the respective forces, proof is here given:

"I have always believed," said General Sumner afterward, before the
war committee, "that, instead of sending these troops into that action
in driblets, had General McClellan authorized me to march _there forty
thousand men_ on the left flank of the enemy," etc.

"Hooker formed his corps of _eighteen thousand_ men," etc., says Mr.
Swinton, the able and candid Northern historian of the war.

Jackson's force is shown by the Confederate official reports. His
corps consisted of Ewell's division and "Jackson's old division."
General Jones, commanding the latter, reported: "The division at the
beginning of the fight numbered not over one thousand six hundred
men." Early, commanding Ewell's division,[1] reported the three
brigades to number:

  Lawton's                   1,150

  Hayes's                      550

  Walker's                     700


  "Old Division," as above   1,600

  Jackson's corps            4,000

[Footnote 1: After General Lawton was disabled.]

This was the entire force carried by General Jackson into the fight,
and these four thousand men, as the reader will perceive, bore the
brunt of the first great assault of General McClellan.

Just as the light broadened in the east above the crest of mountains
rising in rear of the Federal lines. General Hooker made his assault.
His aim was plainly to drive the force in his front across the
Hagerstown road and back on the Potomac, and in this he seemed
about to succeed. Jackson had placed in front Ewell's division of
twenty-four hundred men. This force received General Hooker's charge,
and a furious struggle followed, in which the division was nearly
destroyed. A glance at the casualties will show this. They were
remarkable. General Lawton, division commander, was wounded and
carried from the field; Colonel Douglas, brigade commander, was
killed; Colonel Walker, also commanding brigade, was disabled;
Lawton's brigade lost five hundred and fifty-four killed and wounded
out of eleven hundred and fifty, and five out of six regimental
commanders. Hayes's brigade lost three hundred and twenty-three out of
five hundred and fifty, and all the regimental commanders. Walker's
brigade lost two hundred and twenty-eight out of less than seven
hundred, and three out of four regimental commanders; and, of the
staff-officers of the division, scarcely one remained.

In an hour after dawn, this heavy slaughter had been effected in
Ewell's division, and the detailed statement which we have given will
best show the stubborn resistance offered by the Southern troops.
Still, they were unable to hold their ground, and fell back at last
in disorder before General Hooker, who pressed forward to seize the
Hagerstown road and crush the whole Confederate left. He was met,
however, by Jackson's Old Division of sixteen hundred men, who had
been held in reserve; and General Lee hastened to the point threatened
Hood's two small brigades, one of which. General Hood states, numbered
but eight hundred and sixty-four men. With this force Jackson now met
the advancing column of General Hooker, delivering a heavy fire
from the woods upon the Federal forces. In face of this fire they
hesitated, and Hood made a vigorous charge, General Stuart opening at
the same time a cross-fire on the enemy with his horse-artillery. The
combined fire increased their disorganization, and it now turned into
disorder. Jackson seized the moment, as always, throwing forward his
whole line, and the enemy were first checked, and then driven back in
confusion, the Confederates pursuing and cheering.

The first struggle had thus resulted in favor of the
Confederates--with about six thousand they had repulsed eighteen
thousand--and it was obvious to General McClellan that, without
reinforcements, his right could not hold its ground. He accordingly,
just at sunrise, sent General Mansfield's corps to the aid of General
Hooker, and at nine o'clock General Sumner's corps was added, making
in all forty thousand men.

The appearance of affairs at this moment was discouraging to the
Federal commander. His heavy assaulting column had been forced back
with great slaughter; General Hooker had been wounded and borne
from the field; General Mansfield, while forming his line, had been
mortally wounded; and now, at nine o'clock, when the corps of General
Sumner arrived, the prospect was depressing. Of the condition of the
Federal forces, General Sumner's own statement conveys a very distinct
conception: "On going upon the field," said General Sumner, before the
war committee, "I found that General Hooker's corps had been dispersed
and routed. I passed him some distance in the rear, where he had been
carried wounded, but I saw nothing of his corps at all, as I
was advancing with my command on the field. I sent one of my
staff-officers to find where they were, and General Ricketts, the only
officer we could find, stated that he could not raise three hundred
men of the corps." General Mansfield's corps also had been checked,
and now "began to waver and break."

Such had been the result of the great Federal assault, and it was
highly creditable to the Confederate arms. With a comparatively
insignificant force, Jackson had received the attack of the entire
Federal right wing, and had not only repulsed, but nearly broken to
pieces, the large force in his front.

The arrival of General Sumner, however, completely changed the face of
affairs, and, as his fresh troops advanced, those which had been so
roughly handled by Jackson had an opportunity to reform. This was
rapidly effected, and, having marshalled his troops, General Sumner,
an officer of great dash and courage, made a vigorous charge. From
this moment the battle began to rage with new fury. General Lee had
sent to the left the brigades of Colquitt, Ripley, and McRae, and with
these, the troops of Hood, and his own shattered division, Jackson
presented a stubborn front, but his loss was heavy. General Starke,
of the Old Division, was killed; the brigade, regimental, and company
officers fell almost without an exception, and the brigades dwindled
to mere handfuls.

Under the great pressure, Jackson was at length forced back. One of
General Sumner's divisions drove the right of the Confederates beyond
the Hagerstown road, and, at this moment the long struggle seemed
ended; the great wrestle in which the adversaries had so long
staggered to and fro, advancing and retreating in turn, seemed at last
virtually decided in favor of the Federal arms.

This was undoubtedly the turning-point of the battle of Sharpsburg,
and General Lee had witnessed the conflict upon his left with great
anxiety. It was impossible, however, to send thither more troops than
he had already sent. As will be seen in a moment, both his centre
and right were extremely weak. A.P. Hill and General McLaws had not
arrived from Harper's Ferry. Thus the left had been reënforced to the
full extent of Lee's ability, and now that portion of his line seemed
about to be crushed.

Fortunately, however, General McLaws, who had been delayed longer than
was expected by General Lee, at last arrived, and was hurried to the
left. It was ten o'clock, and in that one hour the fighting of an
entire day seemed to have been concentrated. Jackson was holding his
ground with difficulty when the divisions of McLaws and Walker were
sent to him. As soon as they reached the field, they were thrown into
action, and General Lee had the satisfaction of witnessing a new order
of things. The advance--it might rather be called the onward rush--of
the Federal line was checked. Jackson's weary men took fresh heart;
that great commander promptly assumed the offensive, and, advancing
his whole line, drove the enemy before him until he reoccupied the
ground from which General Sumner had forced him to retire.

From the ground thus occupied, the Federal forces were unable to
dislodge him, and the great struggle of "the left at Sharpsburg" was
over. It had begun at dawn and was decided by ten or eleven o'clock,
and the troops on both sides had fought as resolutely as in any other
action of the war. The event had been decided by the pertinacity of
the Southern troops, and by the prompt movement of reënforcements by
General Lee from his right and centre. Posted near his centre, he
had surveyed at one glance the whole field of action; the design of
General McClellan to direct his main assault upon the Confederate left
was promptly penetrated, and the rapid concentration of the Southern
forces in that quarter had, by defeating this movement, decided the
result of the battle.

Attacks on the Confederate centre and right followed that upon the
left. In the centre a great disaster was at one time imminent. Owing
to a mistake of orders, the brave General Rhodes had drawn back his
brigade posted there--this was seen by the enemy--and a sudden
rush was made by them with the view of piercing Lee's centre. The
promptness and courage of a few officers and a small body of troops
defeated this attempt. General D.H. Hill rallied a few hundred men,
and opened fire with a single gun, and Colonel Cooke faced the enemy
with his regiment, "standing boldly in line," says General Lee,
"without a cartridge." The stand made by this small force saved the
army from serious disaster; the Federal line retired, but a last
assault was soon begun, this time against the Confederate right. It
continued in a somewhat desultory manner until four in the evening,
when, having massed a heavy column under General Burnside, opposite
the bridge in front of Lee's right wing, General McClellan forced the
bridge and carried the crest beyond.

The moment was critical, as the Confederate force at this point
was less than three thousand men. But, fortunately, reënforcements
arrived, consisting of A.P. Hill's forces from Harper's Ferry. These
attacked the enemy, drove him from the hill across the Antietam again;
and so threatening did the situation at that moment appear to General
McClellan, that he is said to have sent General Burnside the message:
"Hold your ground! If you cannot, then the bridge, to the last man.
Always the bridge! If the bridge is lost, all is lost!"

The urgency of this order sufficiently indicates that the Federal
commander was not without solicitude for the safety of his own left
wing. Ignorant, doubtless, of the extremely small force which had thus
repulsed General Burnside, in all four thousand five hundred men, he
feared that General Lee would cross the bridge, assail his left, and
that the hard-fought day might end in disaster to his own army. That
General Lee contemplated this movement, in spite of the disproportion
of numbers, is intimated in his official report. "It was nearly dark,"
he says, "and the Federal artillery was massed to defend the bridge,
with General Porter's corps, consisting of fresh troops, behind it.
Under these circumstances," he adds, "it was deemed injudicious to
push our advantage further in the face of fresh troops of the enemy
much exceeding our own."

The idea of an advance against the Federal left was accordingly
abandoned, and a movement of Jackson's command, which Lee directed,
with the view of turning the Federal right, was discontinued from the
same considerations. Night had come, both sides were worn out, neither
of the two great adversaries cared to risk another struggle, and the
bitterly-contested battle of Sharpsburg was over.

The two armies remained facing each other throughout the following
day. During the night of this day, Lee crossed with his army back into
Virginia. He states his reasons for this: "As we could not look for a
material increase of strength," he says, "and the enemy's force could
be largely and rapidly augmented, it was not thought prudent to wait
until he should be ready again to offer battle."

General McClellan does not seem to have been able to renew the
struggle at that time. "The next morning," he says, referring to the
day succeeding the battle, "I found that our loss had been so great,
and there was so much disorganization in some of the commands, that I
did not consider it proper to renew the attack that day."

This decision of General McClellan's subjected him subsequently to
very harsh criticism from the Federal authorities, the theory having
obtained at Washington that he had had it in his power, by renewing
the battle, to cut Lee to pieces. Of the probability of such a
result the reader will form his own judgment. The ground for such a
conclusion seems slight. The loss and disorganization were, it would
seem, even greater on the Federal than on the Confederate side, and
Lee would have probably been better able to sustain an attack than
General McClellan to make it. It will be seen that General Meade
afterward, under circumstances more favorable still, declined to
attack Lee at Williamsport. If one of the two commanders be greatly
censured, the other must be also, and the world will be always apt
to conclude that they knew what could be effected better than the

But General McClellan did make an attempt to "crush Lee," such as the
authorities at Washington desired, and its result may possibly throw
light on the point in discussion.

On the night of the 19th, Lee having crossed the Potomac on the night
of the 18th, General McClellan sent a considerable force across the
river near Shepherdstown, which drove off the Confederate artillery
there, and at daylight formed line of battle on the south bank,
protected by their cannon north of the river. Of the brief but bloody
engagement which followed--an incident of the war little dwelt upon in
the histories--General A.P. Hill, who was sent by Lee to repulse the
enemy, gives an animated account. "The Federal artillery, to the
number of seventy pieces," he says, "lined the opposite heights, and
their infantry was strongly posted on the crest of the Virginia hills.
When he advanced with his division, he was met by the most tremendous
fire of artillery he ever saw," but the men continued to move on
without wavering, and the attack resulted in the complete rout of the
enemy, who were "driven pell-mell into the river," the current of
which was "blue with floating bodies." General Hill chronicles this
incident in terms of unwonted eloquence, and declares that, by the
account of the enemy themselves, they lost "three thousand men killed
and drowned from one brigade," which appears to be an exaggeration.
His own loss was, in killed and wounded, two hundred and sixty-one.

This repulse was decisive, and General McClellan made no further
attempt to pursue the adversary, who, standing at bay on the soil of
Virginia, was still more formidable than he had been on the soil of
Maryland. As we have intimated on a preceding page, the result of this
attempt to pursue would seem to relieve General McClellan from the
criticism of the Washington authorities. If he was repulsed with heavy
slaughter in his attempt to strike at Lee on the morning of September
20th, it is not probable that an assault on his adversary on September
18th would have had different results.

No further crossing at that time was undertaken by the Federal
commander. His army was moved toward Harper's Ferry, an important base
for further operations, and Lee's army went into camp along the banks
of the Opequan.



General Lee and his adversary had displayed conspicuous merit in the
campaign thus terminated, and we shall pause for a moment to glance
back upon this great passage at arms.

To give precedence to General McClellan, he had assembled an army,
after the defeat at Manassas, with a promptness for which only his
own great personal popularity can adequately account, had advanced to
check Lee, and had fully succeeded in doing so; and had thus not only
protected the fertile territory of Pennsylvania from invasion, but had
struck a death-blow for the time to any designs General Lee might have
had to advance on the Federal capital. If the situation of affairs at
that moment be attentively considered, the extreme importance of these
results will not fail to appear. It may perhaps be said with justice,
that General McClellan had saved the Federal cause from decisive
defeat. There was no army to protect Washington but the body of troops
under his command; these were largely raw levies, which defeat would
have broken to pieces, and thus the way would have been open for
Lee's march upon Washington or toward Philadelphia--a movement whose
probable result would have been a treaty of peace and the independence
of the Southern Confederacy. All these hopes were reversed by
McClellan's rapid march and prompt attack. In the hours of a single
autumn day, on the banks of the Antietam, the triumphant advance of
the Confederates was checked and defeated. And, if the further fact be
considered that the adversary thus checkmated was Lee, the military
ability of General McClellan must be conceded. It is the fashion, it
would appear, in some quarters, to deny him this quality. History will

The merit of Lee was equally conspicuous, and his partial failure in
the campaign was due to circumstances over which he had no control.
His plan, as was always the case with him, was deep-laid, and every
contingency had been provided for. He was disappointed in his aim by
three causes which he could not foresee. One was the great diminution
of his force, owing to the rapidity of his march, and the incessant
fighting; another, the failure in obtaining recruits in Maryland; and
a third, the discovery by General McClellan of the "lost dispatch,"
as it is called, which revealed Lee's whole plan to his adversary. In
consequence of the "finding" of the order of march, McClellan advanced
with such rapidity that the laggards of the Southern army on the hills
north of Leesburg had no opportunity of joining the main body. The
gaps in the ranks of the army thus made were not filled up by Maryland
recruits; Lee fell back, and his adversary followed, no longer fearful
of advancing too quickly; Jackson had no time after reducing Harper's
Ferry to rejoin Lee at Hagerstown; thus concentration of his troops,
and a battle somewhere near Sharpsburg, were rendered a necessity with
General Lee.

In this tissue of adverse events, the discovery of the order of march
by General McClellan occupies a very prominent place. This incident
resembles what the French call a fatality. Who was to blame for the
circumstance still remains a mystery; but it may be said with entire
certainty that the brave officer upon whom it was charged was entirely
guiltless of all fault in the matter.

[Footnote: The officer here referred to is General D.H. Hill. General
McClellan said in his testimony afterward, before the congressional
committee: "When at Frederick, we found the original order issued to
D.H. Hill," etc. The inference was thus a natural one that General
Hill was to blame, but that officer has proved clearly that he had
nothing to do with the affair. He received but one copy of the order,
which was handed to him by General Jackson in person, and, knowing its
great importance, he placed it in his pocket-book, and still retains
it in his possession. This fact is conclusive, since General Hill
could not have "lost" what he continues to hold in his hands. This
mystery will be cleared up at some time, probably; at present, but one
thing is certain, that General Hill was in no manner to blame. The
present writer desires to make this statement as explicit as possible,
as, in other accounts of these transactions, he was led by General
McClellan's language to attribute blame to General Hill where he
deserved none.]

Whatever may have been the secret history of the "lost dispatch,"
however, it certainly fell into General McClellan's hands, and largely
directed the subsequent movements of the opposing armies.

From what is here written, it will be seen that Lee was not justly
chargeable with the result of the Maryland campaign. He had provided
for every thing as far as lay in his power. Had he not been
disappointed in events to be fairly anticipated, it seemed his force
would have received large accessions, his rear would have closed up,
and the advance into Pennsylvania would have taken place. Instead
of this, he was forced to retire and fight a pitched battle at
Sharpsburg; and this action certainly exhibited on Lee's part military
ability of the highest order. The force opposed to him had been at
least double that of his own army, and the Federal troops had fought
with a gallantry unsurpassed in any other engagement of the war. That
their assault on Lee failed, was due to the fighting qualities of his
troops and his own generalship. His army had been manoeuvred with a
rapidity and precision which must have excited even the admiration of
the distinguished soldier opposed to him. He had promptly concentrated
his forces opposite every threatened point in turn, and if he had not
been able to carry out the axiom of Napoleon, that a commander should
always be superior to the enemy at the point of contact, he had at
least done all that was possible to effect that end, and had so far
succeeded as to have repulsed if not routed his adversary. This is
the main feature to be noticed in Lee's handling of his troops at
Sharpsburg. An unwary or inactive commander would have there suffered
decisive defeat, for the Confederate left wing numbered, throughout
the early part of the battle, scarcely more than four thousand men,
while the column directed against it amounted first to eighteen
thousand, and in all to forty thousand men. To meet the impact of
this heavy mass, not only desperate fighting, but rapid and skilful
manoeuvring, was necessary. The record we have presented will enable
the reader to form his own opinion whether Lee was equal to this
emergency involving the fate of his army.

Military critics, examining this great battle with fair and candid
eyes, will not fail, we think, to discern the truth. That the Southern
army, of less than forty thousand men, repulsed more than eighty
thousand in the battle of Sharpsburg, was due to the hard fighting of
the smaller force, and the skill with which its commander manoeuvred



General Lee and his army passed the brilliant days of autumn in the
beautiful valley of the Shenandoah. This region is famous for its
salubrity and the beauty of its scenery. The mountain winds are pure
and invigorating, and the forests, which in the season of autumn
assume all the colors of the rainbow, inspire the mind with the most
agreeable sensations. The region, in fact, is known as the "Garden of
Virginia," and the benign influence of their surroundings was soon
seen on the faces of the troops.

A Northern writer, who saw them at Sharpsburg, describes them as
"ragged, hungry, and in all ways miserable;" but their forlorn
condition, as to clothing and supplies of every description, made no
perceptible difference in their demeanor now. In their camps along
the banks of the picturesque little stream called the Opequan, which,
rising south of Winchester, wanders through beautiful fields and
forests to empty into the Potomac, the troops laughed, jested, sang
rude camp-ballads, and exhibited a joyous indifference to their
privations and hardships, which said much for their courage and
endurance. Those who carefully considered the appearance and demeanor
of the men at that time, saw that much could be effected with such
tough material, and had another opportunity to witness, under
circumstances calculated to test it, the careless indifference, to the
past as well as the future, peculiar alike to soldiers and children.
These men, who had passed through a campaign of hard marches and
nearly incessant battles, seemed to have forgotten all their troubles
and sufferings. The immense strain upon their energies had left them
apparently as fresh and efficient as when the campaign begun. There
was no want of rebound; rather an excessive elasticity and readiness
to undertake new movements. They had plainly acquired confidence in
themselves, rightly regarding the event of the battle of Sharpsburg,
where they were so largely outnumbered, as highly honorable to them,
and they had acquired still greater confidence in the officers who
commanded them.

We shall hereafter speak more particularly of the sentiment of the
troops toward General Lee at this period of his connection with the
army. The great events of the war continually modified the relations
between him and his men; as they came to know him better and better,
he steadily rose in their admiration and regard. At this time--the
autumn of 1862--it may be said that the troops had already begun to
love their leader, and had bestowed upon him as an army commander
their implicit confidence.

Without this confidence on the part of his men, a general can effect
little; with it, he may accomplish almost any thing. The common
soldier is a child, and feels that the directing authority is above
him; that he should look upon that authority with respect and
confidence is the first necessity of effecting military organization.
Lee had already inspired the troops with this sentiment, and it was
mainly the secret of his often astounding successes afterward. The
men universally felt that their commander was equal to any and every
emergency. Such a repute cannot be usurped. Troops measure their
leaders with instinctive acumen, and a very astonishing accuracy. They
form their opinions for themselves on the merits of the question; and
Lee had already impressed the army with a profound admiration for his
soldiership. From this to the sentiment of personal affection the
transition was easy; and the kindness, consideration, and simplicity
of the man, made all love him. Throughout the campaign, Lee had not
been heard to utter one harsh word; a patient forbearance and kindness
had been constantly exhibited in all his dealings with officers and
men; he was always in front, indifferent plainly to personal
danger, and the men looked now with admiring eyes and a feeling of
ever-increasing affection on the erect, soldierly figure in the plain
uniform, with scarce any indication of rank, and the calm face,
with its expression of grave dignity and composure, which remained
unchanged equally on the march and in battle. It may be said that,
when he assumed command of the army before Richmond, the troops
had taken him on trust; now they had come to love him, and when he
appeared the camps buzzed, the men ran to the road, called out to each
other: "There goes Mas' Robert!" or "Old Uncle Robert!" and cheers
followed him as he rode by.

The country generally seemed to share the opinion of the army. There
was exhibited, even at this early period of the war, by the people at
large, a very great admiration and affection for General Lee. While
in the Shenandoah Valley, where Jackson was beloved almost beyond
expression, Lee had evidences of the position which he occupied in the
eyes of the people, which must have been extremely gratifying to him.
Gray-haired men came to his camp and uttered prayers for his health
and happiness as the great leader of the South; aged ladies greeted
him with faltering expressions full of deep feeling and pathetic
earnestness; and, wherever he went, young girls and children received
him with their brightest smiles. The august fame of the great soldier,
who has now passed away, no doubt renders these memories of personal
interviews with him dear to many. Even the most trifling incidents are
cherished and kept fresh by repetition; and the writer of these
pages recalls at the moment one of these trifles, which may possibly
interest some readers. There stood and still stands an ancient and
hospitable homestead on the south bank of the Opequan, the hearts
of whose inmates, one and all, were ardently with the South in her
struggle. Soon after Sharpsburg, General Lee one day visited the old
manor-house crowning the grassy hill and overshadowed by great oaks;
Generals Jackson, Longstreet, and Stuart, accompanied him, and the
reception which he met with, though we cannot describe it, was such as
would have satisfied the most exacting. The children came to him and
held out their small hands, the ladies divided their attention between
him and the beloved "hero of the Valley," Jackson; and the lady of the
manor could only express her sense of the great honor of receiving
such company, by declaring, with a smile, that the dinner resembled
the famous _breakfast at Tillietudlem_ in Scott's "Old Mortality."
General Lee highly enjoyed this, and seemed disposed to laugh when
the curious fact was pointed out to him that he had seated himself at
table in a chair with an open-winged _United States eagle_ delineated
upon its back. The result of this visit, it appeared afterward, was a
sentiment of great regard and affection for the general personally by
all at the old country-house. Old and young were charmed by his grave
sweetness and mild courtesy, and doubtless he inspired the same
sentiment in other places.

His headquarters were at this time in a field some miles from
Winchester. An Englishman, who visited him there, described the
general and his surroundings with accuracy, and, from the account
printed in _Blackwood's Magazine_, we quote the following sentences:

"In visiting the headquarters of the Confederate generals, but
particularly those of General Lee, any one accustomed to see European
armies in the field cannot fail to be struck with the great absence
of all the 'pomp and circumstance of war' in and around their
encampments. Lee's headquarters consisted of about seven or eight
pole-tents, pitched with their backs to a stake fence, upon a piece
of ground so rocky that it was unpleasant to ride over it, its only
recommendation being a little stream of good water which flowed
close by the general's tent. In front of the tents were some three
four-wheeled wagons, drawn up without any regularity, and a number
of horses roamed loose about the field. The servants, who were, of
course, slaves, and the mounted soldiers, called 'couriers,' who
always accompany each general of division in the field, were
unprovided with tents, and slept in or under the wagons. Wagons,
tents, and some of the horses, were marked 'U.S.,' showing that
part of that huge debt in the North has gone to furnishing even the
Confederate generals with camp equipments. No guard or sentries were
to be seen in the vicinity; no crowd of aides-de-camp loitering about,
making themselves agreeable to visitors, and endeavoring to save their
generals from receiving those who had no particular business. A large
farm-house stands close by, which, in any other army, would have been
the general's residence _pro tem_., but, as no liberties are allowed
to be taken with personal property in Lee's army, he is particular in
setting a good example himself. His staff are crowded together, two or
three in a tent; none are allowed to carry more baggage than a small
box each, and his own kit is but very little larger. Every one who
approaches him does so with marked respect, although there is none
of that bowing and flourishing of forage caps which occurs in the
presence of European generals; and, while all honor him, and place
implicit faith in his courage and ability, those with whom he is most
intimate feel for him the affection of sons to a father. Old General
Scott was correct in saying that, when Lee joined the Southern cause,
it was worth as much as the accession of twenty thousand men to the
'rebels.' Since then every injury that it was possible to inflict, the
Northerners have heaped upon him. Notwithstanding all these personal
losses, however, when speaking of the Yankees, he neither evinced
any bitterness of feeling, nor gave utterance to a single violent
expression, but alluded to many of his former friends and companions
among them in the kindest terms. He spoke as a man proud of the
victories won by his country, and confident of ultimate success, under
the blessing of the Almighty, whom he glorified for past successes,
and whose aid he invoked for all future operations."

The writer adds that the troops "regarded him in the light of
infallible love," and had "a fixed and unshakable faith in all he
did--a calm confidence of victory when serving under him." The
peculiarly interesting part of this foreign testimony, however, is
that in which the writer speaks of General Lee's religious sentiment,
of his gratitude for past mercies, and prayers for the assistance of
the Almighty in the hours of conflict still to come. This point we
shall return to, endeavoring to give it that prominence which it
deserves. At present we shall leave the subject of General Lee, in
his private and personal character, and proceed to narrate the last
campaign of the year 1862.



From the central frontier of his headquarters, near Winchester, the
key of the lower Valley, General Lee was able to watch at once the
line of the Potomac in his front, beyond which lay General McClellan's
army, and the gaps of the Blue Ridge on his right, through which it
was possible for the enemy, by a rapid movement, to advance and attack
his flank and rear.

If Lee had at any time the design of recrossing into Maryland, he
abandoned it. General McClellan attributed that design to him. "I have
since been confirmed in the belief," he wrote, "that if I had crossed
the Potomac below Harper's Ferry in the early part of October, General
Lee would have recrossed into Maryland." Of Lee's ability to thus
reënter Maryland there can be no doubt. His army was rested,
provisioned, and in high spirits; the "stragglers" had rejoined their
commands, and it is certain that the order for a new advance would
have been hailed by the mercurial troops with enthusiasm. No such
order was, however, issued, and soon the approach of winter rendered
the movement impossible.

More than a month thus passed, the two armies remaining in face of
each other. No engagement of any importance occurred during this
period of inactivity, but once or twice the Federal commander sent
heavy reconnoitring forces across the Potomac; and Stuart, now
mounting to the zenith of his reputation as a cavalry-officer,
repeated his famous "ride around McClellan," on the Chickahominy.

The object of General Lee in directing this movement of the cavalry
was the ordinary one, on such occasions, of obtaining information and
inflicting injury upon the enemy. Stuart responded with ardor to the
order. He had conceived a warm affection for General Lee, mingled with
a respect for his military genius nearly unbounded, and at this time,
as always afterward, received the orders of his commander for active
operations with enthusiasm. With about eighteen hundred troopers
and four pieces of horse-artillery, Stuart crossed the Potomac above
Williamsport, marched rapidly to Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, where
he destroyed the machine-shops, and other buildings containing a large
number of arms and military stores; and continued his way thence
toward Frederick City, with the bold design of completely passing
around the Federal army, and recrossing the river east of the Blue
Ridge. In this he succeeded, thanks to his skill and audacity, in
spite of every effort of the enemy to cut off and destroy him.
Reaching White's Ford, on the Potomac, north of Leesburg, he disposed
his horse-artillery so as to cover this movement, cut his way through
the Federal cavalry disputing his passage, and recrossed into Virginia
with a large number of captured horses, and without losing a man.

This expedition excited astonishment, and a prominent officer of
the Federal army declared that he would not have believed that
"horse-flesh could stand it," as the distance passed over in about
forty-eight hours, during which considerable delay had occurred at
Chambersburg, was nearly or quite one hundred miles. General McClellan
complained that his orders had not been obeyed, and said that after
these orders he "did not think it possible for Stuart to recross," and
believed "the destruction or capture of his entire force perfectly

Soon afterward the Federal commander attempted reconnoissances in
his turn. A considerable force of infantry, supported by artillery,
crossed the Potomac and advanced to the vicinity of the little village
of Leetown, but on the same evening fell back rapidly, doubtless
fearful that Lee would interpose a force between them and the river
and cut off their retreat. This was followed by a movement of the
Federal cavalry, which crossed at the same spot and advanced up the
road leading toward Martinsburg. These were met and subsequently
driven back by Colonel W.H.F. Lee, son of the general. A third and
more important attempt to reconnoitre took place toward the end of
October. General McClellan then crossed a considerable body of troops
both at Shepherdstown and Harper's Ferry; the columns advanced to
Kearneysville and Charlestown respectively, and near the former
village a brief engagement took place, without results. General
McClellan, who had come in person as far as Charlestown, then returned
with his troops across the Potomac, and further hostilities for the
moment ceased.

These reconnoissances were the prelude, however, of an important
movement which the Federal authorities had been long urging General
McClellan to make. Although the battle of Sharpsburg had been
indecisive in one acceptation of the term, in another it had been
entirely decisive. A drawn battle of the clearest sort, it yet decided
the future movements of the opposing armies. General Lee had invaded
Maryland with the design of advancing into Pennsylvania--the result of
Sharpsburg was, that he fell back into Virginia. General McClellan
had marched from Washington with no object but an offensive-defensive
campaign to afford the capital protection; he was now enabled to
undertake anew the invasion of Virginia.

To the success of such a movement the Federal commander seems rightly
to have considered a full and complete equipment of his troops
absolutely essential. He was directed at once, after Sharpsburg, to
advance upon Lee. He replied that it was impossible, neither his men
nor his horses had shoes or rations. New orders came--General Halleck
appearing to regard the difficulties urged by General McClellan as
imaginary. New protests followed, and then new protests and new orders
again, until finally a peremptory dispatch came. This dispatch was,
"Cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him south,"
an order bearing the impress of the terse good sense and rough
directness of the Federal President. This order it was necessary in
the end to obey, and General McClellan, having decided in favor of
a movement across the Potomac east instead of west of the mountain,
proceeded, in the last days of October, to cross his army. His plan
was excellent, and is here set forth in his own words:

"The plan of campaign I adopted during this advance," he says, "was
to move the army well in hand, parallel to the Blue Ridge, taking
Warrenton as the point of direction for the main army, seizing each
pass on the Blue Ridge by detachments as we approached it, and
guarding them after we had passed, as long as they would enable the
enemy to trouble our communications with the Potomac.... We depended
upon Harper's Ferry and Berlin for supplies until the Manassas Gap
Railway was reached. When that occurred, the passes in our rear were
to be abandoned, and the army massed ready for action or movement in
any direction. It was my intention, if, upon reaching Ashby's or any
other pass, the enemy were in force between it and the Potomac, in the
Valley of the Shenandoah, to move into the Valley and endeavor to gain
their rear."

From this statement of General McClellan it will be seen that his plan
was judicious, and displayed a thorough knowledge of the country in
which he was about to operate. The conformation of the region is
peculiar. The Valley of the Shenandoah, in which Lee's army lay
waiting, is separated from "Piedmont Virginia," through which General
McClellan was about to advance, by the wooded ramparts of the Blue
Ridge Mountains, passable only at certain points. These _gaps_, as
they are called in Virginia, are the natural doorways to the Valley;
and as long as General McClellan held them, as he proposed to do,
by strong detachments, he would be able both to protect his own
communications with the Potomac, and, if he thought fit to do so,
enter the Valley and assail the Confederate rear. That he ever
seriously contemplated the latter design is, however, extremely
doubtful. It is not credible that he would have undertaken to "cut
off" Lee's whole army; and, if he designed a movement of that
description against any portion of the Southern army which might be
detached, the opportunity was certainly presented to him by Lee, when
Jackson was left, as will be seen, at Millwood.

No sooner had General McClellan commenced crossing the Potomac, east
of the mountain, than General Lee broke up his camp along the Opequan,
and moved to check this new and formidable advance into the heart of
Virginia. It was not known, however, whether the whole of the Federal
forces had crossed east of the Blue Ridge; and, to guard against a
possible movement on his rear from the direction of Harper's Ferry,
as well as on his flank through the gaps of the mountain, Lee sent
Jackson's corps to take position on the road from Charlestown to
Berryville, where he could oppose an advance of the enemy from either
direction. The rest of the army then moved guardedly, but rapidly,
across the mountain into Culpepper.

Under these circumstances, General McClellan had an excellent
opportunity to strike a heavy blow at Jackson, who seemed to invite
that movement by crossing soon afterward, in accordance with
directions from Lee, one of his divisions to the east side of the
mountain on the Federal rear. That General McClellan did not strike
is not creditable to him as a commander. The Confederate army was
certainly divided in a very tempting manner. Longstreet was in
Culpepper on the 3d of November, the day after General McClellan's
rear-guard had passed the Potomac, and nothing would seem to have been
easier than to cut the Confederate forces by interposing between them.
By seizing the Blue Ridge gaps, and thus shutting up all the avenues
of exit from the Valley, General McClellan would have had it in his
power, it would seem, to crush Jackson; or if that wily commander
escaped, Longstreet in Culpepper was exposed to attack. General
McClellan did not embrace this opportunity of a decisive blow, and Lee
seems to have calculated upon the caution of his adversary. Jackson's
presence in the Valley only embarrassed McClellan, as Lee no doubt
intended it should. No attempt was made to strike at him. On the
contrary, the Federal army continued steadily to concentrate upon
Warrenton, where, on the 7th of November, General McClellan was
abruptly relieved of the command.

He was in his tent, at Rectortown, at the moment when the dispatch was
handed to him--brought by an officer from Washington through a heavy
snow-storm then falling. General Ambrose E. Burnside was in the tent.
McClellan read the dispatch calmly, and, handing it indifferently to
his visitor, said, "Well, Burnside, you are to command the army."

Such was the abrupt termination of the military career of a commander
who fills a large space in the history of the war in Virginia. The
design of this volume is not such as to justify an extended notice of
him, or a detailed examination of his abilities as a soldier. That he
possessed military endowments of a very high order is conceded by most
persons, but his critics add that he was dangerously prone to caution
and inactivity. Such was the criticism of his enemies at Washington
and throughout the North, and his pronounced political opinions had
gained him a large number. It may, however, be permitted one who can
have no reason to unduly commend him, to say that the retreat to
James River, and the arrest of Lee in his march of invasion toward
Pennsylvania, seem to indicate the possession of something more than
"inactivity," and of that species of "caution" which achieves success.
It will probably, however, be claimed by few, even among the
personal friends of this general, that he was a soldier of the first
ability--one competent to oppose Lee.

As to the personal qualities of General McClellan, there seems to be
no difference of opinion. He was a gentleman of high breeding, and
detested all oppression of the weak and non-combatants. Somewhat prone
to _hauteur_, in presence of the importunities of the Executive and
other civilians unskilled in military affairs, he was patient, mild,
and cordial with his men. These qualities, with others which he
possessed, seem to have rendered him peculiarly acceptable to the
private soldier, and it is certain that he was, beyond comparison, the
most popular of all the generals who, one after another, commanded the
"Army of the Potomac."



In returning from the Valley, General Lee had exhibited that
combination of boldness and caution which indicates in a commander the
possession of excellent generalship.

One of two courses was necessary: either to make a rapid march with
his entire army, in order to interpose himself between General
McClellan and what seemed to be his objective point, Gordonsville; or,
to so manoeuvre his forces as to retard and embarrass his adversary.
Of these, Lee chose the latter course, exposing himself to what seemed
very great danger. Jackson was left in the Valley, and Longstreet sent
to Culpepper; under these circumstances, General McClellan might have
cut off one of the two detached bodies; but Lee seems to have read
the character of his adversary accurately, and to have felt that a
movement of such boldness would not probably be undertaken by him.
Provision had nevertheless been made for this possible contingency.
Jackson was directed by Lee, in case of an attack by General
McClellan, to retire, by way of Strasburg, up the Valley, and so
rejoin the main body. That this movement would become necessary,
however, was not, as we have said, contemplated. It was not supposed
by Lee that his adversary would adopt the bold plan of crossing the
Blue Ridge to assail Jackson; thus, to leave that commander in
the Valley, instead of being a military blunder, was a stroke of
generalship, a source of embarrassment to General McClellan, and a
standing threat against the Federal communications, calculated to clog
the movements of their army. That Lee aimed at this is obvious from
his order to Jackson to cross a division to the eastern side of the
Blue Ridge, in General McClellan's rear. When this was done, the
Federal commander abandoned, if he had ever resolved upon, the design
of striking in between the Confederate detachments, as is claimed
by his admirers to have been his determination; gave up all idea of
"moving into the Valley and endeavoring to gain their rear;" and from
that moment directed his whole attention to the concentration of his
army near Warrenton, with the obvious view of establishing a new
base, and operating southward on the line of the Orange and Alexandria

Lee's object in these manoeuvres, besides the general one of
embarrassing his adversary, seems to have been to gain time, and thus
to render impossible, from the lateness of the season, a Federal
advance upon Richmond. Had General McClellan remained in command, it
is probable that this object would have been attained, and the battle
of Fredericksburg would not have taken place. The two armies would
have lain opposite each other in Culpepper and Fauquier respectively,
with the Upper Rappahannock between them throughout the winter; and
the Confederate forces, weary and worn by the long marches and hard
combats of 1862, would have had the opportunity to rest and recover
their energies for the coming spring.

The change of commanders defeated these views, if they were
entertained by General Lee. On assuming command, General Burnside
conceived the project, in spite of the near approach of winter, of
crossing the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, and marching on Richmond.
This he now proceeded to attempt, by steadily moving from Warrenton
toward the Lower Rappahannock, and the result, as will be seen, was a
Federal disaster to wind up this "year of battles."

We have spoken with some particularity of the character and military
abilities of General McClellan, the first able commander of the
Federal forces in Virginia. Of General Burnside, who appears but
once, and for a brief space only, on that great theatre, it will be
necessary to say only a few words. A modest and honorable soldier,
cherishing for General McClellan a cordial friendship, he was
unwilling to supersede that commander, both from personal regard and
distrust of his own abilities. He had not sought the position, which
had rather been thrust upon him. He was "surprised" and "shocked," he
said, at his assignment to the command; he "did not want it, it had
been offered to him twice before, and he did not feel that he could
take it; he had told them that he was not competent to command such
an army as this; he had said the same over and over again to the
President and the Secretary of War." He was, however, directed to
assume command, accepted the responsibility, and proceeded to
carry out the unexpected plan of advancing upon Richmond by way of

To cover this movement, General Burnside made a heavy feint as though
designing to cross into Culpepper. This does not seem to have deceived
Lee, who, on the 17th of November, knew that his adversary was moving.
No sooner had the fact been discovered that General Burnside was
making for Fredericksburg, than the Confederate commander, by a
corresponding movement, passed the Rapidan and hastened in the same
direction. As early as the 17th, two divisions of infantry, with
cavalry and artillery, were in motion. On the morning of the 19th,
Longstreet's corps was sent in the same direction; and when, on
November 20th, General Burnside arrived with his army, the Federal
forces drawn up on the hills north of Fredericksburg saw, on the
highlands south of the city, the red flags and gray lines of their old

As General Jackson had been promptly directed to join the main body,
and was already moving to do so, Lee would soon be able to oppose
General Burnside with his whole force.

Such were the movements of the opposing armies which brought them face
to face at Fredericksburg. Lee had acted promptly, and, it would seem,
with good judgment; but the question has been asked, why he did not
repeat against General Burnside the strategic movement which
had embarrassed General McClellan, and arrest the march upon
Fredericksburg by threatening, with the detachment under Jackson,
the Federal rear. The reasons for not adopting this course will be
perceived by a glance at the map. General Burnside was taking up a
new base--Aquia Creek on the Potomac--and, from the character of the
country, it was wholly impossible for Lee to prevent him from doing
so. He had only to fall back before Jackson, or any force moving
against his flank or rear; the Potomac was at hand, and it was not
in the power of Lee to further annoy him. The latter accordingly
abandoned all thought of repeating his old manoeuvre, moved Longstreet
and the other troops in Culpepper toward Fredericksburg, and,
directing Jackson to join him there, thus concentrated his forces
directly in the Federal front with the view of fighting a pitched
battle, army against army.

This detailed account of Lee's movements may appear tedious to some
readers, but it was rather in grand tactics than in fighting battles
that he displayed his highest abilities as a soldier. He uniformly
adopted the broadest and most judicious plan to bring on battle, and
personally directed, as far as was possible, every detail of his
movements. When the hour came, it may be said of him that he felt he
had done his best--the actual fighting was left largely in the hands
of his corps commanders.

The feints and slight encounters preceding the battle of
Fredericksburg are not of much interest or importance. General
Burnside sent a force to Port Royal, about twenty-five miles below the
city, but Lee promptly detached a portion of his army to meet it, if
it attempted to cross, and that project was abandoned. No attempt was
made by General Burnside to cross above, and it became obvious that he
must pass the river in face of Lee or not at all.

Such was the condition of affairs at Fredericksburg in the first days
of December.



To a correct understanding of the interesting battle of
Fredericksburg, a brief description of the ground is essential.

The city lies on the south bank of the Rappahannock, which here makes
a considerable bend nearly southward; and along the northern bank,
opposite, extends a range of hills which command the city and the
level ground around it. South of the river the land is low, but from
the depth of the channel forms a line of bluffs, affording good
shelter to troops after crossing to assail a force beyond. The only
good position for such a force, standing on the defensive, is a range
of hills hemming in the level ground. This range begins near the
western suburbs of the city, where it is called "Marye's Hill," and
sweeps round to the southward, gradually receding from the stream,
until, at Hamilton's Crossing, on the Richmond and Potomac Railroad, a
mile or more from the river, it suddenly subsides into the plain. This
plain extends to the right, and is bounded by the deep and difficult
channel of Massaponnax Creek. As Marye's Hill is the natural position
for the left of an army posted to defend Fredericksburg, the crest
above Hamilton's Crossing is the natural position for the right
of such a line, care being taken to cover the extreme right with
artillery, to obstruct the passage of the ground between the crest and
the Massaponnax.

[Illustration: Map--Battle of Fredericksburg.]

Behind the hills on the north side General Burnside's army was posted,
having the railroad to Aquia Creek for the transportation of their
supplies. On the range of hills which we have described south of the
city, General Lee was stationed, the same railroad connecting him with
Richmond. Longstreet's corps composed his left wing, and extended
from Marye's Hill to about the middle of the range of hills. There
Jackson's line began, forming the right wing, and extending to the
termination of the range at Hamilton's Crossing. On Jackson's right,
to guard the plain reaching to the Massaponnax, Stuart was posted with
cavalry and artillery.

The numbers of the adversaries at Fredericksburg can be stated with
accuracy upon one side, but not upon the other. General Lee's force
may be said to have been, in round numbers, about fifty thousand of
all arms. It could scarcely have exceeded that, unless he received
heavy reënforcements after Sharpsburg; and the present writer
has never heard or read that he received reënforcements of any
description. The number, fifty thousand, thus seems to have been the
full amount of the army. That of General Burnside's forces seems to
have been considerably larger. The Federal army consisted of the
First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Eleventh Corps; the
latter a corps of reserve and large. If these had been recruited to
the full number reported by General McClellan at Sharpsburg, and the
additional troops (Fifth and Eleventh Corps) be estimated, the Federal
army must have exceeded one hundred thousand men. This estimate is
borne out by Federal authorities. "General Franklin," says a Northern
writer, "had now with him about one-half the whole army;" and General
Meade says that Franklin's force "amounted to from fifty-five thousand
to sixty thousand men," which would seem to indicate that the whole
army numbered from one hundred and ten thousand to one hundred and
twenty thousand men.

A strong position was obviously essential to render it possible for
the Southern army, of about fifty thousand men, to successfully oppose
the advance of this force of above one hundred thousand. Lee had found
this position, and constructed earthworks for artillery, with the view
of receiving the attack of the enemy after their crossing. He was
unable to obstruct this crossing in any material degree; and he states
clearly the grounds of this inability. "The plain of Fredericksburg,"
he says, "is so completely commanded by the Stafford heights, that no
effectual opposition could be made to the construction of bridges,
or the passage of the river, without exposing our troops to the
destructive fire of the numerous batteries of the enemy.... Our
position was, therefore, selected with a view to resist the enemy's
advance after crossing, and the river was guarded only by a
force sufficient to impede his movements until the army could be

The brief description we have presented of the character of the ground
around Fredericksburg, and the position of the adversaries, will
sufficiently indicate the conditions under which the battle was
fought. Both armies seem to have been in excellent spirits. That of
General Burnside had made a successful march, during which they had
scarcely seen an enemy, and now looked forward, probably, to certain
if not easy victory. General Lee's army, in like manner, had undergone
recently no peculiar hardships in marching or fighting; and, to
whatever cause the fact may be attributed, was in a condition of the
highest efficiency. The men seemed to be confident of the result of
the coming conflict, and, in their bivouacs on the line of battle, in
the woods fringing the ridge which they occupied, laughed, jested,
cheered, on the slightest provocation, and, instead of shrinking from,
looked forward with eagerness to, the moment when General Burnside
would advance to attack them. This buoyant and elastic spirit in the
Southern troops was observable on the eve of nearly every battle of
the war. Whether it was due to the peculiar characteristics of the
race, or to other causes, we shall not pause here to inquire; but the
fact was plain to the most casual observation, and was never more
striking than just before Fredericksburg, unless just preceding the
battle of Gettysburg.

Nothing of any importance occurred, from the 20th of November, when
General Burnside's army was concentrated on the heights north of
Fredericksburg, until the 11th of December, when the Federal army
began crossing the Rappahannock to deliver battle. Lee's reasons for
not attempting to resist the passage of the river have been given
above. The plain on which it would have been necessary to draw up
his army, in order to do so, was too much exposed to the numerous
artillery of the enemy on the northern bank. Lee resolved, therefore,
not to oppose the crossing of the Federal troops, but to await their
assault on the commanding ground west and south of the city.

On the morning of December 11th, before dawn, the dull boom of Lee's
signal-guns indicated that the enemy were moving, and the Southern
troops formed line of battle to meet the coming attack. General
Burnside had made arrangements to cross the river on pontoon bridges,
one opposite the city, and another a mile or two lower down the
stream. General Franklin, commanding the two corps of the left Grand
Division, succeeded, without trouble, in laying the lower bridge, as
the ground did not permit Lee to offer material obstruction; and this
large portion of the army was now ready to cross. The passage of the
stream at Fredericksburg was more difficult. Although determined not
to make a serious effort to prevent the enemy from crossing, General
Lee had placed two regiments of Barksdale's Mississippians along the
bank of the river, in the city, to act as sharp-shooters, and impede
the construction of the pontoon bridges, with the view, doubtless, of
thus giving time to marshal his troops. The success of this device
was considerable. The workmen, busily engaged in laying the Federal
pontoons, were so much interrupted by the fire of the Confederate
marksmen--who directed their aim through the heavy fog by the noise
made in putting together the boats--that, after losing a number of
men, the Federal commander discontinued his attempt. It was renewed
again and again, without success, as before, when, provoked apparently
by the presence of this hornet's nest, which reversed all his plans,
General Burnside, about ten o'clock, opened a furious fire of
artillery upon the city. The extent of this bombardment will be
understood from the statement that one hundred and forty-seven pieces
of artillery were employed, which fired seven thousand three hundred
and fifty rounds of ammunition, in one instance piercing a single
small house with fifty round-shot. An eye-witness of this scene says:
"The enemy had planted more than a hundred pieces of artillery on the
hills to the northern and eastern sides of the town, and, from an
early hour in the forenoon, swept the streets with round-shot, shell,
and case-shot, firing frequently a hundred guns a minute. The quick
puffs of smoke, touched in the centre with tongues of flame, ran
incessantly along the lines of their batteries on the slopes, and,
as the smoke slowly drifted away, the bellowing roar came up in one
continuous roll. The town was soon fired, and a dense cloud of smoke
enveloped its roofs and steeples. The white church-spires still rose
serenely aloft, defying shot or shell, though a portion of one of them
was torn off. The smoke was succeeded by lurid flame, and the crimson
mass brought to mind the pictures of Moscow burning." The same writer
says: "Men, women, and children, were driven from the town, and
hundreds of ladies and children were seen wandering, homeless, and
without shelter, over the frozen highway, in thin clothing, knowing
not where to find a place of refuge."

[Illustration: FREDERICKSBURG]

General Lee watched this painful spectacle from a redoubt to the right
of the telegraph road, not far from his centre, where a shoulder
jutting out from the ridge, and now called "Lee's Hill," afforded
him a clear view of the city. The destruction of the place, and the
suffering of the inhabitants, aroused in him a deep melancholy,
mingled with exasperation, and his comment on the scene was probably
as bitter as any speech which he uttered during the whole war.
Standing, wrapped in his cape, with only a few officers near, he
looked fixedly at the flames rising from the city, and, after
remaining for a long time silent, said, in his grave, deep voice:
"These people delight to destroy the weak, and those who can make no
defence; it just suits them."

General Burnside continued the bombardment for some hours, the
Mississippians still holding the river-bank and preventing the laying
of the pontoons, which was again begun and again discontinued. At
about four in the afternoon, however, a force was sent across in
barges, and by nightfall the city was evacuated by Lee, and General
Burnside proceeded rapidly to lay his pontoon bridge, upon which his
army then began to pass over. The crossing continued throughout the
next day, not materially obstructed by the fire of Lee's artillery,
as a dense fog rendered the aim of the cannoneers unreliable. By
nightfall (of the 12th) the Federal army was over, with the exception
of General Hooker's Centre Grand Division, which was held in reserve
on the north bank. General Burnside then proceeded to form his line of
battle. It stretched from the western suburbs of Fredericksburg down
the river, along what is called the River road, for a distance of
about four miles, and consisted of the Right Grand Division, under
General Sumner, at the city, and the Left Grand Division, under
General Franklin, lower down, and opposite Lee's right. General
Franklin's Grand Division numbered, according to General Meade, from
fifty-five to sixty thousand men; the numbers of Generals Sumner and
Hooker are not known to the present writer, but are said by Federal
authorities, as we have stated, to have amounted together to about the

At daybreak, on the morning of December 13th, a muffled sound, issuing
from the dense fog covering the low ground, indicated that the Federal
lines were preparing to advance.

To enable the reader to understand General Burnside's plan of attack,
it is necessary that brief extracts should be presented from his
orders on the occasion, and from his subsequent testimony before the
committee on the conduct of the war. Despite the length of time since
his arrival at Fredericksburg--a period of more than three weeks--the
Federal commander had, it appears, been unable to obtain full and
accurate information of the character of the ground occupied by Lee,
and thus moved very much in the dark. He seems to have formed his plan
of attack in consequence of information from "a colored man." His
words are: "The enemy had cut a road along in the rear of the line of
heights where we made our attack.... I obtained, from a colored man
at the other side of the town, information in regard to this new road
which proved to be correct. I wanted to obtain possession of that
new road, and that was my reason for making an attack on the extreme
left." It is difficult for those familiar with the ground referred to,
to understand how this "new road," a mere country bridle-path, as it
were, extending along in the rear of Lee's right wing, could have been
regarded as a topographical feature of any importance. The road,
which remains unchanged, and may be seen by any one to-day, was
insignificant in a military point of view, and, in attaching such
importance to seizing it, the Federal commander committed a grave

What seems to have been really judicious in his plan, was the turning
movement determined on against Lee's right, along the old Richmond
road, running from the direction of the river past the end of the
ridge occupied by the Confederates, and so southward. To break through
at this point was the only hope of success, and General Burnside had
accordingly resolved, he declared, upon "a rapid movement down the old
Richmond road" with Franklin's large command. Unfortunately, however,
this wise design was complicated with another, most unwise, to send
forward _a division_, first, to seize the crest of the ridge near the
point where it sinks into the plain. On this crest were posted the
veterans of Jackson, commanded in person by that skilful soldier.
Three lines of infantry, supported by artillery, were ready to receive
the Federal attack, and, to force back this stubborn obstacle, General
Burnside sent a division. The proof is found in his order to General
Franklin at about six o'clock on the morning of the battle: "Send
out a division at least ... to seize, if possible, the heights near
Captain Hamilton's," which was the ground whereon Jackson's right

An attack on the formidable position known as Marye's Hill, on Lee's
left, west of Fredericksburg, was also directed to be made by the same
small force. The order to General Sumner was to "form a column of
_a division_, for the purpose of pushing in the direction of the
Telegraph and Plank roads, for the purpose of seizing the heights in
the rear of the town;" or, according to another version, "up the Plank
road to its intersection with the Telegraph road, where they will
divide, with the object of seizing the heights on both sides of those

The point of "intersection" here referred to was the locality of what
has been called "that sombre, fatal, terrible stone wall," just under
Marye's Hill, where the most fearful slaughter of the Federal forces
took place. Marye's Hill is a strong position, and its importance was
well understood by Lee. Longstreet's infantry was in heavy line of
battle behind it, and the crest bristled with artillery. There was
still less hope here of effecting any thing with "a division" than on
the Confederate right held by Jackson.

General Burnside seems, however, to have regarded success as probable.
He added in his order: "Holding these heights, with the heights near
Captain Hamilton's, will, I hope, compel the enemy to evacuate the
whole ridge between these points." In his testimony afterward, he said
that, in the event of failure in these assaults on Lee's flanks, he
"proposed to make a direct attack on their front, and drive them out
of their works."

These extracts from General Burnside's orders and testimony clearly
indicate his plan, which was to assail both Lee's right and left, and,
in the event of failure, direct a heavy blow at his centre. That the
whole plan completely failed was mainly due, it would seem, to the
inconsiderable numbers of the assaulting columns.

We return now to the narrative of the battle which these comments have

General Lee was ready to receive the Federal attack, and, at an early
hour of the morning, rode from his headquarters, in rear of his
centre, along his line of battle toward the right, where he probably
expected the main assault of the enemy to take place. He was clad in
his plain, well-worn gray uniform, with felt hat, cavalry-boots, and
short cape, without sword, and almost without any indications of his
rank. In these outward details, he differed much from Generals Jackson
and Stuart, who rode with him. The latter, as was usual with him, wore
a fully-decorated uniform, sash, black plume, sabre, and handsome
gauntlets. General Jackson, also, on this day, chanced to have
exchanged his dingy old coat and sun-scorched cadet-cap for a new
coat[1] covered with dazzling buttons, and a cap brilliant with a
broad band of gold lace, in which (for him) extraordinary disguise his
men scarcely knew him.

[Footnote 1: This coat was a present from Stuart.]

As Lee and his companions passed along in front of the line of battle,
the troops cheered them. It was evident that the army was in excellent
spirits, and ready for the hard work which the day would bring. Lee
proceeded down the old Richmond, or stage road--that mentioned in
General Burnside's order as the one over which his large flanking
column was to move--and rode on with Stuart until he was near the
River road, running toward Fredericksburg, parallel to the Federal
line of battle. Here he stopped, and endeavored to make out, through
the dense fog covering the plain, whether the Federal forces were
moving. A stifled hum issued from the mist, but nothing could be seen.
It seemed, however, that the enemy's skirmishers--probably concealed
in the ditches along the River road--had sharper eyes, as bullets
began to whistle around the two generals, and soon a number of black
specks were seen moving forward. General Lee remained for some time
longer, in spite of the exposure, conversing with great calmness and
gravity with Stuart, who was all ardor. He then rode back slowly,
passed along his line of battle, greeted wherever he was seen with
cheers, and took his position on the eminence in his centre, near the
Telegraph road, the same commanding point from which he had witnessed
the bombardment of Fredericksburg.

The battle did not commence until ten o'clock, owing to the dense fog,
through which the light of the sun could scarcely pierce. At that hour
the mist lifted and rolled away, and the Confederates posted on the
ridge saw a heavy column of infantry advancing to attack their right,
near the Hamilton House. This force was Meade's division, supported
by Gibbon's, with a third in reserve, General Franklin having put in
action as many troops as his orders ("a division at least") permitted.
General Meade was arrested for some time by a minute but most annoying
obstacle. Stuart had placed a single piece of artillery, under Major
John Pelham, near the point where the old Richmond and River roads
meet--that is, directly on the flank of the advancing column--and this
gun now opened a rapid and determined fire upon General Meade. Major
Pelham--almost a boy in years--continued to hold his exposed position
with great gallantry, although the enemy opened fire upon him with
several batteries, killing a number of his gunners. General Lee
witnessed this duel from the hill on which he had taken his stand, and
is said to have exclaimed, "It is glorious to see such courage in one
so young!" [Footnote: General Lee's opinion of Major Pelham appears
from his report, in which he styles the young officer "the gallant
Pelham," and says: "Four batteries immediately turned upon him, but
he sustained their heavy fire with the unflinching courage that ever
distinguished him." Pelham fell at Kelly's Ford in March, 1863.]

Pelham continued the cannonade for about two hours, only retiring when
he received a peremptory order from Jackson to do so; and it would
seem that this one gun caused a considerable delay in the attack.
"Meade advanced across the plain, but had not proceeded far," says Mr.
Swinton, "before he was compelled to stop and silence a battery that
Stuart had posted on the Port Royal road." Having brushed away this
annoying obstacle, General Meade, with a force which he states to have
amounted to ten thousand men, advanced rapidly to attack the hill upon
which the Confederates awaited him. He was suffered to approach within
a few hundred yards, when Jackson's artillery, under Colonel Walker,
posted near the end of the ridge, opened a sudden and furious fire,
which threw the Federal line into temporary confusion. The troops soon
rallied, however, and advanced again to the attack, which fell on
Jackson's front line under A.P. Hill. The struggle which now ensued
was fierce and bloody, but, a gap having been left between the
brigades of Archer and Lane, the enemy pierced the opening, turning
the left of one brigade and the right of the other, pressed on,
attacked Gregg's brigade of Hill's reserve, threw it into confusion,
and seemed about to carry the crest. Gregg's brigade was quickly
rallied, however, by its brave commander, who soon afterward fell,
mortally wounded; the further progress of the enemy was checked, and,
Jackson's second line rapidly advancing, the enemy were met and forced
back, step by step, until they were driven down the slope again. Here
they were attacked by the brigades of Hoke and Atkinson, and driven
beyond the railroad, the Confederates cheering and following them into
the plain. The repulse had been complete, and the slope and ground
in front of it were strewed with Federal dead. They had returned as
rapidly as they had charged, pursued by shot and shell, and General
Lee, witnessing the spectacle from his hill, murmured, in his grave
and measured voice: "It is well this is so terrible! we should grow
too fond of it!"

The assault on the Confederate right had thus ended in disaster, but
almost immediately another attack took place, whose results were more
bloody and terrible still. As General Meade fell back, pursued by the
men of Jackson, the sudden roar of artillery from the Confederate left
indicated that a heavy conflict had begun in that quarter. The Federal
troops were charging Marye's Hill, which was to prove the Cemetery
Hill of Fredericksburg. This frightful charge--for no other adjective
can describe it--was made by General French's division, supported by
General Hancock. The Federal troops rushed forward over the broken
ground in the suburbs of the city, and, "as soon as the masses became
dense enough,"[1] were received with a concentrated artillery fire
from the hill in front of them. This fire was so destructive that it
"made gaps that could be seen at the distance of a mile." The charging
division had advanced in column of brigades, and the front was nearly
destroyed. The troops continued to move forward, however, and had
nearly reached the base of the hill, when the brigades of Cobb and
Cooke, posted behind a stone wall running parallel with the Telegraph
road, met them with a sudden fire of musketry, which drove them back
in terrible disorder. Nearly half the force was killed or lay disabled
on the field, and upon the survivors, now in full retreat, was
directed a concentrated artillery-fire from, the hill.

[Footnote 1: Longstreet.]

In face of this discharge of cannon, General Hancock's force,
supporting French, now gallantly advanced in its turn. The charge
lasted about fifteen minutes, and in that time General Hancock lost
more than two thousand of the five thousand men of his command. The
repulse was still more bloody and decisive than the first. The second
column fell back in disorder, leaving the ground covered with their

General Burnside had hitherto remained at the "Phillips House," a mile
or more from the Rappahannock. He now mounted his horse, and, riding
down to the river, dismounted, walked up and down in great agitation,
and exclaimed, looking at Marye's Hill: "That crest must be carried

[Footnote 1: The authority for this incident is Mr. William Swinton,
who was present.]

In spite of the murderous results of the first charges, the Federal
commander determined on a third. General Hooker's reserve was ordered
to make it, and, although that officer protested against it, General
Burnside was immovable, and repeated his order. General Hooker
sullenly obeyed, and opened with artillery upon the stone wall at the
foot of the hill, in order to make a breach in it. This fire continued
until nearly sunset, when Humphrey's division was formed for the
charge. The men were ordered to throw aside their knapsacks, and not
to load their guns, "for there was no time there to load and fire,"
says General Hooker. The word was given about sunset, and the division
charged headlong over the ground already covered with dead. A few
words will convey the result. Of four thousand men who charged,
seventeen hundred and sixty were left dead or wounded on the field.
The rest retreated, pursued by the fire of the batteries and infantry;
and night fell on the battle-field.

This charge was the real termination of the bloody battle of
Fredericksburg, but, on the Confederate right, Jackson had planned and
begun to execute a decisive advance on the force in his front. This he
designed to undertake "precisely at sunset," and his intention was
to depend on the bayonet, his military judgment or instinct having
satisfied him that the _morale_ of the Federal army was destroyed. The
advance was discontinued, however, in consequence of the lateness of
the hour and the sudden artillery-fire which saluted him as he began
to move. A striking feature of this intended advance is the fact that
Jackson had placed his artillery _in front_ of his line of battle,
intending to attack in that manner.

As darkness settled down, the last guns of Stuart, who had defended
the Confederate right flank with about thirty pieces of artillery,
were heard far in advance, and apparently advancing still. The Federal
lines had fallen back, wellnigh to the banks of the river, and there
seems little room to doubt that the _morale_ of the men was seriously
impaired. "From what I knew of our want of success upon the right,"
says General Franklin, when interrogated on this point, "and the
demoralized condition of the troops upon the right and centre, as
represented to me by their commanders, I confess I believe the order
to recross was a very proper one."

General Burnside refused to give the order; and, nearly overwhelmed,
apparently, by the fatal result of the attack, determined to form the
ninth corps in column of regiments, and lead it in person against
Marye's Hill, on the next morning. Such a design, in a soldier of
ability, indicates desperation. To charge Marye's Hill with a corps in
column of regiments, was to devote the force to destruction. It was
nearly certain that the whole command would be torn to pieces by the
Southern artillery, but General Burnside seems to have regarded the
possession of the hill as worth any amount of blood; and, in face of
the urgent appeals of his officers, gave orders for the movement. At
the last moment, however, he yielded to the entreaties of General
Sumner, and abandoned his bloody design.

Still it seemed that the Federal commander was unable to come to the
mortifying resolution of recrossing the Rappahannock. The battle
was fought on the 13th of December, and until the night of the 15th
General Burnside continued to face Lee on the south bank of the
river--his bands playing, his flags flying, and nothing indicating an
intention of retiring. To that resolve he had however come, and on the
night of the 15th, in the midst of storm and darkness, the Federal
army recrossed to the north bank of the Rappahannock.


The battle of Fredericksburg was another defeat of the Federal
programme of invasion, as decisive, and in one sense as disastrous, as
the second battle of Manassas. General Burnside had not lost as many
men as General Pope, and had not retreated in confusion, pursued by a
victorious enemy; but, brief as the conflict had been--two or three
hours summing up all the real fighting--its desperate character, and
the evident hopelessness of any attempt to storm Lee's position,
profoundly discouraged and demoralized the Northern troops. We have
quoted the statement of General Franklin, commanding the whole left
wing, that from "the demoralized condition of the troops upon the
right and centre, as represented to him by their commanders, he
believed the order to recross was a very proper one." Nor is there
any ground to suppose that the feeling of the left wing was greatly
better. That wing of the army had not suffered as heavily as the
right, which had recoiled with such frightful slaughter from Marye's
Hill; but the repulse of General Meade in their own front had been
equally decisive, and the non-success of the right must have reacted
on the left, discouraging that also. Northern writers, in a position
to ascertain the condition of the troops, fully bear out this view:
"That the _morale_ of the Army of the Potomac became seriously
impaired after the disaster at Fredericksburg," says Mr. Swinton, the
able and candid historian of the campaign, "was only too manifest.
Indeed, it would be impossible to imagine a graver or gloomier, a more
sombre or unmusical body of men than the Army of the Potomac a month
after the battle. And, as the days went by, despondency, discontent,
and all evil inspirations, with their natural consequent, desertion,
seemed to increase rather than to diminish, until, for the first time,
the Army of the Potomac could be said to be really demoralized."
General Sumner noticed that a spirit of "croaking" had become diffused
throughout the forces. For an army to display that tendency clearly
indicates that the troops have lost the most important element of
victory--confidence in themselves and their leader. And for this
sentiment there was valid reason. Columns wholly inadequate in numbers
had been advanced against the formidable Confederate positions,
positions so strong and well defended that it is doubtful if thrice
the force could have made any impression upon them, and the result
was such as might have been expected. The men lost confidence in the
military capacity of their commander, and in their own powers. After
the double repulse at Marye's Hill and in front of Jackson, the
troops, looking at the ground strewed with dead and wounded, were
in no condition to go forward hopefully to another struggle which
promised to be equally bloody.

The Southern army was naturally in a condition strongly in contrast
with that of their adversary. They had repulsed the determined assault
of the Federal columns with comparative ease on both flanks. Jackson's
first line, although pierced and driven back, soon rallied, and
checked the enemy until the second line came up, when General Meade
was driven back, the third line not having moved from its position
along the road near the Hamilton House. On the left, Longstreet had
repulsed the Federal charge with his artillery and two small brigades.
The loss of the Confederates in both these encounters was much
less than that of their adversaries[1], a natural result of the
circumstances; and thus, instead of sharing the depression of their
opponents, the Southern troops were elated, and looked forward to
a renewal of the battle with confidence in themselves and in their

[Footnote 1: "Our loss during the operation, since the movements
of the enemy began, amounts to about eighteen hundred killed and
wounded."--_Lee's Report_. Federal authorities state the Northern loss
at a little over twelve thousand; the larger part, no doubt, in the
attack on Marye's Hill.]

It is not necessary to offer much comment upon the manner in which
General Burnside had attacked. He is said, by his critics, not to
have, at the time, designed the turning movement against General Lee's
right, upon which point the present writer is unable to decide. That
movement would seem to have presented the sole and only chance of
success for the Federal arms, as the successful advance of General
Franklin's fifty-five or sixty thousand men up the old Richmond road
would have compelled Lee to retire his whole right wing, to protect it
from an assault in flank and reverse. What dispositions he would have
made under these circumstances must be left to conjecture; but, it is
certain that the blow would have proved a serious one, calling for the
display of all his military ability. In the event, however, that this
was the main great aim of General Burnside, his method of carrying out
his design insured, it would seem, its failure. Ten thousand men only
were to clear the way for the flanking movement, in order to effect
which object it was necessary to crush Jackson. So that it may be said
that the success of the plan involved the repulse of one-half Lee's
army with ten thousand men.

The assault on Marye's Hill was an equally fatal military mistake.
That the position could not be stormed, is proved by the result of the
actual attempt. It is doubtful if, in any battle ever fought by any
troops, men displayed greater gallantry. They rushed headlong, not
only once, but thrice, into the focus of a frightful front and cross
fire of artillery and small-arms, losing nearly half their numbers in
a few minutes; the ground was littered with their dead, and yet the
foremost had only been able to approach within sixty yards of the
terrible stone wall in advance of the hill. There they fell, throwing
up their hands to indicate that they saw at last that the attempt to
carry the hill was hopeless.

These comments seem justified by the circumstances, and are made with
no intention of casting obloquy upon the commander who, displaying
little ability, gave evidences of unfaltering courage. He had urged
his inability to handle so large an army, but the authorities had
forced the command upon him; he had accepted it and done his best,
and, like a brave soldier, determined to lead the final charge in
person, dying, if necessary, at the head of his men.

General Lee has not escaped criticism any more than General Burnside.
The Southern people were naturally dissatisfied with the result--the
safe retreat of the Federal army--and asked why they had not been
attacked and captured or destroyed. The London _Times_, at that
period, and a military critic recently, in the same journal, declared
that Lee had it in his power to crush General Burnside, "horse, foot,
and dragoons," and, from his failure to do so, argued his want of
great generalship. A full discussion of the question is left by the
present writer to those better skilled than himself in military
science. It is proper, however, to insert here General Lee's own
explanation of his action:

"The attack on the 13th," he says, "had been so easily repulsed, and
by so small a part of our army, that it was not supposed the enemy
would limit his efforts to one attempt, which, in view of the
magnitude of his preparations, and the extent of his force, seemed to
be comparatively insignificant. Believing, therefore, that he would
attack us, it was not deemed expedient to lose the advantages of
our position and expose the troops to the fire of his inaccessible
batteries beyond the river, by advancing against him. But we were
necessarily ignorant of the extent to which he had suffered, and only
became aware of it when, on the morning of the 16th, it was discovered
that he had availed himself of the darkness of night, and the
prevalence of a violent storm of wind and rain, to recross the river."

This statement was no doubt framed by General Lee to meet the
criticisms which the result of the battle occasioned. In conversing
with General Stuart on the subject, he added that he felt too great
responsibility for the preservation of his troops to unnecessarily
hazard them. "No one knows," he said, "how _brittle_ an army is."

The word may appear strange, applied to the Army of Northern Virginia,
which had certainly vindicated its claim, under many arduous trials,
to the virtues of toughness and endurance. But Lee's meaning was
plain, and his view seems to have been founded on good sense. The
enemy had in all, probably, two hundred pieces of artillery, a large
portion of which were posted on the high ground north of the river.
Had Lee descended from his ridge and advanced into the plain to
attack, this large number of guns would have greeted him with a rapid
and destructive fire, which must have inflicted upon him a loss as
nearly heavy as he had inflicted upon General Burnside at Marye's
Hill. From such a result he naturally shrunk. It has been seen that
the Federal troops, brave as they were, had been demoralized by such
a fire; and Lee was unwilling to expose his own troops to similar

There is little question, it seems, that an advance of the description
mentioned would have resulted in a conclusive victory, and the
probable surrender of the whole or a large portion of the Federal
army. Whether the probability of such a result was sufficient to
compensate for the certain slaughter, the reader will decide for
himself. General Lee did not think so, and did not order the advance.
He preferred awaiting, in his strong position, the second assault
which General Burnside would probably make; and, while he thus waited,
the enemy secretly recrossed the river, rendering an attack upon them
by Lee impossible.

General Burnside made a second movement to cross the
Rappahannock--this time at Banks's Ford, above Fredericksburg--in the
inclement month of January; but, as he might have anticipated, the
condition of the roads was such that it was impossible to advance. His
artillery, with the horses dragging the pieces, sank into the almost
bottomless mud, where they stuck fast--even the foot-soldiers found it
difficult to march through the quagmire--and the whole movement was
speedily abandoned.

When General Burnside issued the order for this injudicious advance,
two of his general officers met, and one asked:

"What do you think of it?"

"It don't seem to have the _ring_" was the reply.

"No--the bell is broken," the other added.

This incident, which is given on the authority of a Northern writer,
probably conveys a correct idea of the feeling of both the
officers and men of General Burnside's army. The disastrous day of
Fredericksburg had seriously injured the troops.

"The Army of the Potomac," the writer adds, "was sadly fractured, and
its tones had no longer the clear, inspiring ring of victory."



The stormy year 1862 had terminated, thus, in a great Confederate
success. In its arduous campaigns, following each other in rapid
succession, General Lee had directed the movements of the main great
army, and the result of the year's fighting was to gain him that high
military reputation which his subsequent movements only consolidated
and increased.

A rapid glance at the events of the year in their general outlines
will indicate the merit due the Southern commander. The Federal plan
of invasion in the spring had been extremely formidable. Virginia was
to be pierced by no less than four armies--from the northwest, the
Shenandoah Valley, the Potomac, and the Peninsula--the whole force to
converge upon Richmond, the "heart of the rebellion." Of these, the
army of General McClellan was the largest and most threatening. It
advanced, with little opposition, until it reached the Chickahominy,
crossed, and lay in sight of Richmond. The great force of one hundred
and fifty thousand men was about to make the decisive assault, when
Lee attacked it, and the battle which ensued drove the Federal army
to a point thirty miles from the city, with such loss as to render
hopeless any further attempt to assail the capital.

Such was the first act of the drama; the rest speedily followed. A new
army was raised promptly by the Federal authorities, and a formidable
advance was made against Richmond again, this time from the direction
of Alexandria. Lee was watching General McClellan when intelligence of
the new movement reached him. Remaining, with a portion of his troops,
near Richmond, he sent Jackson to the Rapidan. The battle of Cedar
Mountain resulted in the repulse of General Pope's vanguard; and,
discovering at last that the real danger lay in the direction of
Culpepper, Lee moved thither, drove back General Pope, flanked him,
and, in the severe battle of Manassas, routed his army, which was
forced to retire upon Washington.

Two armies had thus been driven from the soil of Virginia, and the
Confederate commander had moved into Maryland, in order to draw the
enemy thither, and, if practicable, transfer the war to the heart of
Pennsylvania. Unforeseen circumstances had defeated the latter of
these objects. The concentration on Sharpsburg was rendered necessary;
an obstinately-fought battle ensued there; and, not defeated, but
forced to abandon further movements toward Pennsylvania, Lee had
retired into Virginia, where he remained facing his adversary. This
was the first failure of Lee up to that point in the campaigns of the
year; and an attentive consideration of the circumstances will show
that the result was not fairly attributable to any error which he
had committed. Events beyond his control had shaped his action, and
directed all his movements; and it will remain a question whether the
extrication of his small force from its difficult position did not
better prove Lee's generalship than the victory at Manassas.

The subsequent operations of the opposing armies indicated clearly
that the Southern forces were still in excellent fighting condition;
and the movements of Lee, during the advance of General McClellan
toward Warrenton, were highly honorable to his military ability.
With a force much smaller than that of his adversary, he greatly
embarrassed and impeded the Federal advance; confronted them on the
Upper Rappahannock, completely checking their forward movement in that
direction; and, when they moved rapidly to Fredericksburg, crossed the
Rapidan promptly, reappearing in their front on the range of hills
opposite that city. The battle which followed compensated for the
failure of the Maryland campaign and the drawn battle of Sharpsburg.
General Burnside had attacked, and sustained decisive defeat. The
stormy year, so filled with great events and arduous encounters, had
thus wound up with a pitched battle, in which the enemy suffered a
bloody repulse; and the best commentary on the decisive character of
this last struggle of the year, was the fault found with General Lee
for not destroying his adversary.

In less than six months Lee had thus fought four great pitched
battles--all victories to his arms, with the exception of Sharpsburg,
which was neither a victory nor a defeat. The result was thus highly
encouraging to the South; and, had the Army of Northern Virginia had
its ranks filled up, as the ranks of the Northern armies were, the
events of the year 1862 would have laid the foundation of assured
success. An inquiry into the causes of failure in this particular is
not necessary to the subject of the volume before the reader. It is
only necessary to state the fact that the Army of Northern Virginia,
defending what all conceded to be the territory on which the decisive
struggle must take place, was never sufficiently numerous to follow up
the victories achieved by it. At the battles of the Chickahominy the
army numbered at most about seventy-five thousand; at the second
Manassas, about fifty thousand; at Sharpsburg, less than forty
thousand; and at Fredericksburg, about fifty thousand. In the
following year, it will be seen that these latter numbers were at
first but little exceeded, and, as the months passed on, that they
dwindled more and more, until, in April, 1865, the whole force in line
of battle at Petersburg was scarcely more than thirty thousand men.

Such had been the number of the troops under command of Lee in 1862.
The reader has been informed of the number of the Federal force
opposed to him. This was one hundred and fifty thousand on the
Chickahominy, of whom one hundred and fifteen thousand were effective;
about one hundred thousand, it would seem, under General Pope, at the
second battle of Manassas; eighty-seven thousand actually engaged at
the battle of Sharpsburg; and at Fredericksburg from one hundred and
ten to one hundred and twenty thousand.

These numbers are stated on the authority of Federal officers or
historians, and Lee's force on the authority of his own reports, or of
gentlemen of high character, in a situation to speak with accuracy.
Of the truth of the statements the writer of these pages can have no
doubt; and, if the fighting powers of the Northern and Southern troops
be estimated as equal, the fair conclusion must be arrived at that Lee
surpassed his adversaries in generalship.

The result, at least, of the year's fighting, had been extremely
encouraging to the South, and after the battle of Fredericksburg no
attempts were made to prosecute hostilities during the remainder
of the year. The scheme of crossing above Fredericksburg proved a
_fiasco_, beginning and ending in a day. Thereafter all movements
ceased, and the two armies awaited the return of spring for further



Before passing to the great campaigns of the spring and summer of
1863, we propose to say a few words of General Lee, in his private and
personal character, and to attempt to indicate the position which
he occupied at this time in the eyes of the army and the country.
Unknown, save by reputation, when he assumed command of the forces in
June, 1862, he had now, by the winter of the same year, become one of
the best-known personages in the South. Neither the troops nor the
people had perhaps penetrated the full character of Lee; and they seem
to have attributed to him more reserve and less warmth and impulse
than he possessed; but it was impossible for a human being, occupying
so prominent a station before the general eye, to hide, in any
material degree, his main great characteristics, and these had
conciliated for Lee an exalted and wellnigh universal public regard.
He was felt by all to be an individual of great dignity, sincerity,
and earnestness, in the performance of duty. Destitute plainly of that
vulgar ambition which seeks personal aggrandizement rather than the
general good, and dedicated as plainly, heart and soul, to the cause
for which he fought, he had won, even from those who had denounced
him for the supposed hesitation in his course in April, 1861, and had
afterward criticised his military operations, the repute of a truly
great man, as well as of a commander of the first ability. It was felt
by all classes that the dignity of the Southern cause was adequately
represented in the person and character of the commander of her most
important army. While others, as brave and patriotic, no doubt, but of
different temperament, had permitted themselves to become violent and
embittered in their private and public utterances in reference to the
North, Lee had remained calm, moderate, and dignified, under every
provocation. His reports were without rhodomontade or exaggeration,
and his tone uniformly modest, composed, and uninflated. After his
most decisive successes, his pulse had remained calm; he had written
of those successes with the air of one who sees no especial merit in
any thing which he has performed; and, so marked was this tone of
moderation and dignity, that, in reading his official reports to-day,
it seems wellnigh impossible that they could have been written in the
hot atmosphere of a war which aroused the bitterest passions of the
human soul.

Upon this point of Lee's personal and official dignity it is
unnecessary to dwell further, as the quality has long since been
conceded by every one acquainted with the character of the individual,
in the Old World and the New. It is the trait, perhaps, the most
prominent to the observer, looking back now upon the individual; and
it was, doubtless, this august moderation, dignity, and apparent
exemption from natural infirmity, which produced the impression upon
many persons that Lee was cold and unimpressible. We shall speak, in
future, at greater length of his real character than is necessary in
this place; but it may here be said, that the fancy that he was cold
and unimpressible was a very great error. No man had stronger or
warmer feelings, or regarded the invasion of the South with greater
indignation, than himself. The sole difference was, that he had
his feelings under greater control, and permitted no temptation to
overcome his sense of that august dignity and composure becoming
in the chief leader of a great people struggling for independent

The sentiment of the Southern people toward Lee may be summed up in
the statement that they regarded him, in his personal and private
character, with an admiration which was becoming unbounded, and
reposed in him, as commander of the army, the most implicit

These expressions are strong, but they do not convey more than the
truth. And this confidence was never withdrawn from him. It remained
as strong in his hours of disaster as in his noontide of success.
A few soured or desponding people might lose heart, indulge in
"croaking," and denounce, under their breath, the commander of
the army as responsible for failure when it occurred; but these
fainthearted people were in a small minority, and had little
encouragement in their muttered criticisms. The Southern people, from
Virginia to the utmost limits of the Gulf States, resolutely persisted
in regarding Lee as one of the greatest soldiers of history, and
retained their confidence in him unimpaired to the end.

The army had set the example of this implicit reliance upon Lee as
the chief leader and military head of the Confederacy. The brave
fighting-men had not taken his reputation on trust, but had seen him
win it fairly on some of the hardest-contested fields of history. The
heavy blow at General McClellan on the Chickahominy had first shown
the troops that they were under command of a thorough soldier. The
rout of Pope at Manassas had followed in the ensuing month. At
Sharpsburg, with less than forty thousand men, Lee had repulsed the
attack of nearly ninety thousand; and at Fredericksburg General
Burnside's great force had been driven back with inconsiderable loss
to the Southern army. These successes, in the eyes of the troops,
were the proofs of true leadership, and it did not detract from Lee's
popularity that, on all occasions, he had carefully refrained from
unnecessary exposure of the troops, especially at Fredericksburg,
where an ambitious commander would have spared no amount of bloodshed
to complete his glory by a great victory. Such was Lee's repute as
army commander in the eyes of men accustomed to close scrutiny of
their leaders. He was regarded as a thorough soldier, at once brave,
wise, cool, resolute, and devoted, heart and soul, to the cause.

Personally, the commander-in-chief was also, by this time, extremely
popular. He did not mingle with the troops to any great extent, nor
often relax the air of dignity, somewhat tinged with reserve, which
was natural with him. This reserve, however, never amounted to
stiffness or "official" coolness. On the contrary, Lee was markedly
free from the chill demeanor of the martinet, and had become greatly
endeared to the men by the unmistakable evidences which he had given
them of his honesty, sincerity, and kindly feeling for them. It
cannot, indeed, be said that he sustained the same relation toward the
troops as General Jackson. For the latter illustrious soldier, the men
had a species of familiar affection, the result, in a great degree, of
the informal and often eccentric demeanor of the individual. There
was little or nothing in Jackson to indicate that he was an officer
holding important command. He was without reserve, and exhibited none
of that formal courtesy which characterized Lee. His manners, on the
contrary, were quite informal, familiar, and conciliated in return a
familiar regard. We repeat the word _familiar_ as conveying precisely
the idea intended to be expressed. It indicated the difference between
these two great soldiers in their outward appearance. Lee retained
about him, upon all occasions, more or less of the commander-in-chief,
passing before the troops on an excellent and well-groomed horse, his
figure erect and graceful in the saddle, for he was one of the best
riders in the army; his demeanor grave and thoughtful; his whole
bearing that of a man intrusted with great responsibilities and the
general care of the whole army. Jackson's personal appearance and air
were very different. His dress was generally dingy: a faded cadet-cap
tilted over his eyes, causing him to raise his chin into the air; his
stirrups were apt to be too short, and his knees were thus elevated
ungracefully, and he would amble along on his rawboned horse with a
singularly absent-minded expression of countenance, raising, from time
to time, his right hand and slapping his knee. This brief outline of
the two commanders will serve to show the difference between them
personally, and it must be added that Jackson's eccentric bearing was
the source, in some degree, of his popularity. The men admired him
immensely for his great military ability, and his odd ways procured
for him that familiar liking to which we have alluded.

It is not intended, however, in these observations to convey the idea
that General Lee was regarded as a stiff and unapproachable personage
of whom the private soldiers stood in awe. Such a statement would not
express the truth. Lee was perfectly approachable, and no instance is
upon record, or ever came to the knowledge of the present writer, in
which he repelled the approach of his men, or received the humblest of
them with any thing but kindness. He was naturally simple and kind,
with great gentleness and patience; and it will not be credible,
to any who knew the man, that he ever made any difference in his
treatment of those who approached him from a consideration of their
rank in the army. His theory, expressed upon many occasions, was, that
the private soldiers--men who fought without the stimulus of rank,
emolument, or individual renown--were the most meritorious class of
the army, and that they deserved and should receive the utmost respect
and consideration. This statement, however, is doubtless unnecessary.
Men of Lee's pride and dignity never make a difference in their
treatment of men, because one is humble, and the other of high rank.
Of such human beings it may be said that _noblesse oblige_.

The men of the army had thus found their commander all that they could
wish, and his increasing personal popularity was shown by the greater
frequency with which they now spoke of him as "Marse Robert," "Old
Uncle Robert," and by other familiar titles. This tendency in troops
is always an indication of personal regard; these nicknames had been
already showered upon Jackson, and General Lee was having his turn.
The troops regarded him now more as their fellow-soldier than
formerly, having found that his dignity was not coldness, and that he
would, under no temptation, indulge his personal convenience, or fare
better than themselves. It was said--we know not with what truth--that
the habit of Northern generals in the war was to look assiduously to
their individual comfort in selecting their quarters, and to take
pleasure in surrounding themselves with glittering staff-officers,
body-guards, and other indications of their rank, and the
consideration which they expected. In these particulars Lee differed
extremely from his opponents, and there were no evidences whatever,
at his headquarters, that he was the commander-in-chief, or even an
officer of high rank. He uniformly lived in a tent, in spite of
the urgent invitations of citizens to use their houses for his
headquarters; and this refusal was the result both of an indisposition
to expose these gentlemen to annoyance from the enemy when he himself
retired, and of a rooted objection to fare better than his troops.
They had tents only, often indeed were without even that much
covering, and it was repugnant to Lee's feelings to sleep under a good
roof when the troops were so much exposed. His headquarters tent,
at this time (December, 1862), as before and afterward, was what is
called a "house-tent," not differing in any particular from those used
by the private soldiers of the army in winter-quarters. It was pitched
in an opening in the wood near the narrow road leading to Hamilton's
Crossing, with the tents of the officers of the staff grouped near;
and, with the exception of an orderly, who always waited to summon
couriers to carry dispatches, there was nothing in the shape of a
body-guard visible, or any indication that the unpretending group of
tents was the army headquarters.

Within, no article of luxury was to be seen. A few plain and
indispensable objects were all which the tent contained. The covering
of the commander-in-chief was an ordinary army blanket, and his fare
was plainer, perhaps, than that of the majority of his officers and
men. This was the result of an utter indifference, in Lee, to personal
convenience or indulgence. Citizens frequently sent him delicacies,
boxes filled with turkeys, hams, wine, cordials, and other things,
peculiarly tempting to one leading the hard life of the soldier, but
these were almost uniformly sent to the sick in some neighboring
hospital. Lee's principle in so acting seems to have been to set the
good example to his officers of not faring better than their men;
but he was undoubtedly indifferent naturally to luxury of all
descriptions. In his habits and feelings he was not the self-indulgent
man of peace, but the thorough soldier, willing to live hard, to sleep
upon the ground, and to disregard all sensual indulgence. In his other
habits he was equally abstinent. He cared nothing for wine, whiskey,
or any stimulant, and never used tobacco in any form. He rarely
relaxed his energies in any thing calculated to amuse him; but, when
not riding along his lines, or among the camps to see in person that
the troops were properly cared for, generally passed his time in close
attention to official duties connected with the well-being of the
army, or in correspondence with the authorities at Richmond. When he
relaxed from this continuous toil, it was to indulge in some quiet and
simple diversion, social converse with ladies in houses at which he
chanced to stop, caresses bestowed upon children, with whom he was
a great favorite, and frequently in informal conversation with his
officers. At "Hayfield" and "Moss Neck," two hospitable houses below
Fredericksburg, he at this time often stopped and spent some time in
the society of the ladies and children there. One of the latter, a
little curly-headed girl, would come up to him always to receive her
accustomed kiss, and one day confided to him, as a personal friend,
her desire to kiss General Jackson, who blushed like a girl when Lee,
with a quiet laugh, told him of the child's wish. On another occasion,
when his small friend came to receive his caress, he said, laughing,
that she would show more taste in selecting a younger gentleman than
himself, and, pointing to a youthful officer in a corner of the room,
added, "There is the handsome Major Pelham!" which caused that modest
young soldier to blush with confusion. The bearing of General Lee
in these hours of relaxation, was quite charming, and made him warm
friends. His own pleasure and gratification were plain, and gratified
others, who, in the simple and kindly gentleman in the plain gray
uniform, found it difficult to recognize the commander-in-chief of the
Southern army.

These moments of relaxation were, however, only occasional. All the
rest was toil, and the routine of hard work and grave assiduity went
on month after month, and year after year, with little interruption.
With the exceptions which we have noted, all pleasures and
distractions seemed of little interest to Lee, and to the present
writer, at least, he seemed on all occasions to bear the most striking
resemblance to the traditional idea of Washington. High principle and
devotion to duty were plainly this human being's springs of action,
and he went through the hard and continuous labor incident to army
command with a grave and systematic attention, wholly indifferent, it
seemed, to almost every species of diversion and relaxation.

This attempt to show how Lee appeared at that time to his solders, has
extended to undue length, and we shall be compelled to defer a full
notice of the most interesting and beautiful trait of his character.
This was his humble and profound piety. The world has by no means done
him justice upon this subject. No one doubted during the war that
General Lee was a sincere Christian in conviction, and his exemplary
moral character and life were beyond criticism. Beyond this it is
doubtful if any save his intimate associates understood the depth
of his feeling on the greatest of all subjects. Jackson's strong
religious fervor was known and often alluded to, but it is doubtful
if Lee was regarded as a person of equally fervent convictions and
feelings. And yet the fact is certain that faith in God's providence
and reliance upon the Almighty were the foundation of all his actions,
and the secret of his supreme composure under all trials. He was
naturally of such reserve that it is not singular that the extent of
this sentiment was not understood. Even then, however, good men
who frequently visited him, and conversed with him upon religious
subjects, came away with their hearts burning within them. When the
Rev. J. William Jones, with another clergyman, went, in 1863, to
consult him in reference to the better observance of the Sabbath in
the army, "his eye brightened, and his whole countenance glowed with
pleasure; and as, in his simple, feeling words, he expressed his
delight, we forgot the great warrior, and only remembered that we were
communing with an humble, earnest Christian." When he was informed
that the chaplains prayed for him, tears started to his eyes, and he
replied: "I sincerely thank you for that, and I can only say that I
am a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone, and that I need all the
prayers you can offer for me."

On the day after this interview he issued an earnest general order,
enjoining the observance of the Sabbath by officers and men, urging
them to attend public worship in their camps, and forbidding the
performance on Sunday of all official duties save those necessary
to the subsistence or safety of the army. He always attended public
worship, if it were in his power to do so, and often the earnestness
of the preacher would "make his eye kindle and his face glow." He
frequently attended the meetings of his chaplains, took a warm
interest in the proceedings, and uniformly exhibited, declares one
who could speak from personal knowledge, an ardent desire for the
promotion of religion in the army. He did not fail, on many occasions,
to show his men that he was a sincere Christian. When General Meade
came over to Mine Run, and the Southern army marched to meet him, Lee
was riding along his line of battle in the woods, when he came upon a
party of soldiers holding a prayer-meeting on the eve of battle. Such
a spectacle was not unusual in the army then and afterward--the rough
fighters were often men of profound piety--and on this occasion
the sight before him seems to have excited deep emotion in Lee. He
stopped, dismounted--the staff-officers accompanying him did the
same--and Lee uncovered his head, and stood in an attitude of profound
respect and attention, while the earnest prayer proceeded, in the
midst of the thunder of artillery and the explosion of the enemy's

[Footnote 1: These details are given on the authority of the Rev. J.
William Jones, of Lexington, Va.]

[Illustration: Lee at the Soldiers' Prayer Meeting.]

Other incidents indicating the simple and earnest piety of Lee will be
presented in the course of this narrative. The fame of the soldier has
in some degree thrown into the background the less-imposing trait of
personal piety in the individual. No delineation of Lee, however,
would be complete without a full statement of his religious principles
and feelings. As the commander-in-chief of the Army of Northern
Virginia, he won that august renown which encircles his name with a
halo of military glory, both in America and Europe. His battles and
victories are known to all men. It is not known to all that the
illustrious soldier whose fortune it was to overthrow, one after
another, the best soldiers of the Federal army, was a simple, humble,
and devoted Christian, whose eyes filled with tears when he was
informed that his chaplains prayed for him; and who said, "I am a poor
sinner, trusting in Christ alone, and need all the prayers you can
offer for me."





Lee remained throughout the winter at his headquarters in the woods
south of Fredericksburg, watching the Northern army, which continued
to occupy the country north of the city, with the Potomac River as
their base of supplies.

With the coming of spring, it was obviously the intention of the
Federal authorities to again essay the crossing of the Rappahannock at
some point either above or below Fredericksburg; and as the movement
above was less difficult, and promised more decisive results, it was
seen by General Lee that this would probably be the quarter from
which he might expect an attack. General Stuart, a soldier of sound
judgment, said, during the winter, "The next battle will take place at
Chancellorsville," and the position of Lee's troops seemed to indicate
that this was also his own opinion. His right remained still "opposite
Fredericksburg," barring the direct approach to Richmond, but his left
extended up the Rappahannock beyond Chancellorsville, and all the
fords were vigilantly guarded to prevent a sudden flank movement by
the enemy in that direction. As will be seen, the anticipations of Lee
were to be fully realized. The heavy blow aimed at him, in the first
days of spring, was to come from the quarter in which he had expected

The Federal army was now under command of General Joseph Hooker, an
officer of dash, energy, excellent administrative capacity, and,
Northern writers add, extremely prone to "self-assertion." General
Hooker had harshly criticised the military operations both of
General McClellan on the Chickahominy, and of General Burnside at
Fredericksburg, and so strong an impression had these strictures made
upon the minds of the authorities, that they came to the determination
of intrusting the command of the army to the officer who made them,
doubtless concluding that his own success would prove greater than
that of his predecessors. This opinion seemed borne out by the first
proceedings of General Hooker. He set to work energetically to
reorganize and increase the efficiency of the army, did away
with General Burnside's defective "grand division" arrangement,
consolidated the cavalry into an effective corps, enforced strict
discipline among officers and men alike, and at the beginning of
spring had brought his army to a high state of efficiency. His
confident tone inspired the men; the depression resulting from the
great disaster at Fredericksburg was succeeded by a spirit of buoyant
hope, and the army was once more that great war-engine, ready for any
undertaking, which it had been under McClellan.

It numbered, according to one Federal statement, one hundred and
fifty-nine thousand three hundred men; but according to another, which
appears more reliable, one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and
artillery, and twelve thousand cavalry; in all, one hundred and
thirty-two thousand troops. The army of General Lee was considerably
smaller. Two divisions of Longstreet's corps had been sent to Suffolk,
south of James River, to obtain supplies in that region, and this
force was not present at the battle of Chancellorsville. The actual
numbers under Lee's command will appear from the following statement
of Colonel Walter H. Taylor, assistant adjutant-general of the army:

    Our strength at Chancellorsville:
      Anderson and McLaws........................... 13,000
      Jackson (Hill, Rodes, and Trimble)............ 21,000
      Early (Fredericksburg)........................  6,000
      Cavalry and artillery.........................  7,000
      Total of all arms............................. 47,000

As the Federal infantry numbered one hundred and twenty thousand,
according to the smallest estimate of Federal authorities, and Lee's
infantry forty thousand, the Northern force was precisely three times
as large as the Southern.

[Illustration: Map--Battle of Chancellorsville.]

General Hooker had already proved himself an excellent administrative
officer, and his plan of campaign against Lee seemed to show that he
also possessed generalship of a high order. He had determined to pass
the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg, turn Lee's flank, and thus
force him to deliver battle under this disadvantage, or retire upon
Richmond. The safe passage of the stream was the first great object,
and General Hooker's dispositions to effect this were highly
judicious. A force of about twenty thousand men was to pass the
Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, and thus produce upon Lee the
impression that the Federal army was about to renew the attempt in
which they had failed under General Burnside. While General Lee's
attention was engaged by the force thus threatening his right, the
main body of the Northern army was to cross the Rappahannock and
Rapidan above Chancellorsville, and, sweeping down rapidly upon
the Confederate left flank, take up a strong position between
Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg. The column which had crossed at
the latter point to engage the attention of the Confederate commander,
was then to recross to the northern bank, move rapidly to the upper
fords, which the advance of the main body would by that time have
uncovered; and, a second time crossing to the southern bank, unite
with the rest. Thus the whole Federal army would be concentrated
on the southern bank of the Rappahannock, and General Lee would be
compelled to leave his camps on the hills of the Massaponnax, and
fight upon ground dictated by his adversary. If he did not thus accept
battle, but one other course was left. He must fall back in the
direction of Richmond, to prevent his adversary from attacking his
rear, and capturing or destroying his army.

In order to insure the success of this promising plan of attack, a
strong column of well-mounted cavalry was to cross in advance of the
army and strike for the railroads in Lee's rear, connecting him with
Richmond and the Southwest. Thus flanked or cut off, and with all his
communications destroyed, it seemed probable that General Lee would
suffer decisive defeat, and that the Federal army would march in
triumph to the capture of the Confederate capital.

This plan was certainly excellent, and seemed sure to succeed. It was,
however, open to some criticism, as the event showed. General Hooker
was detaching, in the beginning of the movement, his whole cavalry
force for a distant operation, and dividing his army by the _ruse_
at Fredericksburg, in face of an adversary not likely to permit that
great error to escape him. While advancing thus, apparently to the
certain destruction of Lee, General Hooker was leaving a vulnerable
point in his own armor. Lee would probably discover that point, and
aim to pierce his opponent there. At most, General Hooker was wrapping
in huge folds the sword of Lee, not remembering that there was danger
to the _cordon_ as well as to the weapon.

Such was the plan which General Hooker had devised to bring back that
success of the Federal arms in the spring of 1863 which had attended
them in the early spring of 1862. At this latter period a heavy cloud
rested upon the Confederate cause. Donaldson and Roanoke Island, Fort
Macon, and the city of New Orleans, had then fallen; at Elkhorn,
Kernstown, Newbern, and other places, the Federal forces had achieved
important successes. These had been followed, however, by the Southern
victories on the Chickahominy, at Manassas, and at Fredericksburg.
Near this last-named spot now, where the year had wound up with so
mortifying a Federal failure, General Hooker hoped to reverse events,
and recover the Federal glories of the preceding spring.

Operations began as early as the middle of March, when General
Averill, with about three thousand cavalry, crossed the Rappahannock
at Kelly's Ford, above its junction with the Rapidan, and made a
determined attack upon nearly eight hundred horsemen there, under
General Fitz Lee, with the view of passing through Culpepper, crossing
the Rapidan, and cutting Lee's communications in the direction of
Gordonsville. The obstinate stand of General Fitz Lee's small force,
however, defeated this object, and General Averill was forced to
retreat beyond the Rappahannock again with considerable loss, and
abandon his expedition. In this engagement fell Major John Pelham, who
had been styled in Lee's first report of the battle of Fredericksburg
"the gallant Pelham," and whose brave stand on the Port Royal road had
drawn from Lee the exclamation, "It is glorious to see such courage in
one so young." Pelham was, in spite of his youth, an artillerist of
the first order of excellence, and his loss was a serious one, in
spite of his inferior rank.

After this action every thing remained quiet until toward the end of
April--General Lee continuing to hold the same position with his right
at Fredericksburg, his left at the fords near Chancellorsville, and
his cavalry, under Stuart, guarding the banks of the Rappahannock in
Culpepper. On the 27th of April, General Hooker began his forward
movement, by advancing three corps of his army--the Fifth, Eleventh,
and Twelfth--to the banks of the river, near Kelly's Ford; and, on the
next day, this force was joined by three additional corps--the First,
Third, and Sixth--and the whole, on Wednesday (the 29th), crossed the
river without difficulty. That this movement was a surprise to Lee,
as has been supposed by some persons, is a mistake. Stuart was an
extremely vigilant picket-officer, and both he and General Lee were in
the habit of sending accomplished scouts to watch any movements in the
Federal camps. As soon as these movements--which, in a large army,
cannot be concealed--took place, information was always promptly
brought, and it was not possible that General Hooker could move three
large army corps toward the Rappahannock, as he did on April 27th,
without early knowledge on the part of his adversary of so important a

As the Federal infantry thus advanced, the large cavalry force began
also to move through Culpepper toward the Central Railroad in Lee's
rear. This column was commanded by General Stoneman, formerly a
subordinate officer in Lee's old cavalry regiment in the United States
Army; and, as General Stoneman's operations were entirely separate
from those of the infantry, and not of much importance, we shall here
dismiss them in a few words. He proceeded rapidly across Culpepper,
harassed in his march by a small body of horse, under General William
H.F. Lee; reached the Central Railroad at Trevillian's, below
Gordonsville, and tore up a portion of it; passed on to James River,
ravaging the country, and attempted the destruction of the Columbia
Aqueduct, but did not succeed in so doing; when, hearing probably of
the unforeseen result at Chancellorsville, he hastened back to the
Rapidan, pursued and harassed as in his advance, and, crossing,
regained the Federal lines beyond the Rappahannock.

To return to the movements of the main Federal force, under the
personal command of General Hooker. This advanced rapidly across the
angle between the two rivers, with no obstruction but that offered by
the cavalry under Stuart, and on Thursday, April 30th, had crossed the
Rapidan at Germanna and Ely's Fords, and was steadily concentrating
around Chancellorsville. At the same time the Second Corps, under
General Couch, was preparing to cross at United States Ford, a few
miles distant; and General Sedgwick, commanding the detached force at
Fredericksburg, having crossed and threatened Lee, in obedience to
orders, now began passing back to the northern bank again, in order to
march up and join the main body. Thus all things seemed in train to
succeed on the side of the Federal army. General Hooker was over with
about one hundred thousand men--twenty thousand additional troops
would soon join him. Lee's army seemed scattered, and not "in hand"
to oppose him; and there was some ground for the ebullition of joy
attributed to General Hooker, as he saw his great force massing
steadily in the vicinity of Chancellorsville. To those around him he
exclaimed: "The rebel army is now the legitimate property of the Army
of the Potomac. They may as well pack up their haversacks and make for
Richmond, and I shall be after them!"

In a congratulatory order to his troops, he declared that they
occupied now a position so strong that "the enemy must either
ingloriously fly, or come out from behind his defences and give us
battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him."

Such were the joyful anticipations of General Hooker, who seems to
have regarded the campaign as virtually ended by the successful
passage of the river. His expressions and his general order would seem
to indicate an irrepressible joy, but it is doubtful if the skilful
soldiers under him shared this somewhat juvenile enthusiasm. The gray
cavalier at Fredericksburg was not reported to be retiring, as was
expected. On the contrary, the Southern troops seemed to be moving
forward with the design of accepting battle.

Lee had determined promptly upon that course as soon as Stuart sent
him information of the enemy's movements. Chancellorsville was at once
seen to be the point for which General Hooker was aiming, and Lee's
dispositions were made for confronting him there and fighting a
pitched battle. The brigades of Posey and Mahone, of Anderson's
Division, had been in front of Banks's and Ely's Fords, and this force
of about eight thousand men was promptly ordered to fall back on
Chancellorsville. At the same time Wright's brigade was sent up to
reënforce this column; but the enemy continuing to advance in great
force, General Anderson, commanding the whole, fell back from
Chancellorsville to Tabernacle Church, on the road to Fredericksburg,
where he was joined on the next day by Jackson, whom Lee had sent
forward to his assistance.

The _ruse_ at Fredericksburg had not long deceived the Confederate
commander. General Sedgwick, with three corps, in all about twenty-two
thousand men, had crossed just below Fredericksburg on the 29th, and
Lee had promptly directed General Jackson to oppose him there. Line of
battle was accordingly formed in the enemy's front beyond Hamilton's
Crossing; but as, neither on that day nor the next, any further
advance was made by General Sedgwick, the whole movement was seen to
be a feint to cover the real operations above. Lee accordingly turned
his attention in the direction of Chancellorsville. Jackson, as we
have related, was sent up to reënforce General Anderson, and Lee
followed with the rest of the army, with the exception of about six
thousand men, under General Early, whom he left to defend the crossing
at Fredericksburg.

Such were the positions of the opposing forces on the 1st day of May.
Each commander had displayed excellent generalship in the preliminary
movements preceding the actual fighting. At last, however, the
opposing lines were facing each other, and the real struggle was about
to begin.



The "Wilderness," as the region around Chancellorsville is called, is
so strange a country, and the character of the ground had so important
a bearing upon the result of the great battle fought there, that a
brief description of the locality will be here presented.

The region is a nearly unbroken expanse of dense thicket pierced only
by narrow and winding roads, over which the traveller rides, mile
after mile, without seeing a single human habitation. It would seem,
indeed, that the whole barren and melancholy tract had been given up
to the owl, the whippoorwill, and the moccasin, its original tenants.
The plaintive cries of the night-birds alone break the gloomy silence
of the desolate region, and the shadowy thicket stretching in
every direction produces a depressing effect upon the feelings.
Chancellorsville is in the centre of this singular territory, on
the main road, or rather roads, running from Orange Court-House to
Fredericksburg, from which latter place it is distant about ten miles.
In spite of its imposing name, Chancellorsville was simply a large
country-house, originally inhabited by a private family, but afterward
used as a roadside inn. A little to the westward the "Old Turnpike"
and Orange Plank-road unite as they approach the spot, where they
again divide, to unite a second time a few miles to the east, where
they form the main highway to Fredericksburg. From the north come in
roads from United States and Ely's Fords; Germanna Ford is northwest;
from the south runs the "Brock Road" in the direction of the Rapidan,
passing a mile or two west of the place.

The whole country, the roads, the chance houses, the silence, the
unending thicket, in this dreary wilderness, produce a sombre effect.
A writer, familiar with it, says: "There all is wild, desolate, and
lugubrious. Thicket, undergrowth, and jungle, stretch for miles,
impenetrable and untouched. Narrow roads wind on forever between
melancholy masses of stunted and gnarled oak. Little sunlight shines
there. The face of Nature is dreary and sad. It was so before the
battle; it is not more cheerful to-day, when, as you ride along, you
see fragments of shell, rotting knapsacks, rusty gun-barrels, bleached
bones, and grinning skulls.... Into this jungle," continues the same
writer, "General Hooker penetrated. It was the wolf in his den, ready
to tear any one who approached. A battle there seemed impossible.
Neither side could see its antagonist. Artillery could not move;
cavalry could not operate; the very infantry had to flatten their
bodies to glide between the stunted trees. That an army of one hundred
and twenty thousand men should have chosen that spot to fight forty
thousand, and not only chosen it, but made it a hundred times more
impenetrable by felling trees, erecting breastworks, disposing
artillery _en masse_ to sweep every road and bridle-path which led to
Chancellorsville--this fact seemed incredible."

It was no part of the original plan of the Federal commander to permit
himself to be cooped up in this difficult and embarrassing region,
where it was impossible to manoeuvre his large army. The selection of
the Wilderness around Chancellorsville, as the ground of battle, was
dictated by Lee. General Hooker, it seems, endeavored to avoid being
thus shut up in the thicket, and hampered in his movements. Finding
that the Confederate force, retiring from in front of Ely's and United
States Fords, had, on reaching Chancellorsville, continued to fall
back in the direction of Fredericksburg, he followed them steadily,
passed through the Wilderness, and, emerging into the open country
beyond, rapidly began forming line of battle on ground highly
favorable to the manoeuvring of his large force in action. A glance at
the map will indicate the importance of this movement, and the great
advantages secured by it. The left of General Hooker's line, nearest
the river, was at least five miles in advance of Chancellorsville, and
commanded Banks's Ford, thereby shortening fully one-half the distance
of General Sedgwick's march from Fredericksburg, by enabling him to
use the ford in question as a place of crossing to the south bank, and
uniting his column with the main body. The centre and right of the
Federal army had in like manner emerged from the thickets of the
Wilderness, and occupied cleared ground, sufficiently elevated to
afford them great advantages.

This was in the forenoon of the 1st of May, when there was no force in
General Hooker's front, except the eight thousand men of Anderson
at Tabernacle Church. Jackson had marched at midnight from the
Massaponnax Hills, with a general order from Lee to "attack and
repulse the enemy," but had not yet arrived. There was thus no serious
obstacle in the path of the Federal commander, who had it in his
power, it would seem, to mass his entire army on the commanding ground
which his vanguard already occupied. Lee was aware of the importance
of the position, and, had he not been delayed by the feint of General
Sedgwick, would himself have seized upon it. As it was, General Hooker
seemed to have won the prize in the race, and Lee would, apparently,
be forced to assail him on his strong ground, or retire in the
direction of Richmond.

The movements of the enemy had, however, been so rapid that Lee's
dispositions seem to have been made before they were fully developed
and accurately known to him. He had sent forward Jackson, and now
proceeded to follow in person, leaving only a force of about six
thousand men, under Early, to defend the crossing at Fredericksburg.
The promptness of these movements of the Confederate commander is
noticed by Northern writers. "Lee, with instant perception of the
situation," says an able historian, "now seized the masses of his
force, and, with the grasp of a Titan, swung them into position, as
a giant might fling a mighty stone from a sling." [Footnote: Mr.
Swinton, in "Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac." Whether the force
under Lee could be justly described as "mighty," however, the reader
will form his own opinion.]

Such were the relative positions of the two armies on the 1st of May:
General Hooker's forces well in advance of Chancellorsville, and
rapidly forming line of battle on a ridge in open country; General
Lee's, stretching along the whole distance, from Fredericksburg to
Tabernacle Church, and certainly not in any condition to deliver
or accept battle. The Federal commander seemed to have clearly
outgeneralled his adversary, and, humanly speaking, the movements of
the two armies, up to this time, seemed to point to a decisive Federal

General Hooker's own act reversed all this brilliant promise. At the
very moment when his army was steadily concentrating on the favorable
ground in advance of Chancellorsville, the Federal commander, for some
reason which has never been divulged, sent a peremptory order that
the entire force should fall back into the Wilderness. This order,
reversing every thing, is said to have been received "with mingled
amazement and incredulity" by his officers, two of whom sent him word
that, from the great advantages of the position, it should be "held at
all hazards." General Hooker's reply was, "Return at once." The army
accordingly fell back to Chancellorsville.

This movement undoubtedly lost General Hooker all the advantages which
up to that moment he had secured. What his motive for the order in
question was, it is impossible for the present writer to understand,
unless the approach of Lee powerfully affected his imagination, and he
supposed the thicket around Chancellorsville to be the best ground to
receive that assault which the bold advance of his opponent appeared
to foretell. Whatever his motive, General Hooker withdrew his lines
from the open country, fell back to the vicinity of Chancellorsville,
and began to erect elaborate defences, behind which to receive Lee's

In this backward movement he was followed and harassed by the forces
of Jackson, the command of Anderson being in front. Jackson's maxim
was to always press an enemy when he was retiring; and no sooner had
the Federal forces begun to move, than he made a prompt attack. He
continued to follow them up toward Chancellorsville until nightfall,
when the fighting ceased, the Confederate advance having been pushed
to Alrich's house, within about two miles of Chancellorsville. Here
the outer line of the Federal works was found, and Jackson paused. He
was unwilling at so late an hour to attempt an assault upon them with
his small force, and, directing further movements to cease, awaited
the arrival of the commander-in-chief.

Lee arrived, and a consultation was held. The question now was, the
best manner, with a force of about thirty-five thousand, to drive the
Federal army, of about one hundred thousand, beyond the Rappahannock.



On this night, of the 1st of May, the situation of affairs was strange

General Hooker had crossed the Rappahannock with a force of one
hundred and twenty thousand infantry, and had, without obstruction,
secured a position so strong, he declared, that Lee must either
"ingloriously fly," or fight a battle in which "certain destruction
awaited him." So absolutely convinced, indeed, was the Federal
commander, of the result of the coming encounter, that he had
jubilantly described the Southern army as "the legitimate property of
the Army of the Potomac," which, in the event of the retreat of the
Confederates, would "be after them." There seemed just grounds for
this declaration, whatever question may have arisen of the good taste
displayed by General Hooker in making it. The force opposed to him was
in all about forty-seven thousand men, but, as cavalry take small
part in pitched battles, Lee's fighting force was only about forty
thousand. To drive back forty thousand with one hundred and twenty
thousand would not apparently prove difficult, and it was no doubt
this conviction which had occasioned the joyous exclamation of General

But his own act, and the nerve of his adversary, had defeated every
thing. Instead of retreating with his small force upon Richmond, Lee
had advanced to accept or deliver battle. This bold movement, which
General Hooker does not seem to have anticipated, paralyzed his
energies. He had not only crossed the two rivers without loss, but
had taken up a strong position, where he could manoeuvre his army
perfectly, when, in consequence of Lee's approach with the evident
intent of fighting, he had ceased to advance, hesitated, and ended by
retiring. This is a fair summary of events up to the night of the 1st
of May. General Hooker had advanced boldly; he was now falling back.
He had foretold that his adversary would "ingloriously fly;" and that
adversary was pressing him closely. The Army of the Potomac, he had
declared, would soon be "after" the Army of Northern Virginia; but,
from the appearance of things at the moment, the Army of Northern
Virginia seemed "after" the Army of the Potomac. We use General
Hooker's own phrases--they are expressive, if not dignified. They
are indeed suited to the subject, which contains no little of the
grotesque. That anticipations and expressions so confident should have
been met with a "commentary of events" so damaging, was sufficient,
had the occasion not been so tragic, to cause laughter in the gravest
of human beings.

Lee's intent was now unmistakable. Instead of falling back from the
Rappahannock to some line of defence nearer Richmond, where the force
under Longstreet, at Suffolk, might have rejoined him, with other
reënforcements, he had plainly resolved, with the forty or fifty
thousand men of his command, to meet General Hooker in open battle,
and leave the event to Providence. A design so bold would seem to
indicate in Lee a quality which at that time he was not thought to
possess--the willingness to risk decisive defeat by military movements
depending for their success upon good fortune alone. Such seemed now
the only _deus ex machina_ that could extricate the Southern army from
disaster; and a crushing defeat at that time would have had terrible
results. There was no other force, save the small body under
Longstreet and a few local troops, to protect Richmond. Had Lee been
disabled and afterward pressed by General Hooker, it is impossible to
see that any thing but the fall of the Confederate capital could have
been the result.

From these speculations and comments we pass to the narrative of
actual events. General Hooker had abandoned the strong position in
advance of Chancellorsville, and retired to the fastnesses around
that place, to receive the Southern attack. His further proceedings
indicated that he anticipated an assault from Lee. The Federal troops
had no sooner regained the thicket from which they had advanced in
the morning, than they were ordered to erect elaborate works for the
protection of infantry and artillery. This was promptly begun, and by
the next morning heavy defences had sprung up as if by magic. Trees
had been felled, and the trunks interwoven so as to present a
formidable obstacle to the Southern attack. In front of these works
the forest had been levelled, and the fallen trunks were left lying
where they fell, forming thus an _abatis_ sufficient to seriously
delay an assaulting force, which would thus be, at every step of
the necessarily slow advance, under fire. On the roads piercing the
thicket in the direction of the Confederates, cannon were posted, to
rake the approaches to the Federal position. Having thus made his
preparations to receive Lee's attack, General Hooker awaited that
attack, no doubt confident of his ability to repulse it.

His line resembled in some degree the two sides of an oblong
square--the longer side extending east and west in front, that is to
say, south of Chancellorsville, and the shorter side north and south
nearly, east of the place. His right, in the direction of Wilderness
Tavern, was comparatively undefended, as it was not expected that Lee
would venture upon a movement against that remote point. This line,
it would appear, was formed with a view to the possible necessity of
falling back toward the Rappahannock. A commander determined to risk
everything would, it seems, have fronted Lee boldly, with a line
running north and south, east of Chancellorsville. General Hooker's
main front was nearly east and west, whatever may have been his object
in so establishing it.

On the night of the 1st of May, as we have said, Lee and Jackson held
a consultation to determine the best method of attacking the Federal
forces on the next day. All the information which they had been able
to obtain of the Federal positions east and south of Chancellorsville,
indicated that the defences in both these quarters were such as
to render an assault injudicious. Jackson had found his advance
obstructed by strong works near Alrich's house, on the road running
eastward from the enemy's camps; and General Stuart and General
Wright, who had moved to the left, and advanced upon the enemy's front
near the point called "The Furnace," had discovered the existence of
powerful defences in that quarter also. They had been met by a fierce
and sudden artillery-fire from Federal epaulements; and here, as to
the east of Chancellorsville, the enemy had evidently fortified their

Under these circumstances, it was necessary to discover, if possible,
some more favorable opening for an attack. There remained but one
other--General Hooker's right, west of Chancellorsville; but to divide
the army, as would be necessary in order to attack in that quarter,
seemed an undertaking too hazardous to be thought of. To execute such
a plan of assault with any thing like a hope of success, General Lee
would be compelled to detach considerably more than half of his entire
force. This would leave in General Hooker's front a body of troops too
inconsiderable to make any resistance if he advanced his lines, and
thus the movement promised to result in the certain destruction of
one portion of the army, to be followed by a triumphant march of the
Federal forces upon Richmond. In the council of war between Lee and
Jackson, on the night of the 1st of May, these considerations were
duly weighed, and the whole situation discussed. In the end,
the hazardous movement against General Hooker's right, beyond
Chancellorsville, was determined upon. This was first suggested, it is
said, by Jackson--others have attributed the suggestion to Lee. The
point is not material. The plan was adopted, and Lee determined to
detach a column of about twenty-one thousand men, under Jackson, to
make the attack on the next day. His plan was to await the arrival
of Jackson at the point selected for attack, meanwhile engaging the
enemy's attention by demonstrations in their front. When Jackson's
guns gave the signal that he was engaged, the force in front of the
enemy was to advance and participate in the assault; and thus, struck
in front and flank at once. General Hooker, it was hoped, would be
defeated and driven back across the Rappahannock.

There was another possible result, the defeat of Lee and Jackson by
General Hooker. But the desperate character of the situation rendered
it necessary to disregard this risk.

By midnight this plan had been determined upon, and at dawn Jackson
began to move.


On the morning of the 2d of May, General Lee was early in the saddle,
and rode to the front, where he remained in personal command of the
force facing the enemy's main line of battle throughout the day.

This force consisted of the divisions of Anderson and McLaws, and
amounted to thirteen thousand men. That left at Fredericksburg, as we
have said, under General Early, numbered six thousand men; and the
twenty-one thousand which Jackson had taken with him, to strike at the
enemy's right, made up the full body of troops under Lee, that is to
say, a little over forty thousand, artillerymen included. The cavalry,
numbering four or five thousand, were, like the absent Federal
cavalry, not actually engaged.

In accordance with the plan agreed upon between Lee and Jackson, the
force left in the enemy's front proceeded to engage their attention,
and desultory fighting continued throughout the day. General
Lee meanwhile awaited the sound of Jackson's guns west of
Chancellorsville, and must have experienced great anxiety at this
trying moment, although, with his accustomed self-control, he
displayed little or none. We shall now leave this comparatively
interesting portion of the field, and invite the attention of the
reader to the movements of General Jackson, who was about to strike
his last great blow, and lose his own life in the moment of victory.

Jackson set out at early dawn, having under him three divisions,
commanded by Rhodes and Trimble, in all about twenty-one thousand men,
and directed his march over the Old Mine road toward "The Furnace,"
about a mile or so from and in front of the enemy's main line. Stuart
moved with his cavalry on the flank of the column, with the view of
masking it from observation; and it reached and passed "The Furnace,"
where a regiment with artillery was left to guard the road leading
thence to Chancellorsville, and repel any attack which might be made
upon the rear of the column. Just as the rear-guard passed on, the
anticipated attack took place, and the regiment thus left, the
Twenty-third Georgia, was suddenly surrounded and the whole force
captured. The Confederate artillery, however, opened promptly upon the
assailing force, drove it back toward Chancellorsville, and Jackson
proceeded on his march without further interruption. He had thus been
seen, but it seems that the whole movement was regarded by General
Hooker as a retreat of the Confederates southward, a bend in the road
at this point toward the south leading to that supposition.

"We know the enemy is flying," General Hooker wrote, on the afternoon
of this day, to General Sedgwick, "trying to save his trains; two of
Sickles's divisions are among them."

Soon after leaving "The Furnace," however, Jackson, following the same
wood-road, turned westward, and, marching rapidly between the walls of
thicket, struck into the Brock road, which runs in a direction nearly
northwest toward Germanna and Ely's Fords. This would enable him to
reach, without discovery, the Orange Plank-road, or Old Turnpike, west
of Chancellorsville, as the woods through which the narrow highway
ran completely barred him from observation. Unless Federal spies were
lurking in the covert, or their scouting-parties of cavalry came in
sight of the column, it would move as secure from discovery as though
it were a hundred miles distant from the enemy; and against the
latter danger of cavalry-scouts, Stuart's presence with his horsemen
provided. The movement was thus made without alarming the enemy, and
the head of Jackson's column reached the Orange Plank-road, near
which point General Fitz Lee invited Jackson to ride up to a slight
elevation, from which the defences of the enemy were visible. Jackson
did so, and a glance showed him that he was not yet sufficiently upon
the enemy's flank. He accordingly turned to an aide and said, pointing
to the Orange Plank-road: "Tell my column to cross that road."

The column did so, continuing to advance toward the Rapidan until it
reached the Old Turnpike running from the "Old Wilderness Tavern"
toward Chancellorsville. At this point, Jackson found himself full on
the right flank of General Hooker, and, halting his troops, proceeded
promptly to form line of battle for the attack. It was now past four
in the afternoon, and the declining sun warned the Confederates to
lose no time. The character of the ground was, however, such as to
dismay any but the most resolute, and it seemed impossible to execute
the intended movement with any thing like rapidity in such a jungle.
On both sides of the Old Turnpike rose a wall of thicket, through
which it was impossible to move a regular line of battle. All the
rules of war must be reversed in face of this obstacle, and the
assault on General Hooker's works seemed destined to be made in column
of infantry companies, and with the artillery moving in column of

Despite these serious obstacles, Jackson hastened to form such order
of battle as was possible, and with Rodes's division in front,
followed by Colston (Trimble) and Hill, advanced steadily down the
Old Turnpike, toward Chancellorsville. He had determined, not only to
strike the enemy's right flank, but to execute, if possible, a still
more important movement. This was, to extend his lines steadily to
the left, swing round his left wing, and so interpose himself between
General Hooker and the Rapidan. This design of unsurpassed boldness
continued to burn in Jackson's brain until he fell, and almost his
last words were an allusion to it.

The Federal line of works, which the Confederates thus advanced to
assault, extended across the Old Turnpike near the house of Melzi
Chancellor, and behind was a second line, which was covered by the
Federal artillery in the earthworks near Chancellorsville. The
Eleventh Corps, under General Howard, was that destined to receive
Jackson's assault. This was made at a few minutes past five in the
evening, and proved decisive. The Federal troops were surprised at
their suppers, and were wholly unprepared. They had scarcely time to
run to their muskets, which were stacked[1] near at hand, when Rodes
burst upon them, stormed their works, over which the troops marched
almost unresisted, and in a few minutes the entire corps holding the
Federal right was in hopeless disorder. Rodes pressed on, followed by
the division in his rear, and the affair became rather a hunt than a
battle. The Confederates pursued with yells, killing or capturing all
with whom they could come up; the Federal artillery rushed off at a
gallop, striking against tree-trunks and overturning, and the army
of General Hooker seemed about to be hopelessly routed. This is
the account given by Northern writers, who represent the effect of
Jackson's sudden attack as indescribable. It had a serious effect, as
will be subsequently shown, on the _morale_ both of General Hooker and
his army. While opposing the heavy demonstrations of General Lee's
forces on their left and in front, this storm had burst upon them from
a quarter in which no one expected it; they were thus caught between
two fires, and, ignorant as they were of the small number of the
Confederates, must have regarded the army as seriously imperilled.

[Footnote 1: "Their arms were stacked, and the men were away from
them and scattered about for the purpose of cooking their
suppers."--_General Hooker_.]

Jackson continued to pursue the enemy on the road to Chancellorsville,
intent now upon making his blow decisive by swinging round his left
and cutting off the Federal army from the Rappahannock. It was
impossible, however, to execute so important a movement until his
troops were well in hand, and the two divisions which had made the
attack had become mixed up in a very confused manner. They were
accordingly directed to halt, and General A.P. Hill, whose division
had not been engaged, was sent for and ordered to advance to the
front, thus affording the disordered divisions an opportunity to
reform their broken lines.

Soon after dispatching this order, Jackson rode out in front of his
line, on the Chancellorsville road, in order to reconnoitre in person,
and ascertain, if possible, the position and movements of the enemy,
then within a few hundred yards of him. It was now between nine and
ten o'clock at night. The fighting had temporarily ceased, and the
moon, half-seen through misty clouds, lit up the dreary thickets, in
which no sound was heard but the incessant and melancholy cries of the
whippoorwills. Jackson had ridden forward about a hundred yards in
advance of his line, on the turnpike, accompanied by a few officers,
and had checked his horse to listen for any sound coming from the
direction of Chancellorsville, when suddenly a volley was fired by his
own infantry on the right of the road, apparently directed at him
and his companions, under the impression that they were a Federal
reconnoitring-party. Several of the party fell from their horses,
and, wheeling to the left, Jackson galloped into the wood to escape a
renewal of the fire. The result was melancholy. He passed directly in
front of his men, who had been warned to guard against an attack of
cavalry. In their excited state, so near the enemy, and surrounded by
darkness, Jackson was supposed to be a Federal cavalryman. The men
accordingly fired upon him, at not more than twenty paces, and wounded
him in three places--twice in the left arm, and once in the right
hand. At the instant when he was struck he was holding his bridle with
his left hand, and had his right hand raised, either to protect his
face from boughs, or in the strange gesture habitual to him in battle.
As the bullets passed through his arm he dropped the bridle of his
horse from his left hand, but seized it again with the bleeding
fingers of his right hand, when the animal, wheeling suddenly, darted
toward Chancellorsville. In doing so he passed beneath the limb of a
pine-tree, which struck the wounded man in the face, tore off his cap,
and threw him back on his horse, nearly dismounting him. He succeeded,
however, in retaining his seat, and regained the road, where he was
received in the arms of Captain Wilbourn, one of his staff-officers,
and laid at the foot of a tree.

The fire had suddenly ceased, and all was again still. Only Captain
Wilbourn and a courier were with Jackson, but a shadowy figure
on horseback was seen in the edge of the wood near, silent and
motionless. When Captain Wilbourn called to this person, and directed
him to ride back and see what troops had thus fired upon them, the
silent figure disappeared, and did not return. Who this could have
been was long a mystery, but it appears, from a recent statement of
General Revere, of the Federal army, that it was himself. He had
advanced to the front to reconnoitre, had come on the group at the
foot of the tree, and, receiving the order above mentioned, had
thought it prudent not to reveal his real character. He accordingly
rode into the wood, and regained his own lines.

A few words will terminate our account of this melancholy event in the
history of the war--the fall of Jackson. He was supported to the rear
by his officers, and during this painful progress gave his last order.
General Pender recognized him, and stated that he feared he could
not hold his position. Jackson's eye flashed, and he replied with
animation, "You must hold your ground, General Pender! You must hold
your ground, sir!"

He was now so weak as to be unable to walk, even leaning on the
shoulders of his officers. He was accordingly placed on a litter,
and borne toward the rear. Before the litter had gone far a furious
artillery-fire swept the road from the direction of Chancellorsville,
and the bearers lowered it to the earth and lay down beside it. The
fire relaxing, they again moved, but one of the bearers stumbled over
a root and let the litter fall. Jackson groaned, and as the moonlight
fell upon his face it was seen to be so pale that he appeared to be
about to die. When asked if he was much hurt, he opened his eyes,
however, and said, "No, my friend, don't trouble yourself about me."

He was then borne to the rear, placed in an ambulance, and carried to
the hospital at the Old Wilderness Tavern, where he remained until he
was taken to Guinea's station, where he died.

Such was the fate of Lee's great lieutenant--the man whom he spoke of
as his "right arm"--whose death struck a chill to the hearts of the
Southern people from which they never recovered.



General Lee was not informed of the misfortune which had befallen his
great lieutenant until toward daybreak on the next morning.

This fact was doubtless attributable to the difficult character of
the country; the interposition of the Federal army between the two
Confederate wings, which rendered a long détour necessary in reaching
Lee; and the general confusion and dismay attending Jackson's fall.
It would be difficult, indeed, to form an exaggerated estimate of the
condition of Jackson's corps at this time. The troops had been thrown
into what seemed inextricable disorder, in consequence of the darkness
and the headlong advance of the Second (Calston's) Division upon the
heels of Rhodes, which had resulted in a complete intermingling of
the two commands; and, to make matters worse, General A.P. Hill, the
second in command, had been wounded and disabled, nearly at the
same moment with Jackson, by the artillery-fire of the enemy. This
transferred the command, of military right, to the brave and skilful
General Rhodes, the ranking officer after Hill; but Rhodes was only a
brigadier-general, and had, for that reason, never come into personal
contact with the whole corps, who knew little of him, and was not
aware of Jackson's plans, and distrusted, under these circumstances,
his ability to conduct to a successful issue so vitally important an
operation as that intrusted to this great wing of the Southern army.
Stuart, who had gone with his cavalry toward Ely's Ford to make a
demonstration on the Federal rear, was therefore sent for, and rode
as rapidly as possible to the scene of action, and the command was
formally relinquished to him by General Rhodes. Jackson sent Stuart
word from Wilderness Tavern to "act upon his own judgment, and do
what he thought best, as he had implicit confidence in him;" but,
in consequence of the darkness and confusion, it was impossible for
Stuart to promptly reform the lines, and thus all things remained
entangled and confused.

It was essential, however, to inform General Lee of the state of
affairs, and Jackson's chief-of-staff, Colonel Pendleton, requested
Captain Wilbourn, who had witnessed all the details of the painful
scene in the wood, to go to General Lee and acquaint him with what
had taken place, and receive his orders. From a MS. statement of this
meritorious officer, we take these brief details of the interview:

Lee was found lying asleep in a little clump of pines near his front,
covered with an oil-cloth to protect him from the dews of the night,
and surrounded by the officers of his staff, also asleep. It was
not yet daybreak, and the darkness prevented the messenger from
distinguishing the commander-in-chief from the rest. He accordingly
called for Major Taylor, Lee's adjutant-general, and that officer
promptly awoke when he was informed of what had taken place. As the
conversation continued, the sound awoke General Lee, who asked, "Who
is there?" Major Taylor informed him, and, rising upon his elbow, Lee
pointed to his blankets, and said: "Sit down here by me, captain, and
tell me all about the fight last evening."

He listened without comment during the recital, but, when it was
finished, said with great feeling: "Ah! captain, any victory is dearly
bought which deprives us of the services of General Jackson, even for
a short time."

From this reply it was evident that he did not regard the wounds
received by Jackson as of a serious character--as was natural, from
the fact that they were only flesh-wounds in the arm and hand--and
believed that the only result would be a temporary absence of his
lieutenant from command. As Captain Wilbourn continued to speak of the
incident, Lee added with greater emotion than at first: "Ah! don't
talk about it; thank God it is no worse!"

He then remained silent, but seeing Captain Wilbourn rise, as if to
go, he requested him to remain, as he wished to "talk with him some
more," and proceeded to ask a number of questions in reference to the
position of the troops, who was in command, etc. When informed that
Rhodes was in temporary command, but that Stuart had been sent for, he
exclaimed: "Rhodes is a gallant, courageous, and energetic officer;"
and asked where Jackson and Stuart could be found, calling for paper
and pencil to write to them. Captain Wilbourn added that, from what he
had heard Jackson say, he thought he intended to get possession, if
possible, of the road to United States Ford in the Federal rear, and
so cut them off from the river that night, or early in the morning. At
these words, Lee rose quickly and said with animation, "These people
must be pressed to-day."

It would seem that at this moment a messenger--probably Captain
Hotchkiss, Jackson's skilful engineer--arrived from Wilderness Tavern,
bringing a note from the wounded general. Lee read it with much
feeling, and dictated the following reply:

    GENERAL: I have just received your note informing me that you were
    wounded. I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could I
    have directed events, I should have chosen, for the good of the
    country, to have been disabled in your stead.

    I congratulate you upon the victory, which is due to your skill
    and energy. R.E. LEE, _General_.

This was dispatched with a second note to Stuart, directing him to
assume command, and press the enemy at dawn. Lee then mounted his
horse, and, just as the day began to break, formed line of battle
opposite the enemy's front, his line extending on the right to
the plank-road running from Chancellorsville in the direction of
Fredericksburg. This force, under the personal command of Lee,
amounted, as we have said, originally to about thirteen thousand men;
and, as their loss had not been very severe in the demonstrations made
against the enemy on the preceding days, they were in good condition.
The obvious course now was to place the troops in a position which
would enable them, in the event of Stuart's success in driving the
Federal right, to unite the left of Lee's line with the right of
Stuart, and so press the Federal army back on Chancellorsville and the
river. We shall now return to the left wing of the army, which, in
spite of the absence of the commanding general, was the column of
attack, which was looked to for the most important results.

In response to the summons of the preceding night, Stuart had come
back from the direction of Ely's Ford, at a swift gallop, burning with
ardor at the thought of leading Jackson's great corps into battle. The
military ambition of this distinguished commander of Lee's horse was
great, and he had often chafed at the jests directed at the cavalry
arm, and at himself as "only a cavalry-officer." He had now presented
to him an opportunity of showing that he was a trained soldier,
competent by his nerve and military ability to lead any arm of the
service, and greeted the occasion with delight. The men of Jackson had
been accustomed to see that commander pass slowly along their lines
on a horse as sedate-looking as himself, a slow-moving figure, with
little of the "poetry of war" in his appearance. They now found
themselves commanded by a youthful and daring cavalier on a spirited
animal, with floating plume, silken sash, and a sabre which gleamed in
the moonlight, as its owner galloped to and fro cheering the men and
marshalling them for the coming assault As he led the lines afterward
with joyous vivacity, his sabre drawn, his plume floating proudly, one
of the men compared him to Henry of Navarre at the battle of Ivry. But
Stuart's spirit of wild gayety destroyed the romantic dignity of the
scene. He led the men of Jackson against General Hooker's breastworks
bristling with cannon, singing "Old Joe Hooker, will you come out of
the Wilderness!"

This sketch will convey a correct idea of the officer who had now
grasped the bâton falling from the hand of the great marshal of
Lee. It was probable that the advance of the infantry under such a
commander would partake of the rush and rapidity of a cavalry-charge;
and the sequel justified this view.

At early dawn the Southern lines began to move. Either in consequence
of orders from Lee, or following his own conception, Stuart reversed
the movement of Jackson, who had aimed to swing round his left and cut
off the enemy. He seemed to have determined to extend his right, with
the view of uniting with the left of Anderson's division under Lee,
and enclosing the enemy in the angle near Chancellorsville. Lee had
moved at the same moment on their front, advancing steadily over all
obstacles, and a Northern writer, who witnessed the combined attack,
speaks of it in enthusiastic terms: "From the large brick house
which gives the name to this vicinity," says the writer, speaking
of Chancellorsville, "the enemy could be seen, sweeping slowly but
confidently, determinedly and surely, through the clearings which
extended in front. Nothing could excite more admiration for the
qualities of the veteran soldiers than the manner in which the enemy
swept out, as they moved steadily onward, the forces which were
opposed to them. We say it reluctantly, and for the first time, that
the enemy have shown the finest qualities, and we acknowledge on this
occasion their superiority in the open field to our own men. They
delivered their fire with precision, and were apparently inflexible
and immovable under the storm of bullets and shell which they were
constantly receiving. Coming to a piece of timber, which was occupied
by a division of our own men, half the number were detailed to clear
the woods. It seemed certain that here they would be repulsed, but
they marched right through the wood, driving our own soldiers out, who
delivered their fire and fell back, halted again, fired, and fell back
as before, seeming to concede to the enemy, as a matter of course, the
superiority which they evidently felt themselves. Our own men fought
well. There was no lack of courage, but an evident feeling that they
were destined to be beaten, and the only thing for them to do was to
fire and retreat."

This description of the steady advance of the Southern line applies
rather to the first portion of the attack, which compelled the front
line of the Federal army to retire to the stronger ground in rear.
When this was reached, and the troops of Lee saw before them the last
citadel, the steady advance became a rush. The divisions of Anderson
and McLaws, on the right, made a determined charge upon the great
force under Generals Hancock, Slocum, and others, in that quarter, and
Stuart closed in on the Federal right, steadily extending his line to
join on to Anderson.

The spectacle here was superb. As the troops rushed on, Stuart
shouted, "Charge! and remember Jackson!" and this watchword seemed to
drive the line forward. With Stuart leading them, and singing, in
his joyous voice, "Old Joe Hooker, will you come out of the
Wilderness!"--for courage, poetry, and seeming frivolity, were
strangely mingled in this great soldier--the troops went headlong
at the Federal works, and in a few moments the real struggle of the
battle of Chancellorsville had begun.

From this instant, when the lines, respectively commanded in person
by Lee and by Stuart, closed in with the enemy, there was little
manoeuvring of any description. It was an open attempt of Lee, by hard
fighting, to crush in the enemy's front, and force them back upon the
river. In this arduous struggle it is due to Stuart to say that his
generalship largely decided the event, and the high commendation which
he afterward received from General Lee justifies the statement. As his
lines went to the attack, his quick military eye discerned an elevated
point on his right, from which it appeared an artillery-fire woulden
filade the Federal line. About thirty pieces of cannon were at once
hastened to this point, and a destructive fire opened on the lines
of General Slocum, which threw his troops into great confusion. So
serious was this fire that General Slocum sent word to General Hooker
that his front was being swept away by it, to which the sullen
response was, "I cannot make soldiers or ammunition!"

General Hooker was indeed, it seems, at this moment in no mood to take
a hopeful view of affairs. The heavy assault of Jackson appears to
have as much demoralized the Federal commander as his troops. During
the night he had erected a semicircular line of works, in the form of
a redan, in his rear toward the river, behind which new works he no
doubt contemplated falling back. He now awaited the result of the
Southern attack, leaning against a pillar of the porch at the
Chancellorsville House, when a cannon-ball struck the pillar, throwing
it down, and so stunning the general as to prevent him from retaining
the command, which was delegated to General Couch.

[Illustration: Chancellorsville]

The fate of the day had now been decided. The right wing of the
Southern army, under Lee, had gradually extended its left to meet the
extension of Stuart's right; and this junction of the two wings having
been effected, Lee took personal command of all, and advanced his
whole front in a decisive assault. Before this the Federal front gave
way, and the disordered troops were huddled back--now only a confused
and disorganized mass--upon Chancellorsville. The Southern troops
pursued with yells, leaping over the earthworks, and driving all
before them. A scene of singular horror ensued. The Chancellorsville
House, which had been set on fire by shell, was seen to spout flame
from every window, and the adjoining woods had, in like manner, caught
fire, and were heard roaring over the dead and wounded of both sides
alike. The thicket had become the scene of the cruellest of all
agonies for the unfortunates unable to extricate themselves. The whole
spectacle in the vicinity of the Chancellorsville House, now in Lee's
possession, was frightful. Fire, smoke, blood, confused yells, and
dying groans, mingled to form the dark picture.

Lee had ridden to the front of his line, following up the enemy, and
as he passed before the troops they greeted him with one prolonged,
unbroken cheer, in which those wounded and lying upon the ground
united. In that cheer spoke the fierce joy of men whom the hard combat
had turned into blood-hounds, arousing all the ferocious instincts
of the human soul. Lee sat on his horse, motionless, near the
Chancellorsville House, his face and figure lit up by the glare of the
burning woods, and gave his first attention, even at this exciting
moment, to the unfortunates of both sides, wounded, and in danger of
being burned to death. While issuing his orders on this subject, a
note was brought to him from Jackson, congratulating him upon his
victory. After reading it, with evidences of much emotion, he turned
to the officer who had brought it and said: "Say to General Jackson
that the victory is his, and that the congratulation is due to him."

The Federal army had fallen back in disorder, by this time, toward
their second line. It was about ten o'clock in the morning, and
Chancellorsville was in Lee's possession.


Lee hastened to bring the Southern troops into order again, and
succeeded in promptly reforming his line of battle, his front
extending, unbroken, along the Old Turnpike, facing the river.

His design was to press General Hooker, and reap those rich rewards of
victory to which the hard fighting of the men had entitled them. Of
the demoralized condition of the Federal forces there can be no doubt,
and the obvious course now was to follow up their retreat and endeavor
to drive them in disorder beyond the Rappahannock.

The order to advance upon the enemy was about to be given, when a
messenger from Fredericksburg arrived at full gallop, and communicated
intelligence which arrested the order just as it was on Lee's lips.

A considerable force of the enemy was advancing up the turnpike from
Fredericksburg, to fall upon his right flank, and upon his rear in
case he moved beyond Chancellorsville. The column was that of General
Sedgwick. This officer, it will be remembered, had been detached to
make a heavy demonstration at Fredericksburg, and was still at that
point, with his troops drawn up on the southern bank, three miles
below the city, on Saturday night, while Jackson was fighting. On that
morning General Hooker had sent for Reynolds's corps, but, even in
the absence of this force, General Sedgwick retained under him about
twenty-two thousand men; and this column was now ordered to storm the
heights at Fredericksburg, march up the turnpike, and attack Lee in

General Sedgwick received the order at eleven o'clock on Saturday
night, about the time when Jackson was carried wounded to the rear. He
immediately made his preparations to obey, and at daylight moved up
from below the city to storm the ridge at Marye's, and march straight
upon Chancellorsville. In the first assaults he failed, suffering
considerable loss from the fire of the Southern troops under General
Barksdale, commanding the line at that point; but, subsequently
forming an assaulting column for a straight rush at the hill, he went
forward with impetuosity; drove the Southern advanced line from behind
the "stone wall," which Generals Sumner and Hooker had failed in
reaching, and, about eleven in the morning, stormed Marye's Hill, and
killed, captured, or dispersed, the entire Southern force there. The
Confederates fought hand to hand over their guns with the enemy for
the possession of the crest, but their numbers were inadequate; the
entire surviving force fell back over the Telegraph road southward,
and General Sedgwick promptly advanced up the turnpike leading from
Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville, to assail General Lee.

It was the intelligence of this threatening movement which now reached
Lee, and induced him to defer further attack at the moment upon
General Hooker. He determined promptly to send a force against General
Sedgwick, and this resolution seems to have been based upon sound
military judgment. There was little to be feared now from General
Hooker, large as the force still was under that officer. He was
paralyzed for the time, and would not probably venture upon any
attempt to regain possession of Chancellorsville. With General
Sedgwick it was different. His column was comparatively fresh, was
flushed with victory, and numbered, even after his loss of one
thousand, more than twenty thousand men. Compared with the entire
Federal army, this force was merely a detachment, it was true, but it
was a detachment numbering as many men, probably, as the effective of
Lee's entire army at Chancellorsville. He had carried into that fight
about thirty-four thousand men. His losses had been heavy, and the
commands were much shaken. To have advanced under these circumstances
upon General Hooker, without regard to General Sedgwick's twenty
thousand troops, inspired by recent victory, would have resulted
probably in disaster.

These comments may detract from that praise of audacity accorded to
Lee in making this movement. It seems rather to have been the dictate
of common-sense; to have advanced upon General Hooker would have been
the audacity.

It was thus necessary to defer the final blow at the main Federal army
in his front, and General Lee promptly detached a force of about five
brigades to meet General Sedgwick, which, with Early's command, now in
rear of the Federal column, would, it was supposed, suffice.

This body moved speedily down the turnpike to check the enemy, and
encountered the head of his column about half-way, near Salem Church.
General Wilcox, who had been sent by Lee to watch Banks's Ford, had
already moved to bar the Federal advance. When the brigades sent by
Lee joined him, the whole force formed line of battle: a brisk action
ensued, continuing from about four in the afternoon until nightfall,
when the fighting ceased, and General Sedgwick made no further attempt
to advance on that day.

These events took place, as we have said, on Sunday afternoon, the
day of the Federal defeat at Chancellorsville. On Monday morning (May
4th), the theatre of action on the southern bank of the Rappahannock
presented a very remarkable complication. General Early had been
driven from the ridge at Fredericksburg; but no sooner had General
Sedgwick marched toward Chancellorsville, than Early returned and
seized upon Marye's Heights again. He was thus in General Sedgwick's
rear, and ready to prevent him from recrossing the Rappahannock at
Fredericksburg. Sedgwick meanwhile was moving to assail Lee's flank
and rear, and Lee was ready to attack General Hooker in front. Such
was the singular entanglement of the Northern and Southern forces on
Monday morning after the battle of Chancellorsville. What the result
was to be the hours of that day were now to decide.

Lee resolved first, if possible, to crush General Sedgwick, when it
was his design to return and make a decisive assault upon General
Hooker. In accordance with this plan, he on Monday morning went in
personal command of three brigades of Anderson's division, reached the
vicinity of Salem Church, and proceeded to form line of battle with
the whole force there. Owing to unforeseen delays, the attack was not
begun until late in the afternoon, when the whole line advanced upon
General Sedgwick, Lee's aim being to cut him off from the river. In
this he failed, the stubborn resistance of the Federal forces enabling
them to hold their ground until night. At that time, however, they
seemed to waver and lose heart, whether from receiving intelligence of
General Hooker's mishap, or from other causes, is not known. They were
now pressed by the Southern troops, and finally gave way. General
Sedgwick retreated rapidly but in good order to Banks's Ford, where a
pontoon had been fortunately laid, and this enabled him to cross his
men. The passage was effected under cover of darkness, the Southern
cannon firing upon the retreating column; and, with this, ended the
movement of General Sedgwick.

On Tuesday morning Lee returned with his men toward Chancellorsville,
and during the whole day was busily engaged in preparation for a
decisive attack upon General Hooker on the next morning.

When, however, the Southern sharp-shooters felt their way, at
daylight, toward the Federal position, it was found that the works
were entirely deserted.

General Hooker had recrossed the river, spreading pine-boughs on the
pontoon bridge to muffle the sound of his artillery-wheels.

So the great advance ended.



The movements of the two armies in the Chancellorsville campaign, as
it is generally styled, have been so fully described in the foregoing
pages, that little comment upon them is here necessary. The main
feature which attracts attention, in surveying the whole series of
operations, is the boldness, amounting to apparent recklessness, of
Lee; and, first, the excellent generalship, and then the extraordinary
tissue of military errors, of General Hooker.

Up to the 1st of May, when he emerged from the Chancellorsville
thicket, every thing had succeeded with the Federal commander, and
deserved to succeed. He had successfully brought over his great force,
which he himself described as the "finest army on the planet," and
occupied strong ground east of Chancellorsville, on the road to
Fredericksburg. General Sedgwick was absent at the latter place with a
strong detachment of the army, but the main body covered Banks's Ford,
but twelve miles from the city, and by the afternoon of this day the
whole army might have been concentrated. Then the fate of Lee would
seem to have been decided. He had not only a very small army, but
that army was scattered, and liable to be cut off in detail. General
Sedgwick menaced his right at Fredericksburg--General Hooker was in
front of his left near Chancellorsville--and to crush one of these
wings before the other could come to its assistance seemed a work of
no very great difficulty. General Hooker appears, however, to have
distrusted his ability to effect this result, and, finding that
General Lee was advancing with his main body to attack him, retired,
from his strong position in the open country, to the dense thicket
around Chancellorsville. That this was a grave military error there
can be no doubt, as, by this retrograde movement, General Hooker not
only discouraged his troops, who had been elated by his confident and
inspiring general orders, but lost the great advantage of the open
country, where his large force could be successfully manoeuvred.

Lee took instant advantage of this fault in his adversary, and boldly
pressed the force retiring into the Wilderness, where, on the night
of the 1st of May, General Hooker was shut up with his army. This
unforeseen result presented the adversaries now in an entirely new
light. The Federal army, which had been promised by its commander
a speedy march upon Richmond in pursuit of Lee, had, instead of
advancing, made a backward movement; and Lee, who it had been supposed
would retreat, was now following and offering them battle.

The daring resolution of Lee, to divide his army and attack the
Federal right, followed. It would seem unjust to General Hooker
greatly to blame him for the success of that blow, which could not
have been reasonably anticipated. In determining upon this, one of
the most extraordinary movements of the war, General Lee proceeded in
defiance of military rules, and was only justified in his course by
the desperate character of the situation of affairs. It was impossible
to make any impression upon General Hooker's front or left, owing to
the elaborate defences in both quarters; it was, therefore, necessary
either to retire, or attack in a different direction. As a retreat,
however, upon Richmond would have surrendered to the enemy a large and
fertile tract of country, it was desirable, if possible, to avoid that
alternative; and the attack on the Federal right followed. The results
of this were truly extraordinary. The force routed and driven back in
disorder by General Jackson was but a single corps, and that corps, it
is said, not a legitimate part of the old Army of the Potomac; but the
disorder seems to have communicated itself to the whole army, and to
have especially discouraged General Hooker. In describing the scene
in question, we refrained from dwelling upon the full extent of the
confusion into which the Federal forces were thrown: some sentences,
taken from Northern accounts, may lead to a better understanding of
the result. After Jackson's assault, a Northern historian says: "The
open plain around Chancellorsville presented such a spectacle as
a simoom sweeping over the desert might make. Through the dusk of
nightfall a rushing whirlwind of men and artillery and wagons swept
down the road, past headquarters, and on toward the fords of the
Rappahannock; and it was in vain that the staff opposed their persons
and drawn sabres to the panic-stricken fugitives." Another writer, an
eye-witness, says the spectacle presented was that of "solid columns
of infantry retreating at double-quick; a dense mass of beings flying;
hundreds of cavalry-horses, left riderless at the first discharge from
the rebels, dashing frantically about in all directions; scores of
batteries flying from the field; battery-wagons, ambulances, horses,
men, cannon, caissons, all jumbled and tumbled together in one
inextricable mass--the stampede universal, the disgrace general."

After all, however, it was but one corps of the Federal army which
had been thus thrown into disorder, and General Hooker had no valid
grounds for distrusting his ability to defeat Lee in a more decisive
action. There are many reasons for coming to the conclusion that he
did from that moment distrust his powers. He had courageously hastened
to the assailed point, ordering the men to "throw themselves into the
breach," and receive Jackson's troops "on the bayonet;" but, after
this display of soldierly resolution, General Hooker appears to have
lost some of that nerve which should never desert a soldier, and on
the same night sent engineers to trace out a new line of defences in
his rear, to which, it seems, he already contemplated the probability
of being forced to retire. Why he came to take this depressed view
of the situation of affairs, it is difficult to say. One of General
Sedgwick's corps reached him on this night, and his force at
Chancellorsville still amounted to between ninety and one hundred
thousand men, about thrice that of Lee. No decisive trial of strength
had yet taken place between the two armies; and yet the larger force
was constructing defences in rear to protect them from the smaller--a
circumstance not tending, it would seem, to greatly encourage the
troops whose commander was thus providing for a safe retreat.

The subsequent order to General Sedgwick to march up from
Fredericksburg and assail Lee's right was judicious, and really
saved the army from a great disaster. Lee was about to follow up the
discouraged forces of General Hooker as they fell back toward the
river; and, as the Southern army was flushed with victory, the
surrender of the great body might have ensued. This possible result
was prevented by the flank movement of General Sedgwick, and some
gratitude for assistance so important from his able lieutenant would
have seemed natural and graceful in General Hooker. This view of the
subject does not seem, however, to have been taken by the Federal
commander. He subsequently charged the defeat of Chancellorsville upon
General Sedgwick, who he declared had "failed in a prompt compliance
with his orders."[1] The facts do not bear out this charge, as the
reader has seen. General Sedgwick received the order toward midnight
on Saturday, and, at eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, had passed
over that stubborn "stone wall" which, in the battle of the preceding
December, General Hooker's column had not even been able to reach;
had stormed Marye's Hill, which General Hooker had described, in
vindication of his own failure to carry the position, as "masonry," "a
fortification," and "a mountain of rock;" and had marched thereafter
so promptly as to force Lee, in his own defence, to arrest the second
advance upon the Federal main body, and divert a considerable force to
meet the attack on his flank.

[Footnote 1: General Hooker in Report of the Committee on the Conduct
of the War, Part I., page 130. This great collection is a valuable
repository of historic details, and contains the explanation of many
interesting questions.]

After the repulse of General Sedgwick, and his retreat across
the Rappahannock, General Hooker seems to have been completely
discouraged, and hastened to put the river between himself and Lee.
His losses in the battles of Saturday and Sunday had amounted to
seventeen thousand one hundred and ninety-seven killed and wounded and
missing, fourteen pieces of artillery, and twenty thousand stand
of arms. The Confederate loss was ten thousand two hundred and
eighty-one. Contrary to the ordinary course of things the assailing
force had lost a less number of men than that assailed.

The foregoing reflections, which necessarily involve a criticism of
General Hooker, arise naturally from a review of the events of the
campaign, and seem justified by the circumstances. There can be no
inducement for the present writer to underrate the military ability of
the Federal commander, as that want of ability rather detracts from
than adds to the merit of General Lee in defeating him. It may be
said, indeed, that without these errors and shortcomings of General
Hooker, Lee, humanly speaking, must have been either defeated or
forced to retire upon Richmond.

After giving full weight, however, to all the advantages derived from
the extraordinary Federal oversights and mistakes, General Lee's merit
in this campaign was greater, perhaps, than in any other during his
entire career. Had he left behind him no other record than this, it
alone would have been sufficient to have conferred upon him the first
glories of arms, and handed his name down to posterity as that of one
of the greatest soldiers of history. It is difficult to discover a
single error committed by him, in the whole series of movements, from
the moment when General Sedgwick crossed at Fredericksburg, to the
time of General Hooker's retreat beyond the Rappahannock. It may
appear that there was unnecessary delay in permitting Tuesday to pass
without a final advance upon General Hooker, in his second line of
intrenchments; but, no doubt, many circumstances induced Lee to defer
this attack--the fatigue of his troops, consequent upon the fighting
of the four preceding days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; the
necessity of reforming his battalions for the final blow; and the
anticipation that General Hooker, who still had at his command a
force of more than one hundred thousand men, would not so promptly
relinquish his campaign, and retire.

With the exception of this error, if it be such, Lee had made no
single false step in the whole of his movements. The campaign was
round, perfect, and complete--such as a student of the art of war
might pore over, and analyze as an instance of the greatest principles
of military science "clothed in act." The most striking features of
Lee's movements were their rapidity and audacity. It had been the
fashion with some persons to speak of Lee as slow and cautious in his
operations, and this criticism had not been completely silenced even
in the winter of 1862, when his failure to crush General Burnside
afforded his detractors another opportunity of repeating the old
charge. After the Chancellorsville campaign these fault-finders were
silenced--no one could be found to listen to them. The whole
Southern movement completely contradicted their theory. At the first
intelligence of the advance of General Hooker's main body across the
upper Rappahannock, Lee rode rapidly in that direction, and ordered
his troops at the fords of the river to fall back to Chancellorsville.
He then returned, and, finding that General Sedgwick had crossed at
Fredericksburg, held a prompt consultation with Jackson, when it was
decided at once to concentrate the main body of the army in front of
General Hooker's column. At the word, Jackson moved; Lee followed. On
the 1st of May, the enemy were pressed back upon Chancellorsville; on
the 2d, his right was crushed, and his army thrown into confusion; on
the 3d, he was driven from Chancellorsville, and, but for the flank
movement of General Sedgwick, which Lee was not in sufficient force to
prevent, General Hooker would, upon that same day, Sunday, have in all
probability suffered a decisive defeat.

In the course of four days Lee had thus advanced, and checked, and
then attacked and repulsed with heavy slaughter, an army thrice
as large as his own. On the last day of April he had been nearly
enveloped by a host of about one hundred and twenty thousand men. On
the 3d day of May their main body was in disorderly retreat; and at
daylight on the morning of the 6th there was not a Federal soldier,
with the exception of the prisoners taken, on the southern bank of the

During all these critical scenes, when the fate of the Confederate
capital, and possibly of the Southern cause, hung suspended in the
balance, General Lee preserved, as thousands of persons can testify,
the most admirable serenity and composure, without that jubilant
confidence displayed by General Hooker in his address to the troops,
and the exclamations to his officers. Lee was equally free from gloom
or any species of depression. His spirits seemed to rise under the
pressure upon him, and at times he was almost gay. When one of General
Jackson's aides hastened into his tent near Fredericksburg, and with
great animation informed him that the enemy were crossing the
river, in heavy force in his front, he seemed to be amused by that
circumstance, and said, smiling: "Well, I _heard_ firing, and I was
beginning to think it was time some of you lazy young fellows were
coming to tell me what it was all about. Say to General Jackson that
he knows just as well what to do with the enemy as I do."

The commander-in-chief who could find time at such a moment to
indulge in _badinage_, must have possessed excellent nerve; and this
composure, mingled with a certain buoyant hopefulness, as of one sure
of the event, remained with Lee throughout the whole great wrestle
with General Hooker. He retained to the end his simple and quiet
manner, divested of every thing like excitement. In the consultation
with Jackson, on the night of the 1st of May, when the crisis was so
critical, his demeanor indicated no anxiety; and when, as we have
said, the news came of Jackson's wound, he said simply, "Sit
down here, by me, captain, and tell me all about the fight last
evening"--adding, "Ah! captain, any victory is dearly bought which
deprives us of the services of General Jackson even for a short
time. Don't talk about it--thank God, it is no worse!" The turns of
expression here are those of a person who permits nothing to disturb
his serenity, and indulges his gentler and tenderer feelings even
in the hot atmosphere of a great conflict. The picture presented is
surely an interesting and beautiful one. The human being who uttered
the good-natured criticism at the expense of the "lazy young fellows,"
and who greeted the news of Jackson's misfortune with a sigh as tender
as that of a woman, was the soldier who had "seized the masses of his
force with the grasp of a Titan, and swung them into position as a
giant might fling a mighty stone." To General Hooker's threat to crush
him, he had responded by crushing General Hooker; nearly surrounded by
the huge cordon of the Federal army, he had cut the cordon and emerged
in safety. General Hooker with his one hundred thousand men had
retreated to the north bank of the Rappahannock, and, on the south
bank, Lee with his thirty thousand remained erect, threatening, and

We have not presented in these pages the orders of Lee, on various
occasions, as these papers are for the most part of an "official"
character, and not of great interest to the general reader. We shall,
however, occasionally present these documents, and here lay before the
reader the orders of both General Hooker and General Lee, after the
battle of Chancellorsville, giving precedence to the former. The order
of the Federal commander was as follows:


    The major-general commanding tenders to this army his
    congratulations on its achievements of the last seven days. If it
    has not accomplished all that was expected, the reasons are
    well known to the army. It is sufficient to say, they were of a
    character not to be foreseen or prevented by human sagacity or

    In withdrawing from the south bank of the Rappahannock, before
    delivering a general battle to our adversaries, the army has given
    renewed evidence in its confidence in itself, and its fidelity to
    the principles it represents.

    By fighting at a disadvantage, we would have been recreant to our
    trust, to ourselves, to our cause, and to our country. Profoundly
    loyal, and conscious of its strength, the Army of the Potomac will
    give or decline battle whenever its interests or honor may command

    By the celerity and secrecy of our movements, our advance and
    passage of the river were undisputed, and on our withdrawal not
    a rebel dared to follow us. The events of the last week may well
    cause the heart of every officer and soldier of the army to swell
    with pride.

    We have added new laurels to our former renown. We have made long
    marches, crossed rivers, surprised the enemy in his intrenchments,
    and, whenever we have fought, we have inflicted heavier blows than
    those we have received.

    We have taken from the enemy five thousand prisoners, and fifteen
    colors, captured seven pieces of artillery, and placed _hors de
    combat_ eighteen thousand of our foe's chosen troops.

    We have destroyed his depots filled with vast amounts of stores,
    damaged his communications, captured prisoners within the
    fortifications of his capital, and filled his country with fear
    and consternation.

    We have no other regret than that caused by the loss of our brave
    companions, and in this we are consoled by the conviction that
    they have fallen in the holiest cause ever submitted to the
    arbitration of battle.

    By command of Major-General HOOKER:

    S. WILLIAMS, _Assistant Adjutant-General_

General Lee's order was as follows:


    _May_ 7,1863.

    With heart-felt gratification, the general commanding expresses to
    the army his sense of the heroic conduct displayed by officers and
    men during the arduous operations in which they have just been

    Under trying vicissitudes of heat and storm you attacked the
    enemy, strongly intrenched in the depths of a tangled wilderness,
    and again on the hills of Fredericksburg, fifteen miles distant,
    and by the valor that has triumphed on so many fields forced him
    once more to seek safety beyond the Rappahannock. While this
    glorious victory entitles you to the praise and gratitude of the
    nation, we are especially called upon to return our grateful
    thanks to the only Giver of victory, for the signal deliverances
    He has wrought.

    It is therefore earnestly recommended that the troops unite on
    Sunday next in ascribing unto the Lord of hosts the glory due unto
    His name.

    Let us not forget, in our rejoicing, the brave soldiers who have
    fallen in defence of their country; and, while we mourn their
    loss, let us resolve to emulate their noble example.

    The army and the country alike lament the absence for a time of
    one to whose bravery, energy, and skill, they are so much indebted
    for success.

    The following letter from the President of the Confederate States
    is communicated to the army, as an expression of his appreciation
    of their success:

    "I have received your dispatch, and reverently unite with you in
    giving praise to God for the success with which He has crowned our
    arms. In the name of the people I offer my cordial thanks, and the
    troops under your command, for this addition to the unprecedented
    series of great victories which our army has achieved. The
    universal rejoicing produced by this happy result will be mingled
    with a general regret for the good and the brave who are numbered
    among the killed and the wounded."

    R.E. LEE, _General_.



The most important incident of the great battle of Chancellorsville
was the fall of Jackson. The services of this illustrious soldier had
now become almost indispensable to General Lee, who spoke of him
as his "right arm;" and the commander-in-chief had so long been
accustomed to lean upon the strong shoulder of his lieutenant, that
now, when this support was withdrawn, he seems to have felt the loss
of it profoundly.

In the war, indeed, there had arisen no soldier who so powerfully drew
the public eye as Jackson. In the opinion of many persons, he was a
greater and abler commander than Lee himself; and, although such
an opinion will not be found to stand after a full review of the
characters and careers of the two leaders, there was sufficient ground
for it to induce many fair and intelligent persons to adopt it.
Jackson had been almost uniformly successful. He had conducted to a
triumphant issue the arduous campaign of the Valley, where he was
opposed in nearly every battle by a force much larger than his own;
and these victories, in a quarter so important, and at a moment so
critical, had come, borne on the wind of the mountain, to electrify
and inspire the hearts of the people of Richmond and the entire
Confederacy. Jackson's rapid march and assault on General McClellan's
right on the Chickahominy had followed; he then advanced northward,
defeated the vanguard of the enemy at Cedar Mountain, led the great
column of Lee against the rear of General Pope, destroyed Manassas,
held his ground until Lee arrived, and bore an important part in the
battle which ensued. Thence he had passed to Maryland, fallen upon
Harper's Ferry and captured it, returned to fight with Lee at
Sharpsburg, and in that battle had borne the brunt of the enemy's main
assault with an unbroken front. That the result was a drawn battle,
and not a Southern defeat, was due to Lee's generalship and Jackson's
fighting. The retrograde movement to the lowland followed, and Jackson
was left in the Valley to embarrass McClellan's advance. In this he
perfectly succeeded, and then suddenly reappeared at Fredericksburg,
where he received and repulsed one of the two great assaults of the
enemy. The battle of Chancellorsville followed, and Lee's statement
of the part borne in this hard combat by Jackson has been given. The
result was due, he said, not to his own generalship, but to the skill
and energy of his lieutenant, whose congratulations he refused to
receive, declaring that the victory was Jackson's.

Here had at last ended the long series of nearly unbroken victories.
Jackson had become the _alter ego_ of Lee, and it is not difficult
to understand the sense of loss felt by the commander-in-chief. In
addition to this natural sentiment, was deep regret at the death of
one personally dear to him, and to whom he was himself an object of
almost reverent love. The personal relations of Lee and Jackson had,
from first to last, remained the same--not the slightest cloud had
ever arisen to disturb the perfect union in each of admiration and
affection for the other. It had never occurred to these two great
soldiers to ask what their relative position was in the public
eye--which was most spoken of and commended or admired. Human nature
is weak at best, and the fame of Jackson, mounting to its dazzling
zenith, might have disturbed a less magnanimous soul than Lee's. There
is not, however, the slightest reason to believe that Lee ever gave
the subject a thought. Entirely free from that vulgar species of
ambition which looks with cold eyes upon the success of others, as
offensive to its own _amour-propre_ Lee never seems to have instituted
any comparison between himself and Jackson--greeted praise of his
famous lieutenant with sincere pleasure--and was the first upon
every occasion, not only to express the fullest sense of Jackson's
assistance, and the warmest admiration of his genius as a soldier, but
to attribute to him, as after the battle of Chancellorsville, _all_
the merit of every description.

It is not possible to contemplate this august affection and admiration
of the two soldiers for each other, without regarding it as a greater
glory to them than all their successes in arms. Lee's opinion of
Jackson, and personal sentiment toward him, have been set forth in the
above sentences. The sentiment of Jackson for Lee was as strong or
stronger. He regarded him with mingled love and admiration. To excite
such feelings in a man like Jackson, it was necessary that Lee should
be not only a soldier of the first order of genius, but also a good
and pious man. It was in these lights that Jackson regarded his
commander, and from first to last his confidence in and admiration for
him never wavered. He had defended Lee from the criticism of unskilled
or ignorant persons, from the time when he assumed command of the
army, in the summer of 1862. At that time some one spoke of Lee, in
Jackson's presence, as "slow." The criticism aroused the indignation
of the silent soldier, and he exclaimed: "General Lee is _not_ 'slow.'
No one knows the weight upon his heart--his great responsibilities.
He is commander-in-chief, and he knows that, if an army is lost, it
cannot be replaced. No! there may be some persons whose good opinion
of me may make them attach some weight to my views, and, if you ever
hear that said of General Lee, I beg you will contradict it in my
name. I have known General Lee for five-and-twenty years. He is
cautious. He ought to be. But he is _not_ 'slow.' Lee is a phenomenon.
He is the only man whom I would follow blindfold!"

The abrupt and energetic expressions of Jackson on this occasion
indicate his profound sense of the injustice done Lee by these
criticisms; and it would be difficult to imagine a stronger statement
than that here made by him. It will be conceded that he himself was
competent to estimate soldiership, and in Jackson's eyes Lee was
"a phenomenon--the only man whom he would follow blindfold." The
subsequent career of Lee seems to have strengthened and intensified
this extreme admiration. What Lee advised or did was always in
Jackson's eyes the very best that could be suggested or performed. He
yielded his own opinions, upon every occasion, with perfect readiness
and cheerfulness to those of Lee, as to the master-mind; loved him,
revered him, looked up to him, and never seems to have found fault
with him but upon one occasion--when he received Lee's note of
congratulation after Chancellorsville. He then said: "General Lee is
very kind; but he should give the glory to God."

This affection and admiration were fully returned by General Lee, who
consulted Jackson upon every occasion, and confided in him as his
personal friend. There was seldom any question between them of
superior and subordinate--never, except when the exigency required
that the decision should be made by Lee as commander-in-chief.
Jackson's supreme genius, indeed, made this course natural, and no
further praise is due Lee in this particular, save that of modesty and
good sense; but these qualities are commendable and not universal.
He committed the greatest undertakings to Jackson with the utmost
confidence, certain that he would do all that could be done; and some
words of his quoted above express this entire confidence. "Say
to General Jackson," he replied to the young staff-officer at
Fredericksburg, "that he knows just as well what to do with the enemy
as I do."

Lee's personal affection was strikingly displayed after the battle
of Chancellorsville, when Jackson lay painfully, but no one supposed
mortally, wounded, first at Wilderness Tavern, and then at Ginney's.
Prevented from visiting the wounded man, by the responsibilities of
command, now all the greater from Jackson's absence, and not regarding
his hurt as serious, as indeed it did not appear to be until toward
the last, Lee sent him continual messages containing good wishes
and inquiries after his health. The tone of these messages is very
familiar and affectionate, and leaves no doubt of the character of the
relations between the two men.

"Give him my affectionate regards," he said to one officer, "and tell
him to make haste and get well, and come back to me as soon as he can.
He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right."

When the wound of the great soldier took a bad turn, and it began to
be whispered about that the hurt might prove fatal, Lee was strongly
moved, and said with deep feeling: "Surely General Jackson must
recover! God will not take him from us, now that we need him so much.
Surely he will be spared to us, in answer to the many prayers which
are offered for him!"

He paused after uttering these words, laboring evidently under very
deep and painful emotion. After remaining silent for some moments,
he added: "When you return I trust you will find him better. When
a suitable occasion offers, give him my love, and tell him that I
wrestled in prayer for him last night, as I never prayed, I believe,
for myself."

The tone of these messages is, as we have said, that of familiar
affection, as from one valued friend to another. The expression, "Give
him my love," is a Virginianism, which is used only when two persons
are closely and firmly bound by long association and friendship. Such
had been the case with Lee and Jackson, and in the annals of the war
there is no other instance of a friendship so close, affectionate, and

Jackson died on the 10th of May, and the unexpected intelligence
shocked Lee profoundly. He mourned the death of the illustrious
soldier with a sorrow too deep almost to find relief in tears; and
issued a general order to the troops, which was in the following

    With deep grief the commanding general announces to the army the
    death of Lieutenant-General T.J. Jackson, who expired on the 10th
    inst., at quarter-past three P.M. The daring, skill, and energy
    of this great and good soldier, by the decree of an All-wise
    Providence, are now lost to us. But, while we mourn his death, we
    feel that his spirit still lives, and will inspire the whole army
    with his indomitable courage and unshaken confidence in God, as
    our hope and strength. Let his name be a watchword to his corps,
    who have followed him to victory on so many fields. Let his
    officers and soldiers emulate his invincible determination to
    do every thing in defence of our beloved country. R.E. LEE,

It is probable that the composition of this order cost General Lee one
of the severest pangs he ever experienced.



The defeat of General Hooker at Chancellorsville was the turning-point
of the war, and for the first time there was apparently a possibility
of inducing the Federal Government to relinquish its opposition to the
establishment of a separate authority in the South. The idea of the
formation of a Southern Confederacy, distinct from the old Union, had,
up to this time, been repudiated by the authorities at Washington as a
thing utterly out of the question; but the defeat of the Federal arms
in the two great battles of the Rappahannock had caused the most
determined opponents of separation to doubt whether the South could
be coerced to return to the Union; and, what was equally or more
important, the proclamations of President Lincoln, declaring the
slaves of the South free, and placing the United States virtually
under martial law, aroused a violent clamor from the great Democratic
party of the North, who loudly asserted that all constitutional
liberty was disappearing.

This combination of non-success in military affairs and usurpation by
the Government emboldened the advocates of peace to speak out plainly,
and utter their protest against the continuance of the struggle,
which they declared had only resulted in the prostration of all
the liberties of the country. Journals and periodicals, violently
denunciatory of the course pursued by the Government, all at once made
their appearance in New York and elsewhere. A peace convention was
called to meet in Philadelphia. Mr. Vallandigham, nominee of the
Democratic party for Governor of Ohio, eloquently denounced the whole
policy of endeavoring to subjugate the sovereign States of the South;
and Judge Curtis, of Boston, formerly Associate Judge of the Supreme
Court of the United States, published a pamphlet in which the Federal
President was stigmatized as a usurper and tyrant. "I do not see,"
wrote Judge Curtis, "that it depends upon the Executive decree whether
a servile war shall be invoked to help twenty millions of the white
race to assert the rightful authority of the Constitution and laws of
their country over those who refuse to obey them. But I do see that
this proclamation" (emancipating the Southern slaves) "asserts the
power of the Executive to make such a decree! I do not perceive how it
is that my neighbors and myself, residing remote from armies and their
operations, and where all the laws of the land may be enforced by
constitutional means, should be subjected to the possibility of
arrest and imprisonment and trial before a military commission, and
punishment at its discretion, for offences unknown to the law--a
possibility to be converted into a fact at the mere will of the
President, or of some subordinate officer, clothed by him with this
power. But I do perceive that this Executive power is asserted.... It
must be obvious to the meanest capacity that, if the President of
the United States has an _implied_ constitutional right, as
Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, in time of war, to disregard
any one positive prohibition of the Constitution, or to exercise any
one power not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
because in his judgment he may thereby 'best subdue the enemy,' he
has the same right, for the same reason, to disregard each and every
provision of the Constitution, and to exercise all power _needful in
his opinion_ to enable him 'best to subdue the enemy.' ... The time
has certainly come when the people of the United States _must_
understand and _must_ apply those great rules of civil liberty which
have been arrived at by the self-devoted efforts of thought and action
of their ancestors during seven hundred years of struggle against
arbitrary power."

So far had reached the thunder of Lee's guns at Chancellorsville.
Their roar seemed to have awakened throughout the entire North the
great party hitherto lulled to slumber by the plea of "military
necessity," or paralyzed by the very extent of the Executive
usurpation which they saw, but had not had heart to oppose. On all
sides the advocates of peace on the basis of separation were heard
raising their importunate voices; and in the North the hearts of the
people began to thrill with the anticipation of a speedy termination
of the bloody and exhausting struggle. The occasion was embraced by
Mr. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States, to propose
negotiations. This able gentleman wrote from Georgia on the 12th of
June to President Davis, offering to go to Washington and sound the
authorities there on the subject of peace. He believed that the moment
was propitious, and wished to act before further military movements
were undertaken--especially before any further projects of invasion by
Lee--which would tend, he thought, to silence the peace party at the
North, and again arouse the war spirit. The letter of Mr. Stephens
was written on the 12th of June, and President Davis responded by
telegraph a few days afterward, requesting Mr. Stephens to come to
Richmond. He reached that city on the 22d or 23d of June, but by that
time Lee's vanguard was entering Maryland, and Gettysburg speedily
followed, which terminated all hopes of peace.

The plan of moving the Southern army northward, with the view of
invading the Federal territory, seems to have been the result of many
circumstances. The country was elated with the two great victories of
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and the people were clamorous for
active operations against an enemy who seemed powerless to stand the
pressure of Southern steel. The army, which had been largely augmented
by the return of absentees to its ranks, new levies, and the recall
of Longstreet's two divisions from Suffolk, shared the general
enthusiasm; and thus a very heavy pressure was brought to bear upon
the authorities and on General Lee, in favor of a forward movement,
which, it was supposed, would terminate in a signal victory and a
treaty of peace.

Lee yielded to this view of things rather than urged it. He was not
opposed to an offensive policy, and seems, indeed, to have shared the
opinion of Jackson that "the Scipio Africanus policy" was the best for
the South. His theory from the beginning of the war had been, that the
true policy of the South was to keep the enemy as far as possible
from the interior, fighting on the frontier or on Federal soil, if
possible. That of the South would there thus be protected from the
ravages of the enemy, and the further advantage would accrue, that the
Confederate capital, Richmond, would at all times be safe from danger.
This was an important consideration, as events subsequently showed.
As long as the enemy were held at arm's-length, north of the
Rappahannock, Richmond, with her net-work of railroads connecting with
every part of the South, was safe, and the Government, undisturbed in
their capital, remained a power in the eyes of the world. But, with an
enemy enveloping the city, and threatening her lines of communication,
the tenure of the place by the Government was uncertain. When General
Grant finally thus enveloped the city, and laid hold upon the
railroads, Lee's army was defeated, and the Government became
fugitive, which alone would have struck a mortal blow to its prestige
and authority.

It was to arrive at these results, which his sagacity discerned, that
Lee always advocated such movements as would throw back the enemy, and
drive him, if possible, from the soil of Virginia. Another important
consideration was the question of supplies. These were at all times
deficient in the Confederate armies, and it was obviously the best
policy to protect as much territory, from which supplies might be
drawn, as possible. More than ever before, these supplies were now
needed; and when General Lee sent, in May or June, a requisition for
rations to Richmond, the commissary-general is said to have endorsed
upon the paper, "If General Lee wishes rations, let him seek them in

The considerations here stated were the main inducements for
that great movement northward which followed the battle of
Chancellorsville. The army and country were enthusiastic; the
Government rather followed than led; and, throughout the month of May,
Lee was busily engaged in organizing and equipping his forces for the
decisive advance. Experience had now dictated many alterations and
improvements in the army. It was divided into three _corps d'armée_,
each consisting of three divisions, and commanded by an officer with
the rank of lieutenant-general. Longstreet remained at the head of his
former corps, Ewell succeeded Jackson in command of "Jackson's old
corps," and A.P. Hill was assigned to a third corps made up of
portions of the two others. The infantry was thus rearranged in a
manner to increase greatly its efficiency, and the artillery arm
was entirely reorganized. The old system of assigning one or more
batteries or battalions to each division or corps was done away with,
and the artillery of the army was made a distinct command, and placed
under General W.N. Pendleton, a brave and energetic officer, who was
thenceforward Lee's "chief of artillery." The last arm, the cavalry,
was also increased in efficiency; and, on the last day of May,
General Lee had the satisfaction of finding himself in command of a
well-equipped and admirably-officered army of sixty-eight thousand
three hundred and fifty-two bayonets, and nearly ten thousand cavalry
and artillery--in all, about eighty thousand men. Never before had
the Southern army had present for duty, as fighting men, so large a
number, except just before the battles on the Chickahominy. There was,
however, this great difference between the army then and at this time:
in those first months of 1862, it was made up largely of raw troops
who had never heard the discharge of a musket in their lives: while
now, in May, 1863 the bulk of the army consisted of Lee's veterans,
men who had followed him through the fire of Manassas, Sharpsburg,
Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, and could be counted on
to effect any thing not absolutely beyond human power. General
Longstreet, conversing after the war with a gentleman of the North,
declared as much. The army at that time, he said, was in a condition
to undertake _any thing_.



The great game of chess was now about to commence, and, taking an
illustration from that game, General Lee is reported to have said that
he believed he would "swap queens," that is, advance and attempt to
capture the city of Washington, leaving General Hooker at liberty, if
he chose so to do, to seize in turn upon Richmond. What the result of
so singular a manoeuvre would have been, it is impossible to say; it
would certainly have proved one of the strangest incidents of a war
fruitful in varied and shifting events.

Such a plan of operations, however, if ever seriously contemplated
by Lee, was speedily abandoned. He nowhere makes mention of any such
design in his published reports, and he probably spoke of it only in
jest. His real aim in the great movement now about to commence, is
stated with brevity and reserve--then absolutely necessary--but also
with sufficient clearness, in his official report. The position of
the enemy opposite Fredericksburg was, he says, such as to render an
attack upon him injudicious. It was, therefore, desirable to manoeuvre
him out of it--force him to return toward Maryland--and thus free
the country of his forces. A further result was expected from this
movement. The lower Shenandoah Valley was occupied by the enemy under
General Milroy, who, with his headquarters at Winchester, harassed the
whole region, which he ruled with a rod of iron. With the withdrawal
of the Federal army under General Hooker, and before the advance of
the Confederates, General Milroy would also disappear, and the fertile
fields of the Valley be relieved. The whole force of the enemy would
thus, says Lee, "be compelled to leave Virginia, and possibly to draw
to its support troops designed to operate against other parts of the
country." He adds: "In this way it was supposed that the enemy's plan
of campaign for the summer would be broken up, and part of the season
of active operations be consumed in the formation of new combinations
and the preparations that they would require. In addition to these
advantages, it was hoped that other valuable results might be attained
by military success," that is to say, by a battle which Lee intended
to fight when circumstances were favorable. That he expected to fight,
not merely to manoeuvre the enemy from Virginia, is apparent from
another sentence of the report. "It was thought," he says, "that the
corresponding movements on the part of the enemy, to which those
contemplated by us would probably give rise, might _offer a fair
opportunity to strike a blow at the army therein, commanded by General
Hooker_" the word "therein" referring to the region "north of the
Potomac." In the phrase, "other valuable results which might be
attained by military success," the reference is plainly to the
termination of the contest by a treaty of peace, based upon the
independence of the South.

These sentences, taken from the only publication ever made by Lee
on the subject of the Gettysburg campaign, express guardedly, but
distinctly, his designs. He aimed to draw General Hooker north of the
Potomac, clear the Valley, induce the enemy to send troops in other
quarters to the assistance of the main Federal army, and, when the
moment came, attack General Hooker, defeat him if possible, and thus
end the war. That a decisive defeat of the Federal forces at that time
in Maryland or Pennsylvania, would have virtually put an end to the
contest, there seems good reason to believe. Following the Southern
victories of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, a third bloody
disaster would, in all human probability, have broken the resolution
of the Federal authorities. With Lee thundering at the gates of
Washington or Philadelphia, and with the peace party encouraged to
loud and importunate protest, it is not probable that the war would
have continued. Intelligent persons in the North are said to have so
declared, since the war, and the declaration seems based upon good

Before passing from this necessary preface to the narrative of events,
it is proper to add that, in the contemplated battle with General
Hooker, when he had drawn him north of the Potomac, Lee did not intend
to assume a _tactical offensive_, but to force the Federal commander,
if possible, to make the attack. [Footnote: "It had not been intended
to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, unless
attacked by the enemy."--_Lee's Report_] From this resolution he was
afterward induced by circumstances to depart, and the result is known.

What is above written will convey to the reader a clear conception of
Lee's views and intentions in undertaking his last great offensive
campaign; and we now proceed to the narrative of the movements of the
two armies, and the battle of Gettysburg.



Lee began his movement northward on the 3d day of June, just one month
after the battle of Chancellorsville. From this moment to the time
when his army was concentrated in the vicinity of Gettysburg, his
operations were rapid and energetic, but with a cautious regard to the
movements of the enemy.

Pursuing his design of manoeuvring the Federal army out of Virginia,
without coming to action, Lee first sent forward one division of
Longstreet's corps in the direction of Culpepper, another then
followed, and, on the 4th and 5th of June, Ewell's entire corps was
sent in the same direction--A.P. Hill remaining behind on the south
bank of the Rappahannock, near Fredericksburg, to watch the enemy
there, and bar the road to Richmond. These movements became speedily
known to General Hooker, whose army lay north of the river near that
point, and on the 5th he laid a pontoon just below Fredericksburg,
and crossed about a corps to the south bank, opposite Hill. This
threatening demonstration, however, was not suffered by Lee to arrest
his own movements. Seeing that the presence of the enemy there was
"intended for the purpose of observation rather than attack," and only
aimed to check his operations, he continued the withdrawal of his
troops, by way of Culpepper, in the direction of the Shenandoah

A brilliant pageant, succeeded by a dramatic and stirring incident,
was now to prelude the march of Lee into the enemy's territory. On
the 8th of June, the day of the arrival of Lee's head of column in
Culpepper, a review of Stuart's cavalry took place in a field east of
the court-house. The review was a picturesque affair. General Lee was
present, sitting his horse, motionless, on a little knoll--the erect
figure half concealed by the short cavalry-cape falling from his
shoulders, and the grave face overshadowed by the broad gray
hat--while above him, from a lofty pole, waved the folds of a large
Confederate flag. The long column of about eight thousand cavalry was
first drawn up in line, and afterward passed in front of Lee at a
gallop--Stuart and his staff-officers leading the charge with sabres
at tierce point, a species of military display highly attractive to
the gallant and joyous young commander. The men then charged in mimic
battle the guns of the "Stuart Horse-Artillery," which were posted
upon an adjoining hill; and, as the column of cavalry approached,
the artillerists received them with a thunderous discharge of blank
ammunition, which rolled like the roar of actual battle among the
surrounding hills. This sham-fight was kept up for some time, and no
doubt puzzled the enemy on the opposite shore of the Rappahannock. On
the next morning--either in consequence of a design formed before the
review, or to ascertain what this discharge of artillery meant--two
divisions of Federal cavalry, supported by two brigades of "picked
infantry," were sent across the river at Kelly's and Beverley's Fords,
east of the court-house, to beat up the quarters of Stuart and find
what was going on in the Southern camps.

The most extensive cavalry-fight, probably, of the whole war,
followed. One of Stuart's brigades, near Beverley's Ford, was nearly
surprised and resolutely attacked at daylight by Buford's division,
which succeeded in forcing back the brigade a short distance toward
the high range called Fleetwood Hill, in the rear. From this eminence,
where his headquarters were established, Stuart went to the front at a
swift gallop, opened a determined fire of artillery and sharp-shooters
upon the advancing enemy, and sent Hampton's division to attack them
on their left. Meanwhile, however, the enemy were executing a rapid
and dangerous movement against Stuart's, rear. General Gregg,
commanding the second Federal cavalry division, crossed at Kelly's
Ford below, passed the force left in that quarter, and came in
directly on Stuart's rear, behind Fleetwood Hill. In the midst of the
hard fight in front, Stuart was called now to defend his rear. He
hastened to do so by falling back and meeting the enemy now charging
the hill. The attack was repulsed, and the enemy's artillery charged
in turn by the Southerners. This was captured and recaptured two or
three times, but at last remained in the hands of Stuart.

General Gregg now swung round his right, and prepared to advance
along the eastern slope of the hill. Stuart had, however, posted his
artillery there, and, as the Federal line began to move, arrested
it with a sudden and destructive fire of shell. At the same time a
portion of Hampton's division, under the brave Georgian, General
P.M.B. Young, was ordered to charge the enemy. The assault was
promptly made with the sabre, unaided by carbine or pistol fire, and
Young cut down or routed the force in front of him, which dispersed
in disorder toward the river. The dangerous assault on the rear of
Fleetwood Hill was thus repulsed, and the advance of the enemy on the
left, near the river, met with the same ill success. General W.H.F.
Lee, son of the commanding general, gallantly charged them in that
quarter, and drove them back to the Rappahannock, receiving a severe
wound, which long confined him to his bed. Hampton had followed the
retreating enemy on the right, under the fire of Stuart's guns from
Fleetwood Hill; and by nightfall the whole force had recrossed the
Rappahannock, leaving several hundred dead and wounded upon the field.
[Footnote: The Southern loss was also considerable. Colonel Williams
was killed, Generals Lee and Butler severely wounded--the latter
losing his foot--and General Stuart's staff had been peculiarly
unfortunate. Of the small group of officers, Captain Farley was
killed, Captain White wounded, and Lieutenant Goldsborough captured.
The Federal force sustained a great loss in the death of the gallant
Colonel Davis, of the Eighth New-York Cavalry, and other officers.]

This reconnoissance in force--the Federal numbers probably amounting
to fifteen thousand--had no other result than the discovery of the
fact that Lee had infantry in Culpepper. Finding that the event of the
fight was critical, General Lee had moved a body of infantry in the
direction of the field of action, and the gleam of the bayonets was
seen by the enemy. The infantry was not, however, engaged on either
side, unless the Federal infantry participated in the initial skirmish
near Beverley's Ford, and General Lee's numbers and position were not

We have dwelt with some detail upon this cavalry combat, which was an
animated affair, the hand-to-hand encounter of nearly twenty thousand
horsemen throughout a whole day. General Stuart was censured at the
time for allowing himself to be "surprised," and a ball at Culpepper
Court-House, at which some of his officers were present several days
before, was pointed to as the origin of this surprise. The charge was
wholly unjust, Stuart not having attended the ball. Nor was there any
truth in the further statement that "his headquarters were captured"
in consequence of his negligence. His tents on Fleetwood Hill were all
sent to the rear soon after daylight; nothing whatever was found there
but a section of the horse-artillery, who fought the charging cavalry
with sabres and sponge-staffs over the guns; that Fleetwood Hill
was at one time in the hands of the enemy, was due not to Stuart's
negligence, but to the numbers and excellent soldiership of General
Gregg, who made the flank and rear attack while Stuart was breasting
that in front.

These detached statements, which may seem unduly minute, are made in
justice to a brave soldier, who can no longer defend himself.



This attempt of the enemy to penetrate his designs had not induced
General Lee to interrupt the movement of his infantry toward the
Shenandoah Valley. The Federal corps sent across the Rappahannock at
Fredericksburg, still remained facing General Hill; and, two days
after the Fleetwood fight. General Hooker moved up the river with his
main body, advancing the Third Corps to a point near Beverley's Ford.
But these movements were disregarded by Lee. On the same day Ewell's
corps moved rapidly toward Chester Gap, passed through that defile in
the mountain, pushed on by way of Front Royal, and reached Winchester
on the evening of the 13th, having in three days marched seventy

The position of the Southern army now exposed it to very serious
danger, and at first sight seemed to indicate a deficiency of
soldiership in the general commanding it. In face of an enemy whose
force was at least equal to his own,[Footnote: General Hooker stated
his "effective" at this time to have been diminished to eighty
thousand infantry.] Lee had extended his line until it stretched over
a distance of about one hundred miles. When Ewell came in sight of
Winchester, Hill was still opposite Fredericksburg, and Longstreet
half-way between the two in Culpepper. Between the middle and rear
corps was interposed the Rapidan River, and between the middle and
advanced corps the Blue Ridge Mountains. General Hooker's army was on
the north bank of the Rappahannock, well in hand, and comparatively
massed, and the situation of Lee's army seemed excellent for the
success of a sudden blow at it.

It seems that the propriety of attacking the Southern army while
thus _in transitu_, suggested itself both to General Hooker and to
President Lincoln, but they differed as to the point and object of the
attack. In anticipation of Lee's movement, General Hooker had written
to the President, probably suggesting a counter-movement across the
Rappahannock, somewhere near Fredericksburg, to threaten Richmond, and
thus check Lee's advance. This, however. President Lincoln refused to

"In case you find Lee coming to the north of the Rappahannock,"
President Lincoln wrote to General Hooker, "I would by no means cross
to the south of it. I would not take any risk of being entangled upon
the river, _like an ox jumped half over a fence, and liable to be torn
by dogs, front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick
the other_"

Five days afterward the President wrote: "I think Lee's army, and not
Richmond, is your true objective point. If he comes toward the Upper
Potomac, fight him when opportunity offers. If he stays where he is,
_fret him and fret him_."

When intelligence now reached Washington that the head of Lee's column
was approaching the Upper Potomac, while the rear was south of the
Rappahannock, the President wrote to General Hooker: "_If the head of
Lee's army is at Martinsburg, and the tail of it on the plank road_
between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the _animal must be very
slim somewhere--could you not break him?_"

General Hooker did not seem to be able to determine upon a decisive
course of action, in spite of the tempting opening presented to him by
Lee. It would seem that nothing could have been plainer than the good
policy of an attack upon Hill at Fredericksburg, which would certainly
have checked Lee's movement by recalling Longstreet from Culpepper,
and Ewell from the Valley. But this bold operation did not appear to
commend itself to the Federal authorities. Instead of reënforcing the
corps sent across at Fredericksburg and attacking Hill, General Hooker
withdrew the corps, on the 13th, to the north bank of the river, got
his forces together, and began to fall back toward Manassas, and even
remained in ignorance, it seems, of all connected with his adversary's
movements. Even as late as the 17th of June, his chief-of-staff,
General Butterfield, wrote to one of his officers; "Try and hunt up
somebody from Pennsylvania who knows something, and has a cool enough
head to judge what is the actual state of affairs there with regard to
the enemy. _My impression is, that Lee's movement on the Upper Potomac
is a cover for a cavalry-raid on the south side of the river.... We
cannot go boggling around until we know what we are going after._"

Such was the first result of Lee's daring movement to transfer
military operations to the region north of the Potomac. A Northern
historian has discerned in his plan of campaign an amount of boldness
which "seemed to imply a great contempt for his opponent." This
is perhaps a somewhat exaggerated statement of the case. Without
"boldness" a commander is but half a soldier, and it may be declared
that a certain amount of that quality is absolutely essential to
successful military operations. But the question is, Did Lee expose
himself, by these movements of his army, to probable disaster, if his
adversary--equal to the occasion--struck at his flank? A failure of
the campaign of invasion would probably have resulted from such an
attack either upon Hill at Fredericksburg, or upon Longstreet in
Culpepper, inasmuch as Ewell's column, in that event, must have fallen
back. But a _defeat_ of the combined forces of Hill and Longstreet,
who were within supporting distance of each other, was not an event
which General Hooker could count upon with any degree of certainty.
The two corps numbered nearly fifty thousand men--that is to say,
two-thirds of the Southern army; General Hooker's whole force was
but about eighty thousand; and it was not probable that the
eighty thousand would be able to rout the fifty thousand, when at
Chancellorsville less than this last number of Southerners had
defeated one hundred and twenty thousand.

There seems little reason to doubt that General Lee took this view of
the subject, and relied on Hill and Longstreet to unite and repulse
any attack upon them, while Ewell's great "raiding column" drove
forward into the heart of the enemy's territory. That the movement was
bold, there can certainly be no question; that it was a reckless and
hazardous operation, depending for its success, in Lee's eyes, solely
on the supposed inefficiency of General Hooker, does not appear.
These comments delay the narrative, but the subject is fruitful in
suggestion. It may be pardoned a Southern writer if he lingers over
this last great offensive movement of the Southern army. The last, it
was also one of the greatest and most brilliant. The war, therefore,
was to enter upon its second stage, in which the South was to simply
maintain the defensive. But Lee was terminating the first stage of
the contest by one of those great campaigns which project events and
personages in bold relief from the broad canvas, and illumine the
pages of history.

Events were now in rapid progress. Ewell's column--the sharp head of
the Southern spear--reached Winchester on the 13th of June, and
Rodes, who had been detached at Front Royal to drive the enemy from
Berryville, reached the last-named village on the same day when the
force there retreated to Winchester. On the next morning Early's
division attacked the forces of Milroy at Winchester, stormed and
captured their "Star Fort," on a hill near the place, and so complete
was the rout of the enemy that their commander, General Milroy, had
scarcely time to escape, with a handful of his men, in the direction
of the Potomac.

For this disaster the unfortunate officer was harshly criticised by
General Hooker, who wrote to his Government, "In my opinion, Milroy's
men will fight better _under a soldier_."

After thus clearing the country around Winchester, Ewell advanced
rapidly on Martinsburg, where he took a number of prisoners and some
artillery. The captures in two days had been more than four thousand
prisoners and twenty-nine cannon, with four hundred horses and a large
amount of stores. Ewell continued then to advance, and, entering
Maryland, sent a portion of his cavalry, under General Imboden,
westward, to destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and another
body, under General Jenkins, in advance, toward Chambersburg.
Meanwhile, the rest of the army was moving to join him. Hill, finding
that the enemy had disappeared from his front near Fredericksburg,
hastened to march from that vicinity, and was sent forward by Lee, on
the track of Ewell, passing in rear of Longstreet, who had remained
in Culpepper. The latter was now directed by Lee to move along
the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, and, by occupying Ashby's and
Snicker's Gaps, protect the flank of the column in the Valley from
attack--a work in which Stuart's cavalry, thrown out toward the enemy,

Such was the posture of affairs when General Hooker's chief-of-staff
became so much puzzled, and described the Federal army as "boggling
around," and not knowing "what they were going after." Lee's whole
movement, it appears, was regarded as a feint to "cover a cavalry-raid
on the south side of the river"--a strange conclusion, it would seem,
in reference to a movement of such magnitude. It now became absolutely
necessary that Lee's designs should be unmasked, if possible; and
to effect this object Stuart's cavalry force, covering the southern
flank, east of the Blue Ridge, must be driven back. This was
undertaken in a deliberate manner. Three corps of cavalry, with a
division of infantry and a full supply of artillery, were sent forward
from the vicinity of Manassas, to drive Stuart in on all the roads
leading to the mountain. A fierce struggle followed, in which Stuart,
who knew the importance of his position, fought the great force
opposed to him from every hill and knoll. But he was forced back
steadily, in spite of a determined resistance, and at Upperville a
hand-to-hand sabre-fight wound up the movement, in which the Federal
cavalry was checked, when Stuart fell back toward Paris, crowned the
mountain-side with his cannon, and awaited a final attack. This was
not, however, made. Night approaching, the Federal force fell back
toward Manassas, and on the next morning Stuart followed them, on the
same road over which he had so rapidly retreated, beyond Middleburg.

Lee paid little attention to these operations on his flank east of
the mountains, but proceeded steadily, in personal command of his
infantry, in the direction of the Cumberland Valley. Ewell was moving
rapidly toward Harrisburg, with orders to "take" that place "if he
deemed his force adequate,"[1] General Jenkins, commanding cavalry,
preceding the advance of his infantry. He had thus pierced the enemy's
territory, and it was necessary promptly to support him. Hill
and Longstreet were accordingly directed to pass the Potomac at
Shepherdstown and Williamsport. The columns united at Hagerstown, and
on the 27th of June entered Chambersburg.

[Footnote 1: This statement of Lee's orders is derived by the writer
from Lieutenant-General Ewell.]

General Hooker had followed, crossing the Potomac, opposite Leesburg,
at about the moment when Lee's rear was passing from Maryland into
Pennsylvania. The direction of the Federal march was toward Frederick,
from which point General Hooker could move in either one of two
directions--either across the mountain toward Boonsboro, which would
throw him upon Lee's communications, or northward to Westminster, or
Gettysburg, which would lead to an open collision with the invading
army in a pitched battle.

At this juncture of affairs, just as the Federal army was
concentrating near Frederick, General Hooker, at his own request, was
relieved from command. The occasion of this unexpected event seems to
have been a difference of opinion between himself and General
Halleck, the Federal general-in-chief, on the question whether the
fortifications at Harper's Ferry should or should not be abandoned.
The point at issue would appear to have been unimportant, but ill
feeling seems to have arisen: General Hooker resented the action
of the authorities, and requested to be relieved; his request was
complied with, and his place was filled by Major-General George G.

[Illustration: Map--Sketch of the Country Around GETTYSBURG.]

General Meade, an officer of excellent soldiership, and enjoying the
repute of modesty and dignity, assumed command of the Federal army,
and proceeded rapidly in pursuit of Lee. The design of moving directly
across the South Mountain on Lee's communications, if ever entertained
by him, was abandoned. The outcry from Pennsylvania drew him perforce.
Ewell, with one division, had penetrated to Carlisle; and Early, with
another division, was at York; everywhere the horses, cattle, and
supplies of the country, had been seized upon for the use of the
troops; and General Meade was loudly called upon to go to the
assistance of the people thus exposed to the terrible rebels. His
movements were rapid. Assuming command on June 28th, he began to
move on the 29th, and on the 30th was approaching the town of

[Footnote 1: The movements of the Federal commander were probably
hastened by the capture, about this time at Hagerstown, of a dispatch
from President Davis to General Lee. Lee, it seems, had suggested
that General Beauregard should be sent to make a demonstration in the
direction of Culpepper, and by thus appearing to threaten Washington,
embarrass the movements of the Northern army. To this suggestion the
President is said to have replied that he had no troops to make such
a movement; and General Meade had thus the proof before him that
Washington was in no danger. The Confederacy was thus truly
unfortunate again, as in September, 1862, when a similar incident came
to the relief of General McClellan.]



Lee, in personal command of the corps of Hill and Longstreet, had
meanwhile moved on steadily in the direction of the Susquehanna, and,
reaching Chambersburg on the 27th of June, "made preparations to
advance upon Harrisburg."

At Chambersburg he issued an order to the troops, which should find a
place in every biography of this great soldier. The course pursued
by many of the Federal commanders in Virginia had been merciless and
atrocious beyond words. General Pope had ravaged the counties north
of the Rappahannock, especially the county of Culpepper, in a manner
which reduced that smiling region wellnigh to a waste; General Milroy,
with his headquarters at Winchester, had so cruelly oppressed the
people of the surrounding country as to make them execrate the very
mention of his name; and the excesses committed by the troops of these
officers, with the knowledge and permission of their commanders, had
been such, said a foreign writer, as to "cast mankind two centuries
back toward barbarism."

Now, the tables were turned, and the world looked for a sudden and
merciless retaliation on the part of the Southerners. Lee was in
Pennsylvania, at the head of an army thirsting to revenge the
accumulated wrongs against their helpless families. At a word from
him the fertile territory of the North would be made to feel the iron
pressure of military rule, proceeding on the theory that retaliation
is a just principle to adopt toward an enemy. Fire, slaughter, and
outrage, would have burst upon Pennsylvania, and the black flag, which
had been virtually raised by Generals Pope and Milroy, would have
flaunted now in the air at the head of the Southern army.

Instead of permitting this disgraceful oppression of non-combatants,
Lee issued, at Chambersburg, the following general order to his


CHAMBERSBURG, PA., _June_ 27, 1863.

The commanding general has observed with much satisfaction the conduct
of the troops on the march, and confidently anticipates results
commensurate with the high spirit they have manifested. No troops
could have displayed greater fortitude, or better performed the
arduous marches of the past ten days. Their conduct in other respects
has, with few exceptions, been in keeping with their character as
soldiers, and entitles them to approbation and praise.

There have, however, been instances of forgetfulness, on the part of
some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of
the army, and that the duties exacted of us by civilization and
Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than
in our own.

The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall
the army, and, through it, our whole people, than the perpetration of
the barbarous outrages on the innocent and defenceless, and the wanton
destruction of private property, that have marked the course of the
enemy in our own country. Such proceedings not only disgrace the
perpetrators, and all connected with them, but are subversive of the
discipline and efficiency of the army, and destructive of the ends of
our present movements. It must be remembered that we make war only
upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our
people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all
whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemy,
without offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without
whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain.

The commanding general, therefore, earnestly exhorts the troops to
abstain, with most scrupulous care, from unnecessary or wanton injury
to private property; and he enjoins upon all officers to arrest and
bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against
the orders on this subject.

R.E. LEE, _General_.

The noble maxims and truly Christian spirit of this paper will
remain the undying glory of Lee. Under what had been surely a bitter
provocation, he retained the calmness and forbearance of a great soul,
saying to his army: "The duties exacted of us by civilization and
Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than
in our own.... No greater disgrace could befall the army, and through
it our whole people, than the perpetration of outrage upon the
innocent and defenceless.... We make war only upon armed men, and
cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without
offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor
and support our efforts must all prove in vain."

Such were the utterances of Lee, resembling those we might attribute
to the ideal Christian warrior; and, indeed, it was such a spirit that
lay under the plain uniform of the great Virginian. What he ordered
was enforced, and no one was disturbed in his person or property. Of
this statement many proofs could be given. A Pennsylvania farmer said
to a Northern correspondent, in reference to the Southern troops: "I
must say they acted like gentlemen, and, their cause aside, I would
rather have forty thousand rebels quartered on my premises than one
thousand Union troops." From the journal of Colonel Freemantle,
an English officer accompanying the Southern army, we take these

"In passing through Greencastle we found all the houses and windows
shut up, the natives in their Sunday clothes, standing at their doors
regarding the troops in a very unfriendly manner. I saw no straggling
into the houses, nor were any of the inhabitants disturbed or annoyed
by the soldiers. Sentries were placed at the doors of many of the
best houses, to prevent any officer or soldier from getting in on any
pretence.... I entered Chambersburg at 6 P.M.... Sentries were placed
at the doors of all the principal houses, and the town was cleared
of all but the military passing through or on duty.... No officer or
soldier under the rank of a general is allowed in Chambersburg without
a special order from General Lee, which he is very chary of giving,
and I hear of officers of rank being refused this pass.... I went into
Chambersburg again, and witnessed the singularly good behavior of the
troops toward the citizens. I heard soldiers saying to one another
that they did not like being in a town in which they were very
naturally detested. To any one who has seen, as I have, the ravages
of the Northern troops in Southern towns, this forbearance seems most
commendable and surprising."

A Northern correspondent said of the course pursued by General
Jenkins, in command of Ewell's cavalry: "By way of giving the devil
his due, it must be said that, although there were over sixty acres
of wheat and eighty acres of corn and oats in the same field, he
protected it most carefully, and picketed his horses so that it could
not be injured. No fences were wantonly destroyed, poultry was not
disturbed, nor did he compliment our blooded cattle so much as to test
the quality of their steak and roast."

Of the feeling of the troops these few words from the letter of an
officer written to one of his family will convey an idea: "I felt
when I first came here that I would like to revenge myself upon these
people for the devastation they have brought upon our own beautiful
home--that home where we could have lived so happily, and that we
loved so much, from which their vandalism has driven you and my
helpless little ones. But, though I had such severe wrongs and
grievances to redress, and such great cause for revenge, yet, when
I got among these people, I could not find it in my heart to molest

Such was the treatment of the people of Pennsylvania by the Southern
troops in obedience to the order of the commander-in-chief. Lee
in person set the example. A Southern journal made the sarcastic
statement that he became irate at the robbing of cherry-trees; and, if
he saw the _top rail_ of a fence lying upon the ground as he rode by,
would dismount and replace it with his own hands.



This was the position of the great adversaries in the last days of
June. Lee was at Chambersburg, in the Cumberland Valley, about to
follow Ewell, who was approaching Harrisburg. Early had captured York;
and the Federal army was concentrating rapidly on the flank of the
Southern army, toward Gettysburg.

Lee had ordered the movement of Early upon York, with the object of
diverting the attention of the Federal commander from his own rear,
in the Cumberland Valley. The exact movements and position of General
Meade were unknown to him; and this arose in large measure from the
absence of Stuart's cavalry. This unfortunate incident has given rise
to much comment, and Stuart has been harshly criticised for an alleged
disobedience of Lee's plain orders. The question is an embarrassing
one. Lee's statement is as follows: "General Stuart was left to guard
the passes of the mountains" (Ashby's and other gaps in the Blue
Ridge, in Virginia), "and observe the movements of the enemy, whom
he was instructed to harass and impede as much as possible should
he attempt to cross the Potomac. _In that event, General Stuart was
directed to move into Maryland, crossing the Potomac east or west of
the Blue Ridge, as in his judgment should be best, and take position
on the right of our column as it advanced._"

This order was certainly plain up to a certain point. Stuart was
to harass and embarrass the movements of the enemy, in case they
attempted to cross to the north bank of the Potomac. When they did
cross, he also was to pass the river, either east or west of the Blue
Ridge, "as in his judgment should seem best." So far the order was
unmistakable. The river was to be crossed at such point as Stuart
should select, either on the lower waters, or in the Valley. Lee
added, however, that this movement should be made in such a manner as
to enable Stuart to "take position on the right of our column as it
advanced"--the meaning appearing to be that the cavalry should move
_between_ the two armies, in order to guard the Southern flank as it
advanced into the Cumberland Valley. Circumstances arose, however,
which rendered it difficult for Stuart to move on the line thus
indicated with sufficient promptness to render his services valuable.
The enemy crossed at Leesburg while the Southern cavalry was near
Middleburg; and, from the jaded condition of his horses, Stuart feared
that he would be unable, in case he crossed above, to place his column
between the two armies then rapidly advancing. He accordingly took the
bold resolution of passing the Potomac _below_ Leesburg, designing to
shape his course due northward toward Harrisburg, the objective point
of the Southern army. This he did--crossing at Seneca Falls--but on
the march he was delayed by many incidents. Near Rockville he stopped
to capture a large train of Federal wagons; at Westminster and
Hanovertown he was temporarily arrested by combats with the Federal
cavalry; and, ignorant as he was of the concentration of Lee's troops
upon Gettysburg, he advanced rapidly toward Carlisle, where, in the
midst of an attack on that place, he was recalled by Lee.

Such were the circumstances leading to, and the incidents attending,
this movement. The reader must form his own opinion of the amount
of blame to be justly attached to Stuart. He always declared, and
asserted in his report of these occurrences, that he had acted in
exact obedience to his orders; but, on the contrary, as appears from
General Lee's report, those orders were meant to prescribe a different
movement. He had marched in one sense on "the right" of the Southern
column "as it advanced;" but in another sense he had not done so.
Victory at Gettysburg would have silenced all criticism of this
difference of construction; but, unfortunately, the event was
different, and the strictures directed at Stuart were natural. The
absence of the cavalry unquestionably embarrassed Lee greatly; but, in
his report, he is moderate and guarded, as usual, in his expressions.
"The absence of cavalry," he says, "rendered it impossible to obtain
accurate information" of General Meade's movements; and "the march
toward Gettysburg was conducted more slowly than it would have been
had the movements of the Federal army been known."

[Illustration: Map--Battle of GETTYSBURG]

To return now to the movements of Lee's infantry, after the arrival of
the main body at Chambersburg. Lee was about to continue his advance
in the direction of Harrisburg, when, on the night of the 29th, his
scouts brought him intelligence that the Federal army was rapidly
advancing, and the head of the column was near the South Mountain. A
glance at the map will indicate the importance of this intelligence.
General Meade would be able, without difficulty, in case the Southern
army continued its march northward, to cross the South-Mountain range,
and place himself directly in Lee's rear, in the Cumberland Valley.
Then the Southern forces would be completely intercepted--General
Meade would be master of the situation--and Lee must retreat east of
the mountain or cut his way through the Federal army.

A battle was thus clearly about to be forced upon the Southern
commander, and it only remained for him to so manoeuvre his army as to
secure a position in which he could receive the enemy's attack with
advantage. Lee accordingly put his column in motion across the
mountain toward Gettysburg, and, sending couriers to Ewell and Early
to return from Harrisburg and York toward the same point, made his
preparations to take position and fight.

On the morning of the 1st day of July, this was then the condition of
affairs. General Meade was advancing with rapidity upon the town
of Gettysburg, and Lee was crossing the South Mountain, opposite
Chambersburg, to meet him.

When the heads of the two columns came together in the vicinity of
Gettysburg, the thunders of battle began.



The sanguinary struggle which now ensued between the Army of Northern
Virginia and the Army of the Potomac continued for three days, and the
character of these battles, together with their decisive results, have
communicated to the events an extraordinary interest. Every fact has
thus been preserved, and the incidents of the great combat, down to
the most minute details, have been placed upon record. The subject is,
indeed, almost embarrassed by the amount of information collected and
published; and the chief difficulty for a writer, at this late day, is
to select from the mass such salient events as indicate clearly the
character of the conflict.

This difficulty the present writer has it in his power to evade,
in great measure, by confining himself mainly to the designs and
operations of General Lee. These were plain and simple. He had been
forced to relinquish his march toward the Susquehanna by the dangerous
position of General Meade so near his line of retreat; this rendered
a battle unavoidable; and Lee was now moving to accept battle,
designing, if possible, to secure such a position as would give him
the advantage in the contest. Before he succeeded in effecting this
object, battle was forced upon him--not by General Meade, but by
simple stress of circumstances. The Federal commander had formed the
same intention as that of his adversary--to accept, and not deliver,
battle--and did not propose to fight near Gettysburg. He was, rather,
looking backward to a strong position in the direction of Westminster,
when suddenly the head of his column became engaged near Gettysburg,
and this determined every thing.

A few words are necessary to convey to the reader some idea of the
character of the ground. Gettysburg is a town, nestling down in a
valley, with so many roads centring in the place that, if a circle
were drawn around it to represent the circumference of a wheel, the
roads would resemble the spokes. A short distance south of the town is
a ridge of considerable height, which runs north and south, bending
eastward in the vicinity of Gettysburg, and describing a curve
resembling a hook. From a graveyard on this high ground it is called
Cemetery Hill, or Ridge. Opposite this ridge, looking westward, is a
second and lower range called Seminary Ridge. This extends also north
and south, passing west of Gettysburg. Still west of Seminary Ridge
are other still lower ranges, between which flows a small stream
called Willoughby Run; and beyond these, distant about ten miles, rise
the blue heights of the South Mountain.

Across the South Mountain, by way of the village of Cashtown, Lee, on
the morning of the 1st of July, was moving steadily toward Gettysburg,
when Hill, holding the front, suddenly encountered the head of the
enemy's column in the vicinity of Willoughby Run. This consisted of
General Buford's cavalry division, which had pushed on in advance
of General Reynolds's infantry corps, the foremost infantry of the
Federal army, and now, almost before it was aware of Hill's presence,
became engaged with him. General Buford posted his horse-artillery
to meet Hill's attack, but it soon became obvious that the Federal
cavalry could not stand before the Southern infantry fire, and General
Reynolds, at about ten in the morning, hastening forward, reached
the field. An engagement immediately took place between the foremost
infantry divisions of Hill and Reynolds. A brigade of Hill's, from
Mississippi, drove back a Federal brigade, seizing upon its artillery;
but, in return, Archer's brigade was nearly surrounded, and several
hundred of the men captured. Almost immediately after this incident
the Federal forces sustained a serious loss; General Reynolds--one
of the most trusted and energetic lieutenants of General Meade--was
mortally wounded while disposing his men for action, and borne from
the field. The Federal troops continued, however, to fight with
gallantry. Some of the men were heard exclaiming, "We have come to
stay!" in reference to which, one of their officers afterward said,
"And a very large portion of them never left that ground."[1]

[Footnote 1: General Doubleday: Report of Committee on the Conduct of
the War, Part I., p. 307.]

Battle was now joined in earnest between the two heads of column, and
on each side reënforcements were sent forward to take part in this
unexpected encounter. Neither General Lee nor General Meade had
expected or desired it. Both had aimed, in manoeuvring their forces,
to select ground suitable for receiving instead of making an attack,
and now a blind chance seemed about to bring on a battle upon ground
unknown to both commanders. When the sound of the engagement was first
heard by Lee, he was in the rear of his troops at the headquarters
which Hill had just vacated, near Cashtown, under the South Mountain.
The firing was naturally supposed by him to indicate an accidental
collision with some body of the enemy's cavalry, and, when
intelligence reached him that Hill was engaged with the Federal
infantry, the announcement occasioned him the greatest astonishment.
General Meade's presence so near him was a circumstance completely
unknown to Lee, and certainly was not desired by him. But a small
portion of his forces were "up." Longstreet had not yet passed the
mountain, and the forces of General Ewell, although that officer
had promptly fallen back, in obedience to his orders, from the
Susquehanna, were not yet in a position to take part in the
engagement. Under these circumstances, if the whole of General Meade's
army had reached Gettysburg, directly in Lee's front, the advantage in
the approaching action must be largely in favor of the Federal army,
and a battle might result in a decisive Confederate defeat.

No choice, however, was now left General Lee. The head of his
advancing column had come into collision with the enemy, and it was
impossible to retire without a battle. Lee accordingly ordered Hill's
corps to be closed up, and reënforcements to be sent forward rapidly
to the point of action. He then mounted his horse and rode in the
direction of the firing, guided by the sound, and the smoke which rose
above the tranquil landscape.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful season of the year. The fields
were green with grass, or golden with ripening grain, over which
passed a gentle breeze, raising waves upon the brilliant surface. The
landscape was broken here and there by woods; in the west rose the
blue range of the South Mountain; the sun was shining through showery
clouds, and in the east the sky was spanned by a rainbow. This
peaceful scene was now disturbed by the thundering of artillery and
the rattle of musketry. The sky was darkened, here and there, by
clouds of smoke rising from barns or dwelling-houses set on fire by
shell; and beneath rose red tongues of flame, roaring in response to
the guns.

Each side had now sent forward reinforcements to support the
vanguards, and an obstinate struggle ensued, the proportions of the
fight gradually increasing, until the action became a regular battle.
Hill, although suffering from indisposition, which the pallor of his
face indicated, met the Federal attack with his habitual resolution.
He was hard pressed, however, when fortunately one of General Ewell's
divisions, under Rodes, débouched from the Carlisle road, running
northward from Gettysburg, and came to his assistance. Ewell had just
begun to move from Carlisle toward Harrisburg--his second division,
under Early, being at York--when a dispatch from Lee reached him,
directing him to return, and "proceed to Gettysburg or Cashtown, as
his circumstances might direct." He promptly obeyed, encamped within
about eight miles of Gettysburg on the evening of the 30th, and was
now moving toward Cashtown, where Johnson's division of his corps then
was, when Hill sent him word that he needed his assistance. Rodes was
promptly sent forward to the field of action. Early was ordered to
hurry back, and Rodes soon reached the battle-field, where he formed
his line on high ground, opposite the Federal right.

The appearance of this important reënforcement relieved Hill, and
caused the enemy to extend his right to face Rodes. The Federal line
thus resembled a crescent, the left half, fronting Hill, toward the
northwest; and the right, half-fronting Rodes, toward the north--the
town of Gettysburg being in rear of the curve. An obstinate attack was
made by the enemy and by Rodes at nearly the same moment. The loss
on both sides was heavy, but Rodes succeeded in shaking the Federal
right, when Early made his appearance from the direction of York. This
compelled the Federal force to still farther extend its right, to meet
the new attack. The movement greatly weakened them. Rodes charged
their centre with impetuosity; Early came in on their right, with
Gordon's brigade in front, and under this combined attack the Federal
troops gave way, and retreated in great disorder to and through
Gettysburg, leaving the ground covered with their dead and wounded to
the number of about five thousand, and the same number of prisoners in
the hands of the Confederates.

The first collision of the two armies had thus resulted in a clear
Southern victory, and it is to be regretted that this important
success was not followed up by the seizure of the Cemetery Range,
south of the town, which it was in the power of the Southern forces
at that time to do. To whom the blame--if blame there be--of this
failure, is justly chargeable, the writer of these pages is unable to
state. All that he has been able to ascertain with certainty is the
following: As soon as the Federal forces gave way, General Lee rode
forward, and at about four o'clock in the afternoon was posted on an
elevated point of Seminary Ridge, from which he could see the broken
lines of the enemy rapidly retreating up the slope of Cemetery Range,
in his front. The propriety of pursuit, with a view to seizing this
strong position, was obvious, and General Lee sent an officer of his
staff with a message to General Ewell, to the effect that "he could
see the enemy flying, that they were disorganized, and that it was
only necessary to push on vigorously, and the Cemetery heights were
ours." [Footnote: The officer who carried the order is our authority
for this statement.] Just about the moment, it would seem, when this
order was dispatched--about half-past four--General Hill, who had
joined Lee on the ridge, "received a message from General Ewell,
requesting him (Hill) to press the enemy in front, while he performed
the same operation on his right." This statement is taken from the
journal of Colonel Freemantle, who was present and noted the hour. He
adds: "The pressure was accordingly applied, in a mild degree, but the
enemy were too strongly posted, and it was too late in the evening
for a regular attack." General Ewell, an officer of great courage and
energy, is said to have awaited the arrival of his third division
(Johnson's) before making a decisive assault. Upon the arrival of
Johnson, about sunset, General Ewell prepared to advance and seize
upon the eastern terminus of the Cemetery Range, which commanded the
subsequent Federal position. At this moment General Lee sent him word
to "proceed with his troops to the [Confederate] right, in case he
could do nothing where he was;" he proceeded to General Lee's tent
thereupon to confer with him, and the result was that it was agreed
to first assault the hill on the right. It was now, however, after
midnight, and the attack was directed by Lee to be deferred until the
next morning.

It was certainly unfortunate that the advance was not then made; but
Lee, in his report, attributes no blame to any one. "The attack,"
he says, "was not pressed that afternoon, _the enemy's force being
unknown, and it being considered advisable to await the arrival of the
rest of our troops._"

The failure to press the enemy immediately after their retreat, with
the view of driving them from and occupying Cemetery Heights, is
susceptible of an explanation which seems to retrieve the Southern
commander and his subordinates from serious criticism. The Federal
forces had been driven from the ground north and west of Gettysburg,
but it was seen now that the troops thus defeated constituted only
a small portion of General Meade's army, and Lee had no means of
ascertaining, with any degree of certainty, that the main body was not
near at hand. The fact was not improbable, and it was not known that
Cemetery Hill was not then in their possession. The wooded character
of the ground rendered it difficult for General Lee, even from his
elevated position on Seminary Ridge, to discover whether the heights
opposite were, or were not, held by a strong force. Infantry were
visible there; and in the plain in front the cavalry of General Buford
were drawn up, as though ready to accept battle. It was not until
after the battle that it was known that the heights might have been
seized upon--General Hancock, who had succeeded Reynolds, having, to
defend them, but a single brigade. This fact was not known to Lee; the
sun was now declining, and the advance upon Cemetery Hill was deferred
until the next day.

When on the next morning, between daybreak and sunrise, General Lee,
accompanied by Hill, Longstreet, and Hood, ascended to the same point
on Seminary Ridge, and reconnoitred the opposite heights through his
field-glass, they were seen to be occupied by heavy lines of infantry
and numerous artillery. The moment had passed; the rampart in his
front bristled with bayonets and cannon. General Hancock, in command
of the Federal advance, had hastened back at nightfall to General
Meade, who was still some distance in rear, and reported the position
to be an excellent one for receiving the Southern attack. Upon this
information General Meade had at once acted; by one o'clock in the
morning his headquarters were established upon the ridge; and when
Lee, on Seminary Hill opposite, was reconnoitring the heights, the
great bulk of the Federal army was in position to receive his assault.

The adversaries were thus face to face, and a battle could not well
be avoided. Lee and his troops were in high spirits and confident of
victory, but every advantage of position was seen to be on the side of
the enemy.



The morning of the 2d of July had arrived, and the two armies were in
presence of each other and ready for battle. The question was, which
of the great adversaries would make the attack.

General Meade was as averse to assuming the offensive as his opponent.
Lee's statement on this subject has been given, but is here repeated:
"It had not been intended to fight a general battle," he wrote, "at
such a distance from our base, _unless attacked by the enemy_."
General Meade said before the war committee afterward, "It was my
desire to fight a defensive rather than an offensive battle," and he
adds the obvious explanation, that he was "satisfied his chances of
success were greater in a defensive battle than an offensive one."
There was this great advantage, however, on the Federal side, that
the troops were on their own soil, with their communications
uninterrupted, and could wait, while General Lee was in hostile
territory, a considerable distance from his base of supplies, and
must, for that reason, either attack his adversary or retreat.

He decided to attack. To this decision he seems to have been impelled,
in large measure, by the extraordinary spirit of his troops, whose
demeanor in the subsequent struggle was said by a Federal officer
to resemble that of men "drunk on champagne." General Longstreet
described the army at this moment as able, from the singular afflatus
which bore it up, to undertake "any thing," and this sanguine spirit
was the natural result of a nearly unbroken series of victories. At
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and in the preliminary struggle of
Gettysburg, they had driven the enemy before them in disorder, and, on
the night succeeding this last victory, both officers and men spoke of
the coming battle "as a certainty, and the universal feeling in the
army was one of profound contempt for an enemy whom they had beaten so
constantly, and under so many disadvantages."[1]

[Footnote 1: Colonel Freemantle. He was present, and speaks from
observation.] Contempt of an adversary is dangerous, and pride goes
before a fall. The truth of these pithy adages was now about to be

General Lee, it is said, shared the general confidence of his troops,
and was carried away by it. He says in his report "Finding ourselves
unexpectedly confronted by the Federal army, it became a matter of
difficulty to withdraw through the mountain with our large trains; at
the same time, the country was unfavorable for collecting supplies
while in the presence of the enemy's main body, as he was enabled to
restrain our foraging-parties by occupying the passes of the mountains
with regular and local troops. A battle thus became in a measure
unavoidable." But, even after the battle, when the Southern army
was much weaker, it was found possible, without much difficulty, to
"withdraw through the mountains" with the trains. A stronger motive
than this is stated in the next sentence of General Lee's report:"
_Encouraged by the successful issue of the engagement of the first
day, and in view of the valuable results that would ensue from the
defeat of the army of General Meade_, it was thought advisable to
renew the attack." The meaning of the writer of these words is plain.
The Federal troops had been defeated with little difficulty in the
first day's fight; it seemed probable that a more serious conflict
would have similar results; and a decisive victory promised to end the

General Meade, it seems, scarcely expected to be attacked. He
anticipated a movement on Lee's part, over the Emmetsburg road
southward. [Footnote: Testimony of General Meade before the war
committee.] By giving that direction to his army, General Lee would
have forced his adversary to retire from his strong position on
Cemetery Hill, or come out and attack him; whether, however, it was
desirable on General Lee's part to run the risk of such an attack on
the Southern column _in transitu_, it is left to others better able
than the present writer to determine.

This unskilled comment must pass for what it is worth. It is easy,
after the event, for the smallest to criticise the greatest. Under
whatever influences, General Lee determined not to retreat, either
through the South Mountain or toward Emmetsburg, but marshalled his
army for an attack on the position held by General Meade.

The Southern lines were drawn up on Seminary Ridge, and on the ground
near Gettysburg. Longstreet's corps was posted on the right, opposite
the Federal left, near the southern end of Cemetery Ridge. Next came
Hill's corps, extending along the crest nearly to Gettysburg. There
it was joined by Ewell's line, which, passing through the town, bent
round, adapting itself to the position of the Federal right which held
the high ground, curving round in the shape of a hook, at the north
end of the ridge.

The Federal lines thus occupied the whole Cemetery Range--which, being
higher, commanded Seminary Ridge--and consisted, counting from right
to left, of the troops of Generals Howard, Hancock, Sickles, Sykes,
and Sedgwick; the two latter forming a strong reserve to guard the
Federal left. The position was powerful, as both flanks rested upon
high ground, which gave every advantage to the assailed party; but on
the Federal left an accidental error, it seems, had been committed by
General Sickles. He had advanced his line to a ridge in front of the
main range, which appeared to afford him a better position; but this
made it necessary to retire the left wing of his corps, to cover the
opening in that direction. The result was, an angle--the effect
of which is to expose troops to serious danger--and this faulty
disposition of the Federal left seems to have induced General Lee to
direct his main attack at the point in question, with the view of
breaking the Federal line, and seizing upon the main ridge in rear.
"In front of General Longstreet," he says, "the enemy held a position
from which, if he could be driven, it was thought that our army could
be used to advantage in assailing the more elevated ground beyond." In
order to coöperate in this, the main attack, Ewell was ordered at the
same time to assail the Federal right toward Gettysburg, and Hill
directed to threaten their centre, and, if there were an opening, make
a real attack. These demonstrations against the enemy's right and
centre, Lee anticipated, would prevent him from reënforcing his left.
Longstreet would thus, he hoped, be "enabled to reach the west of the
ridge" in rear of the Federal line; and General Meade afterward said,
"If they had succeeded in occupying that, it would have prevented
me from holding any of the ground which I subsequently held at the
last"--that is to say, that he would have been driven from the entire
Cemetery Range.

Such was the position of the two adversaries, and such the design of
Lee, on the 2d of July, when the real struggle was about to begin.



Throughout the forenoon of the day about to witness one of those great
passages of arms which throw so bloody a glare upon the pages of
history, scarcely a sound disturbed the silence, and it was difficult
to believe that nearly two hundred thousand men were watching each
other across the narrow valley, ready at the word to advance and do
their best to tear each other to pieces.

During all these long hours, when expectation and suspense were
sufficient to try the stoutest nerves, the two commanders were
marshalling their lines for the obstinate struggle which was plainly
at hand. General Meade, who knew well the ability of his opponent, was
seeing, in person, to every thing, and satisfying himself that
his lines were in order to receive the attack. Lee was making his
preparations to commence the assault, upon which, there could be
little doubt, the event of the whole war depended.

From the gallantry which the Federal troops displayed in this battle,
they must have been in good heart for the encounter. It is certain
that the Southern army had never been in better condition for a
decisive conflict. We have spoken of the extraordinary confidence
of the men, in themselves and in their commander. This feeling now
exhibited itself either in joyous laughter and the spirit of jesting
among the troops, or in an air of utter indifference, as of men sure
of the result, and giving it scarcely a thought. The swarthy gunners,
still begrimed with powder from the work of the day before, lay down
around the cannon in position along the crest, and passed the moments
in uttering witticisms, or in slumber; and the lines of infantry,
seated or lying, musket in hand, were as careless. The army was
plainly ready, and would respond with alacrity to Lee's signal. Of the
result, no human being in this force of more than seventy thousand men
seemed to have the least doubt.

Lee was engaged during the whole morning and until past noon in
maturing his preparations for the assault which he designed making
against the enemy's left in front of Longstreet. All was not ready
until about four in the afternoon; then he gave the word, and
Longstreet suddenly opened a heavy artillery-fire on the position
opposite him. At this signal the guns of Hill opened from the ridge
on his left, and Ewell's artillery on the Southern left in front of
Gettysburg thundered in response. Under cover of his cannon-fire,
Longstreet then advanced his lines, consisting of Hood's division on
the right, and McLawe's division on the left, and made a headlong
assault upon the Federal forces directly in his front.

The point aimed at was the salient, formed by the projection of
General Sickles's line forward to the high ground known as "The Peach
Orchard." Here, as we have already said, the Federal line of battle
formed an angle, with the left wing of Sickles's corps bending
backward so as to cover the opening between his line and the main
crest in his rear. Hood's division swung round to assail the portion
of the line thus retired, and so rapid was the movement of this
energetic soldier, that in a short space of time he pushed his right
beyond the Federal left flank, had pierced the exposed point, and was
in direct proximity to the much-coveted "crest of the ridge," upon the
possession of which depended the fate of the battle. Hood was fully
aware of its importance, and lost not a moment in advancing to seize
it. His troops, largely composed of those famous Texas regiments which
Lee had said "fought grandly and nobly," and upon whom he relied "in
all tight places," responded to his ardent orders: a small run was
crossed, the men rushed up the slope, and the crest was almost in
their very grasp.

Success at this moment would have decided the event of the battle
of Gettysburg, and in all probability that of the war. All that was
needed was a single brigade upon either side--a force sufficient to
seize the crest, for neither side held it--and with this brigade a
rare good fortune, or rather the prompt energy of a single officer,
according to Northern historians, supplied the Federal commander.
Hood's line was rushing up with cheers to occupy the crest, which here
takes the form of a separate peak, and is known as "Little Round Top,"
when General Warren, chief-engineer of the army, who was passing, saw
the importance of the position, and determined, at all hazards, to
defend it. He accordingly ordered the Federal signal-party, which had
used the peak as a signal-station, but were hastily folding up their
flags, to remain where they were, laid violent hands upon a brigade
which was passing, and ordered it to occupy the crest; and, when
Hood's men rushed up the rocky slope with yells of triumph, they were
suddenly met by a fusillade from the newly-arrived brigade, delivered
full in their faces. A violent struggle ensued for the possession of
the heights. The men fought hand to hand on the summit, and the issue
remained for some time doubtful. At last it was decided in favor of
the Federal troops, who succeeded in driving Hood's men from the hill,
the summit of which was speedily crowned with artillery, which opened
a destructive fire upon the retreating Southerners. They fell back
sullenly, leaving the ground strewed with their dead and wounded. Hood
had been wounded, and many of his best officers had fallen. For an
instant he had grasped in his strong hand the prize which would have
been worth ten times the amount of blood shed; but he had been unable
to retain his hold; he was falling back from the coveted crest,
pursued by that roar of the enemy's cannon which seemed to rejoice in
his discomfiture.

An obstinate struggle was meanwhile taking place in the vicinity of
the Peach Orchard, where the left of Hood and the division of McLaws
had struck the front of General Sickles, and were now pressing his
line back steadily toward the ridge in his rear. In spite of resolute
resistance the Federal troops at this point were pushed back to a
wheat-field in the rear of the Peach Orchard, and, following up this
advantage, Longstreet charged them and broke their line, which fell
back in disorder toward the high ground in rear. In this attack McLaws
was assisted by Hill's right division--that of Anderson. With this
force Longstreet continued to press forward, and, piercing the Federal
line, seemed about to inflict upon them a great disaster by seizing
the commanding position occupied by the Federal left. Nothing appears
to have saved them at this moment from decisive defeat but the
masterly concentration of reënforcements after reënforcements at the
point of danger. The heavy reserves under Generals Sykes and Sedgwick
were opposite this point, and other troops were hastened forward to
oppose Longstreet. This reënforcement was continuous throughout the
entire afternoon. In spite of Lee's demonstrations in other quarters
to direct attention, General Meade--driven by necessity--continued to
move fresh troops incessantly to protect his left; and success finally
came as the reward of his energy and soldiership. Longstreet found his
weary troops met at every new step in advance by fresh lines, and, as
night had now come, he discontinued the attack. The Federal lines had
been driven considerably beyond the point which they had held before
the assault, and were now east of the wheat-field, where some of the
hardest fighting of the day had taken place, but, in spite of this
loss of ground, they had suffered no serious disaster, and, above
all, Lee had not seized upon that "crest of the ridge," which was the
keystone of the position.

Thus Longstreet's attack had been neither a success nor a failure. He
had not accomplished all that was expected, but he had driven back the
enemy from their advanced position, and held strong ground in their
front. A continuance of the assault was therefore deferred until the
next day--night having now come--and General Longstreet ordered the
advance to cease, and the firing to be discontinued.

During the action on the right, Hill had continued to make heavy
demonstrations on the Federal centre, and Ewell had met with excellent
success in the attack, directed by Lee, to be made against the enemy's
right. This was posted upon the semicircular eminence, a little
southeast of Gettysburg, and the Federal works were attacked by Ewell
about sunset. With Early's division on his right, and Johnson's on
his left, Ewell advanced across the open ground in face of a heavy
artillery-fire, the men rushed up the slope, and in a brief space of
time the Federal artillerists and infantry were driven from the works,
which at nightfall remained in Ewell's hands.

Such had been the fate of the second struggle around Gettysburg. The
moon, which rose just as the fighting terminated, threw its ghastly
glare upon a field where neither side had achieved full success.

Lee had not failed, and he had not succeeded. He had aimed to drive
the Federal forces from the Cemetery Range, and had not been able to
effect that object; but they had been forced back upon both their
right and left, and a substantial advantage seemed thus to have been
gained. That the Confederate success was not complete, seems to have
resulted from the failure to seize the Round-Top Hill. The crisis
of the battle had undoubtedly been the moment when Hood was so near
capturing this position--in reference to the importance of which we
quoted General Meade's own words. It was saved to the Federal army by
the presence of mind, it seems, of a single officer, and the gallantry
of a single brigade. Such are the singular chances of battle, in which
the smallest causes so often effect the greatest results.

General Lee, in company with General Hill, had, during the battle,
occupied his former position on Seminary Ridge, near the centre of his
line--quietly seated, for the greater portion of the time, upon the
stump of a tree, and looking thoughtfully toward the opposite heights
which Longstreet was endeavoring to storm. His demeanor was entirely
calm and composed. An observer would not have concluded that he was
the commander-in-chief. From time to time he raised his field-glass to
his eyes, and rising said a few words to General Hill or General Long,
of his staff. After this brief colloquy, he would return to his seat
on the stump, and continue to direct his glass toward the wooded
heights held by the enemy. A notable circumstance, and one often
observed upon other occasions, was that, during the entire action, he
scarcely sent an order. During the time Longstreet was engaged--from
about half-past four until night--he sent but one message, and
received but one report. Having given full directions to his able
lieutenants, and informed them of the objects which he desired to
attain, he, on this occasion as upon others, left the execution of his
orders to them, relying upon their judgment and ability.

A singular incident occurred at this moment, which must have diverted
Lee, temporarily, from his abstracted mood. In the midst of the most
furious part of the cannonade, when the air was filled with exploding
shell, a Confederate band of music, between the opposing lines, just
below General Lee's position, began defiantly playing polkas and
waltzes on their instruments. The incident was strange in the midst
of such a hurly-burly. The bloody battle-field seemed turned into a

With nightfall the firing sunk to silence. The moon had risen, and the
pale light now lit up the faces of the dead and wounded of both sides.

Lee's first great assault had failed to secure the full results which
he had anticipated from it.



The weird hours of the moonlit night succeeding the "second day at
Gettysburg" witnessed a consultation between Lee and his principal
officers, as to the propriety of renewing the attack on the Federal
position, or falling back in the direction of the Potomac. In favor of
the latter course there seemed to be many good reasons. The supplies,
both of provisions and ammunition, were running short. The army,
although unshaken, had lost heavily in the obstinately-disputed
attack. In the event of defeat now, its situation might become
perilous, and the destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia was
likely to prove that of the Southern cause. On the other hand, the
results of the day's fighting, if not decisive, had been highly
encouraging. On both the Federal wings the Confederates had gained
ground, which they still held. Longstreet's line was in advance of the
Peach Orchard, held by the enemy on the morning of the second,
and Ewell was still rooted firmly, it seemed, in their works near
Gettysburg. These advantages were certainly considerable, and promised
success to the Southern arms, if the assault were renewed. But the
most weighty consideration prompting a renewal of the attack was the
condition of the troops. They were undismayed and unshaken either in
spirit or efficiency, and were known both to expect and to desire
a resumption of the assault. Even after the subsequent charge of
Pickett, which resulted so disastrously, the ragged infantry were
heard exclaiming: "We've not lost confidence in the old man! This
day's work won't do him no harm! Uncle Robert will get us into
Washington yet!" Add to this the fact that the issue of the second day
had stirred up in Lee himself all the martial ardor of his nature;
and there never lived a more thorough _soldier_, when he was fully
aroused, than the Virginian. All this soldiership of the man revolted
at the thought of retreating and abandoning his great enterprise. He
looked, on the one hand, at his brave army, ready at the word to again
advance upon the enemy--at that enemy scarce able on the previous
day to hold his position--and, weighing every circumstance in his
comprehensive mind, which "looked before and after," Lee determined on
the next morning to try a decisive assault upon the Federal troops;
to storm, if possible, the Cemetery Range, and at one great blow
terminate the campaign and the war.

The powerful influences which we have mentioned, coöperating, shaped
the decision to which Lee had come. He would not retreat, but fight.
The campaign should not be abandoned without at least one great charge
upon the Federal position; and orders were now given for a renewal
of the attack on the next morning. "The general plan of attack," Lee
says, "was unchanged, except that one division and two brigades of
Hill's corps were ordered to support Longstreet." From these words it
is obvious that Lee's main aim now, as on the preceding day, was to
force back the Federal left in front of Longstreet, and seize the high
ground commanding the whole ridge in flank and reverse. To this
end Longstreet was reënforced, and the great assault was evidently
intended to take place in that quarter. But circumstances caused
an alteration, as will be seen, in Lee's plans. The centre, thus
weakened, was from stress of events to become the point of decisive
struggle. The assaults of the previous day had been directed against
the two extremities of the enemy; the assault of the third day, which
would decide the fate of the battle and the campaign, was to be the
furious rush of Pickett's division of Virginian troops at the enemy's
centre, on Cemetery Hill.

A preliminary conflict, brought on by the Federal commander, took
place early in the morning. Ewell had continued throughout the night
to hold the enemy's breastworks on their right, from which he had
driven them in the evening. As dawn approached now, he was about to
resume the attack; and, in obedience to Lee's orders, attempt to
"dislodge the enemy" from other parts of the ridge, when General Meade
took the initiative, and opened upon him a furious fire of cannon,
which was followed by a determined infantry charge to regain the hill.
Ewell held his ground with the obstinate nerve which characterized
him, and the battle raged about four hours--that is, until about eight
o'clock. At that time, however, the pressure of the enemy became too
heavy to stand. General Meade succeeded in driving Ewell from the
hill, and the Federal lines were reëstablished on the commanding
ground which they had previously occupied.

This event probably deranged, in some degree, General Lee's
plans, which contemplated, as we have seen, an attack by Ewell
contemporaneous with the main assault by Longstreet. Ewell was in no
condition at this moment to assume the offensive again; and the pause
in the fighting appears to have induced General Lee to reflect and
modify his plans. Throughout the hours succeeding the morning's
struggle, Lee, attended by Generals Hill and Longstreet, and their
staff-officers, rode along the lines, reconnoitring the opposite
heights, and the cavalcade was more than once saluted by bullets from
the enemy's sharp-shooters, and an occasional shell. The result of
the reconnoissance seems to have been the conclusion that the Federal
left--now strengthened by breastworks, behind which powerful reserves
lay waiting--was not a favorable point for attack. General Meade,
no doubt, expected an assault there; and, aroused to a sense of his
danger by the Confederate success of the previous day, had made every
preparation to meet a renewal of the movement. The Confederate left
and centre remained, but it seemed injudicious to think of attacking
from Ewell's position. A concentration of the Southern force there
would result in a dangerous separation of the two wings of the army;
and, in the event of failure, the enemy would have no difficulty in
descending and turning Lee's right flank, and thus interposing between
him and the Potomac.

The centre only was left, and to this Lee now turned his attention. A
determined rush, with a strong column at Cemetery Hill in his front,
might wrest that point from the enemy. Then their line would be
pierced; the army would follow; Lee would be rooted on this commanding
ground, directly between the two Federal wings, upon which their own
guns might be turned, and the defeat of General Meade must certainly
follow. Such were, doubtless, the reflections of General Lee, as he
rode along the Seminary Range, scanning, through his field-glass, the
line of the Federal works. His decision was made, and orders were
given by him to prepare the column for the assault. For the hard
work at hand, Pickett's division of Virginian troops, which had just
arrived and were fresh, was selected. These were to be supported by
Heth's division of North Carolina troops, under General Pettigrew, who
was to move on Pickett's left; and a brigade of Hill's, under General
Wilcox, was to cover the right of the advancing column, and protect it
from a flank attack.

The advance of the charging column was preceded by a tremendous
artillery-fire, directed from Seminary Ridge at the enemy's left and
centre. This began about an hour past noon, and the amount of thunder
thus unloosed will be understood from the statement that Lee employed
one hundred and forty-five pieces of artillery, and the enemy
replied with eighty--in all _two hundred and twenty-five_ guns, all
discharging at the same time. For nearly two hours this frightful
hurly-burly continued, the harsh roar reverberating ominously in the
gorges of the hills, and thrown back, in crash after crash, from the
rocky slopes of the two ridges. To describe this fire afterward,
the cool soldier, General Hancock, could find no other but the word
_terrific_. "Their artillery-fire," he says, "was the most terrific
cannonade I ever witnessed, and the most prolonged.... It was a
most terrific and appalling cannonade--one possibly hardly ever

While this artillery-duel was in progress, the charging column was
being formed on the west of Seminary Ridge, opposite the Federal
centre on Cemetery Hill. Pickett drew up his line with Kemper's and
Garnett's brigades in front, and Armistead's brigade in rear. The
brigade under General Wilcox took position on the right, and on the
left was placed the division under Pettigrew, which was to participate
in the charge. The force numbered between twelve and fifteen thousand
men; but, as will be seen, nearly in the beginning of the action
Pickett was left alone, and thus his force of about five thousand was
all that went forward to pierce the centre of the Federal army.

The opposing ridges at this point are about one mile asunder, and
across this space Pickett moved at the word, his line advancing
slowly, and perfectly "dressed," with its red battle-flags flying, and
the sunshine darting from the gun-barrels and bayonets. The two armies
were silent, concentrating their whole attention upon this slow and
ominous advance of men who seemed in no haste, and resolved to allow
nothing to arrest them. When the column had reached a point about
midway between the opposing heights the Federal artillery suddenly
opened a furious fire upon them, which inflicted considerable loss.
This, however, had no effect upon the troops, who continued to advance
slowly in the same excellent order, without exhibiting any desire
to return the fire. It was impossible to witness this steady and
well-ordered march under heavy fire without feeling admiration for the
soldiership of the troops who made it. Where shell tore gaps in the
ranks, the men quietly closed up, and the hostile front advanced in
the same ominous silence toward the slope where the real struggle, all
felt, would soon begin.

They were within a few hundred yards of the hill, when suddenly a
rapid cannon-fire thundered on their right, and shell and canister
from nearly fifty pieces of artillery swept the Southern line,
enfilading it, and for an instant throwing the right into some
disorder. This disappeared at once, however. The column closed up, and
continued to advance, unmoved, toward the height. At last the moment
came. The steady "common-time" step had become "quick time;" this had
changed to "double-quick;" then the column rushed headlong at the
enemy's breastworks on the slope of the hill. As they did so, the real
thunder began. A fearful fire of musketry burst forth, and struck them
in the face, and this hurricane scattered the raw troops of Pettigrew
as leaves are scattered by a wind. That whole portion of the line gave
way in disorder, and fled from the field, which was strewed with their
dead; and, as the other supports had not kept up, the Virginians under
Pickett were left alone to breast the tempest which had now burst upon
them in all its fury.

They returned the fire from the breastworks in their front with a
heavy volley, and then, with loud cheers, dashed at the enemy's works,
which they reached, stormed, and took possession of at the point of
the bayonet. Their loss, however, was frightful. Garnett was killed;
Armistead fell, mortally wounded, as he leaped on the breastworks,
cheering and waving his hat; Kemper was shot and disabled, and the
ranks of the Virginians were thinned to a handful. The men did not,
however, pause. The enemy had partially retreated, from their first
line of breastworks, to a second and stronger one about sixty yards
beyond, and near the crest; and here the Federal reserve, as Northern
writers state, was drawn up "four deep." This line, bristling with
bayonets and cannon, the Virginians now charged, in the desperate
attempt to storm it with the bayonet, and pierce, in a decisive
manner, the centre of the Federal army. But the work was too great
for their powers. As they made their brave rush they were met by a
concentrated fire full in their faces, and on both flanks at the
same moment. This fire did not so much cause them to lose heart, as
literally hurl them back. Before it the whole charging column seemed
to melt and disappear. The bravest saw now that further fighting was
useless--that the works in their front could not be stormed--and, with
the frightful fire of the enemy still tearing their lines to pieces,
the poor remnants of the brave division retreated from the hill. As
they fell back, sullenly, like bull-dogs from whom their prey had been
snatched just as it was in their grasp, the enemy pursued them with a
destructive fire both of cannon and musketry, which mowed down large
numbers, if large numbers, indeed, can be said to have been left.
The command had been nearly annihilated. Three generals, fourteen
field-officers, and three-fourths of the men, were dead, wounded, or
prisoners. The Virginians had done all that could be done by soldiers.
They had advanced undismayed into the focus of a fire unsurpassed,
perhaps, in the annals of war; had fought bayonet to bayonet; had left
the ground strewed with their dead; and the small remnant who
survived were now sullenly retiring, unsubdued; and, if repulsed, not

Such was the last great charge at Gettysburg. Lee had concentrated in
it all his strength, it seemed. When it failed, the battle and the
campaign failed with it.

[Illustration: Lee at Gettysburg.]



The demeanor of General Lee at this moment, when his hopes were all
reversed, and his last great blow at the enemy had failed, excited the
admiration of all who witnessed it, and remains one of the greatest
glories of his memory.

Seeing, from his place on Seminary Ridge, the unfortunate results
of the attack, he mounted his horse and rode forward to meet and
encourage the retreating troops. The air was filled with exploding
shell, and the men were coming back without order. General Lee now met
them, and with his staff-officers busied himself in rallying them,
uttering as he did so words of hope and encouragement. Colonel
Freemantle, who took particular notice of him at this moment,
describes his conduct as "perfectly sublime." "Lee's countenance," he
adds, "did not show signs of the slightest disappointment, care, or
annoyance," but preserved the utmost placidity and cheerfulness. The
hurry and confusion of the scene seemed not to move him in any manner,
and he rode slowly to and fro, saying in his grave, kindly voice to
the men: "All this will come right in the end. We'll talk it over
afterward, but in the mean time all good men must rally. We want all
good and true men just now."

Numbers of wounded passed him, some stretched on litters, which men
wearing the red badge of the ambulance corps were bearing to the rear,
others limping along bleeding from hurts more or less serious. To the
badly wounded Lee uttered words of sympathy and kindness; to those
but slightly injured, he said: "Come, bind up your wound and take a
musket," adding "my friend," as was his habit.

An evidence of his composure and absence of flurry was presented by a
slight incident. An officer near him was striking his horse violently
for becoming frightened and unruly at the bursting of a shell, when
General Lee, seeing that the horse was terrified and the punishment
would do no good, said, in tones of friendly remonstrance: "Don't
whip him, captain, don't whip him. I've got just such a foolish horse
myself, and whipping does no good."

Meanwhile the men continued to stream back, pursued still by that
triumphant roar of the enemy's artillery which swept the whole valley
and slope of Seminary Ridge with shot and shell. Lee was everywhere
encouraging them, and they responded by taking off their hats and
cheering him--even the wounded joining in this ceremony. Although
exposing himself with entire indifference to the heavy fire, he
advised Colonel Freemantle, as that officer states, to shelter
himself, saying: "This has been a sad day for us, colonel, a sad day.
But we can't expect always to gain victories."

As he was thus riding about in the fringe of woods, General Wilcox,
who, about the time of Pickett's repulse, had advanced and speedily
been thrown back with loss, rode up and said, almost sobbing as he
spoke, that his brigade was nearly destroyed. Lee held out his hand to
him as he was speaking, and, grasping the hand of his subordinate in
a friendly manner, replied with great gentleness and kindness: "Never
mind, general, all this has been _my_ fault. It is _I_ who have lost
this fight, and you must help me out of it in the best way you can."

This supreme calmness and composure in the commander-in-chief rapidly
communicated itself to the troops, who soon got together again, and
lay down quietly in line of battle in the fringe of woods along the
crest of the ridge, where Lee placed them as they came up. In front of
them the guns used in the great cannonade were still in position, and
Lee was evidently making every preparation in his power for the highly
probable event of an instant assault upon him in his disordered
condition, by the enemy. It was obvious that the situation of affairs
at the moment was such as to render such an attack highly perilous to
the Southern troops--and a sudden cheering which was now heard running
along the lines of the enemy on the opposite heights, seemed clearly
to indicate that their forces were moving. Every preparation possible
under the circumstances was made to meet the anticipated assault; the
repulsed troops of Pickett, like the rest of the army, were ready and
even eager for of the attack--but it did not come. The cheering was
afterward ascertained to have been simply the greeting of the men to
some one of their officers as he rode along the lines; and night fell
without any attempt on the Federal side to improve their success.

That success was indeed sufficient, and little would have been gained,
and perhaps much perilled, by a counter-attack. Lee was not defeated,
but he had not succeeded. General Meade could, with propriety, refrain
from an attack. The battle of Gettysburg had been a Federal victory.

Thus had ended the last great conflict of arms on Northern soil--in a
decisive if not a crushing repulse of the Southern arms. The chain of
events has been so closely followed in the foregoing pages, and the
movements of the two armies have been described with such detail,
that any further comment or illustration is unnecessary. The opposing
armies had been handled with skill and energy, the men had never
fought better, and the result seems to have been decided rather by
an occult decree of Providence than by any other circumstance. The
numbers on each side were nearly the same, or differed so slightly
that, in view of past conflicts, fought with much greater odds in
favor of the one side, they might be regarded as equal. The Southern
army when it approached Gettysburg numbered sixty-seven thousand
bayonets, and the cavalry and artillery probably made the entire force
about eighty thousand. General Meade's statement is that his own force
was about one hundred thousand. The Federal loss was twenty-three
thousand one hundred and ninety. The Southern losses were also severe,
but cannot be ascertained. They must have amounted, however, to at
least as large a number, even larger, perhaps, as an attacking army
always suffers more heavily than one that is attacked.

What is certain, however, is that the Southern army, if diminished in
numbers and strength, was still unshaken.



Lee commenced his retreat in the direction of the Potomac on the night
of the 4th of July. That the movement did not begin earlier is the
best proof of the continued efficiency of his army and his own
willingness to accept battle if the enemy were inclined to offer it.

After the failure of the attack on the Federal centre, he had
withdrawn Ewell from his position southeast of Gettysburg, and,
forming a continuous line of battle on Seminary Ridge, awaited the
anticipated assault of General Meade. What the result of such an
assault would have been it is impossible to say, but the theory that
an attack would have terminated in the certain rout of the Southern
army has nothing whatever to support it. The _morale_ of Lee's army
was untouched. The men, instead of being discouraged by the tremendous
conflicts of the preceding days, were irate, defiant, and ready to
resume the struggle. Foreign officers, present at the time, testify
fully upon this point, describing the demeanor of the troops as all
that could be desired in soldiers; and General Longstreet afterward
stated that, with his two divisions under Hood and McLaws, and his
powerful artillery, he was confident, had the enemy attacked, of
inflicting upon them a blow as heavy as that which they had
inflicted upon Pickett. The testimony of General Meade himself fully
corroborates these statements. When giving his evidence afterward
before the war committee, he said:

"My opinion is, now, that General Lee evacuated that position, _not
from the fear that he would be dislodged from it by any active
operations on my part_, but that he was fearful that a force would be
sent to Harper's Ferry to cut off his communications.... That was what
caused him to retire."

When asked the question, "Did you discover, after the battle of
Gettysburg, any symptoms of demoralization in Lee's army?" General
Meade replied, "No, sir; I saw nothing of that kind."[1]

[Footnote 1: Report of Committee on Conduct of War, Part I., page

There was indeed no good reason why General Lee should feel any
extreme solicitude for the safety of his army, which, after all its
losses, still numbered more than fifty thousand troops; and, with that
force of veteran combatants, experience told him, he could count upon
holding at bay almost any force which the enemy could bring against
him. At Chancellorsville, with a less number, he had nearly routed a
larger army than General Meade's. If the _morale_ of the men remained
unbroken, he had the right to feel secure now; and we have shown that
the troops were as full of fight as ever. The exclamations of the
ragged infantry, overheard by Colonel Freemantle, expressed the
sentiment of the whole army. Recoiling from the fatal charge on
Cemetery Hill, and still followed by the terrible fire, they had heart
to shout defiantly: "We've not lost confidence in the old man! This
day's work won't do him no harm! Uncle Robert will get us into
Washington yet--you bet he will!"

Lee's reasons for retiring toward the Potomac were unconnected with
the _morale_ of his army. "The difficulty of procuring supplies," he
says, "rendered it impossible to continue longer where we were." What
he especially needed was ammunition, his supply of which had been
nearly exhausted by the three days' fighting, and it was impossible to
count upon new supplies of these essential stores now that the enemy
were in a condition to interrupt his communications in the direction
of Harper's Ferry and Williamsport. The danger to which the army was
thus exposed was soon shown not to have been overrated. General Meade
promptly sent a force to occupy Harper's Ferry, and a body of his
cavalry, hastening across the South Mountain, reached the Potomac near
Falling Waters, where they destroyed a pontoon bridge laid there for
the passage of the Southern army.

Lee accordingly resolved to retire, and, after remaining in line of
battle on Seminary Ridge throughout the evening and night of the 3d
and the whole of the 4th, during which time he was busy burying his
dead, began to withdraw, by the Fairfield and Chambersburg roads, on
the night of this latter day. The movement was deliberate, and without
marks of haste, the rear-guard not leaving the vicinity of Gettysburg
until the morning of the 5th. Those who looked upon the Southern army
at this time can testify that the spirit of the troops was unsubdued.
They had been severely checked, but there every thing had ended.
Weary, covered with dust, with wounds whose bandages were soaked in
blood, the men tramped on in excellent spirits, and were plainly ready
to take position at the first word from Lee, and meet any attack of
the enemy with a nerve as perfect as when they had advanced.

For the reasons stated by himself, General Meade did not attack. He
had secured substantial victory by awaiting Lee's assault on strong
ground, and was unwilling now to risk a disaster, such as he had
inflicted, by attacking Lee in position. The enthusiasm of the
authorities at Washington was not shared by the cool commander of
the Federal army. He perfectly well understood the real strength and
condition of his adversary, and seems never to have had any intention
of striking at him unless a change of circumstances gave him some
better prospect of success than he could see at that time.

The retrograde movement of the Southern army now began, Lee's trains
retiring by way of Chambersburg, and his infantry over the Fairfield
road, in the direction of Hagerstown. General Meade at first moved
directly on the track of his enemy. The design of a "stern chase" was,
however, speedily abandoned by the Federal commander, who changed the
direction of his march and moved southward toward Frederick. When near
that point he crossed the South Mountain, went toward Sharpsburg, and
on the 12th of July found himself in front of the Southern army near
Williamsport, where Lee had formed line of battle to receive his
adversary's attack.

The deliberate character of General Meade's movements sufficiently
indicates the disinclination he felt to place himself directly in his
opponent's front, and thus receive the full weight of his attack.
There is reason, indeed, to believe that nothing could better have
suited the views of General Meade than for Lee to have passed the
Potomac before his arrival--which event would have signified the
entire abandonment of the campaign of invasion, leaving victory on the
side of the Federal army. But the elements seemed to conspire to bring
on a second struggle, despite the reluctance of both commanders. The
recent rains had swollen the Potomac to such a degree as to render it
unfordable, and, as the pontoon near Williamsport had been destroyed
by the Federal cavalry, Lee was brought to bay on the north bank of
the river, where, on the 12th, as we have said, General Meade found
him in line of battle.

Lee's demeanor, at this critical moment, was perfectly undisturbed,
and exhibited no traces whatever of anxiety, though he must have felt
much. In his rear was a swollen river, and in his front an adversary
who had been reënforced with a considerable body of troops, and now
largely outnumbered him. In the event of battle and defeat, the
situation of the Southern army must be perilous in the extreme.
Nothing would seem to be left it, in that event, but surrender, or
dispersion among the western mountains, where the detached bodies
would be hunted down in detail and destroyed or captured. Confidence
in himself and his men remained, however, with General Lee, and,
with his line extending from near Hagerstown to a point east of
Williamsport, he calmly awaited the falling of the river, resolved,
doubtless, if in the mean time the enemy attacked him, to fight to the
last gasp for the preservation of his army.

No attack was made by General Meade, who, arriving in front of Lee on
the 12th, did no more, on that day, than feel along the Southern lines
for a point to assault. On the next day he assembled a council of war,
and laid the question before them, whether or not it were advisable
to make an assault. The votes of the officers were almost unanimously
against it, as Lee's position seemed strong and the spirit of his army
defiant; and the day passed without any attempt of the Federal army to
dislodge its adversary.

While General Meade was thus hesitating, Lee was acting. A portion
of the pontoon destroyed by the enemy was recovered, new boats were
built, and a practicable bridge was completed, near Falling Waters, by
the evening of the 13th. The river had also commenced falling, and by
this time was fordable near Williamsport. Toward dawn on the 14th the
army commenced moving, in the midst of a violent rain-storm, across
the river at both points, and Lee, sitting his horse upon the river's
bank, superintended the operation, as was his habit on occasions of
emergency. Loss of rest and fatigue, with that feeling of suspense
unavoidable under the circumstances, had impaired the energies of even
his superb physical constitution. As the bulk of the rear-guard of the
army safely passed over the shaky bridge, which Lee had looked at
with some anxiety as it swayed to and fro, lashed by the current, he
uttered a sigh of relief, and a great weight seemed taken from his
shoulders. Seeing his fatigue and exhaustion. General Stuart gave him
some coffee; he drank it with avidity, and declared, as he handed back
the cup, that nothing had ever refreshed him so much.

When General Meade, who is said to have resolved on an attack, in
spite of the opposition of his officers, looked, on the morning of the
14th, toward the position held on the previous evening by the Southern
army, he saw that the works were deserted. The Army of Northern
Virginia had vanished from the hills on which it had been posted, and
was at that moment crossing the Potomac. Pressing on its track toward
Falling Waters, the Federal cavalry came up with the rear, and in the
skirmish which ensued fell the brave Pettigrew, who had supported
Pickett in the great charge at Gettysburg, where he had waved his hat
in front of his men, and, in spite of a painful wound, done all in his
power to rally his troops. With this exception, and a few captures
resulting from accident, the army sustained no losses. The movement
across the Potomac had been effected, in face of the whole Federal
army, as successfully as though that army had been a hundred miles

[Footnote 1: Upon this point different statements were subsequently
made by Generals Lee and Meade, and Lee's reply to the statements of
his opponent is here given:


_July 21, 1863._

_General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General C.S.A., Richmond,

GENERAL: I have seen in Northern papers what purported to be an
official dispatch from General Meade, stating that he had captured
a brigade of Infantry, two pieces of artillery, two caissons, and a
large number of small-arms, as this army retired to the south bank of
the Potomac, on the 13th and 14th inst.

This dispatch has been copied into the Richmond papers, and, as its
official character may cause it to be believed, I desire to state that
it is incorrect. The enemy did not capture any organized body of men
on that occasion, but only stragglers, and such as were left asleep
on the road, exhausted by the fatigue and exposure of one of the most
inclement nights I have ever known at this season of the year. It
rained without cessation, rendering the road by which our troops
marched to the bridge at Falling Waters very difficult to pass, and
causing so much delay that the last of the troops did not cross the
river at the bridge until 1 P.M. on the 14th. While the column was
thus detained on the road a number of men, worn down by fatigue, lay
down in barns, and by the roadside, and though officers were sent
back to arouse them, as the troops moved on, the darkness and rain
prevented them from finding all, and many were in this way left
behind. Two guns were left on the road. The horses that drew them
became exhausted, and the officers went forward to procure others.
When they returned, the rear of the column had passed the guns so far
that it was deemed unsafe to send back for them, and they were thus
lost. No arms, cannon, or prisoners, were taken by the enemy in
battle, but only such as were left behind under the circumstances I
have described. The number of stragglers thus lost I am unable to
state with accuracy, but it is greatly exaggerated in the dispatch
referred to.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R.E. LEE, _General_.

The solicitude here exhibited by the Southern commander, that the
actual facts should be recorded, is natural, and displayed Lee's
spirit of soldiership. He was unwilling that his old army should
appear in the light of a routed column, retreating in disorder, with
loss of men and munitions, when they lost neither.]



Lee moved his army to the old encampment on the banks of the Opequan
which it had occupied after the retreat from Sharpsburg, in September,
1862, and here a few days were spent in resting.

We have, in the journal of a foreign officer, an outline of Lee's
personal appearance at this time, and, as we are not diverted from
these characteristic details at the moment by the narrative of great
events, this account of Lee, given by the officer in question--Colonel
Freemantle, of the British Army--is laid before the reader:

    "General Lee is, almost without exception, the handsomest man of
    his age I ever saw. He is tall, broad-shouldered, very well made,
    well set up--a thorough soldier in appearance--and his manners are
    most courteous, and full of dignity. He is a perfect gentleman
    in every respect. I imagine no man has so few enemies, or is so
    universally esteemed. Throughout the South, all agree in
    pronouncing him as near perfection as man can be. He has none of
    the small vices, such as smoking, drinking, chewing, or swearing;
    and his bitterest enemy never accused him of any of the greater
    ones. He generally wears a well-worn, long gray jacket, a high
    black-felt hat, and blue trousers, tucked into his Wellington
    boots. I never saw him carry arms, and the only marks of his
    military rank are the three stars on his collar. He rides a
    handsome horse, which is extremely well governed. He himself is
    very neat in his dress and person, and in the most arduous marches
    he always looks smart and clean.... It is understood that General
    Lee is a religious man, though not so demonstrative in that
    respect as Jackson, and, unlike his late brother-in-arms, he is a
    member of the Church of England. His only faults, so far as I can
    learn, arise from his excessive amiability."

This personal description is entirely correct, except that the word
"jacket" conveys a somewhat erroneous idea of Lee's undress uniform
coat, and his hat was generally gray. Otherwise, the sketch is exactly
accurate, and is here presented as the unprejudiced description and
estimate of a foreign gentleman, who had no inducement, such as might
be attributed to a Southern writer, to overcolor his portrait. Such,
in personal appearance, was the leader of the Southern army--a plain
soldier, in a plain dress, without arms, with slight indications of
rank, courteous, full of dignity, a "perfect gentleman," and with no
fault save an "excessive amiability." The figure is attractive to the
eye--it excited the admiration of a foreign officer, and remains in
many memories now, when the sound of battle is hushed, and the great
leader, in turn, has finished his life-battle and lain down in peace.

The movements of the two armies were soon resumed, and we shall
briefly follow those movements, which led the adversaries back to the

Lee appears to have conceived the design, after crossing the Potomac
at Williamsport, to pass the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge, and
thus place himself in the path of General Meade if he crossed east
of the mountain, or threaten Washington. This appears from his own
statement. "Owing," he says, "to the swollen condition of _the
Shenandoah River, the plan of operations which had been contemplated
when we recrossed the Potomac could not be put in execution_". The
points fixed upon by Lee for passing the mountain were probably
Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps, opposite Berryville and Millwood. The
rains had, however, made the river, in these places, unfordable. On
the 17th and 18th days of July, less than a week after Lee's crossing
at Williamsport, General Meade passed the Potomac above Leesburg, and
Lee moved his army in the direction of Chester Gap, near Front Royal,
toward Culpepper.

The new movements were almost identically the same as the old, when
General McClellan advanced, in November, 1862, and the adoption of
the same plans by General Meade involves a high compliment to his
predecessor. He acted with even more energy. As Lee's head of column
was defiling toward Chester Gap, beyond Front Royal, General Meade
struck at it through Manassas Gap, directly on its flank, and an
action followed which promised at one time to become serious. The
enemy was, however, repulsed, and the Southern column continued its
way across the mountain. The rest of the army followed, and descended
into Culpepper, from which position, when Longstreet was detached to
the west, Lee retired, taking post behind the Rapidan.

General Meade thereupon followed, and occupied Culpepper, his advance
being about half-way between Culpepper Court-House and the river.

Such was the position of the two armies in the first days of October,
when Lee, weary, it seemed, of inactivity, set out to flank and fight
his adversary.





In a work of the present description, the writer has a choice between
two courses. He may either record the events of the war in all
quarters of the country, as bearing more or less upon his narrative,
or may confine himself to the life of the individual who is the
immediate subject of his volume. Of these two courses, the writer
prefers the latter for many reasons. To present a narrative of
military transactions in all portions of the South would expand this
volume to undue proportions; and there is the further objection that
these occurrences are familiar to all. It might be necessary, in
writing for persons ignorant of the events of the great conflict, to
omit nothing; but this ignorance does, not probably exist in the
case of the readers of these pages; and the writer will continue,
as heretofore, to confine himself to the main subject, only noting
incidentally such prominent events in other quarters as affected Lee's

One such event was the fall of Vicksburg, which post surrendered at
the same moment with the defeat at Gettysburg, rendering thereafter
impossible all movements of invasion; and another was the advance of
General Rosecrans toward Atlanta, which resulted, in the month of
September, in a Southern victory at Chickamauga.

The immediate effect of the Federal demonstration toward Chattanooga
had been to detach Longstreet's corps from General Lee's army, for
service under General Bragg. General Meade's force is said to have
also been somewhat lessened by detachments sent to enforce the draft
in New York; and these circumstances had, in the first days of
October, reduced both armies in Virginia to a less force than they had
numbered in the past campaign. General Meade, however, presented a
bold front to his adversary, and, with his headquarters near Culpepper
Court-House, kept close watch upon Lee, whose army lay along the south
bank of the Rapidan.

For some weeks no military movements took place, and an occasional
cavalry skirmish between the troopers of the two armies was all which
broke the monotony of the autumn days. This inactivity, however, was
now about to terminate. Lee had resolved to attempt a flank movement
around General Meade's right, with the view of bringing him to battle;
and a brief campaign ensued, which, if indecisive, and reflecting
little glory upon the infantry, was fruitful in romantic incidents and
highly creditable to the cavalry of the Southern army.

In following the movements, and describing the operations of the main
body of the army--the infantry--we have necessarily been compelled to
pass over, to a great extent, the services of the cavalry in the past
campaign. These had, nevertheless, been great--no arm of the service
had exhibited greater efficiency; and, but for the fact that in all
armies the brunt of battle falls upon the foot-soldiers, it might be
added that the services of the cavalry had been as important as those
of the infantry. Stuart was now in command of a force varying from
five to eight thousand sabres, and among his troopers were some of
the best fighting-men of the South. The cavalry had always been the
favorite arm with the Southern youth; it had drawn to itself, as
privates in the ranks, thousands of young men of collegiate education,
great wealth, and the highest social position; and this force was
officered, in Virginia, by such resolute commanders as Wade Hampton,
Fitz Lee, William H.F. Lee, Rosser, Jones, Wickham, Young,
Munford, and many others. Under these leaders, and assisted by
the hard-fighting "Stuart Horse-Artillery" under Pelham and his
successors, the cavalry had borne their full share in the hard
marches and combats of the army. On the Chickahominy; in the march
to Manassas, and the battles in Maryland; in the operations on
the Rappahannock, and the incessant fighting of the campaign to
Gettysburg, Stuart and his troopers had vindicated their claim to the
first honors of arms; and, if these services were not duly estimated
by the infantry of the army, the fact was mainly attributable to the
circumstance that the fighting of the cavalry had been done at a
distance upon the outposts, far more than in the pitched battles,
where, in modern times, from the improved and destructive character
of artillery, playing havoc with horses, the cavalry arm can achieve
little, and is not risked. The actual losses in Stuart's command left,
however, no doubt of the obstinate soldiership of officers and men.
Since the opening of the year he had lost General Hampton, cut down in
a hand-to-hand sabre-fight at Gettysburg; General W.H.F. Lee, shot in
the fight at Fleetwood; Colonels Frank Hampton and Williams, killed in
the same action; Colonel Butler, torn by a shell; Major Pelham, Chief
of Artillery, killed while leading a charge; [Footnote: In this
enumeration the writer mentions only such names as occur at the moment
to his memory. A careful examination of the records of the cavalry
would probably furnish the names of ten times as many, equally brave
and unfortunate.] about six officers of his personal staff either
killed, wounded, or captured; and in the Gettysburg campaign he had
lost nearly one-third of his entire command. Of its value to the army,
the infantry might have their doubts, but General Lee had none. Stuart
and his horsemen had been the eyes and ears of the Army of Northern
Virginia; had fought incessantly as well as observed the enemy; and
Lee never committed the injustice of undervaluing this indispensable
arm, which, if his official commendation of its operations under
Stuart is to be believed, was only second in importance in his
estimation to the infantry itself.

The army continued, nevertheless, to amuse itself at the expense of
the cavalry, and either asserted or intimated, on every favorable
occasion, that the _real fighting_ was done by themselves. This
flattering assumption might be natural under the circumstances, but it
was now about to be shown to be wholly unfounded. A campaign was at
hand in which the cavalry were to turn the tables upon their jocose
critics, and silence them; where the infantry were doomed to failure
in nearly all which they attempted, and the troopers were to do the
greater part of the fighting and achieve the only successes.

To the narrative of this brief and romantic episode of the war we now
proceed. General Lee's aim was to pass around the right flank of his
adversary, and bring him to battle; and, although the promptness
of General Meade's movements defeated the last-named object nearly
completely, the manoeuvres of the two armies form a highly-interesting
study. The eminent soldiers commanding the forces played a veritable
game of chess with each other. There was little hard fighting, but
more scientific manoeuvring than is generally displayed in a campaign.
The brains of Lee and Meade, rather than the two armies, were matched
against each other; and the conflict of ideas proved more interesting
than the actual fighting.



In prosecution of the plan determined upon, General Lee, on the
morning of the 9th of October, crossed the Rapidan at the fords
above Orange Court-House, with the corps of Ewell and A.P. Hill, and
directed his march toward Madison Court-House.

Stuart moved with Hampton's cavalry division on the right of the
advancing column--General Fitz Lee having been left with his division
to guard the front on the Rapidan--and General Imboden, commanding
west of the Blue Ridge, was ordered by Lee to "advance down the
Valley, and guard the gaps of the mountains on our left."

We have said that Lee's design was to bring General Meade to battle.
It is proper to state this distinctly, as some writers have attributed
to him in the campaign, as his real object, the design of manoeuvring
his adversary out of Culpepper, and pushing him back to the Federal
frontier. His own words are perfectly plain. He set out "with the
design," he declares, "of _bringing on an engagement with the Federal
army_"--that is to say, of _fighting_ General Meade, not simply
forcing him to fall back. His opponent, it seems, was not averse to
accepting battle; indeed, from expressions attributed to him, he
appears to have ardently desired it, in case he could secure an
advantageous position for receiving the Southern attack. It is
desirable that this readiness in both commanders to fight should be
kept in view. The fact adds largely to the interest of this brief
"campaign of manoeuvres," in which the army, falling back, like that
advancing, sought battle.

To proceed to the narrative, which will deal in large measure with the
operations of the cavalry--that arm of the service, as we have said,
having borne the chief share of the fighting, and achieved the only
successes. Stuart moved out on the right of the infantry, which
marched directly toward Madison Court-House, and near the village
of James City, directly west of Culpepper Court-House, drove in the
cavalry and infantry outposts of General Kilpatrick on the main body
beyond the village. Continuous skirmishing ensued throughout the rest
of the day--Stuart's object being to occupy the enemy, and divert
attention from the infantry movement in his rear. In this he seems to
have fully succeeded. Lee passed Madison Court-House, and moving, as
he says, "by circuitous and concealed roads," reached the vicinity of
Griffinsburg, on what is called the Sperryville Road, northwest of
Culpepper Court-House. A glance at the map will show the relative
positions of the two armies at this moment. General Meade lay around
Culpepper Court-House, with his advance about half-way between that
place and the Rapidan, and Lee had attained a position which gave him
fair hopes of intercepting his adversary's retreat. That retreat must
be over the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad; but from
Griffinsburg to Manassas was no farther than from Culpepper
Court-House to the same point. If the Federal army fell back, as Lee
anticipated, it would be a question of speed between the retreating
and pursuing columns; and, as the narrative will show, the race was
close--a few hours lost making the difference between success and
failure in Lee's movement.

On the morning of the 10th while the infantry were still near
Griffinsburg, General Stuart moved promptly down upon Culpepper
Court-House, driving the enemy from their large camps near Stonehouse
Mountain. These were elaborately provided with luxuries of every
description, and there were many indications of the fact that the
troops had expected to winter there. No serious fighting occurred.
A regiment of infantry was charged and dispersed by the Jefferson
Company of Captain Baylor, and Stuart then proceeded rapidly to
Culpepper Court-House, where the Federal cavalry, forming the
rear-guard of the army, awaited him.

General Meade was already moving in the direction of the Rappahannock.
The presence of the Southern army near Griffinsburg had become known
to him; he was at no loss to understand Lee's object; and, leaving
his cavalry to cover his rear, he moved toward the river. As Stuart
attacked the Federal horse posted on the hills east of the village,
the roar of cannon on his right, steadily drawing nearer, indicated
that General Fitz Lee was forcing the enemy in that direction to fall
back. Stuart was now in high spirits, and indulged in hearty laughter,
although the enemy's shells were bursting around him.

"Ride back to General Lee," he said to an officer of his staff, "and
tell him we are forcing the enemy back on the Rappahannock, and I
think I hear Fitz Lee's guns toward the Rapidan."

The officer obeyed, and found General Lee at his headquarters, which
consisted of one or two tents, with a battle-flag set up in front, on
the highway, near Griffinsburg. He was conversing with General Ewell,
and the contrast between the two soldiers was striking. Ewell was
thin, cadaverous, and supported himself upon a crutch, for he had not
yet recovered from the wound received at Manassas. General Lee, on
the contrary, was erect, ruddy, robust, and exhibited indications of
health and vigor in every detail of his person. When Stuart's message
was delivered to him, he bowed with that grave courtesy which he
exhibited alike toward the highest and the lowest soldier in his army,
and said: "Thank you. Tell General Stuart to continue to press them
back toward the river."

He then smiled, and added, with that accent of sedate humor which at
times characterized him: "But tell him, too, to spare his horses--to
spare his horses. It is not necessary to send so many messages."

He turned as he spoke to General Ewell, and, pointing to the officer
who had come from Stuart, and another who had arrived just before him,
said, with lurking humor: "I think these two young gentlemen make
_eight_ messengers sent me by General Stuart!"

He then said to Ewell: "You may as well move on with your troops, I
suppose, general;" and soon afterward the infantry began to advance.

Stuart was meanwhile engaged in an obstinate combat with the Federal
cavalry near Brandy, in the immediate vicinity of Fleetwood Hill, the
scene of the great fight in June. The stand made by the enemy was
resolute, but the arrival of General Fitz Lee decided the event. That
officer had crossed the Rapidan and driven General Buford before him.
The result now was that, while Stuart was pressing the enemy in his
front, General Buford came down on Stuart's rear, and Fitz Lee on the
rear of Buford. The scene which ensued was a grand commingling of the
tragic and serio-comic. Every thing was mingled in wild confusion, but
the day remained with the Southern cavalry, who, at nightfall, had
pressed their opponents back toward the river, which the Federal army
crossed that night, blowing up the railroad bridge behind them.

Such was the first act of the bustling drama. At the approach of Lee,
General Meade had vanished from Culpepper, and so well arranged was
the whole movement, in spite of its rapidity, that scarce an empty box
was left behind. Lee's aim to bring his adversary to battle south of
the Rappahannock had thus failed; but the attempt was renewed by a
continuation of the flanking movement toward Warrenton Springs,
"with the design," Lee says, "of reaching the Orange and Alexandria
Railroad, north of the river, and interrupting the retreat of the
enemy." Unfortunately, however, for this project, which required of
all things rapidity of movement, it was found necessary to remain
nearly all day on the 11th near Culpepper Court-House, to supply the
army with provisions. It was not until the 12th that the army again
moved. Stuart preceded it, and after a brisk skirmish drove the enemy
from Warrenton Springs--advancing in person in front of his column
as it charged through the river and up the hill beyond, where a
considerable body of Federal marksmen were put to flight. The cavalry
then pressed on toward Warrenton, and the infantry, who had witnessed
their prowess and cheered them heartily, followed on the same road.
The race between Lee and General Meade was in full progress.

It was destined to become complicated, and an error committed by
General Meade came very near exposing him to serious danger. It
appears that, after retreating across the Rappahannock, the Federal
commander began to entertain doubt whether the movement had not been
hasty, and would not justly subject him to the charge of yielding to
sudden panic. Influenced apparently by this sentiment, he now ordered
three corps of the Federal army, with a division of cavalry, back to
Culpepper; and this, the main body, accordingly crossed back, leaving
but one corps north of the river. Such was now the very peculiar
situation of the two armies. General Lee was moving steadily in the
direction of Warrenton to cut off his adversary from Manassas, and
that adversary was moving back into Culpepper to hunt up Lee there.
The comedy of errors was soon terminated, but not so soon as it
otherwise would have been but for a _ruse de guerre_ played by
Generals Rosser and Young. General Rosser had been left by Stuart near
Brandy, with about two hundred horsemen and one gun; and, when the
three infantry corps and the cavalry division of General Meade moved
forward from the river, they encountered this obstacle. Insignificant
as was his force. General Rosser so manoeuvred it as to produce the
impression that it was considerable; and, though forced, of course, to
fall back, he did so fighting at every step. Assistance reached him
just at dusk in the shape of a brigade of cavalry, from above the
court-house under General Young, the same officer whose charge at the
Fleetwood fight had had so important a bearing upon the result there.
Young now formed line with his men dismounted, and, advancing with a
confident air, opened fire upon the Federal army. The darkness proved
friendly, and, taking advantage of it, General Young kindled fires
along a front of more than a mile, ordered his band to play, and must
have caused the enemy to doubt whether Lee was not still in large
force near Culpepper Court-House. They accordingly went into camp to
await the return of daylight, when at midnight a fast-riding courier
came with orders from General Meade.

These orders were urgent, and directed the Federal troops to recross
the river with all haste. General Lee, it was now ascertained, had
left an insignificant force in Culpepper, and, with nearly his whole
army, was moving rapidly toward Warrenton to cut off his adversary.



The game of hide-and-seek--to change the figure--was now in full
progress, and nothing more dramatic could be conceived of than the
relative positions of the two armies.

At midnight, on Monday, October 12th, Lee's army was near Warrenton
Springs, ready to advance in the morning upon Warrenton, while three
of the four corps under General Meade were half-way between the
Rappahannock and Culpepper Court-House, expecting battle there. Thus a
choice of two courses was presented to the Federal commander: to order
back his main force, and rapidly retreat toward Manassas, or move the
Fourth Corps to support it, and place his whole army directly in Lee's
rear. The occasion demanded instant decision. Every hour now counted.
But, unfortunately for General Meade, he was still in the dark as to
the actual amount of Lee's force in Culpepper. The movement toward
Warrenton might be a mere _ruse_. The great master of the art of war
to whom he was opposed might have laid this trap for him--have counted
upon his falling into the snare--and, while a portion of the Southern
force was engaged in Culpepper, might design an attack with the rest
upon the Federal right flank or rear. In fact, the situation of
affairs was so anomalous and puzzling that Lee might design almost any
thing, and succeed in crushing his adversary.

The real state of the case was, that Lee designed nothing of this
description, having had no intimation whatever of General Meade's new
movement back toward Culpepper. He was advancing toward Warrenton,
under the impression that his adversary was retreating, and aimed to
come up with him somewhere near that place and bring him to battle.
Upon this theory his opponent now acted by promptly ordering back his
three corps to the north bank of the Rappahannock. They began to march
soon after midnight; recrossed the river near the railroad; and on
the morning of the 13th hastened forward by rapid marches to pass the
dangerous point near Warrenton, toward which Lee was also moving with
his infantry.

In this race every advantage seemed to be on the side of Lee. The
three Federal corps had fully twice as far to march as the Southern
forces. Lee was concentrating near Warrenton, while they were far in
the rear; and, if the Confederates moved with only half the rapidity
of their adversaries, they were certain to intercept them, and compel
them either to surrender or cut their way through.

These comments--tedious, perhaps--are necessary to the comprehension
of the singular "situation." We proceed now with the narrative. Stuart
had pushed on past Warrenton with his cavalry, toward the Orange
Railroad, when, on the night of the 13th, he met with one of those
adventures which were thickly strewed throughout his romantic career.
He was near Auburn, just at nightfall, when, as his rear-guard closed
up, information reached him from that quarter that the Federal
army was passing directly in his rear. Nearly at the same moment
intelligence arrived that another column of the enemy, consisting,
like the first, of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, was moving across
his front.

Stuart was now in an actual trap, and his situation was perilous in
the extreme. He was enclosed between two moving walls of enemies, and,
if discovered, his fate seemed sealed. But one course was left him: to
preserve, if possible, complete silence in his command; to lie _perdu_
in the wood, and await the occurrence of some fortunate event to
extricate him from his highly-embarrassing situation. He accordingly
issued stringent orders to the men that no noise of any description
should be made, and not a word be uttered; and there was little
necessity to repeat this command. The troopers remained silent and
motionless in the saddle throughout the night, ready at any instant
to move at the order; and thus passed the long hours of darkness--the
Southern horsemen as silent as phantoms; the Federal columns
passing rapidly, with the roll of artillery-wheels, the tramp of
cavalry-horses, and the shuffling sound of feet, on both sides of the
command--the column moving in rear of Stuart being distant but two or
three hundred yards.

This romantic incident was destined to terminate fortunately for
Stuart, who, having dispatched scouts to steal through the Federal
column, and announce his situation to General Lee, prepared to seize
upon the first opportunity to release his command from its imminent
peril. The opportunity came at dawn. The Federal rear, under General
Caldwell, had bivouacked near, and had just kindled fires to cook
their breakfast, when, from the valley beneath the hill on which
the troops had halted, Stuart opened suddenly upon them with his
Horse-Artillery, and, as he says in his report, knocked over
coffee-pots and other utensils at the moment when the men least
expected it. He then advanced his sharp-shooters and directed a rapid
fire upon the disordered troops; and, under cover of this fire,
wheeled to the left and emerged safely toward Warrenton. The army
greeted him with cheers, and he was himself in the highest spirits.
He had certainly good reason for this joy, for he had just grazed

As Stuart's artillery opened, the sound was taken up toward Warrenton,
where Ewell, in obedience to Lee's orders, had attacked the Federal
column. Nothing resulted, however, from this assault: General Meade
had concentrated his army, and was hastening toward Manassas. All now
depended again upon the celerity of Lee's movements in pursuit. He had
lost many hours at Warrenton, where "another halt was made," he says,
"to supply the troops with provisions." Thus, on the morning of the
14th he was as far from intercepting General Meade as before; and all
now depended upon the movements of Hill, who, while Ewell moved toward
Greenwich, had been sent by way of New Baltimore to come in on the
Federal line of retreat at Bristoe Station, near Manassas. In spite,
however, of his excellent soldiership and habitual promptness, Hill
did not arrive in time. He made the détour prescribed by Lee, passed
New Baltimore, and hastened on toward Bristoe, where, on approaching
that point, he found only the rear-guard of the Federal army--the
whole force, with this exception, having crossed Broad Run, and
hastened on toward Manassas. Hill's arrival had thus been tardy: it
would have been fortunate for him if he had not arrived at all. Seeing
the Federal column under General Warren hastening along the railroad
to pass Broad Run, he ordered a prompt attack, and Cooke's brigade led
the charge. The result was unfortunate for the Confederates. General
Warren, seeing his peril, had promptly disposed his line behind the
railroad embankment at the spot, where, protected by this impromptu
breastwork, the men rested their guns upon the iron rails and poured a
destructive fire upon the Southerners rushing down the open slope in
front. By this fire General Cooke was severely wounded and fell, and
his brigade lost a considerable part of its numbers. Before a new
attack could be made, General Warren hastily withdrew, carrying
off with him in triumph a number of prisoners, and five pieces of
artillery, captured on the banks of the run. Before his retreat could
be again interrupted, he was safe on the opposite side of the stream,
and lost no time in hurrying forward to join the main body, which was
retreating on Centreville.

General Meade had thus completely foiled his adversary. Lee had set
out with the intention of bringing the Federal commander to battle;
had not succeeded in doing so, owing to the rapidity of his retreat;
had come up only with his rear-guard, under circumstances which seemed
to seal the fate of that detached force, and the small rear-guard had
repulsed him completely, capturing prisoners and artillery from him,
and retiring in triumph. Such had been the issue of the campaign; all
the success had been on the side of General Meade. He is said to have
declared that "it was like pulling out his eye-teeth not to have had a
fight;" but something resembling _bona-fide_ fighting had occurred on
the banks of Broad Run, and the victory was clearly on the side of the
Federal troops.

To turn to General Lee, it would be an interesting question to discuss
whether he really desired to _intercept_ General Meade, if there
were any data upon which to base a decision. The writer hazards the
observation that it seems doubtful whether this was Lee's intention.
He had a high opinion of General Meade, and is said to have declared
of that commander, that he "gave him" (Lee) "as much trouble as any of
them." Lee was thus opposed to a soldier whose ability he respected,
and it appears doubtful whether he desired to move so rapidly as to
expose his own communications to interruption by his adversary. This
view seems to derive support from the apparently unnecessary delays
at Culpepper Court-House and Warrenton. There was certainly no good
reason why, under ordinary circumstances, an army so accustomed to
rapid marches as the Army of Northern Virginia should not have been
able to reach Warrenton from the neighborhood of Culpepper Court-House
in less than _four days._ "We were _compelled_ to halt," Lee writes
of the delay at Culpepper; but of that at Warrenton he simply says,
"Another halt was made." Whether these views have, or have not
foundation, the reader must judge. We shall aim, in a few pages, to
conclude our account of this interesting campaign.



Lee rode forward to the field upon which General Hill had sustained
his bloody repulse, and Hill--depressed and mortified at the
mishap--endeavored to explain the _contretemps_ and vindicate himself
from censure. Lee is said to have listened in silence, as they rode
among the dead bodies, and to have at length replied, gravely and
sadly: "Well, well, general, bury these poor men, and let us say no
more about it."

He had issued orders that the troops should cease the pursuit, and
riding on the next morning, with General Stuart, to the summit of a
hill overlooking Broad Run, dismounted, and held a brief conversation
with the commander of his cavalry, looking intently, as he spoke, in
the direction of Manassas. His demeanor was that of a person who is
far from pleased with the course of events, and the word _glum_ best
describes his expression. The safe retreat of General Meade, with the
heavy blow struck by him in retiring, was indeed enough to account for
this ill-humor. The campaign was altogether a failure, since General
Meade's position at Centreville was unassailable; and, if he were only
driven therefrom, he had but to retire to the defences at Washington.
Lee accordingly gave Stuart directions to follow up the enemy in the
direction of Centreville, and, ordering the Orange and Alexandria
Railroad to be torn up back to the Rappahannock, put his infantry in
motion, and marched back toward Culpepper.

We shall now briefly follow the movements of the cavalry. Stuart
advanced to Manassas, following up the Federal rear, and hastening
their retreat across Bull Run beyond. He then left Fitz Lee's division
near Manassas in the Federal front, and moving, with Hampton's
division, to the left toward Groveton, passed the Little Catharpin,
proceeded thence through the beautiful autumn forest toward Frying
Pan, and there found and attacked, with his command dismounted and
acting as sharp-shooters, the Second Corps of the Federal army. This
sudden appearance of Southern troops on the flank of Centreville, is
said to have caused great excitement there, as it was not known that
the force was not General Lee's army. The fact was soon apparent,
however, that it was merely a cavalry attack. The Federal infantry
advanced, whereupon Stuart retired; and the adventurous Southern
horsemen moved back in the direction of Warrenton.

They were not to rejoin Lee's army, however, before a final conflict
with the Federal cavalry; and the circumstances of this conflict
were as dramatic and picturesque as the _ruse de guerre_ of Young in
Culpepper, and the midnight adventure of Stuart near Auburn. The bold
assault on the Second Corps seemed to have excited the ire of the
Federal commander, and he promptly sent forward a considerable body
of his cavalry, under General Kilpatrick, to pursue Stuart, and if
possible come up with and defeat him.

Stuart was near the village of Buckland, on the road to Warrenton,
when intelligence of the approach of the Federal cavalry reached him.
The movement which followed was suggested by General Fitz Lee. He
proposed that Stuart should retire toward Warrenton with Hampton's
division, while he, with his own division, remained on the enemy's
left flank. Then, at a given signal, Stuart was to face about; he,
General Fitz Lee, would attack them in flank; when their rout would
probably ensue. This plan was carried out to the letter. General
Kilpatrick, who seems to have been confident of his ability to drive
Stuart before him, pressed forward on the Warrenton road, closely
following up his adversary, when the sudden boom of artillery from
General Fitz Lee gave the signal. Stuart wheeled at the signal, and
made a headlong charge upon his pursuers. Fitz Lee came in at the same
moment and attacked them in flank; and the result was that General
Kilpatrick's entire command was routed, and retreated in confusion,
Stuart pursuing, as he wrote, "from within three miles of Warrenton to
Buckland, the horses at full speed the whole distance." So terminated
an incident afterward known among the troopers of Stuart by the jocose
title of "The Buckland Races," and the Southern cavalry retired
without further molestation behind the Rappahannock.

The coöperation of General Imboden in the campaign should not be
passed over. That officer, whose special duty had been to guard the
gaps in the Blue Ridge, advanced from Berryville to Charlestown,
attacked the Federal garrison at the latter place, drove them in
disorder toward Harper's Ferry, and carried back with him four or five
hundred prisoners. The enemy followed him closely, and he was forced
to fight them off at every step. He succeeded, however, in returning
in safety, having performed more than the duty expected of him.

Lee was now behind the Rappahannock, and it remained to be seen what
course General Meade would pursue--whether he would remain near
Centreville, or strive to regain his lost ground.

All doubt was soon terminated by the approach of the Federal army,
which, marching from Centreville on October 19th, and repairing the
railroad as it advanced, reached the Rappahannock on the 7th of
November. Lee's army at this time was in camp toward Culpepper
Court-House, with advanced forces in front of Kelly's Ford and the
railroad bridge. General Meade acted with vigor. On his arrival he
promptly sent a force across at Kelly's Ford; the Southern troops
occupying the rifle-pits there were driven off, with the loss of many
prisoners; and an attack near the railroad bridge had still more
unfortunate results for General Lee. A portion of Early's division had
been posted in the abandoned Federal works, on the north bank at this
point, and these were now attacked, and, after a fierce resistance,
completely routed. Nearly the whole command was captured--the remnant
barely escaping--and, the way having thus been cleared, General Meade
threw his army across into Culpepper.

General Lee retired before him with a heavy heart and a deep
melancholy, which, in spite of his great control over himself, was
visible in his countenance. The infantry-fighting of the campaign had
begun, and ended in disaster for him. In the thirty days he had lost
at least two thousand men, and was back again in his old camps, having
achieved absolutely nothing.



November of the bloody year 1863 had come; and it seemed not
unreasonable to anticipate that a twelvemonth, marked by such
incessant fighting at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Salem
Church, Winchester, Gettysburg, Front Royal, Bristoe, and along the
Rappahannock, would now terminate in peace, permitting the
combatants on both sides, worn out by their arduous work, to go into
winter-quarters, and recuperate their energies for the operations of
the ensuing spring.

But General Meade had otherwise determined. He had resolved to try
a last advance, in spite of the inclement weather; and Lee's
anticipations of a season of rest and refreshment for his troops,
undisturbed by hostile demonstrations on the part of the enemy, were
destined speedily to be disappointed. The Southern army had gone
regularly into winter-quarters, south of the Rapidan, and the men were
felicitating themselves upon the prospect of an uninterrupted season
of leisure and enjoyment in their rude cabins, built in sheltered
nooks, or under their breadths of canvas raised upon logs, and fitted
with rough but comfortable chimneys, built of notched pine-saplings,
when suddenly intelligence was brought by scouts that the Federal army
was in motion. The fact reversed all their hopes of rest, and song,
and laughter, by the good log-fires. The musket was taken from its
place on the rude walls, the cartridge-box assumed, and the army was
once more ready for battle--as gay, hopeful, and resolved, as in the
first days of spring.

General Meade had, indeed, resolved that the year should not end
without another blow at his adversary, and the brief campaign, known
as the "Advance to Mine Run," followed. It was the least favorable
of all seasons for active operations; but the Federal commander is
vindicated from the charge of bad soldiership by two circumstances
which very properly had great weight with him. The first was, the
extreme impatience of the Northern authorities and people at the small
results of the bloody fighting of the year. Gettysburg had seemed
to them a complete defeat of Lee, since he had retreated thereafter
without loss of time to Virginia; and yet three months afterward the
defeated commander had advanced upon and forced back his victorious
adversary. That such should be the result of the year's campaigning
seemed absurd to the North. A clamorous appeal was made to the
authorities to order another advance; and this general sentiment is
said to have been shared by General Meade, who had declared himself
bitterly disappointed at missing a battle with Lee in October. A
stronger argument in favor of active operations lay in the situation,
at the moment, of the Southern army. Lee, anticipating no further
fighting during the remainder of the year, opposed the enemy on the
Rapidan with only one of his two corps--that of Ewell; while the
other--that of Hill--was thrown back, in detached divisions, at
various points on the Orange and the Virginia Central Railroads, for
the purpose of subsistence during the winter. This fact, becoming
known to General Meade, dictated, it is said, his plan of operations.
An advance seemed to promise, from the position of the Southern
forces, a decisive success. Ewell's right extended no farther than
Morton's Ford, on the Rapidan, and thus the various fords down to
Chancellorsville were open. If General Meade could cross suddenly, and
by a rapid march interpose between Ewell and the scattered divisions
of Hill far in rear, it appeared not unreasonable to conclude that
Lee's army would be completely disrupted, and that the two corps, one
after another, might be crushed by the Federal army.

This plan, which is given on the authority of Northern writers,
exhibited good soldiership, and, if Lee were to be caught unawares,
promised to succeed. Without further comment we shall now proceed to
the narrative of this brief movement, which, indecisive as it was in
its results, was not uninteresting, and may prove as attractive to the
military student as other operations more imposing and accompanied by
bloodier fighting.

General Meade began to move toward the Rapidan on November 26th,
and every exertion was made by him to advance with such secrecy and
rapidity as to give him the advantage of a surprise. In this, however,
he was disappointed. No sooner had his orders been issued, and the
correspondent movements begun, than the accomplished scouts of Stuart
hurried across the Rapidan with the intelligence. Stuart, whose
headquarters were in a hollow of the hills near Orange, and not
far from General Lee's, promptly communicated in person to the
commander-in-chief this important information, and Lee dispatched
immediately an order to General A.P. Hill, in rear, to march at once
and form a junction with Ewell in the vicinity of Verdierville. The
latter officer was directed to retire from his advanced position upon
the Rapidan, which exposed him to an attack on his right flank and
rear, and to fall back and take post behind the small stream called
Mine Run.

In following with a critical eye the operations of General Lee, the
military student must be struck particularly by one circumstance, that
in all his movements he seemed to proceed less according to the nice
technicalities of the art of war, than in accordance with the dictates
of a broad and comprehensive good sense. It may be said that, in
choosing position, he always chose the right and never the wrong one;
and the choice of Mine Run now as a defensive line was a proof of
this. The run is a small water-course which, rising south of the great
highway between Orange and Chancellorsville, flows due northward amid
woods and between hills to the Rapidan, into which it empties itself a
few miles above Germanna, General Meade's main place of crossing. This
stream is the natural defence of the right flank of an army posted
between Orange and the Rapidan. It is also the natural and obvious
line upon which to receive the attack of a force marching from below
toward Gordonsville. Behind Mine Run, therefore, just east of the
little village of Verdierville, General Lee directed his two corps to
concentrate; and at the word, the men, lounging but now carelessly in
winter-quarters, sprung to arms, "fell in," and with burnished muskets
took up the line of march.

We have spoken of the promptness with which the movement was made, and
it may almost be said that General Meade had scarcely broken up his
camps north of the Rapidan, when Lee was in motion to go and meet him.
On the night of the 26th, Stuart, whose cavalry was posted opposite
the lower fords, pushed forward in person, and bivouacked under some
pines just below Verdierville; and before daylight General Lee was
also in the saddle, and at sunrise had reached the same point. The
night had been severely cold, for winter had set in in earnest; but
General Lee, always robust and careless of weather, walked down,
without wrapping, and wearing only his plain gray uniform, to Stuart's
_impromptu_ headquarters under the pines, where, beside a great fire,
and without other covering than his army-blanket, the commander of the
cavalry had slept since midnight.

As Lee approached, Stuart came forward, and Lee said, admiringly,
"What a hardy soldier!"

They consulted, Stuart walking back with General Lee, and receiving
his orders. He then promptly mounted, and hastened to the front,
where, taking command of his cavalry, he formed it in front of the
advancing enemy, and with artillery and dismounted sharp-shooters,
offered every possible impediment to their advance.

General Meade made the passage of the Rapidan without difficulty; and,
as his expedition was unencumbered with wagons, advanced rapidly. The
only serious obstruction to his march was made by Johnson's division
of Ewell's corps, which had been thrown out beyond the run, toward the
river. Upon this force the Federal Third Corps, under General French,
suddenly blundered, by taking the wrong road, it is said, and
an active engagement followed, which resulted in favor of the
Southerners. The verdict of Lee's troops afterward was, that the enemy
fought badly; but General French probably desired nothing better than
to shake off this hornets'-nest into which he had stumbled, and to
reach, in the time prescribed by General Meade, the point of Federal
concentration near Robertson's Tavern.

Toward that point the Northern forces now converged from the various
crossings of the river; and Stuart continued to reconnoitre and feel
them along the entire front, fighting obstinately, and falling back
only when compelled to do so. Every step was thus contested with
sharp-shooters and the Horse-Artillery, from far below to above
New-Hope Church. The Federal infantry, however, continued steadily to
press forward, forcing back the cavalry, and on the 27th General Meade
was in face of Mine Run.

Lee was ready. Hill had promptly marched, and his corps was coming
into position on the right of Ewell. Receiving intelligence of the
enemy's movement only upon the preceding day, Lee had seemed to move
the divisions of Hill, far back toward Charlottesville, as by the wave
of his hand. The army was concentrated; the line of defence occupied;
and General Meade's attempt to surprise his adversary, by interposing
between his widely-separated wings, had resulted in decisive failure.
If he fought now, the battle must be one of army against army; and,
what was worst of all, it was Lee who held all the advantages of

We have spoken of Mine Run: it is a strong defensive position, on its
right bank and on its left. Flowing generally between hills, and with
densely-wooded banks, it is difficult to cross from either side in
face of an opposing force; and it was Lee's good fortune to occupy the
attitude of the party to be assailed. He seemed to feel that he had
nothing to fear, and was in excellent spirits, as were the men; an
eye-witness describes them as "gay, lively, laughing, magnificent." In
front of his left wing he had already erected works; his centre and
right were as yet undefended, but the task of strengthening the line
at these points was rapidly prosecuted. Lee superintended in person
the establishment of his order of battle, and it was plain to those
who saw him thus engaged that the department of military engineering
was a favorite one with him. Riding along the western bank of the
water-course, a large part of which was densely clothed in oak,
chestnut, and hickory, he selected, with the quick eye of the trained
engineer, the best position for his line--promptly moved it when it
had been established on bad ground--pointed out the positions for
artillery; and, as he thus rode slowly along, the works which he had
directed seemed to spring up behind him as though by magic. As the
troops of Hill came up and halted in the wood, the men seized axes,
attacked the large trees, which soon fell in every direction, and the
heavy logs were dragged without loss of time to the prescribed line,
where they were piled upon each other in double walls, which were
filled in rapidly with earth; and thus, in an inconceivably short
space of time the men had defences breast-high which would turn a
cannon-shot. In front, for some distance, too, the timber had been
felled and an _abatis_ thus formed. A few hours after the arrival of
the troops on the line marked out by Lee, they were rooted behind
excellent breastworks, with forest, stream, and _abatis_ in front, to
delay the assailing force under the fire of small-arms and cannon.

This account of the movements of the army, and the preparations made
to receive General Meade's attack, may appear of undue length and
minuteness of detail, in view of the fact that no battle ensued. But
the volume before the reader is not so much a history of the battles
of Virginia, which have often been described, as an attempt to
delineate the military and personal character of General Lee, which
displayed itself often more strikingly in indecisive events than in
those whose results attract the attention of the world. It was the
vigorous brain, indeed, of the great soldier, that made events
indecisive--warding off, by military acumen and ability, the disaster
with which he was threatened. At Mine Run, Lee's quick eye for
position, and masterly handling of his forces, completely checkmated
an adversary who had advanced to deliver decisive battle. With felled
trees, breastworks, and a crawling stream, Lee reversed all the
calculations of the commander of the Federal army.

From the 27th of November to the night of the 1st of December, General
Meade moved to and fro in front of the formidable works of his
adversary, feeling them with skirmishers and artillery, and essaying
vainly to find some joint in the armor through which to pierce. There
was none. Lee had inaugurated that great system of breastworks which
afterward did him such good service in his long campaign with General
Grant. A feature of the military art unknown to Jomini had thus its
birth in the woods of America; and this fact, if there were naught
else of interest in the campaign, would communicate to the Mine-Run
affair the utmost interest.

General Meade, it seems, was bitterly opposed to foregoing an attack.
In spite of the powerful position of his adversary, he ordered an
assault, it is said; but this did not take place, in consequence,
it would appear, of the reluctance of General Warren to charge the
Confederate right. This seemed so strong that the men considered it
hopeless. When the order was communicated to them, each one wrote his
name on a scrap of paper and pinned it to his breast, that his corpse
might be recognized, and, if possible, conveyed to his friends. This
was ominous of failure: General Warren suspended the attack; and
General Meade, it is said, acquiesced in his decision. He declared, it
is related, that he could carry the position _with a loss of thirty
thousand men_; but, as that idea was frightful, there seemed nothing
to do but retreat.

Lee seemed to realize the embarrassment of his adversary, and was in
excellent heart throughout the whole affair. Riding to and fro along
his line among his "merry men"--and they had never appeared in finer
spirits, or with greater confidence in their commander--he addressed
encouraging words to them, exposed himself with entire indifference to
the shelling, and seemed perfectly confident of the result. It was on
this occasion that, finding a party of his ragged soldiers devoutly
kneeling in one of the little glades behind the breastworks, and
holding a praying-meeting in the midst of bursting shells, he
dismounted, took off his hat, and remained silently and devoutly
listening until the earnest prayer was concluded. A great revival was
then going on in the army, and thousands were becoming professors of
religion. The fact may seem strange to those who have regarded Lee
as only a West-Pointer and soldier, looking, like all soldiers, to
military success; but the religious enthusiasm of his men in this
autumn of 1863 probably gave him greater joy than any successes
achieved over his Federal adversary. Those who saw him on the lines at
Mine Run will remember the composed satisfaction of his countenance.
An eye-witness recalls his mild face, as he rode along, accompanied
by "Hill, in his drooping hat, simple and cordial; Early, laughing;
Ewell, pale and haggard, but with a smile _de bon coeur_" [Footnote:
Journal of a staff-officer.] He was thus attended, sitting his horse
upon a hill near the left of his line, when a staff officer rode up
and informed him that the enemy were making a heavy demonstration
against his extreme right.

"Infantry or cavalry?" he asked, with great calmness.

"Infantry, I think, general, from the appearance of the guns. General
Wilcox thinks so, and has sent a regiment of sharp-shooters to meet

"Who commands the regiment?" asked General Lee; and it was to
introduce this question that this trifle has been mentioned. Lee knew
his army man by man almost, and could judge of the probable result
of the movement here announced to him by the name of the officer in

Finding that General Meade would not probably venture to assail him.
Lee determined, on the night of December 1st, to attack his adversary
on the next morning. His mildness on this night yielded to soldierly
ardor, and he exclaimed:

"They must be attacked! they must be attacked!"

His plan is said to have contemplated a movement of his right wing
against the Federal left flank, for which the ground afforded great
advantages. All was ready for such a movement, and the orders are
said to have been issued, when, as the dawn broke over the hills, the
Federal camps were seen to be deserted. General Meade had abandoned
his campaign, and was in full retreat toward the Rapidan.

The army immediately moved in pursuit, with Lee leading the column.
The disappearance of the enemy was an astounding event to them, and
they could scarcely realize it. An entertaining illustration of this
fact is found in the journal of a staff-officer, who was sent with an
order to General Hampton. "In looking for him," says the writer, "I
got far to our right, and in a hollow of the woods found a grand
guard of the Eleventh Cavalry, with pickets and videttes out, gravely
sitting their horses, and watching the wood-roads for the advance
of an enemy who was then retreating across Ely's Ford!" Stuart was
pressing their rear with his cavalry, while the infantry were steadily
advancing. But the pursuit was vain. General Meade had disappeared
like a phantom, and was beyond pursuit, to the extreme regret and
disappointment of General Lee, who halted his troops, in great
discouragement, at Parker's Store.

"Tell General Stuart," he said, with an air of deep melancholy, to an
officer whom he saw passing, "that I had received his dispatch when
he turned into the Brock Road, and have halted my infantry here, not
wishing to march them unnecessarily."

Even at that early hour all chance of effective pursuit was lost.
General Meade, without wagons, and not even with the weight of the
rations brought over, which the men had consumed, had moved with the
rapidity of cavalry, and was already crossing the river far below. He
was afterward asked by a gentleman of Culpepper whether in crossing
the Rapidan he designed a real advance.

"Certainly," he is reported by the gentleman in question to have
replied, "I meant to go to Richmond if I could, but Lee's position was
so strong that to storm it would have cost me thirty thousand men. I
could not remain without a battle--the weather was so cold that my
sentinels froze to death on post."

The pursuit was speedily abandoned by General Lee as entirely
impracticable, and the men were marched back between the burning
woods, set on fire by the Federal campfires. The spectacle was
imposing--the numerous fires, burning outerward in the carpet of
thick leaves, formed picturesque rings of flame resembling brilliant
necklaces; and, as the flames reached the tall trees, wrapped to
the summit in dry vines, these would blaze aloft like gigantic
torches--true "torches of war"--let fall by the Federal commander in
his hasty retrograde.

Twenty-four hours afterward the larger part of General Lee's army
were back in their winter-quarters. In less than a week the Mine-Run
campaign had begun and ended. The movement of General Meade might have
been compared to that of the King of France and his forty thousand
men in the song; but the campaign was not ill devised, was rather
the dictate of sound military judgment. All that defeated it was the
extreme promptness of Lee, the excellent choice of position, and
the beginning of that great system of impromptu breastworks which
afterward became so powerful an engine against General Grant.



General Lee's headquarters remained, throughout the autumn and winter
of 1863, in a wood on the southern slope of the spur called Clarke's
Mountain, a few miles east of Orange Court-House.

Here his tents had been pitched, in a cleared space amid pines and
cedars; and the ingenuity of the "couriers," as messengers and
orderlies were called in the Southern army, had fashioned alleys and
walks leading to the various tents, the tent of the commanding general
occupying the centre. Of the gentlemen of General Lee's staff we have
not considered it necessary to speak; but it may here be said that it
was composed of officers of great efficiency and of the most courteous
manners, from Colonel Taylor, the indefatigable adjutant-general, to
the youngest and least prominent member of the friendly group. Among
these able assistants of the commander-in-chief were Colonel Marshall,
of Maryland, a gentleman of distinguished intellect; Colonel Peyton,
who had entered the battle of Manassas as a private in the ranks, but,
on the evening of that day, for courage and efficiency, occupied the
place of a commissioned officer on Beauregard's staff; and others
whose names were comparatively unknown to the army, but whose part in
the conduct of affairs, under direction of Lee, was most important.

With the gentlemen of his staff General Lee lived on terms of the most
kindly regard. He was a strict disciplinarian, and abhorred the theory
that a commissioned officer, from considerations of rank, should hold
himself above the private soldiers; but there was certainly no fault
of this description to be found at army headquarters, and the general
and his staff worked together in harmonious coöperation. The respect
felt for him by gentlemen who saw him at all hours, and under none of
the guise of ceremony, was probably greater than that experienced
by the community who looked upon him from a distance. That distant
perspective, hiding little weaknesses, and revealing only the great
proportions of a human being, is said to be essential generally to the
heroic sublime. No man, it has been said, can be great to those always
near him; but in the case of General Lee this was far from being the
fact. He seemed greater and nobler, day by day, as he was better and
more intimately known; and upon this point we shall quote the words of
the brave John B. Gordon, one of his most trusted lieutenants:

"It has been my fortune in life," says General Gordon, "from
circumstances, to have come in contact with some whom the world
pronounced great--some of the earth's celebrated and distinguished;
but I declare it here to-day, that of any mortal man whom it has ever
been my privilege to approach, he was the greatest; and I assert here,
that, _grand as might be your conception of the man before, he arose
in incomparable majesty on more familiar acquaintance_. This can be
affirmed of few men who have ever lived or died, and of no other man
whom it has ever been my fortune to approach. Like Niagara, the more
you gazed, the more its grandeur grew upon you, the more its majesty
expanded and filled your spirit with a full satisfaction that left a
perfect delight without the slightest feeling of oppression. Grandly
majestic and dignified in all his deportment, he was genial as the
sunlight of this beautiful day; and not a ray of that cordial social
intercourse but brought warmth to the heart as it did light to the

Upon this point, General Breckinridge, too, bears his testimony:
"During the last year of that unfortunate struggle," he says, "it was
my good fortune to spend a great deal of time with him. I was almost
constantly by his side, and it was during the two months immediately
preceding the fall of Richmond that I came to know and fully
understand the true nobility of his character. In all those long
vigils, he was considerate and kind, gentle, firm, and self-poised. I
can give no better idea of the impression it made upon me, than to
say it inspired me with an ardent love of the man and a profound
veneration of his character. It was so massive and noble, so grand in
its proportions, that all men must admire its heroism and gallantry,
yet so gentle and tender that a woman might adopt and claim it as her

We beg the reader to observe that in these two tributes to the worth
of the great soldier, his distinguished associates dwell with peculiar
emphasis upon the charms of private intercourse with him, and bear
their testimony to the fact that to know him better was to love and
admire him more and more. The fact is easily explained. There was in
this human being's character naught that was insincere, assumed, or
pretentious. It was a great and massive soul--as gentle, too, and
tender, as a woman's or a child's--that lay beneath the reserved
exterior, and made the soldier more beloved as its qualities
were better known. Other men reveal their weaknesses on nearer
acquaintance--Lee only revealed his greatness; and he was more and
more loved and admired.

The justice of these comments will be recognized by all who had
personal intercourse with the illustrious soldier; and, in this autumn
and winter of 1863, his army, lying around him along the Rapidan,
began to form that more intimate acquaintance which uniformly resulted
in profound admiration for the man. In the great campaigns of the two
past years the gray soldier had shared their hardships, and never
relaxed his fatherly care for all their wants; he had led them in
battle, exposing his own person with entire indifference; had never
exposed _them_ when it was possible to avoid it; and on every occasion
had demanded, often with disagreeable persistence from the civil
authorities, that the wants of his veterans should be supplied if all
else was neglected. These facts were now known to the troops, and
made Lee immensely popular. From the highest officers to the humblest
private soldiers he was universally respected and beloved. The whole
army seemed to feel that, in the plainly-clad soldier, sleeping, like
themselves, under canvas, in the woods of Orange, they had a guiding
and protecting head, ever studious of their well-being, jealous of
their hard-earned fame, and ready, both as friend and commander, to
represent them and claim their due.

We have spoken of the great revival of religion which at this time
took place in the army. The touching spectacle was presented of
bearded veterans, who had charged in a score of combats, kneeling
devoutly under the rustic roofs of evergreens, built for religious
gatherings, and praying to the God of battles who had so long
protected them. A commander-in-chief of the old European school might
have ridiculed these emotional assemblages, or, at best, passed them
without notice, as freaks in which he disdained to take part. Lee,
on the contrary, greeted the religious enthusiasm of his troops
with undisguised pleasure. He went among them, conversed with the
chaplains, assisted the good work by every means in his power; and
no ordained minister of the Gospel could have exhibited a simpler,
sincerer, or more heartfelt delight than himself at the general
extension of religious feeling throughout the army. We have related
how, in talking with army-chaplains, his cheeks flushed and his eyes
filled with tears at the good tidings. He begged them to pray for him
too, as no less needing their pious intercession; and in making the
request he was, as always, simple and sincere. Unaccustomed to exhibit
his feelings upon this, the profoundest and most sacred of subjects,
he was yet penetrated to his inmost soul by a sense of his own
weakness and dependence on divine support; and, indeed, it may be
questioned whether any other element of the great soldier's character
was so deep-seated and controlling as his spirit of love to God. It
took, in the eyes of the world, the form of a love of duty; but with
Lee the word duty was but another name for the will of the Almighty;
and to discover and perform this was, first and last, the sole aim of
his life.

We elaborate this point before passing to the last great campaign of
the war, since, to understand Lee in those last days, it is absolutely
necessary to keep in view this utter subjection of the man's heart to
the sense of an overruling Providence--that Providence which "shapes
our ends, rough-hew them how we will." We shall be called upon to
delineate the soldier meeting adverse circumstances and disaster at
every turn with an imperial calmness and a resolution that never
shook; and, up to a certain point, this noble composure may be
attributed to the stubborn courage of the man's nature. There came in
due time, however, a moment of trial when military courage simply
was of no avail--when that human being never lived, who, looking to
earthly support alone, would not have lost heart and given up the
contest. Lee did not, in this hour of conclusive trial, either lose
heart or give up the struggle; and the world, not understanding the
phenomenon, gazed at him with wonder. Few were aware of the true
explanation of his utter serenity when all things were crumbling
around him, and when he knew that they were crumbling. The stout heart
of the soldier who will not yield to fate was in his breast; but he
had a still stronger sentiment than manly courage to support him--the
consciousness that he was doing his duty, and that God watched over
him, and would make all things work together for good to those who
loved Him.

As yet that last great wrestle of the opposing armies lay in the
future. The veterans of the Army of Northern Virginia defended the
line of the Rapidan, and the gray commander-in-chief, in his tent
on Clarke's Mountain, serenely awaited the further movements of the
enemy. During the long months of winter he was busily engaged, as
usual, in official correspondence, in looking to the welfare of his
men, and in preparations for the coming campaign. He often rode among
the camps, and the familiar figure in the well-known hat, cape,
and gray uniform, mounted upon the powerful iron-gray--the famous
"Traveller," who survived to bear his master after the war--was
everywhere greeted by the ragged veterans with cheers and marks of the
highest respect and regard. At times his rides were extended to
the banks of the Rapidan, and, in passing, he would stop at the
headquarters of General Stuart, or other officers. On these occasions
he had always some good-humored speech for all, not overlooking the
youngest officer; but he shone in the most amiable light, perhaps, in
conversing with some old private soldier, gray-haired like himself.
At such moments the general's countenance was a pleasant spectacle. A
kindly smile lit up the clear eyes, and moved the lips half-concealed
by the grizzled mustache. The _bonhomie_ of this smile was
irresistible, and the aged private soldier, in his poor, tattered
fighting-jacket, was made to feel by it that his commander-in-chief
regarded him as a friend and comrade.

We dwell at too great length, perhaps, upon these slight personal
traits of the soldier, but all relating to such a human being is
interesting, and worthy of record. To the writer, indeed, this is the
most attractive phase of his subject. The analysis and description of
campaigns and battles is an unattractive task to him; but the personal
delineation of a good and great man, even in his lesser and more
familiar traits, is a pleasing relief--a portion of his subject upon
which he delights to linger. What the writer here tries to draw, he
looked upon with his own eyes, the figure of a great, calm soldier,
with kindly sweetness and dignity, but, above all, a charming
sincerity and simplicity in every movement, accent, and expression.
Entirely free from the trappings of high command, and with nothing to
distinguish him from any other soldier save the well-worn stars on the
collar of his uniform-coat, the commander-in-chief was recognizable at
the very first glance, and no less the simple and kindly gentleman.
His old soldiers remember him as he appeared on many battle-fields,
and will describe his martial seat in the saddle as he advanced with
the advancing lines. But they will speak of him with even greater
pleasure as he appeared in the winters of 1862 and 1863, on the
Rappahannock and the Rapidan--a gray and simple soldier, riding among
them and smiling kindly as his eyes fell upon their tattered uniforms
and familiar faces.





In the first days of May, 1864, began the immense campaign which was
to terminate only with the fall of the Confederacy.

For this, which was regarded as the decisive trial of strength, the
Federal authorities had made elaborate preparations. New levies were
raised by draft to fill up the ranks of the depleted forces; great
masses of war material were accumulated at the central depots at
Washington, and the Government summoned from the West an officer of
high reputation to conduct hostilities on what was more plainly than
ever before seen to be the theatre of decisive conflict--Virginia. The
officer in question was General Ulysses S. Grant, who had received the
repute of eminent military ability by his operations in the West;
he was now commissioned lieutenant-general, and President Lincoln
assigned him to the command of "all the armies of the United States,"
at that time estimated to number one million men.

General Grant promptly accepted the trust confided to him, and,
relinquishing to Major-General Sherman the command of the Western
forces, proceeded to Culpepper and assumed personal command of the
Army of the Potomac, although nominally that army remained under
command of General Meade. The spring campaign was preceded, in
February, by two movements of the Federal forces: one the advance of
General B.F. Butler up the Peninsula to the Chickahominy, where for a
few hours he threatened Richmond, only to retire hastily when opposed
by a few local troops; the other the expedition of General Kilpatrick
with a body of cavalry, from the Rapidan toward Richmond, with the
view of releasing the Federal prisoners there. This failed completely,
like the expedition up the Peninsula. General Kilpatrick, after
threatening the city, rapidly retreated, and a portion of his command,
under Colonel Dahlgren, was pursued, and a large portion killed,
including their commander. It is to be hoped, for the honor of human
nature, that Colonel Dahlgren's designs were different from those
which are attributed to him on what seems unassailable proof. Papers
found upon his body contained minute directions for releasing the
prisoners and giving up the city to them, and for putting to death the
Confederate President and his Cabinet.

To return to the more important events on the Rapidan. General Grant
assumed the direction of the Army of the Potomac under most favorable
auspices. Other commanders--especially General McClellan--had labored
under painful disadvantages, from the absence of coöperation and good
feeling on the part of the authorities. The new leader entered upon
the great struggle under very different circumstances. Personally and
politically acceptable to the Government, he received their hearty
coöperation: all power was placed in his hands; he was enabled to
concentrate in Virginia the best troops, in large numbers; and the
character of this force seemed to promise him assured victory. General
McClellan and others had commanded troops comparatively raw, and
were opposed by Confederate armies in the full flush of anticipated
success. General Grant had now under him an army of veterans, and the
enemy he was opposed to had, month by month, lost strength. Under
these circumstances it seemed that he ought to succeed in crushing his

The Federal army present and ready for duty May 1, 1864, numbered one
hundred and forty-one thousand one hundred and sixty-six men. That of
General Lee numbered fifty-two thousand six hundred and twenty-six.
Colonel Taylor, adjutant-general of the Army, states the strictly
effective at a little less, viz.:

  Ewell                       13,000
  Hill                        17,000
  Longstreet                  10,000

  Infantry                    40,000
  Cavalry and artillery       10,000

  Total                       50,000

The two statements do not materially differ, and require no
discussion. The force at Lee's command was a little over one-third
of General Grant's; and, if it be true that the latter commander
continued to receive reënforcements between the 1st and 4th days of
May, when he crossed the Rapidan, Lee's force was probably less than
one-third of his adversary's.

Longstreet, it will be seen, had been brought back from the West, but
the Confederates labored under an even more serious disadvantage than
want of sufficient force. Lee's army, small as it was, was wretchedly
supplied. Half the men were in rags, and, worse still, were but
one-fourth fed. Against this suicidal policy, in reference to an army
upon which depended the fate of the South, General Lee had protested
in vain. Whether from fault in the authorities or from circumstances
over which they could exercise no control, adequate supplies of food
did not reach the army; and, when it marched to meet the enemy, in the
first days of May, the men were gaunt, half-fed, and in no condition
to enter upon so arduous a campaign. There was naught to be done,
however, but to fight on to the end. Upon the Army of Northern
Virginia, depleted by casualties, and unprovided with the commonest
necessaries, depended the fate of the struggle. Generals Grant and Lee
fully realized that fact; and the Federal commander had the acumen to
perceive that the conflict was to be long and determined. He indulged
no anticipations of an early or easy success. His plan, as stated in
his official report, was "to _hammer continuously_ against the armed
force of the enemy and his resources, until _by mere attrition_, if
by nothing else, there should be nothing left of him but an equal
submission with the loyal section of our common country to the
Constitution and the laws." The frightful cost in blood of this policy
of hammering continuously and thus wearing away his adversary's
strength by mere attrition, did or did not occur to General Grant. In
either case he is not justly to be blamed.

It was the only policy which promised to result in Federal success.
Pitched battles had been tried for nearly three years, and in victory
or in defeat the Southern army seemed equally unshaken and dangerous.
This fact was now felt and acknowledged even by its enemies. "Lee's
army," said a Northern writer, referring to it at this time, "is an
army of veterans: it is an instrument sharpened to a perfect edge. You
turn its flanks--well, its flanks are made to be turned. This effects
little or nothing. All that we reckon as gained, therefore, is the
loss of life inflicted on the enemy." With an army thus trained in
many combats, and hardened against misfortune, defeat in one or a
dozen battles decided nothing. General Grant seems to have
understood this, and to have resolutely adopted the programme of
"attrition"--coldly estimating that, even if he lost ten men to
General Lee's one, he could better endure that loss, and could afford
it, if thereby he "crushed the rebellion."

The military theory of the Federal commander having thus been set
forth in his own words, it remains to notice his programme for the
approaching campaign. He had hesitated between two plans--"one to
cross the Rapidan below Lee, moving by his right flank; the other
above, moving by his left." The last was abandoned, from the
difficulty of keeping open communication with any base of supplies,
and the latter adopted. General Grant determined to "fight Lee between
Culpepper and Richmond, if he would stand;" to advance straight upon
the city and invest it from the north and west, thereby cutting its
communications in three directions; and then, crossing the James River
above the city, form a junction with the left of Major-General Butler,
who, moving with about thirty thousand men from Fortress Monroe, at
the moment when the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan, was to
occupy City Point, advance thence up the south side of James River,
and reach a position where the two armies might thus unite.

It is proper to keep in view this programme of General Grant. Lee
completely reversed it by promptly moving in front of his adversary
at every step which he took in advance; and it will be seen that the
Federal commander was finally compelled to adopt a plan which does not
seem to have entered his mind, save as a _dernier ressort_, at the
beginning of the campaign.

On the morning of the 4th of May, General Grant commenced crossing the
Rapidan at Germanna and other fords above Chancellorsville, and by the
morning of the 5th his army was over. It appears from his report that
he had not anticipated so easy a passage of the stream, and greatly
felicitated himself upon effecting it so successfully. "This I
regarded," he says, "as a great success, and it removed from my mind
the most serious apprehension I had entertained, that of crossing
the river in the face of an active, large, well-appointed, and
ably-commanded army." Lee had made no movement to dispute the passage
of the stream, from the fact, perhaps, that his army was _not_ either
"large" or "well-appointed." He preferred to await the appearance of
his adversary, and direct an assault on the flank of his column as it
passed across his front. From a speech attributed to General Meade, it
would seem to have been the impression in the Federal army that Lee
designed falling back to a defensive position somewhere near the South
Anna. His movements were, however, very different. Instead of retiring
before General Grant in the direction of Richmond, he moved with his
three corps toward the Wilderness, to offer battle.

[Illustration: Routes of Lee & Grant, May and June 1864.]

The head of the column consisted of Ewell's corps, which had retained
its position on the Rapidan, forming the right of Lee's line. General
A.P. Hill, who had been stationed higher up, near Liberty Mills,
followed; and Longstreet, who lay near Gordonsville, brought up the
rear. These dispositions dictated, as will be seen, the positions of
the three commands in the ensuing struggle. Ewell advanced in front
down the Old Turnpike, that one of the two great highways here running
east and west which is nearest the Rapidan; Hill came on over the
Orange Plank-road, a little south of the turnpike, and thus formed
on Ewell's right; and Longstreet, following, came in on the right of

General Grant had plunged with his army into the dense and melancholy
thicket which had been the scene of General Hooker's discomfiture. His
army, followed by its great train of four thousand wagons, indicating
the important nature of the movement, had reached Wilderness Tavern
and that Brock Road over which Jackson advanced in his secret
flank-march against the Federal right in May, 1863. In May of 1864,
now, another Federal army had penetrated, the sombre and depressing
shadows of the interminable thickets of the Wilderness, and a more
determined struggle than the first was to mark with its bloody hand
this historic territory.



To understand the singular combat which now ensued, it is necessary to
keep in view the fact that nothing more surprised General Grant than
the sudden appearance of his adversary face to face with him in the

It had not been supposed, either by the lieutenant-general or his
corps-commanders, that Lee, with his small army, would have recourse
to a proceeding so audacious. It was anticipated, indeed, that,
somewhere on the road to Richmond, Lee would make a stand and fight,
in a carefully-selected position which would enable him to risk
collision with his great adversary; but that Lee himself would bring
on this collision by making an open attack, unassisted by position
of any sort, was the last thing which seems to have occurred to his

Such, however, as has been said, was the design, from the first, of
the Southern commander, and he moved with his accustomed celerity
and energy. As soon as General Grant broke up his camps north of the
Rapidan, Lee was apprised of the fact, and ordered his three corps
to concentrate in the direction of Chancellorsville. Those who were
present in the Southern army at this time will bear record to the
soldierly promptness of officers and men. On the evening of the 3d of
May the camps were the scenes of noise, merriment, and parade: the
bands played; the woods were alive; nothing disturbed the scene of
general enjoyment of winter-quarters. On the morning of the 4th all
this was changed. The camps were deserted; no sound was anywhere
heard; the troops were twenty miles away, fully armed and ready for
battle. General Lee was in the saddle, and his presence seemed to push
forward his column. Ewell, marching with celerity, bivouacked
that night directly in face of the enemy; and it was the
suddenly-discovered presence of the troops of this commander which
arrested General Grant, advancing steadily in the direction of
Spottsylvania Court-House.

He must have inwardly chafed at a circumstance so unexpected and
embarrassing. It had been no part of his plan to fight in the thickets
of the Wilderness, and yet an adversary of but one-third his own
strength was about to reverse his whole programme, and dictate the
terms of the first battles of the campaign. There was nothing to do,
however, but to fight, and General Grant hastened to form order of
battle for that purpose, with General Sedgwick commanding his right,
Generals Warren and Burnside his centre, and General Hancock his left,
near the Brock Road. The line thus formed extended from northwest to
southeast, and, as the right wing was in advance with respect to Lee,
that circumstance occasioned the first collision.

This occurred about mid-day on the 5th of May, and was brought on by
General Warren, who attacked the head of Swell's column, on the Old
Turnpike. An obstinate engagement ensued, and the division which
received the assault was forced back. It quickly, however, reformed,
and being reënforced advanced in turn against General Warren, and,
after a hard fight, he was driven back with a loss of three thousand
men and two pieces of artillery.

This first collision of the armies on the Confederate left was
followed almost immediately by a bloody struggle on the centre. This
was held by A.P. Hill, who had marched down the Plank-road, and was
near the important point of junction of that road with the Brock Road,
when he was suddenly attacked by the enemy. The struggle which ensued
was long and determined. General Lee wrote: "The assaults were
repeated and desperate, but every one was repulsed." When night fell,
Hill had not been driven back, but had not advanced; and the two
armies rested on their arms, awaiting the return of light to continue
the battle.



The morning of the 6th of May came, and, with the first light of dawn,
the adversaries, as by a common understanding, advanced at the same
moment to attack each other.

The battle which followed is wellnigh indescribable, and may be said,
in general terms, to have been naught but the blind and desperate
clutch of two great bodies of men, who could scarcely see each other
when they were but a few feet apart, and who fired at random, rather
by sound than sight. A Southern writer, describing the country and
the strange combat, says: "The country was sombre--a land of thicket,
undergrowth, jungle, ooze, where men could not see each other twenty
yards off, and assaults had to be made by the compass. The fights
there were not even as easy as night attacks in open country, for
at night you can travel by the stars. Death came unseen; regiments
stumbled on each other, and sent swift destruction into each other's
ranks, guided by the crackling of the bushes. It was not war--military
manoeuvring: science had as little to do with it as sight. Two wild
animals were hunting each other; when they heard each other's steps,
they sprung and grappled. The conqueror advanced, or went elsewhere.
The dead were lost from all eyes in the thicket. The curious spectacle
was here presented of officers advancing to the charge, in the jungle,
_compass in hand_, attacking, not by sight, but by the bearing of the
needle. In this mournful and desolate thicket did the great campaign
of 1864 begin. Here, in blind wrestle as at midnight, did two hundred
thousand men in blue and gray clutch each other--bloodiest and
weirdest of encounters. War had had nothing like it. The genius of
destruction, tired apparently of the old commonplace killing, had
invented the 'unseen death.' At five in the morning, the opponents
closed in, breast to breast, in the thicket. Each had thrown up here
and there slight, temporary breastworks of saplings and dirt; beyond
this, they were unprotected. The question now was, which would succeed
in driving his adversary from these defences, almost within a few
yards of each other, and from behind which crackled the musketry.
Never was sight more curious. On the low line of these works, dimly
seen in the thicket, rested the muzzles spouting flame; from the
depths rose cheers; charges were made and repulsed, the lines scarcely
seeing each other; men fell and writhed, and died unseen--their
bodies lost in the bushes, their death-groans drowned in the steady,
continuous, never-ceasing crash."

These sentences convey a not incorrect idea of the general character
of this remarkable engagement, which had no precedent in the war. We
shall now proceed to speak of General Lee's plans and objects, and to
indicate where they failed or succeeded. The commanders of both armies
labored under great embarrassments. General Grant's was the singular
character of the country, with which he was wholly unacquainted; and
General Lee's, the delay in the arrival of Longstreet. Owing to the
distance of the camps of the last-named officer, he had not, at dawn,
reached the field of battle. As his presence was indispensable to a
general assault, this delay in his appearance threatened to result in
unfortunate consequences, as it was nearly certain that General Grant
would make an early and resolute attack. Under these circumstances,
Lee resolved to commence the action, and did so, counting, doubtless,
on his ability, with the thirty thousand men at his command, to at
least maintain his ground. His plan seems to have been to make a heavy
demonstration against the Federal right, and, when Longstreet arrived,
throw the weight of his whole centre and right against the Federal
left, with the view of seizing the Brock Road, running southward,
and forcing back the enemy's left wing into the thickets around
Chancellorsville. This brilliant conception, which, if carried out,
would have arrested General Grant in the beginning of his campaign,
was very near meeting with success. The attack on the Federal right,
under General Sedgwick, commenced at dawn, and the fighting on both
sides was obstinate. It continued with indecisive results throughout
the morning, gradually involving the Federal centre; but, nearly
at the moment when it began, a still more obstinate conflict was
inaugurated between General Hancock, holding the Federal left, and
Hill, who opposed him on the Plank-road. The battle raged in this
quarter with great fury for some time, but, attacked in front and
flank at once by his able opponent, Hill was forced back steadily, and
at last, in some disorder, a considerable distance from the ground
which had witnessed the commencement of the action. At this point,
however, he was fortunately met by Longstreet. That commander rapidly
brought his troops into line, met the advancing enemy, attacked
them with great fury, and, after a bloody contest, in which General
Wadsworth was killed, drove them back to their original position on
the Brock Road.

It now seemed nearly certain that Lee's plan of seizing upon this
important highway would succeed. General Hancock had been forced back
with heavy loss, Longstreet was pressing on, and, as he afterward
said, he "thought he had another Bull Run on them," when a singular
casualty defeated all. General Longstreet, who had ridden in front of
his advancing line, turned to ride back, when he was mistaken by
his own men for a Federal cavalryman, fired upon, and disabled by
a musket-ball. This threw all into disorder, and the advance was
discontinued. General Lee, as soon as he was apprised of the accident,
hastened to take personal command of the corps, and, as soon as order
was restored, directed the line to press forward. The most bloody and
determined struggle of the day ensued. The thicket filled the valleys,
and, as at Chancellorsville, a new horror was added to the horror
of battle. A fire broke out in the thicket, and soon wrapped the
adversaries in flame and smoke. They fought on, however, amid the
crackling flames. Lee continued to press forward; the Federal
breastworks along a portion of their front were carried, and a part of
General Hancock's line was driven from the field. The struggle had,
however, been decisive of no important results, and, from the lateness
of the hour when it terminated, it could not be followed up. On the
left Lee had also met with marked but equally indecisive success.
General Gordon had attacked the Federal right, driven the force at
that point in disorder from their works, and but for the darkness this
success might have been followed up and turned into a complete defeat
of that wing of the enemy. It was only discovered on the next morning
what important successes Gordon had effected with a single brigade;
and there is reason to believe that with a larger force this able
soldier might have achieved results of a decisive character.[1]

[Footnote 1: General Early, in his "Memoir of the Last Year of the War
for Independence," bears his testimony to the important character of
the blow struck by General Gordon. He says: "At light, on the morning
of the 7th, an advance was made, which disclosed the fact that the
enemy had given up his line of works in front of my whole line and a
good portion of Johnson's. Between the lines a large number of his
dead had been left, and at his breastworks a large number of muskets
and knapsacks had been abandoned, and there was every indication of
great confusion. It was not till then that we understood the full
extent of the success attending the movement of the evening before."
General Gordon had proposed making the attack on the _morning_ of the
6th, but was overruled.]

Such had been the character and results of the first conflicts between
the two armies in the thickets of the Wilderness. As we have already
said, the collision there was neither expected nor desired by General
Grant, who, unlike General Hooker, in May of the preceding year, seems
fully to have understood the unfavorable nature of the region for
manoeuvring a large army. His adversary had, however, forced him to
accept battle, leaving him no choice, and the result of the actions of
the 5th and 6th had been such as to determine the Federal commander to
emerge as soon as possible from the tangled underwood which hampered
all his movements. On the 7th he accordingly made no movement to
attack Lee, and on the night of that day marched rapidly in the
direction of Hanover Junction, following the road by Todd's Tavern
toward Spottsylvania Court-House.

For this determination to avoid further fighting in the Wilderness,
General Grant gives a singular explanation. "On the morning of the
7th," he says, "reconnoissance showed that the enemy _had fallen
behind his intrenched lines_, with pickets to the front, covering a
part of the battle-field. From this it was evident that the two-days'
fighting had satisfied him of his inability to further maintain
the contest in the open field, _notwithstanding his advantage of
position_, and that he would wait an attack behind his works." The
"intrenched lines" and "advantage of position" of Lee, were both
imaginary. No lines of intrenchment had been made, and the ground was
not more favorable on General Lee's side than on General Grant's. Both
armies had erected impromptu breastworks of felled trees and earth,
as continued to be their habit throughout the campaign, and the flat
country gave no special advantage to either. The forward movement of
General Grant is susceptible of much easier explanation. The result of
the two-days' fighting had very far from pleased him; he desired
to avoid further conflict in so difficult a country, and, taking
advantage of the quiescence of Lee, and the hours of darkness, he
moved with his army toward the more open country.



Throughout the entire day succeeding this first great conflict,
General Lee remained quiet, watching for some movement of his
adversary. His success in the preliminary straggle had been
gratifying, considering the great disproportion of numbers, but he
indulged no expectation of a retrograde movement across the Rapidan,
on the part of General Grant. He expected him rather to advance, and
anxiously awaited some development of this intention. There were no
indications of such a design up to the night of the 7th, but at that
time, to use the words of a confidential member of Lee's staff, "he
all at once seemed to conceive the idea that his enemy was preparing
to forsake his position, and move toward Hanover Junction _via_ the
Spottsylvania Court-House, and, believing this, he at once detailed
Anderson's division with orders to proceed rapidly toward the

General Anderson commenced his march about nine o'clock at night, when
the Federal column was already upon its way. A race now began for
the coveted position, and General Stuart, with his dismounted
sharp-shooters behind improvised breastworks, harassed and impeded the
Federal advance, at every step, throughout the night. This greatly
delayed their march, and their head of column did not reach the
vicinity of Spottsylvania Court-House until past sunrise. General
Warren, leading the Federal advance, then hurried forward, followed
by General Hancock, when suddenly he found himself in front of
breastworks, and was received with a fire of musketry. Lee had
succeeded in interposing himself between General Grant and Richmond.

On the same evening the bulk of the two armies were facing each other
on the line of the Po.

By the rapidity of his movements General Lee had thus completely
defeated his adversary's design to seize on the important point,
Spottsylvania Court-House. General Grant, apparently conceiving some
explanation of this untoward event to be necessary, writes: "The
enemy, having become aware of our movement, and _having the shorter
line_, was enabled to reach there first." The statement that General
Lee had the shorter of the two lines to march over is a mistake. The
armies moved over parallel roads until beyond Todd's Tavern, after
which the distance to the south bank of the Po was greater by Lee's
route than General Grant's. The map will sufficiently indicate this.
Two other circumstances defeated General Grant's attempt to reach the
point first--the extreme rapidity of the march of the Confederate
advance force, and the excellent fighting of Stuart's dismounted men,
who harassed and delayed General Warren, leading the Federal advance
throughout the entire night.

An additional fact should be mentioned, bearing upon this point, and
upon General Lee's designs. "General Lee's orders to me," says General
Early, who, from the sickness of A.P. Hill, had been assigned to the
command of the corps, "were to _move by Todd's Tavern along the Brock
Road_, to Spottsylvania Court-House, as soon as our front was clear of
the enemy." From this order it would appear either that General Lee
regarded the Brock Road, over which General Grant moved, as the
"shorter line," or that he intended the movement of Early on the
enemy's rear to operate as a check upon them, while he went forward to
their front with his main body.

These comments may seem tedious to the general reader, but all that
illustrates the military designs, or defends the good soldiership of
Lee, is worthy of record.

We proceed now to the narrative. In the Wilderness General Grant had
found a dangerous enemy ready to strike at his flank. He now saw in
his front the same active and wary adversary, prepared to bar the
direct road to Richmond. General Lee had taken up his position on the
south bank of one of the four tributaries of the Mattapony. These four
streams are known as the Mat, Ta, Po, and Nye Rivers, and bear the
same relation to the main stream that the fingers of the open hand do
to the wrist. General Lee was behind the Po, which is next to the Nye,
the northernmost of these water-courses. Both were difficult to cross,
and their banks heavily wooded. It was now to be seen whether, either
by a front attack or a turning movement, General Grant could oust his
adversary, and whether General Lee would stand on the defensive or

All day, during the 9th, the two armies were constructing breastworks
along their entire fronts, and these works, from the Rapidan to the
banks of the Chickahominy, remain yet in existence. On the evening of
this day a Federal force was thrown across the Po, on the Confederate
left, but soon withdrawn; and on the 10th a similar movement took
place near the same point, which resulted in a brief but bloody
conflict, during which the woods took fire, and many of the assaulting
troops perished miserably in the flames. The force was then recalled,
and, during that night and the succeeding day, nothing of importance
occurred, although heavy skirmishing and an artillery-fire took place
along the lines.

On the morning of the 12th, at the first dawn of day, General Grant
made a more important and dangerous assault than any yet undertaken in
the campaign. This was directed at a salient on General Lee's right
centre, occupied by Johnson's division of Ewell's corps, and was one
of the bloodiest and most terrible incidents of the war. For this
assault General Grant is said to have selected his best troops. These
advanced in a heavy charging column, through the half darkness of
dawn, passed silently over the Confederate skirmishers, scarcely
firing a shot, and, just as the first streak of daylight touched the
eastern woods, burst upon the salient, which they stormed at the point
of the bayonet. In consequence of the suddenness of the assault and
the absence of artillery--against whose removal General Johnston is
stated to have protested, and which arrived too late--the Federal
forces carried all before them, and gained possession of the works, in
spite of a stubborn and bloody resistance.

Such was the excellent success of the Federal movement, and the
Southern line seemed to be hopelessly disrupted. Nearly the whole of
Johnson's division were taken prisoners--the number amounting to about
three thousand--and eighteen pieces of artillery fell into the hands
of the assaulting column.

The position of affairs was now exceedingly critical; and, unless
General Lee could reform his line at the point, it seemed that nothing
was left him but an abandonment of his whole position. The Federal
army had broken his line; was pouring into the opening; and, to
prevent him from concentrating at the point to regain possession of
the works, heavy attacks were begun by the enemy on his right and left
wings. It is probable that at no time during the war was the Southern
army in greater danger of a bloody and decisive disaster.

At this critical moment General Lee acted with the nerve and coolness
of a soldier whom no adverse event can shake. Those who saw him will
testify to the stern courage of his expression; the glance of the eye,
which indicated a great nature, aroused to the depth of its powerful
organization. Line of battle was promptly formed a short distance
in rear of the salient then in the enemy's possession, and a fierce
charge was made by the Southerners, under the eye of Lee, to regain
it. It was on this occasion that, on fire with the ardor of battle,
which so seldom mastered him, Lee went forward in front of his line,
and, taking his station beside the colors of one of his Virginian
regiments, took off his hat, and, turning to the men, pointed toward
the enemy. A storm of cheers greeted the general, as he sat his gray
war-horse, in front of the men--his head bare, his eyes flashing, and
his cheeks flushed with the fighting-blood of the soldier. General
Gordon, however, spurred to his side and seized his rein.

"General Lee!" he exclaimed, "this is no place for you. Go to the
rear. These are Virginians and Georgians, sir--men who have never
failed!--Men, you will not fail now!" he cried, rising in his stirrups
and addressing the troops.

"No, no!" was the reply of the men; and from the whole line burst the
shout, "Lee to the rear! Lee to the rear!"

Instead of being needed, it was obvious that his presence was an
embarrassment, as the men seemed determined not to charge unless he
retired. He accordingly did so, and the line advanced to the attack,
led by General Gordon and other officers of approved ability and
courage. The charge which followed was resolute, and the word
ferocious best describes the struggle which followed. It continued
throughout the entire day, Lee making not less than five distinct
assaults in heavy force to recover the works. The fight involved the
troops on both flanks, and was desperate and unyielding. The opposing
flags were at times within only a few yards of each other, and so
incessant and concentrated was the fire of musketry, that a tree of
about eighteen inches in diameter was cut down by bullets, and is
still preserved, it is said, in the city of Washington, as a memorial
of this bloody struggle.

[Illustration: The Wilderness. "Lee to the Rear"]

The fighting only ceased several hours after dark. Lee had not
regained his advanced line of works, but he was firmly rooted in an
interior and straighter line, from which the Federal troops had found
it impossible to dislodge him. This result of the stubborn action was
essentially a success, as General Grant's aim in the operation had
been to break asunder his adversary's army--in which he very nearly

At midnight all was again silent. The ground near the salient was
strewed with dead bodies. The loss of the three thousand men and
eighteen guns of Johnson had been followed by a bloody retaliation,
the Federal commander having lost more than eight thousand men.



After the bloody action of the 12th of May, General Grant remained
quiet for many days, "awaiting," he says, "the arrival of
reënforcements from Washington." The number of these fresh troops is
not known to the present writer. General Lee had no reinforcements to
expect, and continued to confront his adversary with his small army,
which must have been reduced by the heavy fighting to less than forty
thousand men, while that of General Grant numbered probably about one
hundred and forty thousand.

Finding that his opponent was not disposed to renew hostilities.
General Lee, on the 19th of May, sent General Ewell to turn his right
flank; but this movement resulted in nothing, save the discovery by
General Ewell that the Federal army was moving. This intelligence was
dispatched to General Lee on the evening of the 21st, and reached
him at Souther's House, on the banks of the Po, where he was calmly
reconnoitring the position of the enemy.

As soon as he read the note of General Ewell, he mounted his horse,
saying, in his grave voice, to his staff, "Come, gentlemen;" and
orders were sent to the army to prepare to move. The troops began
their march on the same night, in the direction of Hanover Junction,
which they reached on the evening of the 22d. When, on May 23d,
General Grant reached the banks of the North Anna, he found Lee
stationed on the south bank, ready to oppose his crossing.

The failure of General Grant to reach and seize upon the important
point of Hanover Junction before the arrival of Lee, decided the fate
of the plan of campaign originally devised by him. If the reader will
glance at the map of Virginia, this fact will become apparent. Hanover
Junction is the point where the Virginia Central and Richmond and
Fredericksburg Railroads cross each other, and is situated in the
angle of the North Anna and South Anna Rivers, which unite a short
distance below to form the Pamunkey. Once in possession of this point,
General Grant would have had easy communication with the excellent
base of supplies at Aquia Creek; would have cut the Virginia Central
Railroad; and a direct march southward would have enabled him to
invest Richmond from the north and northwest, in accordance with his
original plan. Lee had, however, reached the point first, and from
that moment, unless the Southern force were driven from its position,
the entire plan of campaign must necessarily be changed.

The great error of General Grant in this arduous campaign would seem
to have been the feebleness of the attack which he here made upon
Lee. The position of the Southern army was not formidable, and on
his arrival they had had no time to erect defences. The river is not
difficult of crossing, and the ground on the south bank gives
no decided advantage to a force occupying it. In spite of
these facts--which it is proper to say General Grant denies,
however--nothing was effected, and but little attempted. A few words
will sum up the operations of the armies during the two or three days.
Reaching the river, General Grant threw a column across some miles
up the stream, at a point known as Jericho Ford, where a brief but
obstinate encounter ensued between Generals Hill and Warren, and
this was followed by the capture of an old redoubt defending the
Chesterfield bridge, near the railroad crossing, opposite Lee's right,
which enabled another column to pass the stream at that point. These
two successful passages of the river on Lee's left and right seemed to
indicate a fixed intention on the part of his adversary to press both
the Southern flanks, and bring on a decisive engagement; and, to
coöperate in this plan, a third column was now thrown over opposite
Lee's centre.

These movements were, however, promptly met. Lee retired his two
wings, but struck suddenly with his centre at the force attempting to
cross there; and then active operations on both sides ceased. In spite
of having passed the river with the bulk of his army, and formed line
of battle, General Grant resolved not to attack. His explanation of
this is that Lee's position was found "stronger than either of his
previous ones."

Such was the result of the able disposition of the Southern force
at this important point. General Grant found his whole programme
reversed, and, on the night of the 26th, silently withdrew and
hastened down the north bank of the Pamunkey toward Hanovertown
preceded by the cavalry of General Sheridan.

That officer had been detached from the army as it approached
Spottsylvania Court-House, to make a rapid march toward Richmond,
and destroy the Confederate communications. In this he partially
succeeded, but, attempting to ride into Richmond, was repulsed
with considerable loss. The only important result, indeed, of the
expedition, was the death of General Stuart. This distinguished
commander of General Lee's cavalry had been directed to pursue General
Sheridan; had done so, with his customary promptness, and intercepted
his column near Richmond, at a spot known as the Yellow Tavern; and
here, in a stubborn engagement, in which Stuart strove to supply his
want of troops by the fury of his attack, the great chief of cavalry
was mortally wounded, and expired soon afterward. His fall was a
grievous blow to General Lee's heart, as well as to the Southern
cause. Endowed by nature with a courage which shrunk from nothing;
active, energetic, of immense physical stamina, which enabled him to
endure any amount of fatigue; devoted, heart and soul, to the cause
in which he fought, and looking up to the commander of the army with
childlike love and admiration, Stuart could be ill spared at this
critical moment, and General Lee was plunged into the deepest
melancholy at the intelligence of his death. When it reached him he
retired from those around him, and remained for some time communing
with his own heart and memory. When one of his staff entered, and
spoke of Stuart, General Lee said, in a low voice, "I can scarcely
think of him without weeping."

The command of the cavalry devolved upon General Hampton, and it
was fought throughout the succeeding campaign with the nerve and
efficiency of a great soldier; but Stuart had, as it were, formed and
moulded it with his own hands; he was the first great commander of
horse in the war; and it was hard for his successors, however great
their genius, to compete with his memory. His name will thus remain
that of the greatest and most prominent cavalry-officer of the war.

Crossing the Pamunkey at Hanovertown, after a rapid night-march,
General Grant sent out a force toward Hanover Court-House to cut off
Lee's retreat or discover his position. This resulted in nothing,
since General Lee had not moved in that direction. He had, as soon as
the movement of General Grant was discovered, put his lines in motion,
directed his march across the country on the direct route to Cold
Harbor, and, halting behind the Tottapotomoi, had formed his line
there, to check the progress of his adversary on the main road from
Hanovertown toward Richmond. For the third time, thus, General Grant
had found his adversary in his path; and no generalship, or rapidity
in the movement of his column, seemed sufficient to secure to him the
advantages of a surprise. On each occasion the march of the Federal
army had taken place in the night; from the Wilderness on the night of
May 7th; from Spottsylvania on the night of May 21st; and from near
the North Anna on the night of May 26th. Lee had imitated these
movements of his opponent, interposing on each occasion, at the
critical moment, in his path, and inviting battle. This last statement
may be regarded as too strongly expressed, as it seems the opinion of
Northern writers that Lee, in these movements, aimed only to maintain
a strict defensive, and, by means of breastworks, simply keep his
adversary at arm's length. This is an entire mistake. Confident of the
efficiency of his army, small as it was, he was always desirous to
bring on a decisive action, under favorable circumstances. General
Early bears his testimony to the truth of this statement. "I happen to
know," says this officer, "that General Lee had always the greatest
anxiety to strike at Grant in the open field." During the whole
movement from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, the Confederate commander
was in excellent spirits. When at Hanover Junction he spoke of the
situation almost jocosely, and said to the venerable Dr. Gwathmey,
speaking of General Grant, "If I can get one more pull at him, I will
defeat him."

This expression does not seem to indicate any depression or want of
confidence in his ability to meet General Grant in an open pitched
battle. It may, however, be asked why, if such were his desire, he did
not come out from behind his breastworks and fight. The reply is, that
General Grant invariably defended his lines by breastworks as powerful
as--in many cases much more powerful than--his adversary's. The
opposing mounds of earth and trees along the routes of the two armies
remain to prove the truth of what is here stated. At Cold Harbor,
especially, the Federal works are veritable forts. In face of them,
the theory that General Grant uniformly acted upon the offensive,
without fear of offensive operations in turn on the part of Lee,
will be found untenable. Nor is this statement made with the view of
representing General Grant as over-cautious, or of detracting from his
merit as a commander. It was, on the contrary, highly honorable to
him, that, opposed to an adversary of such ability, he should have
neglected nothing.

Reaching the Tottapotomoi, General Grant found his opponent in a
strong position behind that sluggish water-course, prepared to dispute
the road to Richmond; and it now became necessary to force the passage
in his front, or, by another flank march, move still farther to the
left, and endeavor to cross the Chickahominy somewhere in the vicinity
of Cold Harbor. This last operation was determined upon by General
Grant, and, sending his cavalry toward Cold Harbor, he moved rapidly
in the same direction with his infantry. This movement was discovered
at once by Lee; he sent Longstreet's corps forward, and, when the
Federal army arrived, the Southern forces were drawn up in their
front, between them and Richmond, thus barring, for the fourth time in
the campaign, the road to the capital.

During these movements, nearly continuous fighting had taken place
between the opposing columns, which clung to each other, as it were,
each shaping its march more or less by that of the other. At last they
had reached the ground upon which the obstinate struggle of June,
1862, had taken place, and it now became necessary for General Grant
either to form some new plan of campaign, or, by throwing his whole
army, in one great mass, against his adversary, break through all
obstacles, cross the Chickahominy, and seize upon Richmond. This was
now resolved upon.

Heavy fighting took place on June 2d, near Bethesda Church and at
other points, while the armies were coming into position; but this was
felt to be but the preface to the greater struggle which General Lee
now clearly divined. It came without loss of time. On the morning of
the 3d of June, soon after daylight, General Grant threw his whole
army straightforward against Lee's front--all along his line. The
conflict which followed was one of those bloody grapples, rather
than battles, which, discarding all manoeuvring or brain-work in the
commanders, depend for the result upon the brute strength of the
forces engaged. The action did not last half an hour, and, in that
time, the Federal loss was thirteen thousand men. When General Lee
sent a messenger to A.P. Hill, asking the result of the assault on
his part of the line, Hill took the officer with him in front of his
works, and, pointing to the dead bodies which were literally lying
upon each other, said: "Tell General Lee it is the same all along my

The Federal army had, indeed, sustained a blow so heavy, that even the
constant mind and fixed resolution of General Grant and the Federal
authorities seem to have been shaken. The war seemed hopeless to many
persons in the North after the frightful bloodshed of this thirty
minutes at Cold Harbor, of which fact there is sufficient proof. "So
gloomy," says a Northern historian,[1] "was the military outlook after
the action on the Chickahominy, and to such a degree, by consequence,
had the moral spring of the public mind become relaxed, that there was
at this time great danger of a collapse of the war. The history of
this conflict, truthfully written, will show this. The archives of the
State Department, when one day made public, will show how deeply the
Government was affected by the want of military success, and to what
resolutions the Executive had in consequence come. Had not success
elsewhere come to brighten the horizon, it would have been difficult
to have raised new forces to recruit the Army of the Potomac, which,
shaken in its structure, its valor quenched in blood, and thousands of
its ablest officers killed and wounded, was the Army of the Potomac no

[Footnote 1: Mr. Swinton, in his able and candid "Campaigns of the
Army of the Potomac."]

The campaign of one month--from May 4th to June 4th--had cost
the Federal commander sixty thousand men and three thousand
officers--numbers which are given on the authority of Federal
historians--while the loss of Lee did not exceed eighteen thousand.
The result would seem an unfavorable comment upon the choice of the
route across the country from Culpepper instead of that by the James.
General McClellan, two years before, had reached Cold Harbor with
trifling losses. To attain the same point had cost General Grant
a frightful number of lives. Nor could it be said that he had any
important successes to offset this loss. He had not defeated his
adversary in any of the battle-fields of the campaign; nor did it
seem that he had stricken him any serious blow. The Army of Northern
Virginia, not reënforced until it reached Hanover Junction, and then
only by about nine thousand men under Generals Breckinridge and
Pickett, had held its ground against the large force opposed to it;
had repulsed every assault; and, in a final trial of strength with a
force largely its superior, had inflicted upon the enemy, in about an
hour, a loss of thirteen thousand men.

These facts, highly honorable to Lee and his troops, are the plainest
and most compendious comment we can make upon the campaign. The whole
movement of General Grant across Virginia is, indeed, now conceded
even by his admirers to have been unfortunate. It failed to accomplish
the end expected from it--the investment of Richmond on the north and
west--and the lives of about sixty thousand men were, it would seem,
unnecessarily lost, to reach a position which might have been attained
with losses comparatively trifling, and without the unfortunate
prestige of defeat.



General Lee remained facing his adversary in his lines at Cold Harbor,
for many days after the bloody struggle of the 3d of June, confident
of his ability to repulse any new attack, and completely barring the
way to Richmond. The Federal campaign, it was now seen, was at an end
on that line, and it was obvious that General Grant must adopt some
other plan, in spite of his determination expressed in the beginning
of the campaign, to "fight it out on that line if it took all the
summer." The summer was but begun, and further fighting on that line
was hopeless. Under these circumstances the Federal commander resolved
to give up the attempt to assail Richmond from the north or east, and
by a rapid movement to Petersburg, seize upon that place, cut the
Confederate railroads leading southward, and thus compel an evacuation
of the capital.

[Illustration: Map of Petersburg and Environs.]

It would be interesting to inquire what the course of General Lee
would have been in the event of the success of this plan, and how the
war would have resulted. It would seem that, under such circumstances,
his only resource would have been to retire with his army in the
direction of Lynchburg, where his communications would have remained
open with the south and west. If driven from that point, the
fastnesses of the Alleghanies were at hand; and, contemplating
afterward the possibility of being forced to take refuge there, he
said: "With my army in the mountains of Virginia, I could carry on
this war for twenty years longer." That spectacle was lost to the
world--Lee and his army fighting from mountain fastness to mountain
fastness--and the annals of war are not illustrated by a chapter so
strange. That Lee was confident of his ability to carry on such a
struggle successfully is certain; and Washington had conceived the
same idea in the old Revolution, when he said that if he were driven
from the seaboard he would take refuge in West Augusta, and thereby
prolong the war interminably.

To return from these speculations to the narrative of events. General
Grant remained in front of Lee until the 12th of June, when, moving
again by his left flank, he crossed the Chickahominy, proceeded in
the direction of City Point, at which place the Appomattox and James
Rivers mingle their waters, and, crossing the James on pontoons,
hastened forward in order to seize upon Petersburg. This important
undertaking had been strangely neglected by Major-General Butler,
who, in obedience to General Grant's orders, had sailed from Fortress
Monroe on the 4th of May, reached Bermuda Hundred, the peninsula
opposite City Point, made by a remarkable bend in James River, and
proceeded to intrench himself. It was in his power on his arrival to
have seized upon Petersburg, but this he failed to do at that time,
and the appearance of a force under General Beauregard, from the
south, soon induced him to give his entire attention to his own
safety. An attack by Beauregard had been promptly made, which nearly
resulted in General Butler's destruction. He succeeded, however, in
retiring behind his works across the neck of the Peninsula, in which
he now found himself completely shut up; and so powerless was his
situation, with his large force of thirty thousand men, that General
Grant wrote, "His army was as completely shut off ... as if it had
been in a bottle strongly corked."

The attempt of General Grant to seize upon Petersburg by a surprise
failed. His forces were not able to reach the vicinity of the place
until the 15th, when they were bravely opposed behind impromptu works
by a body of local troops, who fought like regular soldiers, and
succeeded in holding the works until night ended the contest.

When morning came long lines were seen defiling into the breastworks,
and the familiar battle-flags of the Army of Northern Virginia rose
above the long line of bayonets giving assurance that the possession
of Petersburg would be obstinately disputed.

General Lee had moved with his accustomed celerity, and, as usual,
without that loss of time which results from doubt of an adversary's
intentions. If General Grant retired without another battle on the
Chickahominy, it was obvious to Lee that he must design one of two
things: either to advance upon Richmond from the direction of Charles
City, or attempt a campaign against the capital from the south of
James River. Lee seems at once to have satisfied himself that the
latter was the design. An inconsiderable force was sent to feel the
enemy near the White-Oak Swamp; he was encountered there in some
force, but, satisfied that this was a feint to mislead him, General
Lee proceeded to cross the James River above Drury's Bluff, near
"Wilton," and concentrate his army at Petersburg. On the 16th he was
in face of his adversary there. General Grant had adopted the plan of
campaign which Lee expected him to adopt. General McClellan had
not been permitted in 1862 to carry out the same plan; it was now
undertaken by General Grant, who sustained better relations toward
the Government, and the result would seem to indicate that General
McClellan was, after all, a soldier of sound views.

As soon as General Lee reached Petersburg, he began promptly to draw a
regular line of earthworks around the city, to the east and south, for
its defence. It was obvious that General Grant would lose no time in
striking at him, in order to take advantage of the slight character
of the defences already existing; and this anticipation was speedily
realized. General Lee had scarcely gotten his forces in position on
the 16th when he was furiously attacked, and such was the weight of
this assault that Lee was forced from his advanced position, east of
the city, behind his second line of works, by this time well forward
in process of construction. Against this new line General Grant threw
heavy forces, in attack after attack, on the 17th and 18th, losing, it
is said, more than four thousand men, but effecting nothing. On the
21st General Lee was called upon to meet a more formidable assault
than any of the preceding ones--this time more to his right, in the
vicinity of the Weldon Railroad, which runs southward from Petersburg.
A heavy line was advanced in that quarter by the enemy; but, observing
that an interval had been left between two of their corps, General Lee
threw forward a column under General Hill, cut the Federal lines, and
repulsed their attack, bearing off nearly three thousand prisoners.

On the same night an important cavalry expedition, consisting of the
divisions of General Wilson and Kautz, numbering about six thousand
horse, was sent westward to cut the Weldon, Southside, and Danville
Railroads, which connected the Southern army with the South and West.
This raid resulted in apparently great but really unimportant injury
to the Confederate communications against which it was directed. The
Federal cavalry tore up large portions of the tracks of all three
railroads, burning the wood-work, and laying waste the country around;
but the further results of the expedition were unfavorable. They were
pursued and harassed by a small body of cavalry under General W. H.F.
Lee, and, on their return in the direction of Reams's Station, were
met near Sapponey Church by a force of fifteen hundred cavalry under
General Hampton. That energetic officer at once attacked; the fighting
continued furiously throughout the entire night, and at dawn the
Federal horse retreated in confusion. Their misfortunes were not,
however, ended. Near Reams's, at which point they attempted to cross
the Weldon Railroad, they were met by General Fitz Lee's horsemen
and about two hundred infantry under General Mahone, and this force
completed their discomfiture. After a brief attempt to force their
way through the unforeseen obstacle, they broke in disorder, leaving
behind them twelve pieces of artillery, and more than a thousand
prisoners, and, with foaming and exhausted horses, regained the
Federal lines.

Such was the result of an expedition from which General Grant
probably expected much. The damage done to Lee's communications was
inconsiderable, and did not repay the Federal commander for the losses
sustained. The railroads were soon repaired and in working order
again; and the Federal cavalry was for the time rendered unfit for
further operations.

It was now the end of June, and every attempt made by General Grant
to force Lee's lines had proved unsuccessful. It was apparent that
surprise of the able commander of the Confederate army was hopeless.
His works were growing stronger every day, and nothing was left to
his great adversary but to lay regular siege to the long line of
fortifications; to draw lines for the protection of his own front from
attack; and, by gradually extending his left, reach out toward the
Weldon and Southside Railroads.

To obtain possession of these roads was from this time General Grant's
great object; and all his movements were shaped by that paramount



The first days of July, 1864, witnessed, at Petersburg, the
commencement of a series of military manoeuvres, for which few, if
any, precedents existed in all the annals of war. An army of forty or
fifty thousand men, intrenched along a line extending finally over
a distance of nearly forty miles, was defending, against a force of
about thrice its numbers, a capital more than twenty miles in its
rear; and, from July of one year to April of the next, there never
was a moment when, to have broken through this line, would not
have terminated the war, and resulted in the destruction of the

A few words in reference to the topography of the country and the
situation will show this. Petersburg is twenty-two miles south of
Richmond, and is connected with the South and West by the Weldon and
Southside Railroads, which latter road crosses the Danville Railroad,
the main line of communication between the capital and the Gulf
States. With the enemy once holding these roads and those north of the
city, as they were preparing to do, the capital would be isolated, and
the Confederate Government must evacuate Virginia. In that event the
Army of Northern Virginia had also nothing left to it but retreat.
Virginia must be abandoned; the Federal authority would be extended
over the oldest and one of the largest and most important members of
the Confederacy; and, under circumstances so adverse, it might well be
a question whether, disheartened as they would be by the loss of so
powerful an ally, the other States of the Confederacy would have
sufficient resolution to continue the contest.

These considerations are said to have been fully weighed by General
Lee, whose far-reaching military sagacity divined the exact situation
of affairs, and the probable results of a conflict so unequal as
that which General Grant now forced upon him. We have noticed, on
a preceding page, his opinions upon this subject, expressed to a
confidential friend as far back as 1862. He then declared that the
true line of assault upon Richmond was that now adopted by General
Grant. As long as the capital was assailed from the north or the east,
he might hope with some reason, by hard fighting, to repulse the
assault, and hold Richmond. But, with an enemy at Petersburg,
threatening with a large force the Southern railroads, it was
obviously only a question of time when Richmond, and consequently
Virginia, must be abandoned.

General Lee, we repeat, fully realized the facts here stated, when
his adversary, giving up all other lines, crossed James River to
Petersburg. Lee is said, we know not with what truth, to have coolly
recommended an evacuation of Richmond. But this met with no favor.
A powerful party, including both the friends and enemies of the
Executive, spoke of the movement as a "pernicious idea." If
recommended by Lee, it was speedily abandoned, and all the energies of
the Government were concentrated upon the difficult task of holding
the enemy at arm's length south of the Appomattox and in Charles City.

In a few weeks after the appearance of the adversaries opposite each
other at Petersburg, the lines of leaguer and defence were drawn,
and the long struggle began. General Grant had crossed a force into
Charles City, on the north bank of James River, and thus menaced
Richmond with an assault from that quarter. His line extended thence
across the neck of the Peninsula of Bermuda Hundred, and east and
south of Petersburg, where, day by day, it gradually reached westward,
approaching nearer and nearer to the railroads feeding the Southern
army and capital. Lee's line conformed itself to that of his
adversary. In addition to the works east and southeast of Richmond, an
exterior chain of defences had been drawn, facing the hostile force
near Deep Bottom; and the river at Drury's Bluff, a fortification of
some strength, had been guarded, by sunken obstructions, against the
approach of the Federal gunboats. The Southern lines then continued,
facing those of the enemy north of the Appomattox, and, crossing that
stream, extended around the city of Petersburg, gradually moving
westward in conformity with the works of General Grant. A glance at
the accompanying diagram will clearly indicate the positions and
relations to each other of the Federal and Confederate works. These
will show that the real struggle was anticipated, by both commanders,
west of Petersburg; and, as the days wore on, it was more and more
apparent that somewhere in the vicinity of Dinwiddie Court-House the
last great wrestle of the opposing armies must take place.

To that conclusive trial of strength we shall advance with as few
interruptions as possible. The operations of the two armies at
Petersburg do not possess, for the general reader, that dramatic
interest which is found in battles such as those of Chancellorsville
and Gettysburg, deciding for the time the fates of great campaigns.
At Petersburg the fighting seemed to decide little, and the bloody
collisions had no names. The day of pitched battles, indeed, seemed
past. It was one long battle, day and night, week after week, and
month after month--during the heat of summer, the sad hours of autumn,
and the cold days and nights of winter. It was, in fact, the siege
of Richmond which General Grant had undertaken, and the fighting
consisted less of battles, in the ordinary acceptation of that word,
than of attempts to break through the lines of his adversary--now
north of James River, now east of Petersburg, now at some point in
the long chain of redans which guarded the approaches to the coveted
Southside Railroad, which, once in possession of the Federal
commander, would give him victory.

Of this long, obstinate, and bloody struggle we shall describe only
those prominent incidents which rose above the rest with a species
of dramatic splendor. For the full narrative the reader must have
recourse to military histories aiming to chronicle the operations of
each corps, division, and brigade in the two armies--a minuteness of
detail beyond our scope, and probably not desired by those who will
peruse these pages.



The month of July began and went upon its way, with incessant fighting
all along the Confederate front, both north of James River and south
of the Appomattox. General Grant was thus engaged in the persistent
effort to, at some point, break through his opponent's works, when
intelligence suddenly reached him, by telegraph from Washington, that
a strong Confederate column had advanced down the Shenandoah Valley,
crossed the Potomac, and was rapidly moving eastward in the direction
of the Federal capital.

This portentous incident was the result of a plan of great boldness
devised by General Lee, from which he expected much. A few words will
explain this plan.

A portion of General Grant's plan of campaign had been an advance up
the Valley, and another from Western Virginia, toward the Lynchburg
and Tennessee Railroad--the two columns to coöperate with the main
army by cutting the Confederate communications. The column in Western
Virginia effected little, but that in the Valley, under General
Hunter, hastened forward, almost unopposed, from the small numbers of
the Southern force, and early in June threatened Lynchburg. The news
reached Lee at Cold Harbor soon after his battle there with General
Grant, and he promptly detached General Early, at the head of about
eight thousand men, with orders to "move to the Valley through
Swift-Run Gap, or Brown's Gap, attack Hunter, and then cross the
Potomac and threaten Washington." [Footnote: This statement of his
orders was derived from Lieutenant-General Early.]

General Early, an officer of great energy and intrepidity, moved
without loss of time, and an engagement ensued between him and General
Hunter near Lynchburg. The battle was soon decided. General Hunter,
who had more cruelly oppressed the inhabitants of the Valley than even
General Milroy, was completely defeated, driven in disordered flight
toward the Ohio, and Early hastened down the Valley, and thence into
Maryland, with the view of threatening Washington, as he had been
ordered to do by Lee. His march was exceedingly rapid, and he found
the road unobstructed until he reached the Monocacy near Frederick
City, where he was opposed by a force under General Wallace. This
force he attacked, and soon drove from the field; he then pressed
forward, and on the 11th of July came in sight of Washington.

It was the intelligence of this advance of a Confederate force into
Maryland, and toward the capital, which came to startle General Grant
while he was hotly engaged with Lee at Petersburg. The Washington
authorities seem to have been completely unnerved, and to have
regarded the capture of the city as nearly inevitable. General Grant,
however, stood firm, and did not permit the terror of the civil
authorities to affect him. He sent forward to Washington two army
corps, and these arrived just in time. If it had been in the power of
General Early to capture Washington--which seems questionable--the
opportunity was lost. He found himself compelled to retire across the
Potomac again to avoid an attack in his rear; and this he effected
without loss, taking up, in accordance with orders from Lee, a
position in the Valley, where he remained for some months a standing
threat to the enemy.

Such was the famous march of General Early to Washington; and there
seems at present little reason to doubt that the Federal capital had a
narrow escape from capture by the Confederates. What the result of so
singular an event would have been, it is difficult to say; but it
is certain that it would have put an end to General Grant's entire
campaign at Petersburg. Then--but speculations of this character are
simply loss of time. The city was not captured; the war went upon its
way, and was destined to terminate by pure exhaustion of one of the
combatants, unaffected by _coups de main_ in any part of the theatre
of conflict.

We have briefly spoken of the engagement between Generals Early and
Hunter, near Lynchburg, and the abrupt retreat of the latter to the
western mountains and thence toward the Ohio. It may interest the
reader to know General Lee's views on the subject of this retreat,
which, it seems, were drawn from him by a letter addressed to him by
General Hunter:

"As soon after the war as mail communications were opened," writes
the gentleman of high character from whom we derive this incident,
"General David Hunter wrote to General Lee, begging that he would
answer him frankly on two points:"

'I. His (Hunter's) campaign in 1864 was undertaken on information
received by General Halleck that General Lee was about to detach forty
thousand picked troops to send to Georgia. Did not his (Hunter's) move
prevent this?

'II. When he found it necessary to retreat from Lynchburg, did he not
take the most feasible route?'

General Lee wrote a very courteous reply, in which he said:

'I. General Halleck was misinformed. I had _no troops to spare_, and
forty thousand would have taken nearly my whole army.

'II. I am not advised as to the motives which induced you to adopt
your line of retreat, and am not, perhaps, competent to judge of the
question; _but I certainly expected you to retreat by way_ of the
Shenandoah Valley.'

"General Hunter," adds our correspondent, "never published this
letter, but I heard General Lee tell of it one day with evident

Lee's opinion of the military abilities of both Generals Hunter
and Sheridan was indeed far from flattering. He regarded those two
commanders--especially General Sheridan--as enjoying reputations
solely conferred upon them by the exhaustion of the resources of
the Confederacy, and not warranted by any military efficiency in



The end of the month of July was now approaching, and every attempt
made by General Grant to break through Lee's lines had resulted in
failure. At every point which he assailed, an armed force, sufficient
to repulse his most vigorous attacks, seemed to spring from the earth;
and no movement of the Federal forces, however sudden and rapid, had
been able to take the Confederate commander unawares. The campaign was
apparently settling down into stubborn fighting, day and night, in
which the object of General Grant was to carry out his programme of
attrition. Such was the feeling in both armies when, at dawn on the
30th of July, a loud explosion, heard for thirty miles, took place on
the lines near Petersburg, and a vast column of smoke, shooting upward
to a great height, seemed to indicate the blowing up of an extensive

Instead of a magazine, it was a mine which had thus been exploded; and
the incident was not the least singular of a campaign unlike any which
had preceded it.

The plan of forming a breach in the Southern works, by exploding a
mine beneath them, is said by Northern writers to have originated with
a subordinate officer of the Federal army, who, observing the close
proximity of the opposing works near Petersburg, conceived it feasible
to construct a subterranean gallery, reaching beneath those of General
Lee. The undertaking was begun, the earth being carried off in
cracker-boxes; and such was the steady persistence of the workmen that
a gallery five hundred feet long, with lateral openings beneath the
Confederate works, was soon finished; and in these lateral recesses
was placed a large amount of powder.

All was now ready, and the question was how to utilize the explosion.
General Grant decided to follow it by a sudden charge through the
breach, seize a crest in rear, and thus interpose a force directly in
the centre of Lee's line. A singular discussion, however, arose, and
caused some embarrassment. Should the assaulting column consist of
white or negro troops? This question was decided, General Grant
afterward declared, by "pulling straws or tossing coppers"--the white
troops were the fortunate or unfortunate ones--and on the morning of
July 30th the mine was exploded. The effect was frightful, and the
incident will long be remembered by those present and escaping
unharmed. The small Southern force and artillery immediately above the
mine were hurled into the air. An opening, one hundred and fifty feet
long, sixty feet wide, and thirty feet deep, suddenly appeared, where
a moment before had extended the Confederate earthworks; and the
Federal division, selected for the charge, rushed forward to pierce
the opening.

The result did not justify the sanguine expectations which seem to
have been excited in the breasts of the Federal officers. A Southern
writer thus describes what ensued:

"The 'white division' charged, reached the crater, stumbled over
the _débris_, were suddenly met by a merciless fire of artillery,
enfilading them right and left, and of infantry fusillading them in
front; faltered, hesitated, were badly led, lost heart, gave up the
plan of seizing the crest in rear, huddled into the crater, man on
top of man, company mingled with company; and upon this disordered,
unstrung, quivering mass of human beings, white and black--for the
black troops had followed--was poured a hurricane of shot, shell,
canister, musketry, which made the hideous crater a slaughter-pen,
horrible and frightful beyond the power of words. All order was lost;
all idea of charging the crest abandoned. Lee's infantry was seen
concentrating for the carnival of death; his artillery was massing to
destroy the remnants of the charging divisions; those who deserted the
crater, to scramble over the _débris_ and run back, were shot down;
then all that was left to the shuddering mass of blacks and whites in
the pit was to shrink lower, evade the horrible _mitraille_, and wait
for a charge of their friends to rescue them or surrender."

These sentences sufficiently describe the painful scene which followed
the explosion of the mine. The charging column was unable to advance
in face of the very heavy fire directed upon them by the Southern
infantry and artillery; and the effect of this fire was so appalling
that General Mahone, commanding at the spot, is said to have ordered
it to cease, adding that the spectacle made him sick. The Federal
forces finally succeeded in making their way back, with a loss of
about four thousand prisoners; and General Lee, whose losses had been
small, reëstablished his line without interruption.

Before passing from this incident, a singular circumstance connected
with it is deserving of mention. This was the declaration of the
Congressional Committee, which in due time investigated the whole

The conclusion of the committee was not flattering to the veteran Army
of the Potomac. The report declared that "the first and great cause of
disaster was the employment of white instead of black troops to make
the charge."



Throughout the months of August and September, Lee continued to be
attacked at various points along his entire front, but succeeded
in repulsing every assault. General Grant's design may be said, in
general terms, to have been a steady extension of his left toward
the Confederate communications west of Petersburg, while taking the
chances, by attacks north of James River, to break through in that
quarter and seize upon Richmond. It is probable that his hopes of
effecting the last-mentioned object were small; but operations in that
direction promised the more probable result of causing Lee to weaken
his right, and thus uncover the Southside Railroad.

An indecisive attack on the north of James River was followed, toward
the end of August, by a heavy advance, to seize upon the Weldon
Railroad near Petersburg. In this General Grant succeeded, an event
clearly foreseen by Lee, who had long before informed the authorities
that he could not hold this road. General Grant followed up this
success by sending heavy forces to seize Reams's Station, on the same
road, farther south, and afterward to destroy it to Hicksford--which,
however, effected less favorable results, Lee meeting and defeating
both forces after obstinate engagements, in which the Federal troops
lost heavily, and were compelled to retreat.

These varying successes did not, however, materially affect the
general result. The Federal left gradually reached farther and farther
westward, until finally it had passed the Vaughan, Squirrel Level, and
other roads, running south-westward from Petersburg, and in October
was established on the left bank of Hatcher's Run, which unites with
Gravelly Run to form the Rowanty. It was now obvious that a further
extension of the Federal left would probably enable General Grant to
seize upon the Southside Railroad. An energetic attempt was speedily
made by him to effect this important object, to which it is said
he attached great importance from its anticipated bearing on the
approaching presidential election.

On the 27th of October a heavy column was thrown across Hatcher's
Run, in the vicinity of Burgess's Mill, on the Boydton Road, and
an obstinate attack was made on Lee's lines there with the view of
breaking through to the Southside Road. In this, however, General
Grant did not succeed. His column was met in front and flank by
Generals Hampton--who here lost his brave son, Preston--and W.H.F.
Lee, with dismounted sharp-shooters; infantry was hastened to the
threatened point by General Lee, and, after an obstinate struggle,
the Federal force was driven back. General Lee reporting that General
Mahone charged and "broke three lines of battle."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Dispatch of Lee, October_ 28, 1864.--It was the habit
of General Lee, throughout the last campaign of the war, to send to
Richmond, from time to time, brief dispatches announcing whatever
occurred along the lines; and these, in the absence of official
reports of these occurrences on the Confederate side, are valuable
records of the progress of affairs. These brief summaries are reliable
from the absence of all exaggeration, but cannot be depended upon
by the historian, for a very singular reason, namely, that almost
invariably the Confederate successes are understated. On the present
occasion, the Federal loss in prisoners near Burgess's Mill and east
of Richmond--where General Grant had attacked at the same time to
effect a diversion--are put down by General Lee at eight hundred,
whereas thirteen hundred and sixty-five were received at Richmond.

Lee's dispatch of October 28th is here given, as a specimen of these
brief military reports.


_October_ 28, 1864.

_Hon. Secretary of War_:

General Hill reports that the attack of General Heth upon the enemy
on the Boydton Plank-road, mentioned in my dispatch last evening, was
made by three brigades under General Mahone in front, and General
Hampton in the rear. Mahone captured four hundred prisoners, three
stand of colors, and six pieces of artillery. The latter could not be
brought off, the enemy having possession of the bridge.

In the attack subsequently made by the enemy General Mahone broke
three lines of battle, and during the night the enemy retreated from
the Boydton Road, leaving his wounded and more than two hundred and
fifty dead on the field.

About nine o'clock P.M. a small force assaulted and took possession of
our works on the Baxter Road, in front of Petersburg, but were soon
driven out.

On the Williamsburg Road General Field captured upward of four hundred
prisoners and seven stand of colors. The enemy left a number of dead
in front of our works, and to-day retreated to his former position.

R.E. Lee]

With this repulse of the Federal forces terminated active operations
of importance for the year; and but one other attempt was made, during
the winter, to gain ground on the left. This took place early in
February, and resulted in failure like the former--the Confederates
losing, however, the brave General John Pegram.

The presidential election at the North had been decided in favor
of Mr. Lincoln--General McClellan and Mr. Pendleton, the supposed
advocates of peace, suffering defeat. The significance of this fact
was unmistakable. It was now seen that unless the Confederates
fought their way to independence, there was no hope of a favorable
termination of the war, and this conclusion was courageously faced by
General Lee. The outlook for the coming year was far from encouraging;
the resources of the Confederacy were steadily being reduced; her
coasts were blockaded; her armies were diminishing; discouragement
seemed slowly to be invading every heart--but, in the midst of this
general foreboding, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia
retained an august composure; and, conversing with one of the Southern
Senators, said, "For myself, I intend to die sword in hand."

That his sense of duty did not afterward permit him to do so, was
perhaps one of the bitterest pangs of his whole life.



Before entering upon the narrative of the last and decisive campaign
of the war, we shall speak of the personal demeanor of General Lee at
this time, and endeavor to account for a circumstance which astonished
many persons--his surprising equanimity, and even cheerfulness, under
the pressure of cares sufficient, it would seem, to crush the most
powerful organization.

He had established his headquarters a mile or two west of Petersburg,
on the Cox Road, nearly opposite his centre, and here he seemed to
await whatever the future would bring with a tranquillity which was a
source of surprise and admiration to all who were thrown in contact
with him. Many persons will bear their testimony to this extraordinary
composure. His countenance seldom, if ever, exhibited the least traces
of anxiety, but was firm, hopeful, and encouraged those around him in
the belief that he was still confident of success. That he did not,
however, look forward with any thing like hope to such success, we
have endeavored already to show. From the first, he seems to have
regarded his situation, unless his army were largely reënforced, as
almost desperate; those reënforcements did not come; and yet, as he
saw his numbers day by day decreasing, and General Grant's increasing
a still larger ratio, he retained his courage, confronting the
misfortunes closing in upon him with unmoved composure, and at no time
seemed to lose his "heart of hope."

Of this phenomenon the explanation has been sought in the
constitutional courage of the individual, and that instinctive
rebound against fate which takes place in great organizations. This
explanation, doubtless, is not without a certain amount of truth; but
an attentive consideration of the principles which guided this eminent
soldier throughout his career, will show that his equanimity, at a
moment so trying, was due to another and more controlling sentiment.
This sentiment was his devotion to Duty--"the sublimest word in our
language." Throughout his entire life he had sought to discover and
perform his duty, without regard to consequences. That had been with
him the great question in April, 1861, when the war broke out: he had
decided in his own mind what he ought to do, and had not hesitated.

From that time forward he continued to do what Duty commanded without
a murmur. In the obscure campaign of Western Virginia--in the unnoted
work of fortifying the Southern coast--in the great campaigns which he
had subsequently fought--and everywhere, his consciousness of having
performed his duty to the best of his knowledge and ability sustained
him. It sustained him, above all, at Gettysburg, where he had done his
best, giving him strength to take upon himself the responsibility of
that disaster; and, now, in these last dark days at Petersburg, it
must have been the sense of having done his whole duty, and expended
upon the cause every energy of his being, which enabled him to meet
the approaching catastrophe with a calmness which seemed to those
around him almost sublime.

If this be not the explanation of the composure of General Lee,
throughout the last great struggle with the Federal Army, the writer
of these pages is at a loss to account for it. The phenomenon was
plain to all eyes, and crowned the soldier with a glory greater than
that which he had derived from his most decisive military successes.
Great and unmoved in the dark hour as in the bright, he seemed to have
determined to perform his duty to the last, and to shape his conduct,
under whatever pressure of disaster, upon the two maxims, "Do your
duty," and "Human virtue should be equal to human calamity."

There is little reason to doubt that General Lee saw this "calamity"
coming, for the effort to reënforce his small army with fresh levies
seemed hopeless. The reasons for this unfortunate state of things must
be sought elsewhere. The unfortunate fact will be stated, without
comment, that, while the Federal army was regularly and largely
reënforced, so that its numbers at no time fell below one hundred
and fifty thousand men. Lee's entire force at Petersburg at no time
reached sixty thousand, and in the spring of 1865, when he still
continued to hold his long line of defences, numbered scarcely half
of sixty thousand. This was the primary cause of the failure of the
struggle. General Grant's immense hammer continued to beat upon his
adversary, wearing away his strength day by day. No new troops arrived
to take the places of those who had fallen; and General Lee saw,
drawing closer and closer, the inevitable hour when, driven from his
works, or with the Federal army upon his communications, he must cut
his way southward or surrender.

A last circumstance in reference to General Lee's position at this
time should be stated; the fact that, from the autumn of 1864 to the
end in the spring of 1865, he was felt by the country and the army to
be the sole hope of the Confederacy. To him alone now all men
looked as the _deus ex machinâ_ to extricate them from the dangers
surrounding them. This sentiment needed no expression in words. It was
seen in the faces and the very tones of voice of all. Old men visited
him, and begged him with faltering voices not to expose himself, for,
if he were killed, all would be lost. The troops followed him with
their eyes, or their cheers, whenever he appeared, feeling a singular
sense of confidence from the presence of the gray-haired soldier in
his plain uniform, and assured that, as long as Lee led them, the
cause was safe. All classes of the people thus regarded the fate
of the Confederacy as resting, not partially, but solely, upon the
shoulders of Lee; and, although he was not entitled by his rank in the
service to direct operations in other quarters than Virginia, there
was a very general desire that the whole conduct of the war everywhere
should be intrusted to his hands. This was done, as will be seen,
toward the spring of 1865, but it was too late.

These notices of General Lee individually are necessary to a clear
comprehension of the concluding incidents of the great conflict. It is
doubtful if, in any other struggle of history, the hopes of a people
were more entirely wrapped up in a single individual. All criticisms
of the eminent soldier had long since been silenced, and it may,
indeed, be said that something like a superstitious confidence in his
fortunes had become widely disseminated. It was the general sentiment,
even when Lee himself saw the end surely approaching, that all was
safe while he remained in command of the army. This hallucination must
have greatly pained him, for no one ever saw more clearly, or was less
blinded by irrational confidence. Lee fully understood and represented
to the civil authorities--with whom his relations were perfectly
friendly and cordial--that if his lines were broken at any point, the
fate of the campaign was sealed. Feeling this truth, of which his
military sagacity left him in no doubt, he had to bear the further
weight of that general confidence which he did not share. He did not
complain, however, or in any manner indicate the desperate straits to
which he had come. He called for fresh troops to supply his losses;
when they did not arrive he continued to oppose his powerful adversary
with the remnant still at his command. These were now more like old
comrades than mere private soldiers under his orders. What was left
of the army was its best material. The fires of battle had tested the
metal, and that which emerged from the furnace was gold free from
alloy. The men remaining with Lee were those whom no peril of the
cause in which they were fighting could dishearten or prompt to desert
or even temporarily absent themselves from the Southern standard; and
this _corps d' élite_ was devoted wholly to their commander. For this
devotion they certainly had valid reason. Never had leader exhibited a
more systematic, unfailing, and almost tender care of his troops. Lee
seemed to feel that these veterans in their ragged jackets, with their
gaunt faces, were personal friends of his own, who were entitled to
his most affectionate exertions for their welfare. His calls on the
civil authorities in their behalf were unceasing. The burden of
these demands was that, unless his men's wants were attended to, the
Southern cause was lost; and it plainly revolted his sense of the
fitness of things that men upon whom depended the fate of the South
should be shoeless, in tatters, and forced to subsist on a quarter
of a pound of rancid bacon and a little corn bread, when thousands
remaining out of the army, and dodging the enrolling-officers, were
well clothed and fed, and never heard the whistle of a bullet. The
men understood this care for them, and returned the affectionate
solicitude of their commander in full. He was now their ideal of a
leader, and all that he did was perfect in their eyes. All awe of him
had long since left them--they understood what treasures of kindness
and simplicity lay under the grave exterior. The tattered privates
approached the commander-in-chief without embarrassment, and his
reception of them was such as to make them love him more than ever.
Had we space we might dwell upon this marked respect and attention
paid by General Lee to his private soldiers. He seemed to think them
more worthy of marks of regard than his highest officers. And there
was never the least air of condescension in him when thrown with them,
but a perfect simplicity, kindness, and unaffected sympathy, which
went to their hearts. This was almost a natural gift with Lee, and
arose from the genuine goodness of his heart. His feeling toward his
soldiers is shown in an incident which occurred at this time, and was
thus related in one of the Richmond journals: "A gentleman who was in
the train from this city to Petersburg, a very cold morning not long
ago, tells us his attention was attracted by the efforts of a young
soldier, with his arm in a sling, to get his overcoat on. His teeth,
as well as his sound arm, were brought into use to effect the object;
but, in the midst of his efforts, an officer rose from his seat,
advanced to him, and very carefully and tenderly assisted him, drawing
the coat gently over his wounded arm, and buttoning it up comfortably;
then, with a few kind and pleasant words, returning to his seat. Now
the officer in question was not clad in gorgeous uniform, with a
brilliant wreath upon his collar, and a multitude of gilt lines upon
the sleeves, resembling the famous labyrinth of Crete, but he was clad
in a simple suit of gray, distinguished from the garb of a civilian
only by the three stars which every Confederate colonel in the
service, by the regulations, is entitled to wear. And yet he was no
other than our chief, General Robert E. Lee, who is not braver than he
is good and modest."

To terminate this brief sketch of General Lee, personally, in the
winter of 1864. He looked much older than at the beginning of the war,
but by no means less hardy or robust. On the contrary, the arduous
campaigns through which he had passed seemed to have hardened
him--developing to the highest degree the native strength of his
physical organization. His cheeks were ruddy, and his eye had that
clear light which indicates the presence of the calm, self-poised
will. But his hair had grown gray, like his beard and mustache, which
were worn short and well-trimmed. His dress, as always, was a plain
and serviceable gray uniform, with no indications of rank save the
stars on the collar. Cavalry-boots reached nearly to his knees, and he
seldom wore any weapon. A broad-brimmed gray-felt hat rested low upon
the forehead; and the movements of this soldierly figure were as firm,
measured, and imposing, as ever. It was impossible to discern in
General Lee any evidences of impaired strength, or any trace of the
wearing hardships through which he had passed. He seemed made of iron,
and would remain in his saddle all day, and then at his desk half the
night, without apparently feeling any fatigue. He was still almost an
anchorite in his personal habits, and lived so poorly that it is said
he was compelled to borrow a small piece of meat when unexpected
visitors dined with him.

Such, in brief outline, was the individual upon whose shoulders,
in the last months of 1864 and the early part of 1865, rested the
Southern Confederacy.



In approaching the narrative of the last tragic scenes of the
Confederate struggle, the writer of these pages experiences emotions
of sadness which will probably be shared by not a few even of those
readers whose sympathies, from the nature of things, were on the side
of the North. To doubt this would be painful, and would indicate a
contempt for human nature. Not only in the eyes of his friends and
followers, but even in the eyes of his bitterest enemies, Lee must
surely have appeared great and noble. Right or wrong in the struggle,
he believed that he was performing his duty; and the brave army at
his back, which had fought so heroically, were inspired by the same
sentiment, and risked all on the issue.

This great soldier was now about to suffer the cruellest pang which
the spite of Fate can inflict, and his army to be disbanded, to return
in poverty and defeat to their homes. That spectacle was surely
tragic, and appealed to the hardest heart; and if any rejoiced in such
misery he must have been unsusceptible of the sentiment of admiration
for heroism in misfortune.

The last and decisive struggle between the two armies at Petersburg
began in March, 1865. But events of great importance in many quarters
had preceded this final conflict, the result of which had been to
break down all the outer defences of the Confederacy, leaving only the
inner citadel still intact. The events in question are so familiar to
those who will peruse these pages, that a passing reference to them is
all that is necessary. Affairs in the Valley of Virginia, from autumn
to spring, had steadily proceeded from bad to worse. In September,
General Sheridan, with a force of about forty-five thousand, had
assailed General Early near Winchester, with a force of about eight
or nine thousand muskets, and succeeded in driving him up the Valley
beyond Strasburg, whence, attacked a second time, he had retreated
toward Staunton. This was followed, in October, by another battle at
Cedar Run, where Early attacked and nearly crushed General Sheridan,
but eventually was again repulsed, and forced a second time to retreat
up the Valley to Waynesboro', where, in February, his little remnant
was assailed by overwhelming numbers and dispersed. General Sheridan,
who had effected this inglorious but important success, then proceeded
to the Lowlands, joined General Grant's army, and was ready, with his
large force of horse, to take part in the coming battles.

A more important success had attended the Federal arms in the West.
General Johnston, who had been restored to command there at the
solicitation of Lee, had found his force insufficient to oppose
General Sherman's large army; the Confederates had accordingly
retreated; and General Sherman, almost unresisted, from the exhaustion
of his adversary, marched across the country to Savannah, which fell
an easy prize, and thence advanced to Goldsborough, in North Carolina,
where he directly threatened Lee's line of retreat from Virginia.

Such was the condition of affairs in the months of February and
March, 1865. In the former month, commissioners from the Confederate
Government had met President Lincoln in Hampton Roads, but no terms of
peace could be agreed upon; the issue was still left to be decided by
arms, and every advantage was upon the Federal side. General Lee, who
had just been appointed "General-in-Chief"--having thus imposed upon
him the mockery of a rank no longer of any value--saw the armies of
the enemy closing in upon him, and did not deceive himself with the
empty hope that he could longer hold his lines at Petersburg. The
country, oppressed as it was, and laboring under a sentiment akin
to despair, still retained in almost undiminished measure its
superstitious confidence in him; but he himself saw clearly the
desperate character of the situation. General Grant was in his front
with a force of about one hundred and fifty thousand men, and General
Sherman was about to enter Virginia with an army of about the same
numbers. Lee's force at Petersburg was a little over thirty thousand
men--that of Johnston was not so great, and was detained by Sherman.
Under these circumstances, it was obviously only a question of time
when the Army of Northern Virginia would be overwhelmed. In February,
1865, these facts were perfectly apparent to General Lee: but one
course was left to him--to retreat from Virginia; and he promptly
began that movement in the latter part of the month, ordering his
trains to Amelia Court-House, and directing pontoons to be got ready
at Roanoke River. His aim was simple--to unite his army with that of
General Johnston, and retreat into the Gulf States. In the mountains
of Virginia he could carry on the war, he had said, for twenty years;
in the fertile regions of the South he might expect to prolong
hostilities, or at least make favorable terms of peace--which would be
better than to remain in Virginia until he was completely surrounded,
and an unconditional submission would alone be left him.

It will probably remain a subject of regret to military students, that
Lee was not permitted to carry out this retreat into the Gulf States.
The movement was arrested after a consultation with the civil
authorities at Richmond. Upon what grounds a course so obviously
necessary was opposed, the present writer is unable to declare.
Whatever the considerations, Lee yielded his judgment; the movement
suddenly stopped; and the Army of Northern Virginia--if a skeleton can
be called such--remained to await its fate.

The condition of the army in which "companies" scarce existed,
"regiments" were counted by tens, and "divisions" by hundreds only,
need not here be elaborately dwelt upon. It was indeed the phantom of
an army, and the gaunt faces were almost ghostly. Shoeless, in rags,
with just sufficient coarse food to sustain life, but never enough
to keep at arm's-length the gnawing fiend Hunger, Lee's old veterans
remained firm, scattered like a thin skirmish-line along forty miles
of works; while opposite them lay an enemy in the highest state of
efficiency, and numbering nearly five men to their one. That the
soldiers of the army retained their nerve under circumstances so
discouraging is surely an honorable fact, and will make their names
glorious in history. They remained unshaken and fought undismayed to
the last, although their courage was subjected to trials of the most
exhausting character. Day and night, for month after month, the
incessant fire of the Federal forces had continued, and every engine
of human destruction had been put in play to wear away their strength.
They fought all through the cheerless days of winter, and, when they
lay down in the cold trenches at night, the shell of the Federal
mortars rained down upon them, bursting, and mortally wounding them.
All day long the fire of muskets and cannon--then, from sunset to
dawn, the curving fire of the roaring mortars, and the steady,
never-ceasing crack of the sharp-shooters along the front. Snow, or
blinding sleet, or freezing rains, might be falling, but the fire went
on--it seemed destined to go on to all eternity.

In March, 1865 however, the end was approaching, and General Lee
must have felt that all was lost. His last hope had been the retreat
southward in the month of February. That hope had been taken from
him; the result was at hand; and his private correspondence, if he
intrusted to paper his views of the situation, will probably show that
from that moment he gave up all anticipation of success, and prepared
to do his simple duty as a soldier, leaving the issue of affairs
to Providence. Whatever may have been his emotions, they were not
reflected in his countenance. The same august composure which had
accompanied him in his previous campaigns remained with him still, and
cheered the fainting hearts around him. To the 2d of April, and even
up to the end, this remarkable calmness continued nearly unchanged,
and we can offer no explanation of a circumstance so astonishing, save
that which we have already given in a preceding chapter.



General Lee became aware, as the end of March drew near, that
preparations were being made in the Federal army for some important
movement. What that movement would be, there was little reason to
doubt. The Federal lines had been extended gradually toward the
Southside Railroad; and it was obvious now that General Grant had in
view a last and decisive advance in that quarter, which should place
him on his opponent's communications, and completely intercept his
retreat southward.

The catastrophe which General Lee had plainly foreseen for many months
now stared him in the face, and, unless he had recourse to some
expedient as desperate as the situation, the end of the struggle must
soon come. The sole course left to him was retreat, but this now
seemed difficult, if not impossible. General Grant had a powerful
force not far from the main roads over which Lee must move; and,
unless a diversion of some description were made, it seemed barely
possible that the Southern army could extricate itself. This diversion
General Lee now proceeded to make; and although we have no authority
to state that his object was to follow up the blow, if it were
successful, by an evacuation of his lines at Petersburg, it is
difficult to conceive what other design he could have had in risking
an operation so critical. He had resolved to throw a column against
the Federal centre east of Petersburg, with the view to break through
there and seize the commanding ground in rear of the line. He would
thus be rooted in the middle of General Grant's army, and the Federal
left would probably be recalled, leaving the way open if he designed
to retreat. If he designed, however, to fight a last pitched battle
which should decide all, he would be able to do so, in case the
Federal works were broken, to greater advantage than under any other

The point fixed upon was Fort Steadman, near the south bank of the
Appomattox, where the opposing works were scarcely two hundred yards
from each other. The ground in front was covered with _abatis_, and
otherwise obstructed, but it was hoped that the assaulting column
would be able to pass over the distance undiscovered. In that event a
sudden rush would probably carry the works--a large part of the army
would follow--the hill beyond would be occupied--and General Grant
would be compelled to concentrate his army at the point, for his own

On the morning of March 25th, before dawn, the column was ready. It
consisted of three or four thousand men under General Gordon, but an
additional force was held in reserve to follow up the attack if it
succeeded. Just as dawn appeared, Gordon put his column in motion.
It advanced silently over the intervening space, made a rush for the
Federal works, mounted them, drove from them in great confusion the
force occupying them, and a loud cheer proved that the column of
Gordon had done its work. But this auspicious beginning was the only
success achieved by the Confederates. For reasons unknown to the
present writer, the force directed by Lee to be held in readiness, and
to move at once to Gordon's support, did not go forward; the brave
commander and his men were left to breast the whole weight of the
Federal onslaught which ensued; and disaster followed the first great
success. The forts to the right and left of Fort Steadman suddenly
opened their thunders, and something like a repetition of the scene
succeeding the mine explosion ensued. A considerable portion of the
assaulting column was unable to get back, and fell into the enemy's
hands; their works were quickly reoccupied; and Lee saw that his last
hope had failed. Nothing was left to him now but such courageous
resistance as it was in his power to make, and he prepared, with the
worn weapon which he still held in his firm grasp, to oppose as
he best could the immense "hammer"--to use General Grant's own
illustration--which was plainly about to be raised to strike.



The hour of the final struggle now rapidly drew near. On the 29th of
March, General Lee discovered that a large portion of the Federal army
was moving steadily in the direction of his works beyond Burgen Mill,
and there could be no doubt what this movement signified. General
Grant was plainly about to make a decisive attack on the Confederate
right, on the White-Oak Road; and, if that attack succeeded, Lee was

Had not General Lee and his men become accustomed to retain their
coolness under almost any circumstances of trial, the prospect now
before them must have filled them with despair. The bulk of the
Federal army was obviously about to be thrown against the Confederate
right, and it was no secret in the little body of Southerners that
Lee would be able to send thither only a painfully inadequate force,
unless his extensive works were left in charge of a mere line of
skirmishers. This could not be thought of; the struggle on the right
must be a desperate one, and the Southern troops must depend upon hard
fighting rather than numbers if they hoped to repulse the attack of
the enemy.

Such was the situation of affairs, and neither the Confederate
commander nor his men shrunk in the hour of trial. Leaving Longstreet
to confront the enemy north of the James, and Gordon in command of
Ewell's corps--if it could be called such--in front of Petersburg, Lee
moved with nearly the whole remainder of his small force westward,
beyond Hatcher's Run, to meet the anticipated attack. The force thus
moved to the right to receive General Grant's great assault consisted
of about fifteen thousand infantry, and about two thousand cavalry
under General Fitz Lee, who, in consequence of the departure of
Hampton to North Carolina, now commanded the cavalry of the army. This
force, however, was cavalry only in name; and General Lee, speaking
afterward of General Sheridan, said that his victories were won
"when we had no horses for our cavalry, and no men to ride the few
broken-down steeds that we could muster."

With this force, amounting in all to about seventeen thousand men,
Lee proceeded to take position behind the works extending along
the White-Oak Road, in the direction of Five Forks, an important
_carrefour_ beyond his extreme right. The number of men left north
of James River and in front of Petersburg was a little under twenty
thousand. As General Grant had at his command a force about four times
as great as his adversary's, it seemed scarcely possible that Lee
would be able to offer serious resistance.

It soon became evident, however, that, in spite of this great
disproportion of force, General Lee had determined to fight to the
last. To attribute this determination to despair and recklessness,
would be doing injustice to the great soldier. It was still possible
that he might be able to repulse the assault upon his right, and, by
disabling the Federal force there, open his line of retreat. To this
hope he no doubt clung, and the fighting-blood of his race was now
thoroughly aroused. At Chancellorsville and elsewhere the odds had
been nearly as great, and a glance at his gaunt veterans showed him
that they might still be depended upon for a struggle as obstinate as
any in the past history of the war.

The event certainly vindicated the justice of this latter view, and
we shall briefly trace the occurrences of the next three or four days
which terminated the long conflict at Petersburg.

General Grant's assaulting force was not in position near the Boydton
Road, beyond Hatcher's Run, until March 31st, when, before he could
attack, Lee suddenly advanced and made a furious onslaught on the
Federal front. Before this attack, the divisions first encountered
gave way in confusion, and it seemed that the Confederate commander,
at a single blow, was about to extricate himself from his embarrassing
situation. The force opposed to him, however, was too great, and he
found himself unable to encounter it in the open field. He therefore
fell back to his works, and the fighting ceased, only to be renewed,
however, at Five Forks. This had been seized by the cavalry of General
Sheridan, and, as the point was one of importance, Lee detached a
small body of infantry to drive away the Federal horse. This was done
without difficulty, and the Confederate infantry then advanced toward
Dinwiddie Court-House; but late at night it was withdrawn, and the
day's fighting ended.

On the next day, the 1st of April, a more determined struggle ensued,
for the possession of Five Forks, where Lee had stationed the small
remnants of the divisions of Pickett and Johnson. These made a brave
resistance, but were wholly unable to stand before the force brought
against them. They maintained their ground as long as possible, but
were finally broken to pieces and scattered in confusion, the whole
right of the Confederate line and the Southside Road falling into the
hands of the enemy.

[Illustration: Lee at Petersburg]

This was virtually the end of the contest, but General Grant, it would
appear, deemed it inexpedient to venture any thing. So thinly manned
were the lines in front of Petersburg, in the absence of Longstreet
north of James River, and the troops sent beyond Hatcher's Run, that
on the 1st of April the Federal commander might have broken through
the works at almost any point. He elected to wait, however, until the
following day, thereby running the risk of awaking to find that Lee
had retreated.

At dawn on the 2d the long struggle ended. The Federal forces advanced
all along the Confederate front, made a furious attack, and, breaking
through in front of the city, carried all before them. The forts,
especially Fort Gregg, made a gallant resistance. This work was
defended by the two hundred and fifty men of Harris's Mississippi
Brigade, and these fought until their numbers were reduced to thirty,
killing or wounding five hundred of the assailants. The fort was taken
at last, and the Federal lines advanced toward the city. In this
attack fell the eminent soldier General A.P. Hill, whose record had
been so illustrious, and whose fortune it was to thus terminate his
life while the Southern flag still floated.



Any further resistance upon the part of General Lee seemed now
impossible, and nothing appeared to be left him but to surrender his
army. This course he does not seem, however, to have contemplated. It
was still possible that he might be able to maintain his position on
an inner line near the city until night; and, if he could do so, the
friendly hours of darkness might enable him to make good his retreat
to the north bank of the Appomattox, and shape his course toward North
Carolina, where General Johnston awaited him. If the movements of the
Federal forces, however, were so prompt as to defeat his march in that
direction, he might still be able to reach Lynchburg, beyond which
point the defiles of the Alleghanies promised him protection against
the utmost efforts of his enemy. Of his ability to reach North
Carolina, following the line of the Danville Railroad, Lee, however,
seems to have had no doubt. The Federal army would not probably
be able to concentrate in sufficient force in his path to bar his
progress if his march were rapid; if detached bodies only opposed
him on his line of retreat, there was little doubt that the Army of
Northern Virginia, reduced as it was, would be able to cut its way
through them.

This preface is necessary to an intelligent comprehension of Lee's
movements on the unfortunate 2d of April when his lines were broken.
This occurrence took place, as we have said, about sunrise, and, an
hour or two afterward, the Federal forces pressed forward all along
the line, surging toward the suburbs of Petersburg. We have mentioned
the position of General Lee's headquarters, about a mile and a half
west of the city, on the Cox Road, nearly opposite the tall Federal
observatory. Standing on the lawn, in front of his headquarters,
General Lee now saw, approaching rapidly, a heavy column of Federal
infantry, with the obvious design of charging a battery which had
opened fire upon them from a hill to the right. The spectacle was
picturesque and striking. Across the extensive fields houses set on
fire by shell were sending aloft huge clouds of smoke and tongues
of flame; at every instant was seen the quick glare of the Federal
artillery, firing from every knoll, and in front came on the charging
column, moving at a double quick, with burnished gun-barrels and
bayonets flashing in the April sunshine.

General Lee watched with attention, but with perfect composure, this
determined advance of the enemy; and, although he must have realized
that his army was on the verge of destruction, it was impossible to
discern in his features any evidences of emotion. He was in full
uniform, and had buckled on his dress-sword, which he seldom
wore--having, on this morning declared, it is said, that if he were
compelled to surrender he would do so in full harness. Of his calmness
at this trying moment the writer is able to bear his personal
testimony. Chancing to hear a question addressed to a member of his
staff, General Lee turned with great courtesy, raised his gray hat in
response to the writer's salute, and gave him the desired information
in a voice entirely measured and composed. It was impossible to regard
a calmness so striking without strong sentiments of admiration, and
Lee's appearance and bearing at this moment will always remain vividly
impressed upon the writer's memory.

The Federal column was soon in dangerous proximity to the battery on
the hill, and it was obliged to retire at a gallop to escape capture.
An attempt was made to hold the ground near the headquarters, but a
close musketry-fire from the enemy rendered this also impossible--the
artillery was withdrawn--and General Lee, mounting his iron-gray,
slowly rode back, accompanied by a number of officers, toward his
inner line. He still remained entirely composed, and only said to one
of his staff, in his habitual tone: "This is a bad business, colonel."

"Well, colonel," he said afterward to another officer, "it has
happened as I told them it would at Richmond. The line has been
stretched until it has broken."

The Federal column was now pressing forward along the Cox Road toward
Petersburg, and General Lee continued to ride slowly back in the
direction of the city. He was probably recognized by officers of the
Federal artillery, or his _cortége_ drew their fire. The group was
furiously shelled, and one of the shells burst a few feet in rear
of him, killing the horse of an officer near him, cutting the
bridle-reins of others, and tearing up the ground in his immediate
vicinity. This incident seemed to arouse in General Lee his
fighting-blood. He turned his head over his right shoulder, his
cheeks became flushed, and a sudden flash of the eye showed with what
reluctance he retired before the fire directed upon him. No other
course was left him, however, and he continued to ride slowly toward
his inner line--a low earthwork in the suburbs of the city--where a
small force was drawn up, ardent, hopeful, defiant, and saluting the
shell, now bursting above them, with cheers and laughter. It was plain
that the fighting-spirit of the ragged troops remained unbroken; and
the shout of welcome with which they received Lee indicated their
unwavering confidence in him, despite the untoward condition of

Arrangements were speedily made to hold the inner line, if possible,
until night. To General Gordon had been intrusted the important duty
of defending the lines east of the city, and General Longstreet had
been directed to vacate the works north of James River, and march at
once to the lines of Petersburg. This officer made his appearance,
with his small force, at an early hour of the day; and, except that
the Federal army continued firing all along the front, no other active
operations took place. To those present on the Confederate side this
fact appeared strange. As the force beyond Hatcher's Run had been
completely defeated and dispersed, General Lee's numbers for the
defence of Petersburg on this day did not amount to much, if any, more
than fifteen thousand men. General Grant's force was probably one
hundred and fifty thousand, of whom about one hundred thousand might,
it would appear, have been concentrated in an hour or two directly in
front of the city. That, with this large force at his disposal, the
Federal commander did not at once attack, and so end all on that day,
surprised the Confederate troops, and still continues to surprise the

Night came at last, and General Lee began his retreat. He had sent,
early in the morning, a dispatch to the civil authorities, at
Richmond, informing them of the fact that his lines had been broken,
and that he would that night retreat from Petersburg. Orders had also
been sent to all the forces holding the lines north of James River
to move at once and join him, and, just at nightfall, the army at
Petersburg began crossing the Appomattox. This movement was effected
without interruption from the enemy; and the army, turning into what
is called the Hickory Road, leading up the north bank of the river,
moved on steadily through the half light. Its march was superintended
by Lee in person. He had stationed himself at the mouth of the Hickory
Road, and, standing with the bridle of his horse in his hand, gave his
orders. His bearing still remained entirely composed, and his voice
had lost none of its grave strength of intonation. When the rear was
well closed up, Lee mounted his horse, rode on slowly with his men;
and, in the midst of the glare and thunder of the exploding magazines
at Petersburg, the small remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia,
amounting to about fifteen thousand men, went on its way through the



On the morning of the 3d of April, General Lee, after allowing his
column a brief period of rest, continued his march up the north bank
of the Appomattox.

The aspect of affairs at this time was threatening, and there seemed
little ground to hope that the small force would be able to make good
its retreat to North Carolina. General Grant had a short and direct
route to the Danville Railroad--a considerable portion of his army was
already as far west as Dinwiddie Court-House--and it was obvious that
he had only to use ordinary diligence to completely cut General Lee
off in the vicinity of Burkesville Junction. A glance at the map will
indicate the advantages possessed by the Federal commander. He could
move over the chord, while Lee was compelled to follow the arc of the
circle. Unless good fortune assisted Lee and ill fortune impeded his
opponent, the event seemed certain; and it will be seen that these
conditions were completely reversed.

Under the circumstances here stated, it appeared reasonable to
expect in Lee and his army some depression of spirits. The fact was
strikingly the reverse. The army was in excellent spirits, probably
from the highly-agreeable contrast of the budding April woods with
the squalid trenches, and the long-unfelt joy of an unfettered march
through the fields of spring. General Lee shared this hopeful feeling
in a very remarkable degree. His expression was animated and buoyant,
his seat in the saddle erect and commanding, and he seemed to look
forward to assured success in the critical movement which he had

"I have got my army safe out of its breastworks," he said, on the
morning of this day, "and, in order to follow me, the enemy must
abandon his lines, and can derive no further benefit from his
railroads or James River."

The design of the Confederate commander has been already stated, but
an important condition upon which he depended for success has not been
mentioned. This was a supply of food for his army. The troops, during
the whole winter, had lived, from day to day, on quarter-rations,
doled out to them with a sparing hand; and, in moving now from
Petersburg, Lee saw that he must look to supplies somewhere upon his
line of retreat. These he had directed to be brought from the south
and deposited at Amelia Court-House; and the expectation of finding at
that point full subsistence for his men, had doubtless a great effect
in buoying up his spirits. An evil chance, however, reversed all the
hopes based on this anticipation. From fault or misapprehension, the
train loaded with supplies proceeded to Richmond without depositing
the rations at Amelia Court-House; there was no time to obtain other
subsistence, and when, after unforeseen delay, in consequence of
high water in the Appomattox, Lee, at the head of his half-starved
soldiers, reached Amelia Court-House, it was only to find that there
was nothing there for the support of his army, and to realize that a
successful retreat, under the circumstances, was wellnigh hopeless.

Those who accompanied the Southern army on this arduous march will
recall the dismayed expression of the emaciated faces at this
unlooked-for calamity; and no face wore a heavier shadow than that of
General Lee. The failure of the supply of rations completely paralyzed
him. He had intended, and was confident of his ability, to cut his way
through the enemy; but an army cannot march and fight without food.
It was now necessary to halt and send out foraging parties into the
impoverished region around. Meanwhile General Grant, with his great
force, was rapidly moving to bar his adversary's further advance;
the want of a few thousand pounds of bread and meat had virtually
terminated the war.

An anxious and haggard expression came to General Lee's face when he
was informed of this great misfortune; and, at once abandoning his
design of cutting his way through to North Carolina, he turned
westward, and shaped his march toward Lynchburg. This movement began
on the night of the 5th of April, and it would seem that General Grant
had had it in his power to arrest it by an attack on Lee at Amelia
Court-House. General Sheridan was in the immediate vicinity, with a
force of about eighteen thousand well-mounted cavalry, and, although
it was not probable that this command could effect any thing against
Lee's army of about the same number of infantry, it might still have
delayed him by constructing breastworks in his way, and thus giving
the Federal infantry time to come up and attack.

[Illustration: LEE AT THE SURRENDER.]

The opportunity of crushing his adversary at Amelia Court-House was
thus allowed to pass, and General Grant now pressed forward his
infantry, to bring Lee to bay, if possible, before he reached
Lynchburg. From this moment began the struggle between the adversaries
which was to continue, day and night, without intermission, for the
next four days. The phenomenon was here presented of an army, reduced
to less than twenty thousand men, holding at arm's-length an enemy
numbering about one hundred and fifty thousand, and very nearly
defeating every effort of the larger force to arrest their march. It
would not interest the reader, probably, to follow in minute detail
the circumstances of this melancholy retreat. From the importance of
the transactions, and the natural attention directed to them, both
North and South, they are doubtless familiar to all who will read
these pages. We shall only speak of one or two incidents of the
retreat, wherein General Lee appeared prominent personally, leaving
to the imagination of the reader the remainder of the long and tragic
struggle whose result decided the fate of the Confederacy.

General Grant doubtless saw now that every thing depended upon the
celerity of his movements, and, sending in advance his large body of
cavalry, he hastened forward as rapidly as possible with his infantry,
bent on interposing, if possible, a heavy force in his adversary's
front. Lee's movements were equally rapid. He seemed speedily to have
regained his old calmness, after the trying disappointment at Amelia
Court-House; and those who shared his counsels at this time can
testify that the idea of surrender scarcely entered his mind for a
moment--or, if it did so, was speedily banished. Under the pressure of
circumstances so adverse that they seemed calculated to break down the
most stubborn resolution. General Lee did not falter; and throughout
the disheartening scenes of the retreat, from the moment when he left
Amelia Court-House to the hour when his little column was drawing near
Appomattox, still continued to believe that the situation was not
desperate, and that he would be able to force his way through to

On the evening of the 6th, when the army was near Farmville, a sudden
attack was made by the Federal cavalry on the trains of the army
moving on a parallel road; and the small force of infantry guarding
them was broken and scattered. This occurrence took place while
General Lee was confronting a body of Federal infantry near Sailor's
Creek; and, taking a small brigade, he immediately repaired to the
scene of danger. The spectacle which followed was a very striking and
imposing one, and is thus described by one who witnessed it: "The
scene was one of gloomy picturesqueness and tragic interest. On a
plateau raised above the forest from which they had emerged, were
the disorganized troops of Ewell and Anderson, gathered in groups,
un-officered, and uttering tumultuous exclamations of rage and
defiance. Rising above the weary groups which had thrown themselves
upon the ground, were the grim barrels of cannon, in battery, ready
to fire, as soon as the enemy appeared. In front of all was the still
line of battle, just placed by Lee, and waiting calmly. General Lee
had rushed his infantry over, just at sunset, leading it in person,
his face animated, and his eye brilliant with the soldier's spirit of
fight, but his bearing unflurried as before. An artist desiring to
paint his picture, ought to have seen the old cavalier at this moment,
sweeping on upon his large iron-gray, whose mane and tail floated in
the wind; carrying his field-glass half-raised in his right hand; with
head erect, gestures animated, and in the whole face and form
the expression of the hunter close upon his game. The line once
interposed, he rode in the twilight among the disordered groups
above mentioned, and the sight of him aroused a tumult. Fierce cries
resounded on all sides, and, with hands clinched violently and raised
aloft, the men called on him to lead them against the enemy. 'It's
General Lee!' 'Uncle Robert!' 'Where's the man who won't follow Uncle
Robert?' I heard on all sides--the swarthy faces full of dirt and
courage, lit up every instant by the glare of the burning wagons.
Altogether, the scene was indescribable."

On the 7th the army pressed on beyond Farmville, still harassed as it
advanced by the Federal infantry and cavalry; but, in some of these
encounters, the pursuing force met with what was probably a very
unexpected discomfiture. General Fitz Lee, bringing up the rear of the
army with his force of about fifteen hundred cavalry on broken-down
horses, succeeded not only in repulsing the attacks of the large and
excellently-mounted force under General Sheridan, but achieved over
them highly-honorable successes. One such incident took place on the
7th, when General Gregg attacked with about six thousand horse, but
was met, defeated, and captured by General Fitz Lee, to the great
satisfaction of General Lee, who said to his son, General W.H.F. Lee:

"Keep your command together and in good spirits, general--don't let
them think of surrender--I will get you out of this."

On the 8th and 9th, however, this hope seemed unwarranted by the
circumstances, and the commander-in-chief appeared to be almost the
only human being who remained sanguine of the result. The hardships
of the retreat, arising chiefly from want of food, began to seriously
impair the resolution of the troops, and the scenes through which they
advanced were not calculated to raise their spirits. "These scenes,"
declares one who witnessed them, "were of a nature which can be
apprehended only by men who are thoroughly familiar with the harrowing
details of war. Behind and on either flank, a ubiquitous and
increasingly adventurous enemy--every mud-hole and every rise in the
road choked with blazing wagons--the air filled with the deafening
reports of ammunition exploding, and shells bursting when touched
by the flames, dense columns of smoke ascending to heaven from the
burning and exploding vehicles, exhausted men, worn-out mules and
horses, lying down side by side--gaunt Famine glaring hopelessly
from sunken, lack-lustre eyes--dead mules, dead horses, dead
men everywhere--death many times welcomed as God's messenger in
disguise--who can wonder if many hearts, tried in the fiery furnace of
four unparalleled years, and never hitherto found wanting, should have
quailed in presence of starvation, fatigue, sleeplessness, misery,
unintermitted for five or six days, and culminating in hopelessness?"
It cannot, however, be said with truth, that any considerable portion
of the Southern forces were greatly demoralized, to use the military
phrase, as the fighting of the last two days, when the suffering
of the retreat culminated, will show. The men were almost entirely
without food, and were glad to find a little corn to eat; but those
who were not physically unable longer to carry their muskets--and
the number of these latter was large--still marched and fought with
soldierly cheerfulness and resolution.

General Lee's spirits do not seem at any time to have flagged, and
up to a late period of the retreat he had not seriously contemplated
surrender. The necessity for this painful course came home to his
corps commanders first, and they requested General Pendleton, the
efficient chief of artillery of the army, to inform General Lee that
in their opinion further struggle was hopeless. General Pendleton
informed General Lee of this opinion of his officers, and it seemed to
communicate something like a shock to him.

"Surrender!" he exclaimed with a flash of the eye, "I have too many
good fighting-men for that!"

Nevertheless, the necessity of seriously contemplating this result was
soon forced upon him. Since the morning of the 7th, a correspondence
had taken place between himself and General Grant; and, as these notes
are interesting, we here present those which were exchanged up to the
night of the 8th:

_April_ 7, 1865.

_General R.E. Lee, commanding C.S.A._:

GENERAL: The result of the last week must convince you of the
hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern
Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my
duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion
of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the
Confederate Southern Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


_Lieutenant-General commanding Armies of the United States_.

_April_ 7, 1865.

GENERAL: I have received your note of this day. Though not entirely of
the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on
the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire
to avoid useless effusion of blood, and therefore, before considering
your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its

R.E. LEE, _General_.


_Commanding Armies of the United States_.

_April_ 8, 1865.

_To General R.E. Lee, commanding C.S.A_.:

GENERAL: Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of the same date,
asking the conditions on which I will accept the surrender of the Army
of Northern Virginia is just received.

In reply, I would say, that peace being my first desire, there is but
one condition that I insist upon, viz.:

That the men surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms
again against the Government of the United States until properly

I will meet you, or designate officers to meet any officers you may
name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the
purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of
the Army of Northern Virginia will he received.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

U.S. GRANT, _Lieutenant-General, commanding Armies of the United

_April_ 8, 1865.

GENERAL: I received, at a late hour, your note of to-day, in answer to
mine of yesterday.

I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern
Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do
not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender.

But as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I
desire to know whether your proposals would tend to that end.

I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the Army of
Northern Virginia; but so far as your proposition may affect the
Confederate States forces under my command and tend to the restoration
of peace, I should be pleased to meet you at 10 A.M. to-morrow, on
the old stage-road to Richmond, between the picket-lines of the two
armies. Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

R.E. LEE, _General C.S.A._


_Commanding Armies of the United States_.

[Illustration: Last Council of War.]

No reply was received to this last communication from General Lee,
on the evening of the 8th, and that night there was held, around a
bivouac-fire in the woods, the last council of war of the Army of
Northern Virginia. The scene was a very picturesque one. The red glare
from the bivouac-fire lit up the group, and brought out the details
of each figure. None were present but General Lee and Generals
Longstreet, Gordon, and Fitz Lee, all corps commanders. Generals
Gordon and Fitz Lee half reclined upon an army-blanket near the fire;
Longstreet sat upon a log, smoking; and General Lee stood by the
fire, holding in his hand the correspondence which had passed between
himself and General Grant. The question what course it was advisable
to pursue, was then presented, in a few calm words, by General Lee
to his corps commanders, and an informal conversation ensued. It was
finally agreed that the army should advance, on the next morning,
beyond Appomattox Court-House, and, if only General Sheridan's cavalry
were found in front, brush that force from its path, and proceed on
its way to Lynchburg. If, however, the Federal infantry was discovered
in large force beyond the Court-House, the attempt to break through
was to be abandoned, and a flag dispatched to General Grant requested
an interview for the arrangement of the terms of a capitulation of the
Southern army.

With a heavy heart, General Lee acquiesced in this plan of proceeding,
and soon afterward the council of war terminated--the corps commanders
saluting the commander-in-chief, who returned their bows with grave
courtesy, and separating to return to their own bivouacs.

In spite, however, of the discouraging and almost desperate condition
of affairs, General Lee seems still to have clung to the hope that he
might be able to cut his way through the force in his front. He woke
from brief slumber beside his bivouac-fire at about three o'clock in
the morning, and calling an officer of his staff, Colonel Venable,
sent him to General Gordon, commanding the front, to ascertain his
opinion, at that moment, of the probable result of an attack upon the
enemy. General Gordon's reply was, "Tell General Lee that my old corps
is reduced to a frazzle, and, unless I am supported by Longstreet
heavily, I do not think we can do any thing more."

General Lee received this announcement with an expression of great
feeling, and after a moment's silence said: "There is nothing left but
to go to General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths!"

His staff-officers had now gathered around him, and one of them said:
"What will history say of our surrendering if there is any possibility
of escape? Posterity will not understand it." To these words, General
Lee replied: "Yes, yes, they will not understand our situation; but
that is not the question. The question is, whether it is _right_; and,
if it is right, I take the responsibility."

His expression of buoyant hopefulness had now changed to one of deep
melancholy, and it was evident to those around him that the thought of
surrender was worse to him than the bitterness of death. For the first
time his courage seemed to give way, and he was nearly unmanned.
Turning to an officer standing near him, he said, his deep voice
filled with hopeless sadness: "How easily I could get rid of this, and
be at rest! I have only to ride along the line and all will be over!"

He was silent for a short time after uttering these words, and then
added, with a heavy sigh: "But it is our duty to live. What will
become of the women and children of the South, if we are not here to
protect them?"

The moment had now come when the fate of the retreat was to be
decided. To General Gordon, who had proved himself, in the last
operations of the war, a soldier of the first ability, had been
intrusted the command of the advance force; and this was now moved
forward against the enemy beyond Appomattox Court-House. Gordon
attacked with his infantry, supported by Fitz Lee's cavalry, and the
artillery battalion of Colonel Carter, and such was the impetuosity
of his advance that he drove the Federal forces nearly a mile. But
at that point he found himself in face of a body of infantry, stated
afterward, by Federal officers, to number about eighty thousand.
As his own force was less than five thousand muskets, he found it
impossible to advance farther; and the Federal lines were already
pressing forward to attack him, in overwhelming force, when the
movement suddenly ceased. Seeing the hopelessness of further
resistance. General Lee had sent a flag to General Grant, requesting
an interview looking to the arrangement, if possible, of terms of
surrender; and to this end the forward movement of the Federal forces
was ordered to be discontinued.

The two armies then remained facing each other during the interview
between the two commanders, which took place in a farm-house in
Appomattox Court-House. General Lee was accompanied only by Colonel
Marshall, of his staff, and on the Federal side only a few officers
were present. General Grant's demeanor was courteous, and that of
General Lee unmarked by emotion of any description. The hardships of
the retreat had somewhat impaired his strength, and his countenance
exhibited traces of fatigue; but no other change had taken place
in his appearance. He was erect, calm, courteous, and confined his
observations strictly to the disagreeable business before him. The
interview was brief; and, seated at a plain table, the two commanders
wrote and exchanged the accompanying papers:


_General R.E. Lee, commanding C.S.A._.:

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst.,
I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on
the following terms, to wit:

Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to
be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by
such officers as you may designate.

The officers to give their individual parole not to take arms against
the Government of the United States until properly exchanged; and each
company or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of
their commands.

The arms, artillery, and public property, to be parked and stacked,
and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This
will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private
horses or baggage.

This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their
homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they
observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.

Very respectfully,

U.S. GRANT, _Lieutenant-General_.


_April_ 9,1865.

_Lieut.-General U.S. Grant, commanding U.S.A_.:

GENERAL: I have received your letter of this date, containing the
terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by
you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your
letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will proceed to
designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R.E. LEE, _General_.

The two generals then bowed to each other, and, leaving the house,
General Lee mounted his gray, and rode back to his headquarters.

The scene as he passed through the army was affecting. The men
gathered round him, wrung his hand, and in broken words called
upon God to help him. This pathetic reception by his old soldiers
profoundly affected Lee. The tears came to his eyes, and, looking at
the men with a glance of proud feeling, he said, in suppressed tones,
which trembled slightly: "We have fought through the war together. I
have done the best I could for you. My heart is too full to say more!"

These few words seemed to be all he could utter. He rode on, and,
reaching his headquarters in the woods, disappeared in his tent,
whither we shall not follow him.

On the next day the Army of Northern Virginia, numbering about
twenty-six thousand men, of whom but seven thousand eight hundred
carried muskets, was formally surrendered, and the Confederate War was
a thing of the past.



General Lee, on the day following the capitulation of his army, issued
an address to his old soldiers, which they received and read with very
deep emotion. The address was in these words:


_April_ 10, 1865.

After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and
fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield
to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles, who have
remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result
from no distrust of them; but, feeling that valor and devotion could
accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have
attended the continuation of the contest, I have determined to avoid
the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them
to their countrymen.

By the terms of agreement, officers and men can return to their homes
and remain there until exchanged.

You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the
consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that
a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to
your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous
consideration of myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

R.E. LEE, _General_.

The painful arrangements connected with the capitulation were on this
day concluded; and General Lee prepared to set out on his return to
Richmond--like his men, a "paroled prisoner of the Army of Northern
Virginia." The parting between him and his soldiers was pathetic. He
exchanged with all near him a close pressure of the hand, uttered
a few simple words of farewell, and, mounting his iron-gray,
"Traveller," who had passed through all the fighting of the campaign
unharmed, rode slowly in the direction of Richmond. He was escorted by
a detachment of Federal cavalry, preceded only by a guidon; and the
party, including the officers who accompanied him, consisted of about
twenty-five horsemen. The _cortége_ was followed by several wagons
carrying the private effects of himself and his companions, and by
the well-known old black open vehicle which he had occasionally
used during the campaigns of the preceding year, when indisposition
prevented him from mounting his horse. In this vehicle it had been his
custom to carry stores for the wounded--it had never been used for
articles contributing to his personal convenience.

General Lee's demeanor on his way to Richmond was entirely composed,
and his thoughts seemed much more occupied by the unfortunate
condition of the poor people, at whose houses he stopped, than by
his own situation. When he found that all along his route the
impoverished people had cooked provisions in readiness for him, and
were looking anxiously for him, with every indication of love and
admiration, he said to one of his officers: "These good people are
kind--too kind. Their hearts are as full as when we began our first
campaigns in 1861. They do too much--more than they are able to
do--for us."

His soldierly habits remained unchanged, and he seemed unwilling to
indulge in any luxuries or comforts which could not be shared by the
gentlemen accompanying him At a house which he reached just as night
came, a poor woman had prepared an excellent bed for him, but, with a
courteous shake of the head, he spread his blanket, and slept upon the
floor. Stopping on the next day at the house of his brother, Charles
Carter Lee, in Powhatan, he spent the evening in conversation; but,
when bedtime came, left the house, in spite of the fact that it had
begun to rain, and, crossing the road into the woods, took up his
quarters for the night on the hard planks of his old black vehicle. On
the route he exhibited great solicitude about a small quantity of
oats which he had brought with him, in one of the wagons, for his old
companion, "Traveller," mentioning it more than once, and appearing
anxious lest it should be lost or used by some one.


The party came in sight of Richmond at last, and, two or three miles
from the city, General Lee rode ahead of his escort, accompanied only
by a few officers, and, crossing the pontoon bridge below the ruins of
Mayo's bridge, which had been destroyed when the Confederate forces
retreated, entered the capital. The spectacle which met his eyes
at this moment must have been exceedingly painful. In the great
conflagration which had taken place on the morning of the 3d of April,
a large portion of the city had been burned; and, as General Lee rode
up Main Street, formerly so handsome and attractive, he saw on either
hand only masses of blackened ruins. As he rode slowly through the
opening between these masses of _débris_, he was recognized by the few
persons who were on the street, and instantly the intelligence of his
presence spread through the city. The inhabitants hastened from their
houses and flocked to welcome him, saluting him with cheers and the
waving of hats and handkerchiefs. He seemed desirous, however, of
avoiding this ovation, and, returning the greeting by simply raising
his hat, rode on and reached his house on Franklin Street, where,
respecting his desire for privacy under circumstances so painful, his
admirers did not intrude upon him.

We have presented this brief narrative of the incidents attending
General Lee's return to his home after the surrender, to show with
what simplicity and good sense he accepted his trying situation. A
small amount of diplomacy--sending forward one of his officers to
announce his intended arrival; stopping for a few moments as he
ascended Main Street; making an address to the citizens who first
recognized him, and thus affording time for a crowd to assemble--these
proceedings on the part of General Lee would have resulted in an
ovation such as a vanquished commander never before received at the
hands of any people. Nothing, however, was less desired by General Lee
than this tumultuous reception. The native modesty of the man not only
shrunk from such an ovation; he avoided it for another reason--the
pretext it would probably afford to the Federal authorities to proceed
to harsh measures against the unfortunate persons who took part in it.
In accordance with these sentiments, General Lee had not announced his
coming, had not stopped as he rode through the city; and now, shutting
himself up in his house, signified his desire to avoid a public
reception, and to be left in privacy.

This policy he is well known to have pursued from that time to the end
of his life. He uniformly declined, with great courtesy, but firmly,
invitations to attend public gatherings of any description, where his
presence might arouse passions or occasion discussions connected with
the great contest in which he had been the leader of the South. A
mind less firm and noble would doubtless have yielded to this great
temptation. It is sweet to the soldier, who has been overwhelmed and
has yielded up his sword, to feel that the love and admiration of a
people still follow him; and to have the consolation of receiving
public evidences of this unchanged devotion. That this love of the
Southern people for Lee deeply touched him, there can be no doubt; but
it did not blind him to his duty as the representative individual of
the South. Feeling that nothing was now left the Southern people but
an honest acceptance of the situation, and a cessation, as far as
possible, of all rancor toward the North, he refused to encourage
sentiments of hostility between the two sections, and did all in his
power to restore amicable feeling. "I am very glad to learn," he said
in a note to the present writer, "that your life of General Jackson
is of the character you describe. I think all topics or questions
calculated to excite angry discussion or hostile feelings should be
avoided." These few words convey a distinct idea of General Lee's
views and feelings. He had fought to the best of his ability for
Southern independence of the North; the South had failed in the
struggle, and it was now, in his opinion, the duty of every good
citizen to frankly acquiesce in the result, and endeavor to avoid all
that kept open the bleeding wounds of the country.

His military career had placed him, in the estimation of the first men
of his time, among the greatest soldiers of history; but the dignity
and moderation of the course pursued by him, from the end of the war
to the time of his death, will probably remain, in the opinion of both
his friends and enemies, the noblest illustration of the character of
the man.



In the concluding pages of this volume we shall not be called upon to
narrate either military or political events. With the surrender at
Appomattox Court-House the Confederate War ended--no attempt was made
by General Johnston or other commanders to prolong it--in that great
whirlpool all hopes of further resistance disappeared.

We have, therefore, now no task before us but to follow General Lee
into private life, and present a few details of his latter years, and
his death. These notices will be brief, but will not, we hope, be
devoid of interest. The soldier who had so long led the Confederate
armies was to enter in his latter days upon a new field of labor; and,
if in this field he won no new glories, he at least displayed the
loftiest virtues, and exhibited that rare combination of greatness and
gentleness which makes up a character altogether lovely.

Adhering to the resolution, formed in 1861, never again to draw his
sword except in defence of Virginia, General Lee, after the surrender,
sought for some occupation, feeling the necessity, doubtless, of in
some manner employing his energies. He is said to have had offered to
him, but to have courteously declined, estates in England and Ireland;
and to have also declined the place of commercial agent of the South
in New York, which would have proved exceedingly lucrative. In the
summer of 1865, however, he accepted an offer more congenial to
his feelings--that of the presidency of Washington College at
Lexington--and in the autumn of that year entered upon his duties,
which he continued to perform with great energy and success to the
day of his death. Of the excellent judgment and great administrative
capacity which he displayed in this new field of labor, we have never
heard any question. It was the name and example, however, of Lee which
proved so valuable, drawing to the college more than five hundred
students from all portions of the South, and some even from the North.

Upon the subject of General Lee's life at Washington College, a more
important authority than that of the present writer will soon speak.
In the "Memorial Volume," whose publication will probably precede or
immediately follow the appearance of this work, full details will, no
doubt, be presented of this interesting period. The subject possesses
rare interest, and the facts presented will, beyond all question,
serve to bring out new beauties in a character already regarded with
extraordinary love and admiration by men of all parties and opinions.
To the volume in question we refer the reader who desires the
full-length portrait of one concerning whom too much cannot be

During the period extending between the end of the war and General
Lee's death, he appeared in public but two or three times--once at
Washington, as a "witness" before a Congressional committee, styled
"The Reconstruction Committee," to inquire into the condition of
things in the South; again, as a witness on the proposed trial of
President Davis; and perhaps on one or two additional occasions not of
great interest or importance. His testimony was not taken on the trial
of the President, which was deferred and finally abandoned; but he
was subjected before the Washington committee to a long and searching
examination, in which it is difficult to decide whether his own
calmness, good sense, and outspoken frankness, or the bad taste of
some of the questions prepounded to him, were the more remarkable.
As the testimony of General Lee, upon this occasion, presents a
full exposition of his views upon many of the most important points
connected with the condition of the South, and the "reconstruction"
policy, a portion of the newspaper report of his evidence is here
given, as both calculated to interest the reader, and to illustrate
the subject.

The examination of General Lee took place in March, 1866, and the
following is the main portion of it:

General ROBERT E. LEE, sworn and examined by Mr. Howard:

Question. Where is your present residence?

Answer. Lexington, Va.

Q. How long have you resided in Lexington?

A. Since the 1st of October last--nearly five months.


Q. Are you acquainted with the state of feeling among what we call
secessionists in Virginia, at present, toward the Government of the
United States?

A. I do not know that I am; I have been living very retired, and have
had but little communication with politicians; I know nothing more
than from my own observation, and from such facts as have come to my

Q. From your observation, what is your opinion as to the loyalty
toward the Government of the United States among the secession portion
of the people of that State at this time?

A. So far as has come to my knowledge, I do not know of a single
person who either feels or contemplates any resistance to the
Government of the United States, or indeed any opposition to it; no
word has reached me to either purpose.

Q. From what you have observed among them, is it your opinion that
they are friendly toward the Government of the United States, and
that they will coöperate to sustain and uphold the Government for the

A. I believe that they entirely acquiesce in the Government of the
United States, and, so far as I have heard any one express an opinion,
they are for coöperating with President Johnson in his policy.

Q. In his policy in regard to what?

A. His policy in regard to the restoration of the whole country; I
have heard persons with whom I have conversed express great confidence
in the wisdom of his policy of restoration, and they seem to look
forward to it as a hope of restoration.

Q. How do they feel in regard to that portion of the people of the
United States who have been forward and zealous in the prosecution of
the war against the rebellion?

A. Well, I don't know as I have heard anybody express any opinion in
regard to it; as I said before, I have not had much communication with
politicians in the country, if there are any; every one seems to be
engaged in his own affairs, and endeavoring to restore the civil
government of the State; I have heard no expression of a sentiment
toward any particular portion of the country.

Q. How do the secessionists feel in regard to the payment of the debt
of the United States contracted in the prosecution of the war?

A. I have never heard anyone speak on the subject; I suppose they must
expect to pay the taxes levied by the Government; I have heard them
speak in reference to the payment of taxes, and of their efforts to
raise money to pay taxes, which, I suppose, are for their share of the
debt; I have never heard any one speak in opposition to the payment of
taxes, or of resistance to their payment; their whole effort has been
to try and raise the money for the payment of the taxes.


Q. From your knowledge of the state of public feeling in Virginia, is
it your opinion that the people would, if the question were left to
them, repudiate and reject that debt?

A. I never heard any one speak on that subject; but, from my knowledge
of the people, I believe that they would be in favor of the payment of
all just debts.

Q. Do they, in your opinion, regard that as a just debt?

A. I do not know what their opinion is on the subject of that
particular debt; I have never heard any opinion expressed contrary
to it; indeed, as I said in the beginning, I have had very little
discussion or intercourse with the people; I believe the people
will pay the debts they are called upon to pay; I say that from my
knowledge of the people generally.

Q. Would they pay that debt, or their portion of it, with as much
alacrity as people ordinarily pay their taxes to their Government?

A. I do not know that they would make any distinction between the two.
The taxes laid by the Government, so far as I know, they are prepared
to pay to the best of their ability. I never heard them make any

Q. What is the feeling of that portion of the people of Virginia in
regard to the payment of the so-called Confederate debt?

A. I believe, so far as my opinion goes--I have no facts to go upon,
but merely base my opinion on the knowledge I have of the people--that
they would be willing to pay the Confederate debt, too.

Q. You think they would?

A. I think they would, if they had the power and ability to do so. I
have never heard any one in the State, with whom I have conversed,
speak of repudiating any debt.

Q. I suppose the Confederate debt is almost entirely valueless, even
in the market in Virginia?

A. Entirely so, as far as I know. I believe the people generally look
upon it as lost entirely. I never heard any question on the subject.

Q. Do you recollect the terms of the Confederate bonds--when they were
made payable?

A. I think I have a general recollection that they were made payable
six months after a declaration of peace.

Q. Six months after the ratification of a treaty of peace between the
United States and the Confederate Government?

A. I think they ran that way.

Q. So that the bonds are not due yet by their terms?

A. I suppose, unless it is considered that there is a peace now, they
are not due.


Q. How do the people of Virginia, secessionists more particularly,
feel toward the freedmen?

A. Every one with whom I associate expresses the kindest feelings
toward the freedmen. They wish to see them get on in the world, and
particularly to take up some occupation for a living, and to turn
their hands to some work. I know that efforts have been made among the
farmers near where I live to induce them to engage for the year at
regular wages.

Q. Do you think there is a willingness on the part of their old
masters to give them fair living wages for their labor?

A. I believe it is so; the farmers generally prefer those servants who
have been living with them before; I have heard them express their
preferences for the men whom they knew, who had lived with them
before, and their wish to get them to return to work.

Q. Are you aware of the existence of any combination among the
"whites" to keep down the wages of the "blacks?"

A. I am not; I have heard that in several counties the land-owners
have met in order to establish a uniform rate of wages, but I never
heard, nor do I know of any combination to keep down wages or
establish any rule which they did not think fair; the means of paying
wages in Virginia are very limited now, and there is a difference of
opinion as to how much each person is able to pay.

Q. How do they feel in regard to the education of the blacks? Is there
a general willingness to have them educated?

A. Where I am, and have been, the people have exhibited a willingness
that the blacks should be educated, and they express an opinion that
it would be better for the blacks and better for the whites.

Q. General, you are very competent to judge of the capacity of black
men for acquiring knowledge--I want your opinion on that capacity as
compared with the capacity of white men?

A. I do not know that I am particularly qualified to speak on that
subject, as you seem to intimate, but I do not think that the black
man is as capable of acquiring knowledge as the white man. There are
some more apt than others. I have known some to acquire knowledge and
skill in their trade or profession. I have had servants of my own who
learned to read and write very well.

Q. Do they show a capacity to obtain knowledge of mathematics and the
exact sciences?

A. I have no knowledge on that subject; I am merely acquainted with
those who have learned the common rudiments of education.

Q. General, are you aware of the existence among the blacks of
Virginia, anywhere within the limits of the State, of combinations,
having in view the disturbance of the peace, or any improper or
unlawful acts?

A. I am not; I have seen no evidence of it, and have heard of none;
wherever I have been they have been quiet and orderly; not disposed to
work; or, rather, not disposed to any continuous engagement to work,
but just very short jobs to provide them with the immediate means of

Q. Has the colored race generally as great love of money and property
as the white race possesses?

A. I do not think it has; the blacks with whom I am acquainted look
more to the present time than to the future.

Q. Does that absence of a lust of money and property arise more from
the nature of the negro than from his former servile condition?

A. Well, it may be in some measure attributed to his former condition;
they are an amiable, social race; they like their ease and comfort,
and I think look more to their present than to their future condition.


Q. In the event of a war between the United States and any foreign
power, 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 that opportunity?

A. I cannot answer with any certainty on that point; 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.

Q. Do you not frequently hear, in your intercourse with secessionists
in Virginia, expressions of a hope that such a war may break out?

A. I cannot say that I have heard it; on the contrary, I have heard
persons--I do not know whether you could call them secessionists or
not, I mean those people in Virginia with whom I associate--express
the hope that the country may not be led into a war.

Q. In such an event, do you not think that that class of people whom I
call secessionists would join the common enemy?

A. It is possible; it depends upon the feeling of the individual.

Q. If it is a fair question--you may answer or not, as you
choose--what, in such an event, might be your choice?

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

Q. And you cannot foresee that such would be your inclination in such
an event?

A. No; I can only judge from the past; I do not know what
circumstances it may produce; I cannot pretend to foresee events; so
far as I know the feeling of the people of Virginia, they wish for

Q. During the civil war, was it not contemplated by the Government
of the Confederacy to form an alliance with some foreign nation if

A. I believe it was their wish to do so if they could; it was their
wish to have the Confederate Government recognized as an independent
government; I have no doubt that if it could have made favorable
treaties it would have done so, but I know nothing of the policy of
the government; I had no hand or part in it; I merely express my own

Q. The question I am about to put to you, you may answer or not, as
you choose. Did you take an oath of fidelity, or allegiance, to the
Confederate Government?

A. 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 have
taken it; but I do not recollect whether it was or not.

Q. (By Mr. Blow.) In reference to the effect of President Johnson's
policy, if it were adopted, would there be any thing like a return
of the old feeling? I ask that because you used the expression
"acquiescing in the result."

A. I believe it would take time for the feelings of the people to be
of that cordial nature to the Government they were formerly.

Q. Do you think that their preference for that policy arises from a
desire to have peace and good feeling in the country, or from the
probability of their regaining political power?


A. So far as I know the desire of the people of the South, it is for
restoration of their civil government, and they look upon the policy
of President Johnson as the one which would most clearly and most
surely reëstablish it.


Q. Do you see any change among the poorer classes in Virginia, in
reference to industry? Are they as much, or more, interested in
developing their material interests than they were?

A. I have not observed any change; every one now has to attend to his
business for his support.

Q. The poorer classes are generally hard at work, are they?

A. So far as I know, they are; I know nothing to the contrary.

Q. Is there any difference in their relations to the colored people?
Is their prejudice increased or diminished?

A. I have noticed no change; so far as I do know the feelings of all
the people of Virginia, they are kind to the colored people; I have
never heard any blame attributed to them as to the present condition
of things, or any responsibility.

Q. There are very few colored laborers employed, I suppose?

A. Those who own farms have employed, more or less, one or two colored
laborers; some are so poor that they have to work themselves.

Q. Can capitalists and workingmen from the North go into any portion
of Virginia with which you are familiar and go to work among the

A. I do not know of any thing to prevent them. Their peace and
pleasure there would depend very much on their conduct. If they
confined themselves to their own business and did not interfere to
provoke controversies with their neighbors, I do not believe they
would be molested.

Q. There is no desire to keep out capital?

A. Not that I know of. On the contrary, they are very anxious to get
capital into the State.

Q. You see nothing of a disposition to prevent such a thing?

A. I have seen nothing, and do not know of any thing, as I said
before; the manner in which they would be received would depend
entirely upon the individuals themselves; they might make themselves
obnoxious, as you can understand.

Q. (By Mr. Howard.) Is there not a general dislike of Northern men
among secessionists?

A. I suppose they would prefer not to associate with them; I do not
know that they would select them as associates.

Q. Do they avoid and ostracize them socially?

A. They might avoid them; they would not select them as associates
unless there was some reason; I do not know that they would associate
with them unless they became acquainted; I think it probable they
would not admit them into their social circles.


Q. (By Mr. Blow.) What is the position of the colored men in Virginia
with reference to persons they work for? Do you think they would
prefer to work for Northern or Southern men?

A. I think it very probable they would prefer the Northern man,
although I have no facts to go upon.

Q. That having been stated very frequently in reference to the cotton
States, does it result from a bad treatment on the part of the
resident population, or from the idea that they will be more fairly
treated by the new-comers? What is your observation in that respect in
regard to Virginia?

A. I have no means of forming an opinion; I do not know any case in
Virginia; I know of numbers of the blacks engaging with their old
masters, and I know of many to prefer to go off and look for new
homes; whether it is from any dislike of their former masters, or from
any desire to change, or they feel more free and independent, I don't


Q. What is your opinion in regard to the material interests of
Virginia; do you think they will be equal to what they were before the
rebellion under the changed aspect of affairs?

A. It will take a long time for them to reach their former standard; I
think that after some years they will reach it, and I hope exceed it;
but it cannot be immediately, in my opinion.

Q. It will take a number of years?

A. It will take a number of years, I think.

Q. On the whole, the condition of things in Virginia is hopeful both
in regard to its material interests and the future peace of the

A. I have heard great hopes expressed, and there is great cheerfulness
and willingness to labor.

Q. Suppose this policy of President Johnson should be all you
anticipate, and that you should also realize all that you expect in
the improvement of the material interests, do you think that the
result of that will be the gradual restoration of the old feeling?

A. That will be the natural result, I think; and I see no other way in
which that result can be brought about.

Q. There is a fear in the public mind that the friends of the policy
in the South adopt it because they see in it the means of repairing
the political position which they lost in the recent contest. Do you
think that that is the main idea with them, or that they merely look
to it, as you say, as the best means of restoring civil government and
the peace and prosperity of their respective States?

A. As to the first point you make, I do not know that I ever heard any
person speak upon it; I never heard the points separated; I have heard
them speak generally as to the effect of the policy of President
Johnson; the feeling is, so far as I know now, that there is not that
equality extended to the Southern States which is enjoyed by the

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

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

Q. That is the feeling down there?

A. Yes; and they think it is the best policy; those who reflect upon
the subject and are able to judge.

Q. I understand it to be your opinion that generosity and liberality
toward the entire South would be the surest means of regaining their
good opinion?

A. Yes, and the speediest.

Q. (By Mr. Howard.) I understand you to say generally that you had no
apprehension of any combination among the leading secessionists to
renew the war, or any thing of the kind?

A. I have no reason in the world to think so.

Q. Have you heard that subject talked over among any of the

A. No, sir; I have not; I have not heard that matter even suggested.

Q. Let me put another hypothetical state of things. Suppose the
executive government of the United States should be held by a
President who, like Mr. Buchanan, rejected the right of coercion, so
called, and suppose a Congress should exist here entertaining the
same political opinions, thus presenting to the once rebel States the
opportunity to again secede from the Union, would they, or not, in
your opinion, avail themselves of that opportunity, or some of them?

A. I suppose it would depend: upon the circumstances existing at the
time; if their feelings should remain embittered, and their affections
alienated from the rest of the States, I think it very probable they
might do so, provided they thought it was to their interests.

Q. Do you not think that at the present time there is a deep-seated
feeling of dislike toward the Government of the United States on the
part of the secessionists?

A. I do not know that there is any deep-seated dislike; I think it is
probable there may be some animosity still existing among the people
of the South.

Q. Is there not a deep-seated feeling of disappointment and chagrin at
the result of the war?

A. I think that at the time they were disappointed at the result of
the war.

Q. Do you mean to be understood as saying that there is not a
condition of discontent against the Government of the United States
among the secessionists generally?

A. I know none.

Q. Are you prepared to say that they respect the Government of the
United States, and the loyal people of the United States, so much at
the present time as to perform their duties as citizens of the United
States, and of the States, faithfully and well?

A. I believe that they will perform all the duties that they are
required to perform; I think that is the general feeling so far as I

Q. Do you think it would be practicable to convict a man in Virginia
of treason for having taken part in this rebellion against the
Government by a Virginian jury without packing it with direct
reference to a verdict of guilty?

A. On that point I have no knowledge, and I do not know what they
would consider treason against the United States--if you refer to past

Mr. Howard: Yes, sir.

Witness: I have no knowledge what their views on that subject in the
past are.

Q. You understand my question. Suppose a jury was impanelled in your
own neighborhood, taken by lot, would it be possible to convict, for
instance, Jefferson Davis, for having levied war upon the United
States, and thus having committed the crime of treason?

A. I think it is very probable that they would not consider he had
committed treason.


Q. Suppose the jury should be clearly and plainly instructed by the
Court that such an act of war upon the part of Mr. Davis or any other
leading man constituted the crime of treason under the Constitution of
the United States, would the jury be likely to heed that instruction,
and, if the facts were plainly in proof before them, convict the

A. I do not know, sir, what they would do on that question.

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

A. I do not think that they so consider it.

Q. 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 the feelings they would have?

A. 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 individuals, 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; yes, sir, I think they would
consider the act of the State as legitimate; that they were merely
using the reserved rights, which they had a right to do.

Q. 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 are?

A. That was my view; 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.

Q. And that you felt to be your justification in taking the course you

A. Yes, sir.

Q. I have been told, general, that you have remarked to some of your
friends, in conversation, that you were rather wheedled or cheated
into that course by politicians?

A. I do not recollect ever making any such remark; I do not think I
ever made it.

Q. If there be any other matter about which you wish to speak on this
occasion, do so, freely.

A. Only in reference to that last question you put to me. I may have
said and may have believed that the positions 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.

Q. That is probably the origin of the whole thing.

A. 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.

Q. You say that you do not recollect having sworn allegiance and
fidelity to the Confederate Government?

A. I do not recollect it, nor do I know it was ever required. I was
regularly commissioned in the army of the Confederate States, but I do
not really recollect that that oath was required. If it was required,
I have no doubt I took it; or, if it had been required, I would have
taken it.

Q. Is there any other matter which you desire to state to the

A. No, sir; I am ready to answer any question which you think proper
to put to me.


Q. How would an amendment to the Constitution be received by the
secessionists, or by the people at large, allowing the colored people,
or certain classes of them, to exercise the right of voting at

A. I think, so far as I can form an opinion, in such an event they
would object.

Q. They would object to such an amendment?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Suppose an amendment should nevertheless be adopted, conferring on
the blacks the right of suffrage, would that, in your opinion, lead to
scenes of violence or breaches of the peace between the two races in

A. I think it would excite unfriendly feelings between the two races;
I cannot pretend to say to what extent it would go, but that would be
the result.

Q. Are you acquainted with the proposed amendment now pending in the
Senate of the United States?

A. No, sir, I am not; I scarcely ever read a paper. [The substance
of the proposed amendment was here explained to the witness by Mr.
Conkling.] So far as I can see, I do not think that the State of
Virginia would object to it.

Q. Would she consent, under any circumstances, to allow the
black people to vote, even if she were to gain a large number of
representatives in Congress?

A. That would depend upon her interests; if she had the right of
determining that, I do not see why she would object; if it were to her
interest to admit these people to vote, that might overrule any other
objection that she had to it.

Q. What, in your opinion, would be the practical result? Do you think
that Virginia would consent to allow the negro to vote?

A. I think that at present she would accept the smaller
representation; I do not know what the future may develop; if it
should be plain to her that these persons will vote properly and
understandingly, she might admit them to vote.

Q. (By Mr. Blow.) Do you not think it would turn a good deal, in the
cotton States, upon the value of the labor of the black people? Upon
the amount which they produce?

A. In a good many States in the South, and in a good many counties in
Virginia, if the black people were allowed to vote, it would, I think,
exclude proper representation--that is, proper, intelligent people
would not be elected, and, rather than suffer that injury, they would
not let them vote at all.

Q. Do you not think that the question as to whether any Southern State
would allow the colored people the right of suffrage in order to
increase representation would depend a good deal on the amount which
the colored people might contribute to the wealth of the State, in
order to secure two things--first, the larger representation, and,
second, the influence desired from those persons voting?

A. I think they would determine the question more in reference
to their opinion as to the manner in which those votes would be
exercised, whether they consider those people qualified to vote; my
own opinion is, that at this time they cannot vote intelligently, and
that giving them the right of suffrage would open the door to a good
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.

The above extract presents the main portion of General Lee's
testimony, and is certainly an admirable exposition of the clear
good sense and frankness of the individual. Once or twice there is
obviously an under-current of dry satire, as in his replies upon the
subject of the Confederate bonds. When asked whether he remembered at
what time these bonds were made payable, he replied that his "general
recollection was, that they were made payable six months after
a declaration of peace." The correction was at once made by his
interrogator in the words "six months after _the ratification of a
treaty of peace_" etc. "I think they ran that way," replied General
Lee. "So that," retorted his interrogator, "the bonds are not yet due
by their terms?" General Lee's reply was, "I suppose, _unless it is
considered that there is a peace now, they are not due_."

This seems to have put an abrupt termination to the examination on
that point. To the question whether he had taken an oath of allegiance
to the Confederate Government, he replied: "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 have taken it."

If this reply of General Lee be attentively weighed by the reader,
some conception may be formed of the bitter pang which he must have
experienced in sending in, as he did, to the Federal Government,
his application for pardon. The fact cannot be concealed that this
proceeding on the part of General Lee was a subject of deep regret to
the Southern people; but there can be no question that his motive was
disinterested and noble, and that he presented, in so doing, the most
remarkable evidence of the true greatness of his character. He had no
personal advantage to expect from a pardon; cared absolutely nothing
whether he were "pardoned" or not; and to one so proud, and so
thoroughly convinced of the justice of the cause in which he had
fought, to appear as a supplicant must have been inexpressibly
painful. He, nevertheless, took this mortifying step--actuated
entirely by that sense of duty which remained with him to the last,
overmastering every other sentiment of his nature. He seems in this,
as in many other things, to have felt the immense import of his
example. The old soldiers of his army, and thousands of civilians,
were obliged to apply for amnesty, or remain under civic disability.
Brave men, with families depending upon them, had been driven to this
painful course, and General Lee seems to have felt that duty to
his old comrades demanded that he, too, should swallow this bitter
draught, and share their humiliation as he had shared their dangers
and their glory. If this be not the explanation of the motives
controlling General Lee's action, the writer is unable to account for
the course which he pursued. That it is the sole explanation, the
writer no more doubts than he doubts the fact of his own existence.



For about five years--from the latter part of 1865 nearly to the end
of 1870--General Lee continued to concentrate his entire attention and
all his energies upon his duties as President of Washington College,
to which his great name, and the desire of Southern parents to have
their sons educated under a guide so illustrious, attracted, as we
have said, more than five hundred students. The sedentary nature of
these occupations was a painful trial to one so long accustomed to
lead a life of activity; but it was not in the character of the
individual to allow personal considerations to interfere with the
performance of his duty; and the laborious supervision of the
education of this large number of young gentlemen continued, day after
day, and year after year, to occupy his mind and his time, to the
exclusion, wellnigh, of every other thought. His personal popularity
with the students was very great, and it is unnecessary to add that
their respect for him was unbounded. By the citizens of Lexington, and
especially the graver and more pious portion, he was regarded with a
love and admiration greater than any felt for him during the progress
of his military career.

This was attributable, doubtless, to the franker and clearer
exhibition by General Lee, in his latter years, of that extraordinary
gentleness and sweetness, culminating in devoted Christian piety,
which--concealed from all eyes, in some degree, during the war--now
plainly revealed themselves, and were evidently the broad foundation
and controlling influences of his whole life and character. To
speak first of his gentleness and moderation in all his views and
utterances. Of these eminent virtues--eminent and striking, above
all, in a defeated soldier with so much to embitter him--General Lee
presented a very remarkable illustration. The result of the war seemed
to have left his great soul calm, resigned, and untroubled by the
least rancor. While others, not more devoted to the South, permitted
passion and sectional animosity to master them, and dictate acts and
expressions full of bitterness toward the North, General Lee refrained
systematically from every thing of that description; and by simple
force of greatness, one would have said, rose above all prejudices and
hatreds of the hour, counselling, and giving in his own person to all
who approached him the example of moderation and Christian charity. He
aimed to keep alive the old Southern traditions of honor and virtue;
but not that sectional hatred which could produce only evil. To a lady
who had lost her husband in the war, and, on bringing her two sons to
the college, indulged in expressions of great bitterness toward the
North, General Lee said, gently: "Madam, do not train up your children
in hostility to the Government of the United States. Remember that we
are one country now. Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and
bring them up to be Americans."

A still more suggestive exhibition of his freedom from rancor was
presented in an interview which is thus described:

    "One day last autumn the writer saw General Lee standing at his
    gate, talking pleasantly to an humbly-clad man, who seemed very
    much pleased at the cordial courtesy of the great chieftain, and
    turned off, evidently delighted, as we came up. After exchanging
    salutations, the general said, pointing to the retreating
    form, 'That is one of our old soldiers, who is in necessitous
    circumstances.' I took it for granted that it was some veteran
    Confederate, when the noble-hearted chieftain quietly added,
    'He fought on the other side, but we must not think of that.' I
    afterward ascertained--not from General Lee, for he never alluded
    to his charities--that he had not only spoken kindly to this 'old
    soldier' who had 'fought on the other side,' but had sent him on
    his way rejoicing in a liberal contribution to his necessities."

Of the extent of this Christian moderation another proof was given
by the soldier, at a moment when he might not unreasonably have been
supposed to labor under emotions of the extremest bitterness. Soon
after his return to Richmond, in April, 1865, when the _immedicabile
vulnus_ of surrender was still open and bleeding, a gentleman was
requested by the Federal commander in the city to communicate to
General Lee the fact that he was about to be indicted in the United
States courts for treason.[1] In acquitting himself of his commission,
the gentleman expressed sentiments of violent indignation at such a
proceeding. But these feelings General Lee did not seem to share. The
threat of arraigning him as a traitor produced no other effect upon
him than to bring a smile to his lips; and, taking the hand of his
friend, as the latter rose to go, he said, in his mildest tones: "We
must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed
since the war began that I have not prayed for them."

[Footnote 1: This was afterward done by one of the Federal judges, but
resulted in nothing.]

The incidents here related define the views and feelings of General
Lee as accurately as they could be set forth in a whole volume. The
defeated commander, who could open his poor purse to "one of _our_ old
soldiers who _fought on the other side_," and pray daily during the
bitterest of conflicts for his enemies, must surely have trained his
spirit to the perfection of Christian charity.

Of the strength and controlling character of General Lee's religious
convictions we have more than once spoken in preceding pages of this
volume. These now seemed to exert a more marked influence over his
life, and indeed to shape every action and utterance of the man.
During the war he had exhibited much greater reserve upon this the
most important of all subjects which can engage the attention of
a human being; and, although he had been from an early period, we
believe, a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal Church, he
seldom discussed religious questions, or spoke of his own feelings,
presenting in this a marked contrast, as we have said, to his
illustrious associate General Jackson.

Even during the war, however, as the reader has seen in our notices of
his character at the end of 1863, General Lee's piety revealed itself
in conversations with his chaplains and other good men; and was not
concealed from the troops, as on the occasion of the prayer-meeting
in the midst of the fighting at Mine Run. On another occasion, when
reviewing his army near Winchester, he was seen to raise his hat to a
chaplain with the words, "I salute the Church of God;" and again, near
Petersburg, was observed kneeling in prayer, a short distance from
the road, as his troops marched by. Still another incident of the
period--that of the war--will be recorded here in the words of the
Rev. J. William Jones, who relates it:

    "Not long before the evacuation of Petersburg, the writer was one
    day distributing tracts along the trenches, when he perceived
    a brilliant cavalcade approaching. General Lee--accompanied by
    General John B. Gordon, General A.P. Hill, and other general
    officers, with their staffs--was inspecting our lines and
    reconnoitring those of the enemy. The keen eye of Gordon
    recognized, and his cordial grasp detained, the humble
    tract-distributor, as he warmly inquired about his work. General
    Lee at once reined in his horse and joined in the conversation,
    the rest of the party gathered around, and the humble colporteur
    thus became the centre of a group of whose notice the highest
    princes of earth might well be proud. General Lee asked if we ever
    had calls for prayer-books, and said that if we would call at his
    headquarters he would give us some for distribution--'that some
    friend in Richmond had given him a new prayer-book, and, upon his
    saying that he would give his old one, that he had used ever since
    the Mexican War, to some soldier, the friend had offered him a
    dozen new books for the old one, and he had, of course, accepted
    so good an offer, and now had twelve instead of one to give away.'
    We called at the appointed hour. The general had gone out on some
    important matter, but (even amid his pressing duties) had left
    the prayer-books with a member of his staff, with instructions
    concerning them. He had written on the fly-leaf of each,
    'Presented by R.E. Lee,' and we are sure that those of the gallant
    men to whom they were given who survive the war will now cherish
    them as precious legacies, and hand them down as heirlooms in
    their families."

These incidents unmistakably indicate that General Lee concealed,
under the natural reserve of his character, an earnest religious
belief and trust in God and our Saviour. Nor was this a new sentiment
with him. After his death a well-worn pocket Bible was found in his
chamber, in which was written, "R.E. Lee, Lieutenant-Colonel, U.S.
Army." It was plain, from this, that, even during the days of his
earlier manhood, in Mexico and on the Western prairies, he had read
his Bible, and striven to conform his life to its teachings.

With the retirement of the great soldier, however, from the cares of
command which necessarily interfered in a large degree with pious
exercises and meditations, the religious phase of his character
became more clearly defined, assuming far more prominent and striking
proportions. The sufferings of the Southern people doubtless had a
powerful effect upon him, and, feeling the powerlessness of man, he
must have turned to God for comfort. But this inquiry is too profound
for the present writer. He shrinks from the attempt to sound the
depths of this truly great soul, with the view of discovering the
influences which moulded it into an almost ideal perfection. General
Lee was, fortunately for the world, surrounded in his latter days
by good and intelligent men, fully competent to present a complete
exposition of his views and feelings--and to these the arduous
undertaking is left. Our easier task is to place upon record such
incidents as we have gathered, bearing upon the religious phase of the
illustrious soldier's character.

His earnest piety cannot be better displayed than in the anxiety which
he felt for the conversion of his students, Conversing with the Rev.
Dr. Kirkpatrick, of the Presbyterian Church, on the subject of the
religious welfare of those intrusted to his charge, "he was so
overcome by emotion," says Dr. Kirkpatrick, "that he could not utter
the words which were on his tongue." His utterance was choked, but
recovering himself, with his eyes overflowing with tears, his lips
quivering with emotion, and both hands raised, he exclaimed: "Oh!
doctor, if I could only know that all the young men in the college
were good Christians, I should have nothing more to desire."

When another minister, the Rev. Mr. Jones, delivered an earnest
address at the "Concert of Prayer for Colleges," urging that all
Christians should pray for the aid of the Holy Spirit in changing the
hearts of the students, General Lee, after the meeting, approached the
minister and said with great warmth: "I wish, sir, to thank you for
your address. It was just what we needed. Our great want is a revival,
which shall bring these young men to Christ."

One morning, while the venerable Dr. White was passing General Lee's
house, on his way to chapel, the general joined him, and they entered
into conversation upon religious subjects. General Lee said little,
but, just as they reached the college, stopped and remarked with great
earnestness, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke: "I shall be
disappointed, sir, I shall fail in the leading object that brought me
here, unless the young men all become real Christians; and I wish you
and others of your sacred profession to de all you can to accomplish
this result."

When a great revival of religious feeling took place at the Virginia
Military Institute, in 1868, General Lee said to the clergyman of his
church with deep feeling: "That is the best news I have heard since I
have been in Lexington. Would that we could have such a revival in all
our colleges!"

Although a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and preferring
that communion, General Lee seems to have been completely exempt from
sectarian feeling, and to have aimed first and last to be a true
Christian, loving God and his neighbor, and not busying himself about
theological dogmas. When he was asked once whether he believed in the
Apostolic succession, he replied that he had never thought of it, and
aimed only to become a "real Christian." His catholic views were shown
by the letters of invitation, which he addressed, at the commencement
of each session of the college, to ministers of all religious
denominations at Lexington, to conduct, in turn, the religious
exercises at the college chapel; and his charities, which were large
for a person of his limited means, were given to all alike. These
charities he seems to have regarded as a binding duty, and were so
private that only those receiving them knew any thing of them. It only
came to be known accidentally that in 1870 he gave one hundred dollars
for the education of the orphans of Southern soldiers, one hundred
dollars to the Young Men's Christian Association, and regularly made
other donations, amounting in all to considerable sums. Nearly his
last act was a liberal contribution to an important object connected
with his church.

We shall conclude these anecdotes, illustrating General Lee's
religious character, with one for which we are indebted to the
kindness of a reverend clergyman, of Lexington, who knew General
Lee intimately in his latter years, and enjoyed his confidence. The
incident will present in an agreeable light the great soldier's
simplicity and love for children, and no less his catholic feelings in
reference to sects in the Christian Church:

"I will give you just another incident," writes the reverend
gentleman, "illustrating General Lee's love for children, and their
freedom with him. When I first came to Lexington, my boy Carter (just
four years old then) used to go with me to chapel service when it was
my turn to officiate. The general would tell him that he must always
sit by him; and it was a scene for a painter, to see the great
chieftain reverentially listening to the truths of God's word, and
the little boy nestling close to him. One Sunday our Sunday-school
superintendent told the children that they must bring in some new
scholars, and that they must bring old people as well as the young,
since none were too old or too wise to learn God's word. The next
Sabbath Carter was with me at the chapel, from which he was to go with
me to the Sunday-school. At the close of the service, I noticed that
Carter was talking very earnestly with General Lee, who seemed very
much amused, and, on calling him to come with me, he said, with
childish simplicity: 'Father, I am trying to get General Lee to go to
the Sunday-school and _be my scholar_.' 'But,' said I, 'if the general
goes to any school, he will go to his own.' 'Which is his own,
father?' 'The Episcopal,' I replied. Heaving a deep sigh, and with a
look of disappointment, the little fellow said: 'I am very sorry he
is '_Piscopal._ I wish he was a Baptist, so he could go to _our_
Sunday-school, and be my scholar.' The general seemed very much amused
and interested as he replied, 'Ah! Carter, we must all try and be
_good Christians_--that is the most important thing.' 'He knew all the
children in town,' adds Mr. Jones, 'and their grief at his death was
very touching.'"

This incident may appear singular to those who have been accustomed to
regard General Lee as a cold, reserved, and even stern human being--a
statue, beneath whose chill surface no heart ever throbbed. But,
instead of a marble heart, there lay, under the gray uniform of the
soldier, one of warm flesh and blood--tender, impressible, susceptible
to the quick touches of all gentle and sweet emotion, and filling, as
it were, with quiet happiness, at the sight of children and the sound
of their voices. This impressibility has even been made the subject
of criticism. A foreign writer declares that the soldier's character
exhibited a "feminine" softness, unfitting him for the conduct of
affairs of moment. What the Confederacy wanted, intimates the writer
in question, was a rough dictator, with little regard for nice
questions of law--one to lay the rough hand of the born master on the
helm, and force the crew, from the highest to the lowest, to obey his
will. That will probably remain a question. General Lee's _will_
was strong enough to break down all obstacles but those erected by
rightful authority; that with this masculine strength he united an
exquisite gentleness, is equally beyond question. A noble action
flushed his cheek with an emotion that the reader may, if he will,
call "feminine." A tale of suffering brought a sudden moisture to his
eyes; and a loving message from one of his poor old soldiers was seen
one day to melt him to tears.

This poor and incomplete attempt to indicate some of the less-known
traits of the illustrious commander-in-chief of the Southern armies
will now be brought to a conclusion; we approach the sorrowful moment
when, surrounded by his weeping family,[1] he tranquilly passed away.

[Footnote 1: General Lee had three sons and four daughters, all of
whom are living except one of the latter, Miss Anne Lee, who died in
North Carolina during the war. The sons were General G.W. Custis Lee,
aide-de-camp to President Davis--subsequently commander of infantry in
the field, and now president of Washington and Lee College, an officer
of such ability and of character so eminent that President Davis
regarded him as a fit successor of his illustrious father in command
of the Army of Northern Virginia--General W.H.F. Lee, a prominent and
able commander of cavalry, and Captain Robert E. Lee, an efficient
member of the cavalry-staff. These gentlemen bore their full share
in the perils and hardships of the war, from its commencement to the
surrender at Appomattox.]

On the 28th of September, 1870, after laborious attention to his
duties during the early part of the day, General Lee attended, in the
afternoon, a meeting of the Vestry of Grace Church, of which he was a
member. Over this meeting he presided, and it was afterward remembered
that his last public act was to contribute the sum of fifty-five
dollars to some good object, the requisite amount to effect which was
thus made up. After the meeting, General Lee returned to his home,
and, when tea was served, took his place at the table to say grace,
as was his habit, as it had been in camp throughout the war. His lips
opened, but no sound issued from them, and he sank back in his chair,
from which he was carried to bed.

The painful intelligence immediately became known throughout
Lexington, and the utmost grief and consternation were visible upon
every face. It was hoped, at first, that the attack would not prove
serious, and that General Lee would soon be able to resume his duties.
But this hope was soon dissipated. The skilful physicians who hastened
to his bedside pronounced his malady congestion of the brain, and,
from the appearance of the patient, who lay in a species of coma,
the attack was evidently of the most alarming character. The most
discouraging phase of the case was, that, physically, General Lee
was--if we may so say--in perfect health. His superb physique,
although not perhaps as vigorous and robust as during the war,
exhibited no indication whatever of disease. His health appeared
perfect, and twenty years more of life might have been predicted for
him from simple reference to his appearance.

The malady was more deeply seated, however, than any bodily disease;
the cerebral congestion was but a symptom of the mental malady which
was killing its victim. From the testimony of the able physicians who
watched the great soldier, day and night, throughout his illness, and
are thus best competent to speak upon the subject, there seems no
doubt that General Lee's condition was the result of mental depression
produced by the sufferings of the Southern people. Every mail, it is
said, had brought him the most piteous appeals for assistance, from
old soldiers whose families were in want of bread; and the woes of
these poor people had a prostrating effect upon him. A year or two
before, his health had been seriously impaired by this brooding
depression, and he had visited North Carolina, the White Sulphur
Springs, and other places, to divert his mind. In this he failed. The
shadow went with him, and the result was, at last, the alarming attack
from which he never rallied. During the two weeks of his illness he
scarcely spoke, and evidently regarded his condition as hopeless. When
one of his physicians said to him, "General, you must make haste and
get well; _Traveller_ has been standing so long in his stable that he
needs exercise." General Lee shook his head slowly, to indicate that
he would never again mount his favorite horse.

He remained in this state, with few alterations in his condition,
until Wednesday; October 12th, when, about nine in the morning, in the
midst of his family, the great soldier tranquilly expired.

Of the universal grief of the Southern people when the intelligence
was transmitted by telegraph to all parts of the country, it is not
necessary that we should speak. The death of Lee seemed to make all
hearts stand still; and the tolling of bells, flags at half-mast,
and public meetings of citizens, wearing mourning, marked, in every
portion of the South, the sense of a great public calamity. It is not
an exaggeration to say that, in ten thousand Southern homes, tears
came to the eyes not only of women, but of bearded men, and that the
words, "Lee is dead!" fell like a funeral-knell upon every heart.

When the intelligence reached Richmond, the Legislature passed
resolutions expressive of the general sorrow, and requesting that the
remains of General Lee might be interred in Holywood Cemetery--Mr.
Walker, the Governor, expressing in a special message his
participation in the grief of the people of Virginia and the South.
The family of General Lee, however, preferred that his remains should
rest at the scene of his last labors, and beneath the chapel of
Washington College they were accordingly interred. The ceremony was
imposing, and will long be remembered.

On the morning of the 13th, the body was borne to the college chapel.
In front moved a guard of honor, composed of old Confederate soldiers;
behind these came the clergy; then the hearse; in rear of which was
led the dead soldier's favorite war-horse "Traveller," his equipments
wreathed with crape. The trustees and faculty of the college, the
cadets of the Military Institute, and a large number of citizens
followed--and the procession moved slowly from the northeastern gate
of the president's house to the college chapel, above which, draped in
mourning, and at half-mast, floated the flag of Virginia--the only one
displayed during this or any other portion of the funeral ceremonies.

On the platform of the chapel the body lay in state throughout this
and the succeeding day. The coffin was covered with evergreens and
flowers, and the face of the dead was uncovered that all might look
for the last time on the pale features of the illustrious soldier. The
body was dressed in a simple suit of black, and the appearance of the
face was perfectly natural. Great crowds visited the chapel, passing
solemnly in front of the coffin--the silence interrupted only by sobs.

Throughout the 14th the body continued to be in state, and to be
visited by thousands. On the 15th a great funeral procession preceded
the commission of it to its last resting place. At an early hour the
crowd began to assemble in the vicinity of the college, which was
draped in mourning. This great concourse was composed of men, women,
and children, all wearing crape, and the little children seemed as
much penetrated by the general distress as the elders. The bells of
the churches began to toll; and at ten o'clock the students of the
college, and officers and soldiers of the Confederate army--numbering
together nearly one thousand persons--formed in front of the chapel.
Between the two bodies stood the hearse, and the gray horse of the
soldier, both draped in mourning.

The procession then began to move, to the strains of martial music.
The military escort, together with the staff-officers of General Lee,
moved in front; the faculty and students followed behind the hearse;
and in rear came a committee of the Legislative dignitaries of the
Commonwealth, and a great multitude of citizens from all portions of
the State. The procession continued its way toward the Institute,
where the cadets made the military salute as the hearse passed in
front of them, and the sudden thunder of artillery awoke the echoes
from the hills. The cadets then joined the procession, which was more
than a mile in length; and, heralded by the fire of artillery every
few minutes, it moved back to the college chapel, where the last
services were performed.

General Lee had requested, it is said, that no funeral oration should
be pronounced above his remains, and the Rev. William N. Pendleton
simply read the beautiful burial-service of the Episcopal Church. The
coffin, still covered with evergreens and flowers, was then lowered to
its resting-place beneath the chapel, amid the sobs and tears of the
great assembly; and all that was mortal of the illustrious soldier
disappeared from the world's eyes.

What thus disappeared was little. What remained was much--the memory
of the virtues and the glory of the greatest of Virginians.


We here present to the reader a more detailed account of the
ceremonies attending the burial of General Lee, and a selection from
the countless addresses delivered in various portions of the country
when his death was announced. To notice the honors paid to his memory
in every city, town, and village of the South, would fill a volume,
and be wholly unnecessary. It is equally unnecessary to speak of the
great meetings at Richmond, Baltimore, and elsewhere, resulting in
the formation of the "Lee Memorial Association" for the erection of a
monument to the dead commander.

The addresses here presented are placed on record rather for their
biographical interest, than to do honor to the dead. Of him it may
justly be said that he needs no record of his virtues and his glory.
His illustrious memory is fresh to-day, and will be fresh throughout
all coming generations, in every heart.



The morning of the obsequies of General Lee broke bright and cheerful
over the sorrowful town of Lexington. Toward noon the sun poured down
with all the genial warmth of Indian summer, and after mid-day it was
hot, though not uncomfortably so. The same solemnity of yesterday
reigned supreme, with the difference, that people came thronging
into town, making a mournful scene of bustle. The gloomy faces,
the comparative silence, the badges and emblems of mourning that
everywhere met the eye, and the noiseless, strict decorum which was
observed, told how universal and deep were the love and veneration
of the people for the illustrious dead. Every one uniformly and
religiously wore the emblematic crape, even to the women and children,
who were crowding to the college chapel with wreaths of flowers
fringed with mourning. All sorrowfully and religiously paid their last
tributes of respect and affection to the great dead, and none there
were who did not feel a just pride in the sad offices.


Immediately in front of the chapel the scene was peculiarly sad.
All around the buildings were gloomily draped in mourning, and the
students strolled listlessly over the grounds, awaiting the formation
of the funeral procession. Ladies thronged about the chapel with
tearful eyes, children wept outright, every face wore a saddened
expression, while the solemn tolling of the church-bells rendered the
scene still more one of grandeur and gloom. The bells of the churches
joined in the mournful requiem.


At ten o'clock precisely, in accordance with the programme agreed
upon, the students, numbering four hundred, formed in front and to the
right of the chapel. To the left an escort of honor, numbering some
three hundred ex-officers and soldiers, was formed, at the head
of which, near the southwestern entrance to the grounds, was
the Institute band. Between these two bodies--the soldiers and
students--stood the hearse and the gray war-steed of the dead hero,
both draped in mourning. The marshals of the procession, twenty-one in
number, wore spotless white sashes, tied at the waist and shoulders
with crape, and carrying _bâtons_ also enveloped in the same
emblematic material.

Shortly after ten, at a signal from the chief marshal, the solemn
_cortége_ moved off to the music of a mournful dirge. General Bradley
Johnson headed the escort of officers and soldiers, with Colonel
Charles T. Venable and Colonel Walters H. Taylor, both former
assistant adjutant-generals on the staff of the lamented dead. The
physicians of General Lee and the Faculty of the college fell in
immediately behind the hearse, the students following. Slowly and
solemnly the procession moved from the college grounds down Washington
Street to Jefferson, up Jefferson Street to Franklin Hall, thence to
Main Street, where they were joined by a committee of the Legislature,
dignitaries of the State, and the citizens generally. Moving still
onward, this grand funeral pageant, which had now assumed gigantic
proportions, extending nearly a mile in length, soon reached the
northeastern extremity of the town, when it took the road to the
Virginia Military Institute.


Here the scene was highly impressive and imposing. In front of the
Institute the battalion of cadets, three hundred in number, were drawn
up in line, wearing their full gray uniform, with badges of mourning,
and having on all their equipments and side-arms, but without their
muskets. Spectators thronged the entire line of the procession, gazing
sadly as it wended its way, and the sites around the Institute were
crowded. As the _cortége_ entered the Institute grounds a salute of
artillery thundered its arrival, and reverberated it far across the
distant hills and valleys of Virginia, awakening echoes which have
been hushed since Lee manfully gave up the struggle of the "lost
cause" at Appomattox. Winding along the indicated route toward the
grounds of Washington College, the procession slowly moved past the
Institute, and when the war-horse and hearse of the dead chieftain
came in front of the battalion of cadets, they uncovered their heads
as a salute of reverence and respect, which was promptly followed by
the spectators. When this was concluded, the visitors and Faculty of
the Institute joined the procession, and the battalion of cadets filed
into the line in order, and with the greatest precision.


The following was the order of the procession when it was completed:


  Escort of Honor, consisting of Officers and Soldiers of the Confederate

  Chaplain and other Clergy.

  Hearse and Pall-bearers.

  General Lee's Horse.

  The Attending Physicians.

  Trustees and Faculty of Washington College.

  Dignitaries of the State of Virginia.

  Visitors and Faculty of the Virginia Military Institute.

  Other Representative Bodies and Distinguished Visitors.

  Alumni of Washington College.


  Cadets Virginia Military Institute.

  Students of Washington College as Guard of Honor


After the first salute, a gun was fired every three minutes. Moving
still to the sound of martial music, in honor of the dead, the
procession reëntered the grounds of Washington College by the
northeastern gate, and was halted in front of the chapel. Then
followed an imposing ceremony. The cadets of the Institute were
detached from the line, and marched in double file into the chapel up
one of the aisles, past the remains of the illustrious dead, which lay
in state on the rostrum, and down the other aisle out of the church.
The students of Washington College followed next, passing with bowed
heads before the mortal remains of him they revered and loved so much
and well as their president and friend. The side-aisles and galleries
were crowded with ladies, Emblems of mourning met the eye on all
sides, and feminine affection had hung funeral garlands of flowers
upon all the pillars and walls. The central pews were filled with the
escort of honor, composed of former Confederate soldiers from this and
adjoining counties, while the spacious platform was crowded with the
trustees, faculties, clergy, Legislative Committee, and distinguished
visitors. Within and without the consecrated hall the scene was
alike imposing. The blue mountains of Virginia, towering in the near
horizon; the lovely village of Lexington, sleeping in the calm,
unruffled air, and the softened autumn sunlight; the vast assemblage,
mute and sorrowful; the tolling bells, and pealing cannon, and solemn
words of funeral service, combined to render the scene one never to be

The sons of General Lee--W.H.F. Lee, G.W.C. Lee, and Robert E.
Lee--with their sisters, Misses Agnes and Mildred Lee, and the nephews
of the dead, Fitzhugh, Henry C., and Robert C. Lee, entered the church
with bowed heads, and silently took seats in front of the rostrum.


Then followed the impressive funeral services of the Episcopal Church
for the dead, amid a silence and solemnity that were imposing and
sublimely grand. There was no funeral oration, in compliance with the
expressed wish of the distinguished dead; and at the conclusion of the
services in the chapel the vast congregation went out and mingled with
the crowd without, who were unable to gain admission. The coffin was
then carried by the pall-bearers to the library-room, in the basement
of the chapel, where it was lowered into the vault prepared for its
reception. The funeral services were concluded in the open air by
prayer, and the singing of General Lee's favorite hymn, commencing
with the well-known line--

  "How firm a foundation, ye saint of the Lord,
  Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!"

and thus closed the funeral obsequies of Robert Edward Lee, to whom
may be fitly applied the grand poetic epitaph:

  "Ne'er to the mansions where the mighty rest,
  Since their foundations, came a nobler guest;
  Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed
  A purer saint or a more welcome shade."



In the deep emotion with which the death of General Lee has filled all
classes of our people--says the _Southern Magazine_, from whose pages
this interesting summary is taken--we have thought that a selection of
the most eloquent or otherwise interesting addresses delivered at the
various memorial meetings may not be unacceptable.


On October 15th nearly the whole city was draped in mourning, and
business was suspended. A funeral service was held at St. Paul's
Church. In the evening an immense meeting assembled at Weissiger
Hall, and, after an opening address by Mayor Baxter, the following
resolutions were adopted:

"_Resolved_, That, in the death of Robert E. Lee, the American people,
without regard to States or sections, or antecedents, or opinions,
lose a great and good man, a distinguished and useful citizen,
renowned not less in arms than in the arts of peace; and that the
cause of public instruction and popular culture is deprived of a
representative whose influence and example will be felt by the youth
of our country for long ages after the passions in the midst of which
he was engaged, but which he did not share, have passed into history,
and the peace and fraternity of the American Republic are cemented and
restored by the broadest and purest American sentiment."

"_Resolved_, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the
family of General Lee, to the Trustees of Washington College, and to
the Governor and General Assembly of Virginia."


"_Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen_: In the humble part which it
falls to me to take in these interesting ceremonies, if for any cause
it has been supposed that I am to deliver a lengthy address, I am
not responsible for the origination of that supposition. I came here
to-night simply to mingle my grief with yours at the loss of one of
our most distinguished citizens, and, indeed, I feel more like silence
than like words. I am awe-stricken in the presence of this vast
assemblage, and my mind goes back to the past. It is preoccupied by
memories coming in prominent review of the frequent and ever-varying
vicissitudes which have characterized the last ten years. I find
myself in the presence of a vast assemblage of the people of this
great and growing city, who meet together, without distinction of
party, and presided over by your chief officer, for the purpose of
expressing respect to the memory of the man who was the leader of the
Confederate armies in the late war between the States. It is in itself
the omen of reunion. I am not surprised at the spectacle presented
here. Throughout the entire South one universal cry of grief has
broken forth at the death of General Lee, and in a very large portion
of the North manly and noble tributes have been paid to his memory.

"My words shall be brief but plain. Why is it that at the South we see
this universal, spontaneous demonstration? First, because most of the
people mourn the loss of a leader and a friend, but beyond that I must
say they seem to enter an unconscious protest against the ascription
either to him or them of treason or personal dishonor. It may be an
unconscious protest against the employment by a portion of the public
press of those epithets which have ceased to be used in social
intercourse. It is an invitation on their part to the people of the
North and South, East and West, if there be any remaining rancor in
their bosoms, to bury it in the grave forever. I will not recall the
past. I will not enter upon any considerations of the cause of that
great struggle. This demonstration we see around us gives the plainest
evidence that there is no disposition to indulge in useless repinings
at the results of that great struggle. It is for the pen of the
historian to declare the cause, progress, and probable consequences of
it. In regard to those who followed General Lee, who gloried in his
successes and shared his misfortunes, I have but this to say: the
world watched the contest in which they were engaged, and yet gives
testimony to their gallantry,

"The magnanimity with which they accepted the results of their defeat,
the obedience they have yielded to the laws of the Federal Government,
give an exhibition so rare that they are ennobled by their calm yet
noble submission. For the rest their escutcheon is unstained. The
conquerors themselves, for their own glory, must confess that they
were brave. Neither, my friends, do I come here to-night to speak
of the military career of General Lee. I need not speak of it this
evening. I believe that this is universally recognized, not only in
the United States, but in Europe; it has made the circuit of the
world. I come but to utter my tribute to him as a man and as a
citizen. As a man he will be remembered in history as a man of the
epoch. How little need I to speak of his character after listening to
the thrilling delineation of it which we had this morning! We all know
that he was great, noble, and self-poised. He was just and moderate,
but was, perhaps, misunderstood by those who were not personally
acquainted with him. He was supposed to be just, but cold. Far from
it. He had a warm, affectionate heart. During the last year of that
unfortunate struggle it was my good fortune to spend a great deal of
time with him. I was almost constantly by his side, and it was during
the two months immediately preceding the fall of Richmond that I came
to know and fully understand the true nobility of his character. In
all those long vigils he was considerate and kind, gentle, firm, and
self-poised. I can give no better idea of the impression it made upon
me than to say it inspired me with an ardent love of the man and a
profound veneration of his character. It was so massive and noble, so
grand in its proportions, that all men must admire its heroism and
gallantry, yet so gentle and tender that a woman might adopt and claim
it as her own. If the spirit which animates the assembly before me
to-night shall become general and permeate the whole country, then may
we say the wounds of the late war are truly healed. We ask for him
only what we give to others. Among the more eminent of the departed
Federal generals who were distinguished for their gallantry, their
nobility of character, and their patriotism, may be mentioned Thomas
and McPherson. What Confederate is there who would refuse to raise his
cap as their funeral-train went by or hesitate to drop a flower upon
their graves? Why? Because they were men of courage, honor, and
nobility; because they were true to their convictions of right, and
soldiers whose hands were unstained by cruelty or pillage.

"Those of us who were so fortunate as to know him, and who have
appeared before this assemblage, composed of all shades of opinion,
claim for him your veneration, because he was pure and noble, and it
is because of this that we see the cities and towns of the South in
mourning. This has been the expression throughout the whole South,
without distinction of party, and also of a large portion of the
North. Is not this why these tributes have been paid to his memory? Is
it not because his piety was humble and sincere? Because he accorded
in victory; because he filled his position with admirable dignity;
because he taught his prostrate comrades how to suffer and be strong?
In a word, because he was one of the noblest products of this
hemisphere, a fit object to sit in the niche which he created in the
Temple of Fame.

"But he failed. The result is in the future. It may be for better or
for worse. We hope for the better. But this is not the test for his
greatness and goodness. Success often gilds the shallow man, but it is
disaster alone that reveals the qualities of true greatness. Was his
life a failure? Is only that man successful who erects a material
monument of greatness by the enforcement of his ideas? Is not that man
successful also, who, by his valor, moderation, and courage, with all
their associate virtues, presents to the world such a specimen of
true manhood as his children and children's children will be proud to
imitate? In this sense he was not a failure.

"Pardon me for having detained you so long. I know there are here and
there those who will reach out and attempt to pluck from his name the
glory which surrounds it, and strike with malignant fury at the honors
awarded to him; yet history will declare that the remains which repose
in the vault beneath the little chapel in the lovely Virginia Valley
are not only those of a valorous soldier, but those of a great and
good American."

General John W. Finnell next addressed the audience briefly, and was
followed by.


"_Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen_: I feel that it would be very
difficult for me to add any eulogy to those which are contained in the
resolutions of the committee, or a more merited tribute of praise than
those which have already fallen from the lips of the gentlemen who
have preceded me. Yet, on an occasion like this, I am willing to come
forward and add a word to testify my appreciation of the great virtues
and admirable character of one that commands, not only our admiration,
but that of the entire country. Not alone of the entire country,
but his character has excited more admiration in Europe than among
ourselves. In coming ages his name will be marked with lustre, and
will be one of the richest treasures of the future. I speak of one
just gone down to death; ripe in all the noble attributes of manhood,
and illustrious by deeds the most remarkable in character that have
occurred in the history of America since its discovery. It is now some
two-and-twenty years since I first made the acquaintance of General
Lee. He was then in the prime of manhood, in Mexico, and I first saw
him as the chief-engineer of General Scott in the Valley of Mexico. I
see around me two old comrades who then saw General Lee. He was a
man of remarkable personal beauty and great grace of body. He had a
finished form, delicate hands, graceful in person, while here and
there a gray hair streaked with silver the dark locks with which
Nature had clothed his noble brow. There were discerning minds that
appreciated his genius, and saw in him the coming Captain of America.
His commander and his comrades appreciated his ability. To a club
which was then organized he belonged, together with General McClellan,
General Albert Sydney Johnston, General Beauregard, and a host of
others. They recognized in Lee a master-spirit..

"He was never violent; he never wrangled. He was averse to
quarrelling, and not a single difficulty marked his career; but
all acknowledged his justness and wonderful evenness of mind. Rare
intelligence, combined with these qualities, served to make him a fit
representative of his great prototype, General Washington. He had been
accomplished by every finish that a military education could bestow.

"I remember when General Lee was appointed lieutenant-colonel, at the
same time that Sydney Johnston was appointed colonel, and General
Scott thought that Lee should have been colonel. I was talking with
General Scott on the subject long before the late struggle between the
North and South took place, and he then said that Lee was the greatest
living soldier in America. He did not object to the other commission,
but he thought Lee should have been first promoted. Finally, he said
to me with emphasis, which you will pardon me for relating, 'I tell
you that, if I were on my death-bed to-morrow, and the President of
the United States should tell me that a great battle was to be fought
for the liberty or slavery of the country, and asked my judgment as to
the ability of a commander, I would say with my dying breath, let it
be Robert E. Lee.' Ah! great soldier that he was, princely general
that he was, he has fulfilled his mission, and borne it so that
no invidious tongue can level the shafts of calumny at the great
character which he has left behind him.

"But, ladies and gentlemen, it was not in this that the matchless
attributes of his character were found. You have assembled here, not
so much to do honor to General Lee, but to testify your appreciation
of the worth of the principles governing his character; and if the
minds of this assemblage were explored, you would find there was a
gentleness and a grace in his character which had won your love and
brought forth testimonials of universal admiration. Take but a single
instance. At the battle of Gettysburg, after the attack on the
cemetery, when his troops were repulsed and beaten, the men threw
up their muskets and said, 'General, we have failed, and it is our
fault.' 'No, my men,' said he, knowing the style of fighting of
General Stonewall Jackson, 'you have done well; 'tis my fault; I am to
blame, and no one but me.' What man is there that would not have gone
to renewed death for such a leader? So, when we examine his whole
character, it is in his private life that you find his true
greatness--the Christian simplicity of his character and his great
veneration for truth and nobility, the grand elements of his
greatness. What man could have laid down his sword at the feet of a
victorious general with greater dignity than did he at Appomattox
Court-House? He laid down his sword with grace and dignity, and
secured for his soldiers the best terms that fortune would permit. In
that he shows marked greatness seldom shown by great captains.

"After the battle of Sedan, the wild cries of the citizens of Paris
went out for the blood of the emperor; but at Appomattox, veneration
and love only met the eyes of the troops who looked upon their
commander. I will not trespass upon your time much farther. When I
last saw him the raven hair had turned white. In a small village
church his reverent head was bowed in prayer. The humblest step was
that of Robert E. Lee, as he entered the portals of the temple erected
to God. In broken responses he answered to the services of the Church.
Noble, sincere, and humble in his religion, he showed forth his true
character in laying aside his sword to educate the youth of his
country. Never did he appear more noble than at that time. He is now
gone, and rests in peace, and has crossed that mysterious stream that
Stonewall Jackson saw with inspired eyes when he asked that he might
be permitted to take his troops across the river and forever rest
beneath the shadows of the trees."

After a few remarks from Hon. D.Y. Lyttle, the meeting adjourned.


A meeting was held at Augusta, on October 18th, at the City Hall. The
preamble and resolutions adopted were as follows:

"_Whereas_, This day, throughout all this Southern land, sorrow,
many-tongued, is ascending to heaven for the death of Robert E. Lee,
and communities everywhere are honoring themselves in striving to do
honor to that great name; and we, the people of Augusta, who were not
laggards in upholding his glorious banner while it floated to the
breeze, would swell the general lamentation of his departure:

therefore be it

"_Resolved_, That no people in the tide of time has been bereaved
as we are bereaved; for no other people has had such a man to lose.
Greece, rich in heroes; Rome, prolific mother of great citizens, so
that the name of Roman is the synonyme of all that is noblest in
citizenship--had no man coming up to the full measure of this
great departed. On scores of battle-fields, consummate commander;
everywhere, bravest soldier; in failure, sublimest hero; in disbanding
his army, most pathetic of writers; in persecution, most patient of
power's victims; in private life, purest of men--he was such that all
Christendom, with one consent, named him GREAT. We, recalling that so
also mankind have styled Alexander, Caesar, Frederick, and Napoleon,
and beholding in the Confederate leader qualities higher and better
than theirs, find that language poor indeed which only enables us to
call him 'great'--him standing among the great of all ages preëminent.

"_Resolved_, That our admiration of the man is not the partial
judgment of his adherents only; but so clear stand his greatness and
his goodness, that even the bitterest of foes has not ventured
to asperse him. While the air has been filled with calumnies and
revilings of his cause, none have been aimed at him. If there are
spirits so base that they cannot discover and reverence his greatness
and his goodness, they have at least shrunk from encountering the
certain indignation of mankind. This day--disfranchised by stupid
power as he was; branded, as he was, in the perverted vocabulary of
usurpers as rebel and traitor--his death has even in distant lands
moved more tongues and stirred more hearts than the siege of a mighty
city and the triumphs of a great king.

"_Resolved_, That, while he died far too soon for his country, he had
lived long enough for his fame. This was complete, and the future
could unfold nothing to add to it. In this age of startling changes,
imagination might have pictured him, even in the years which he yet
lacked of the allotted period of human life, once more at the head of
devoted armies and the conqueror of glorious fields; but none could
have been more glorious than those he had already won. Wrong, too,
might again have triumphed over Right, and he have borne defeat with
sublimest resignation; but this he had already done at Appomattox.
Unrelenting hate to his lost cause might have again consigned him to
the walks of private life, and he have become an exemplar of all the
virtues of a private station; but this he had already been in the
shades of Lexington. The contingencies of the future could only have
revealed him greatest soldier, sublimest hero, best of men; and he was
already all of these. The years to come were barren of any thing which
could add to his perfect name and fame. He had nothing to lose; but,
alas! we, his people, every thing by his departure from this world,
which was unworthy of him, to that other where the good and the pure
of all ages will welcome him. Thither follow him the undying love
of every true Southern man and woman, and the admiration of all the


"_Mr. Chairman_: I rise simply to move the adoption of the resolutions
which have just been read to the meeting by Major Cumming. You have
heard, and the people here assembled have heard, these resolutions.
They are truthful, eloquent, and expressive. Although announced as
a speaker on this sad occasion, I had determined to forego any such
attempt; but an allusion, a passing reference to one of the sublime
virtues of the illustrious dead, made in the resolutions which have
just been read in your hearing, has induced me to add a word or
two. Your resolutions speak of General Lee's patience under the
persecutions of power. It was this virtue which ennobled the
character, as it was one of the most prominent traits in the life, of
him for whose death a whole nation, grief-stricken, mourns, and to pay
a tribute to the memory of whom this multitude has assembled here this
morning. While General Lee was all, and more than has been said
of him--the great general, the true Christian, and the valiant
soldier--there was another character in which he appeared more
conspicuously than in any of the rest--the quiet dignity with which he
encountered defeat, and the patience with which he met the persecution
of malignant power. We may search the pages of all history, both
sacred and profane, and there seems to be but one character who
possessed in so large a degree this remarkable trait. Take General
Lee's whole life and examine it; observe his skill and courage as a
soldier, his patriotism and his fidelity to principle, the purity of
his private life, and then remember the disasters which he faced and
the persecutions to which he was subjected, and it would seem that _no
one_ ever endured so much--not even David, the sweet singer of Israel.
Job has been handed down to posterity by the pages of sacred history
as the embodiment of patience, as the man who, overwhelmed with the
most numerous and bitter afflictions, never lost his fortitude, and
who endured every fresh trial with uncomplaining resignation; but it
seems to me that even Job displayed not the patience of our own loved
hero; for, while Job suffered much, he endured less than General Lee.
Job was compelled to lose his children, his friends, and his property,
but he was never required to give up country; General Lee was, and,
with more than the persecutions of Job, he stands revealed to the
world the truest and the most sublime hero whom the ages have
produced. To a patriot like Lee the loss of country was the greatest
evil which could be experienced, and it was this last blow which has
caused us to assemble here to-day to mourn his departure. He lost
friends and kindred and property in the struggle, and yet, according
to the news which the telegraph brought us this morning, it was the
loss of his cause which finally sundered the heart-strings of the
hero, and drew him from earth to heaven. Yes, the weight of this
great sorrow which first fell upon him under the fatal apple-tree at
Appomattox, has dwelt with him, growing heavier and more unendurable
with each succeeding year, from that time until last Wednesday morn
when the soul of Lee passed away.

"As I said before, Mr. Chairman, I only rose to move the adoption of
the resolutions; and if I have said more than I ought to have said,
it is because I knew the illustrious dead, because I loved him, and
because I mourn his loss."


"It is proper that the people should pay a public tribute to the
memory of a great man when he dies. Not a ruler, not one who merely
holds a great public position, but a great man, one who has served his
day and generation. It cannot benefit the dead, but it is eminently
profitable to the living. The consciousness than when we cease to live
our memory will be cherished, is a noble incentive to live well.
This great popular demonstration is due to General Lee's life and
character. It is not ordered by the Government--the Government ignored
him; but is rendered as a spontaneous tribute to the memory of an
illustrious man--good, true, and great. He held no place in the
Government, and since the war has had no military rank; but he was a
true man. After all, that is the noblest tribute you can pay to any
man, to say of him he was a true man.

"General Lee's character was eminently American. In Europe they
have their ideas, their standards of merit, their rewards for great
exploits. They cover one with decorations; they give him a great place
in the government; they make him a marshal. Wellington began his
career with humble rank. He was young Wellesley; he rose to be the
Duke of Wellington. In our country we have no such rewards for great
deeds. One must enjoy the patronage of the Government, or he must take
the fortunes of private life.

"General Lee was educated at the great Military Academy, West Point.
He entered the army; was promoted from time to time for brilliant
services; in Mexico fought gallantly under the flag of the United
States; and was still advancing in his military career in 1861, when
Virginia became involved in the great contest that then grew up
between the States. Virginia was his mother; she called him to her
side to defend her, and, resigning his commission in the Army of the
United States, not for a moment looking for advancement there, not
counting the cost, not offering his sword to the service of power, nor
yet laying it down at the feet of the Government--he unsheathed it and
took his stand in defence of the great principles asserted by Virginia
in the Revolution, when she contended with Great Britain the right of
every people to choose their own form of government. Lost or won, to
him the cause was always the same--it was the cause of constitutional
liberty. He stood by it to the last. What must have been the
convictions of a man like General Lee, when, mounted on the same horse
that had borne him in battle, upon which he was seated when the lines
of battle formed by his own heroic men wavered, and he seized the
standard to lead the charge; but his soldiers rushed to him, and
laying their hands on his bridle, said, 'General, we cannot fire a
gun unless you retire?' What must have been his emotions as he rode,
through his own lines at Appomattox, to the commander of the opposing
army, and tendered his sword? Search the annals of history, ancient
and modern; consult the lives of heroes; study the examples of
greatness recorded in Greece leading the way on the triumphs of
popular liberty, or in Rome in the best days of her imperial rule;
take statesmen, generals, or men of patient thought who outwatched the
stars in exploring knowledge, and I declare to you that I do not find
anywhere a sublimer sentiment than General Lee uttered when he said,
'Human virtue ought to be equal to human calamity.' It will live

"General Lee died at the right time. His sun did not go down in the
strife of battle, in the midst of the thunder of cannon, dimmed by the
lurid smoke of war. He survived all this: lived with so much dignity;
silent, yet thoughtful; unseduced by the offers of gain or of
advancement however tempting; disdaining to enter into contests for
small objects, until the broad disk went down behind the Virginia
hills, shedding its departing lustre not only upon this country but
upon the whole world. His memory is as much respected in England as it
is here; and at the North as well as at the South true hearts honor

"There is one thing I wish to say before I take my seat. General Lee's
fame ought to rest on the true base. He did not draw his sword to
perpetuate human slavery, whatever may have been his opinions in
regard to it; he did not seek to overthrow the Government of the
United States. He drew it in defence of constitutional liberty. That
cause is not dead, but will live forever. The result of the war
established the authority of the United States; the Union will
stand--let it stand forever. The flag floats over the whole country
from the Atlantic to the Pacific; let it increase in lustre, and let
the power of the Government grow; still the cause for which General
Lee struck is not a lost cause. It is conceded that these States must
continue united under a common government. We do not wish to sunder
it, nor to disturb it. But the great principle that underlies the
Government of the United States--the principle that the people have
a right to choose their own form of government, and to have their
liberties protected by the provisions of the Constitution--is an
indestructible principle. You cannot destroy it. Like Milton's angels,
it is immortal; you may wound, but you cannot kill it. It is like the
volcanic fires that flame in the depths of the earth; it will yet
upheave the ocean and the land, and flame up to heaven.

"Young Emmett said, 'Let no man write my epitaph until my country is
free, and takes her place among the nations of the earth.' But you may
write General Lee's epitaph now. The principle for which he fought
will survive him. His evening was in perfect harmony with his life. He
had time to think, to recall the past, to prepare for the future. An
offer, originating in Georgia, and I believe in this very city, was
made to him to place an immense sum of money at his disposal if he
would consent to reside in the city of New York and represent Southern
commerce. Millions would have flowed to him. But he declined. He
said: 'No; I am grateful, but I have a self-imposed task which I must
accomplish. I have led the young men of the South in battle; I have
seen many of them fall under my standard. I shall devote my life now
to training young men to do their duty in life.' And he did. It was
beautiful to see him in that glorious valley where Lexington stands,
the lofty mountains throwing their protecting shadows over its quiet
home. General Lee's fame is not bounded by the limits of the South,
nor by the continent. I rejoice that the South gave him birth; I
rejoice that the South will hold his ashes. But his fame belongs to
the human race. Washington, too, was born in the South and sleeps
in the South. But his great fame is not to be appropriated by this
country; it is the inheritance of mankind. We place the name of Lee by
that of Washington. They both belong to the world."


A meeting was held in the St. Charles Theatre, as the largest building
in the city. The Hon. W.M. Burwell delivered an eloquent address,
of which we regret that we have been able to obtain no report. The
meeting was then addressed by the


"Robert E. Lee is dead. The Potomac, overlooked by the home of the
hero, once dividing contending peoples, but now no longer a boundary,
conveys to the ocean a nation's tears. South of the Potomac is
mourning; profound grief pervades every heart, lamentation is heard
from every hearth, for Lee sleeps among the slain whose memory is so
dear to us. In the language of Moina:

  'They were slain for us,
  And their blood flowed out in a rain for us,
  Red, rich, and pure, on the plain for us;
  And years may go,
  But our tears shall flow
  O'er the dead who have died in vain for us.'

"North of the Potomac not only sympathizes with its widowed sister,
but, with respectful homage, the brave and generous, clustering around
the corpse of the great Virginian, with one accord exclaim:

  'This earth that bears thee dead,
  Bears not alive so stout a gentleman.'

"Sympathetic nations, to whom our lamentations have been transmitted
on the wings of lightning, will with pious jealousy envy our grief,
because Robert E. Lee was an American. Seven cities claimed the honor
of having given birth to the great pagan poet; but all Christian
nations, while revering America as the mother of Robert E. Lee, will
claim for the nineteenth century the honor of his birth. There was but
one Lee, the great Christian captain, and his fame justly belongs to
Christendom. The nineteenth century has attacked every thing--it has
attacked God, the soul, reason, morals, society, the distinction
between good and evil. Christianity is vindicated by the virtues of
Lee. He is the most brilliant and cogent argument in favor of a system
illustrated by such a man; he is the type of the reign of law in the
moral order--that reign of law which the philosophic Duke of Argyll
has so recently and so ably discussed as pervading the natural as well
as the supernatural world. One of the chief characteristics of the
Christian is duty. Throughout a checkered life the conscientious
performance of duty seems to have been the mainspring of the actions
of General Lee. In his relations of father, son, husband, soldier,
citizen, duty shines conspicuous in all his acts. His agency as he
advanced to more elevated stations attracts more attention, and
surrounds him with a brighter halo of glory; but he is unchanged; from
first to last it is Robert E. Lee.

"The most momentous act of his life was the selection of sides at the
commencement of the political troubles which immediately preceded the
recent conflict. High in military rank, caressed by General Scott,
courted by those possessed of influence and authority, no politician,
happy in his domestic relations, and in the enjoyment of competent
fortune, consisting in the main of property situated on the borders
of Virginia--nevertheless impelled by a sense of duty, as he himself
testified before a Congressional committee since the war, General Lee
determined to risk all and unite his fortunes with those of his native
State, whose ordinances as one of her citizens he considered himself
bound to obey.

"Having joined the Confederate army, he complained not that he was
assigned to the obscure duty of constructing coast-defences for South
Carolina and Georgia, nor that he was subsequently relegated to
unambitious commands in Western Virginia. The accidental circumstance
that General Joseph E. Johnston was wounded at the battle of Seven
Pines in May, 1862, placed Lee in command of the Army of Northern
Virginia. As commander of that army he achieved world-wide reputation,
without giving occasion during a period of three years to any
complaint on the part of officers, men, or citizens, or enemies, that
he had been guilty of any act, illegal, oppressive, unjust, or inhuman
in its character. This is the highest tribute possible to the wisdom
and virtue of General Lee; for, as a general rule, law was degraded;
officers, whether justly or unjustly, were constantly the subject
of complaint and discord, and jealousy prevailed in camp and in the
Senate-chamber. There was a fraction of our people represented by an
unavailing minority in Congress, who either felt, or professed to
feel, a jealousy whose theory was just, but whose application, at such
a time, was unsound. They wished to give as little power as possible
because they dreaded a military despotism, and thus desired to send
our armies forth with half a shield and broken swords to protect the
government from its enemies, lest, if the bucklers were entire and the
swords perfect, they might be tempted, in the heyday of victory, to
smite their employers. But this want of confidence never manifested
itself toward General Lee, whose conduct satisfied the most suspicious
that his ambition was not of glory but of the performance of duty. The
army always felt this: the fact that he sacrificed no masses of human
beings in desperate charges that he might gather laurels from the
spot enriched by their gore. A year or more before he was appointed
commander-in-chief of all the Confederate forces, a bill passed
Congress creating that office. It failed to become a law, the
President having withheld his approval. Lee made no complaints; his
friends solicited no votes to counteract the veto. When a bill for the
same purpose was passed at a subsequent period, it was whispered about
that he could not accept the position. To a committee of Virginians
who had called on him to ascertain the truth, his reply was, that he
felt bound to accept any post the duties of which his country believed
him competent to perform. After the battle of Gettysburg he tendered
his resignation to President Davis, because he was apprehensive his
failure, the responsibility for which he did not pretend to throw on
his troops or officers, would produce distrust of his abilities and
destroy his usefulness. I am informed the President, in a beautiful
and touching letter, declined to listen to such a proposition. During
the whole period of the war he steadily declined all presents, and
when, on one occasion, a gentleman sent him several dozen of wine, he
turned it over to the hospitals in Richmond, saying the wounded
and sick needed it more than he. He was extremely simple and
unostentatious in his habits, and shared with his soldiers their
privations as well as their dangers. Toward the close of the war, meat
was very scarce within the Confederate lines in the neighborhood of
the contending armies. An aide of the President, having occasion to
visit General Lee en official business in the field, was invited to
dinner. The meal spread on the table consisted of corn-bread and a
small piece of bacon buried in a large dish of greens. The quick-eyed
aide discovered that none of the company, which was composed of the
general's personal staff, partook of the meat, though requested to
do so in the most urbane manner by the general, who presided; he,
therefore, also declined, and noticed that the meat was carried off
untouched. After the meal was over, he inquired of one of the officers
present what was the reason for this extraordinary conduct. His reply
was, 'We had borrowed the meat for the occasion, and promised to
return it.'

"Duty alone induced this great soldier to submit to such privation,
for the slightest intimation given to friends in Richmond would have
filled his tent with all the luxuries that blockade-runners and
speculators had introduced for the favored few able to purchase.

"This performance of duty was accompanied by no harsh manner or
cynical expressions; for the man whose soul is ennobled by true
heroism, possesses a heart as tender as it is firm. His calmness under
the most trying circumstances, and his uniform sweetness of manner,
were almost poetical. They manifested 'the most sustained tenderness
of soul that ever caressed the chords of a lyre.' In council he
was temperate and patient, and his words fell softly and evenly as
snow-flakes, like the sentences that fell from the lips of Ulysses.

"On the termination of the war, his conduct until his death has
challenged the admiration of friends and foes; he honestly acquiesced
in the inevitable result of the struggle; no discontent, sourness, or
complaint, has marred his tranquil life at Washington College, where
death found him at his post of duty, engaged in fitting the young
men of his country, by proper discipline and education, for the
performance of the varied duties of life. It is somewhat singular
that both Lee and his great lieutenant, Jackson, should in their last
moments have referred to Hill. It is reported that General Lee said,
'Let my tent be struck; send for Hill;' while the lamented Jackson in
his delirium cried out, 'Let A.P. Hill prepare for action; march the
infantry rapidly to the front. Let us cross over the river and rest
under the shade of the trees.' Both heroes died with commands for
military movements on their lips; both the noblest specimens of the
Christian soldier produced by any country or any age; both now rest
under the shade of the trees of heaven."


Then spoke as follows:

"_Ladies and Gentlemen_: I should have been better pleased had I been
permitted to sit a simple listener to the eloquent tribute paid to the
immortal chieftain who now reposes in death, by the speaker who has
just taken his seat. The nature of my calling so far separates me from
public life that I am scarcely competent for the office of alluding to
the elements which naturally gather around his career. When informed
that other artists would draw the picture of the warrior and the hero,
I yielded a cheerful compliance, in the belief that nothing was left
but to describe the Christian and the man. You are entirely familiar
with the early life of him over whose grave you this night shed tears;
with his grave and sedate boyhood giving promise of the reserved force
of mature manhood; with his academic career at West Point, where he
received the highest honors of a class brilliant with such names as
General Joseph E. Johnston; his seizure of the highest honors of a
long apprenticeship in that institution, and his abrupt ascension in
the Mexican War from obscurity to fame--all are too firmly stamped in
the minds of his admirers to require even an allusion. You are too
familiar to need a repetition from my lips of that great mental and
spiritual struggle passed, not one night, but many, when, abandoning
the service in which he had gathered so much of honor and reputation,
he determined to lay his heart upon the altar of his native State, and
swear to live or die in her defence.

"It would be a somewhat singular subject of speculation to discover
how it is that national character so often remarkably expresses itself
in single individuals who are born as representatives of a class. It
is wonderful, for it has been the remark of ages, how the great are
born in clusters; sometimes, indeed, one star shining with solitary
splendor in the firmament above, but generally gathered in grand
constellations, filling the sky with glory. What is that combination
of influences, partly physical, partly intellectual, but somewhat more
moral, which should make a particular country productive of men great
over all others on earth and to all ages of time? Ancient Greece, with
her indented coast, inviting to maritime adventures, from her earliest
period was the mother of heroes in war, of poets in song, of sculptors
and artists, and stands up after the lapse of centuries the educator
of mankind, living in the grandeur of her works and in the immortal
productions of minds which modern civilization with all its
cultivation and refinement and science never surpassed and scarcely
equalled. And why in the three hundred years of American history it
should be given to the Old Dominion to be the grand mother, not only
of States, but of the men by whom States and empires are formed, it
might be curious were it possible for us to inquire. Unquestionably,
Mr. President, there is in this problem the element of race; for he
is blind to all the truths of history, to all the revelations of the
past, who does not recognize a select race as we recognize a select
individual of a race, to make all history; but pretermitting all
speculation of that sort, when Virginia unfolds the scroll of her
immortal sons--not because illustrious men did not precede him
gathering in constellations and clusters, but because the name shines
out through those constellations and clusters in all its peerless
grandeur--we read the name of George Washington. And then, Mr.
President, after the interval of three-quarters of a century, when
your jealous eye has ranged down the record and traced the names that
history will never let die, you come to the name--the only name in all
the annals of history that can be named in the perilous connection--of
Robert E. Lee, the second Washington. Well may old Virginia be proud
of her twin sons! born almost a century apart, but shining like those
binary stars which open their glory and shed their splendor on the
darkness of the world.

"Sir, it is not an artifice of rhetoric which suggests this parallel
between two great names in American history; for the suggestion
springs spontaneously to every mind, and men scarcely speak of Lee
without thinking of a mysterious connection that binds the two
together. They were alike in the presage of their early history--the
history of their boyhood. Both earnest, grave, studious; both alike
in that peculiar purity which belongs only to a noble boy, and which
makes him a brave and noble man, filling the page of a history
spotless until closed in death; alike in that commanding presence
which seems to be the signature of Heaven sometimes placed on a great
soul when to that soul is given a fit dwelling-place; alike in that
noble carriage and commanding dignity, exercising a mesmeric influence
and a hidden power which could not be repressed, upon all who came
within its charm; alike in the remarkable combination and symmetry of
their intellectual attributes, all brought up to the same equal level,
no faculty of the mind overlapping any other--all so equal, so well
developed, the judgment, the reason, the memory, the fancy, that
you are almost disposed to deny them greatness, because no single
attribute of the mind was projected upon itself, just as objects
appear sometimes smaller to the eye from the exact symmetry and beauty
of their proportions; alike, above all, in that soul-greatness, that
Christian virtue to which so beautiful a tribute has been rendered by
my friend whose high privilege it was to be a compeer and comrade with
the immortal dead, although in another department and sphere; and
yet alike, Mr. President, in their external fortune, so strangely
dissimilar--the one the representative and the agent of a stupendous
revolution which it pleased Heaven to bless and give birth to one of
the mightiest nations on the globe; the other the representative and
agent of a similar revolution, upon which it pleased high Heaven to
throw the darkness of its frown; so that, bearing upon his generous
heart the weight of this crushed cause, he was at length overwhelmed;
and the nation whom he led in battle gathers with spontaneity of grief
over all this land which is ploughed with graves and reddened with
blood, and the tears of a widowed nation in her bereavement are shed
over his honored grave.

"But these crude suggestions, which fall almost impromptu from my
lips, suggest that which I desire to offer before this audience
to-night. I accept Robert E. Lee as the true type of the American
man and the Southern gentleman. A brilliant English writer has well
remarked, with a touch of sound philosophy, that when a nation has
rushed upon its fate, the whole force of the national life will
sometimes shoot up in one grand character, like the aloe which blooms
at the end of a hundred years, shooting up in one single spike of
glory, and then expires. And wherever philosophy, refinement, and
culture, have gone upon the globe, it is possible to place the finger
upon individual men who are the exemplars of a nation's character,
those typical forms under which others less noble, less expanded, have
manifested themselves. That gentle, that perfect moderation, that
self-command which enabled him to be so self-possessed amid the most
trying difficulties of his public career, a refinement almost such as
that which marks the character of the purest woman, were blended
in him with that massive strength, that mighty endurance, that
consistency and power which gave him and the people whom he led such
momentum under the disadvantages of the struggle through which he
passed. Born from the general level of American society, blood of a
noble ancestry flowed in his veins, and he was a type of the race from
which he sprang. Such was the grandeur and urbaneness of his manner,
the dignity and majesty of his carriage, that his only peer in social
life could be found in courts and among those educated amid the
refinements of courts and thrones. In that regard there was something
beautiful and appropriate that he should become, in the later years of
his life, the educator of the young. Sir, it is a cause for mourning
before high Heaven to-night that he was not spared thirty years to
educate a generation for the time that is to come; for, as in the days
when the red banner streamed over the land, the South sent her sons
to fight under his flag and beneath the wave of his sword, these sons
have been sent again to sit at his feet when he was the disciple
of the Muses and the teacher of philosophy. Oh, that he might have
brought his more than regal character, his majestic fame, all his
intellectual and moral endowments, to the task of fitting those that
should come in the crisis of the future to take the mantle that had
fallen from his shoulders and bear it to the generations that are

"General Lee I accept as the representative of his people, and of the
temper with which this whole Southland entered into that gigantic,
that prolonged, and that disastrous struggle which has closed, but
closed as to us in grief. Sir, they wrong us who say that the South
was ever impatient to rupture the bonds of the American Union. The war
of 1776, which, sir, has no more yet a written history than has the
war of 1861 to 1865, tells us that it was this Southland that wrought
the Revolution of 1776. We were the heirs of all the glory of that
immortal struggle. It was purchased with our blood, with the blood of
our fathers which yet flows in these veins, and which we desire to
transmit, pure and consecrated, to the sons that are born to our
loins. The traditions of the past sixty years were a portion of our
heritage, and it never was easy for any great heart and reflective
mind even to seem to part with that heritage to enter upon the
perilous effort of establishing a new nationality.

"Mr. President, it was my privilege once to be thrilled in a short
speech, uttered by one of the noblest names clustering upon the roll
of South Carolina; for, sir, South Carolina was Virginia's sister,
and South Carolina stood by Virginia in the old struggle, as Virginia
stood by South Carolina in the new, and the little State, small as
Greece, barren in resources but great only in the grandeur of the men,
in their gigantic proportions, whom she, like Virginia, was permitted
to produce--I heard, sir, one of South Carolina's noblest sons
speak once thus: 'I walked through the Tower of London, that grand
repository where are gathered the memorials of England's martial
prowess; and when the guide, in the pride of his English heart,
pointed to the spoils of war collected through centuries of the past,'
said this speaker, lifting himself upon tiptoe that he might reach to
his greatest height, 'I said, "You cannot point to one single
trophy from my people, or my country, though England engaged in two
disastrous wars with her."' Sir, this was the sentiment. We loved
every inch of American soil, and loved every part of that canvas
[pointing to the Stars and Stripes above him], which, as a symbol of
power and authority, floated from the spires and from the mast-head
of our vessels; and it was after the anguish of a woman in birth that
this land, that now lies in her sorrow and ruin, took upon herself
that great peril; but it is all emblematized in the regret experienced
by him whose praises are upon our lips, and who, like the English
Nelson, recognized duty engraved in letters of light as the
only ensign he could follow, and who, tearing away from all the
associations of his early life, and, abandoning the reputation gained
in the old service, made up his mind to embark in the new, and, with
that modesty and that firmness belonging only to the truly great,
expressed his willingness to live and die in the position assigned to

"And I accept this noble chieftain equally as the representative of
this Southland in the spirit of his retirement from struggle. It could
not escape any speaker upon this platform to allude to the dignity of
that retirement; how, from the moment he surrendered he withdrew from
observation, holding aloof from all political complications, and
devoting his entire energies to the great work he had undertaken to
discharge. In this he represents--an the true attitude of the South
since the close of the war attitude of quiet submission to the
conquering power and of obedience to all exactions; but without
resiling from those great principles which were embalmed in the
struggle, and which, as the convictions of a lifetime, no honest mind
could release.

"All over this land of ours there are men like Lee--not as great, not
as symmetrical in the development of character, not as grand in the
proportions which they have reached, but who, like him, are sleeping
upon memories that are holy as death, and who, amid all reproach,
appeal to the future, and to the tribunal of History, when she shall
render her final verdict in reference to the struggle closed, for the
vindication of the people embarked in that struggle. We are silent,
resigned, obedient, and thoughtful, sleeping upon solemn memories,
Mr. President; but, as said by the poet-preacher in the Good Book, 'I
sleep, but my heart waketh,' looking upon the future that is to come,
and powerless in every thing except to pray to Almighty God, who rules
the destinies of nations, that those who have the power may at least
have the grace given them to preserve the constitutional principles
which we have endeavored to maintain. And, sir, were it my privilege
to speak in the hearing of the entire nation, I would utter with
the profoundest emphasis this pregnant truth: that no people ever
traversed those moral ideas which underlie its character, its
constitution, its institutions, and its laws, that did not in the end
perish in disaster, in shame, and in dishonor. Whatever be the glory,
the material civilization, of which such a nation may boast, it still
holds true that the truth is immortal, and that ideas rule the world.

"And now I have but a single word to say, and that is, that the grave
of this noble hero is bedewed with the most tender and sacred
tears ever shed upon a human tomb. I was thinking in my study this
afternoon, striving to strike out something I might utter on this
platform, and this parallel between the first Washington and the
second occurred to me. I asked my own heart the question, 'Would you
not accept the fame and the glory and the career of Robert E. Lee just
as soon as accept the glory and career of the immortal man who was his
predecessor?' Sir, there is a pathos in fallen fortunes which stirs
the sensibilities, and touches the very fountain of human feeling. I
am not sure that at this moment Napoleon, the enforced guest of the
Prussian king, is not grander than when he ascended the throne of
France. There is a grandeur in misfortune when that misfortune is
borne by a noble heart, with the strength of will to endure, and
endure without complaining or breaking. Perhaps I slip easily into
this train of remarks, for it is my peculiar office to speak of that
chastening with which a gracious Providence visits men on this earth,
and by which He prepares them for heaven hereafter; and what is true
of individuals in a state of adversity, is true of nations when
clothed in sorrow. Sir, the men in these galleries that once wore the
gray are here to-night that they may bend the knee in reverence at
the grave of him whose voice and hand they obeyed amid the storms of
battle: the young widow, who but as yesterday leaned upon the arm of
her soldier-husband, but now clasps wildly to her breast the young
child that never beheld its father's face, comes here to shed her
tears over this grave to-night; and the aged matron, with the tears
streaming from her eyes as she recalls her unforgotten dead, lying on
the plains of Gettysburg, or on the heights of Fredericksburg, now,
to-night, joins in our dirge over him who was that son's chieftain and
counsellor and friend. A whole nation has risen up in the spontaneity
of its grief to render the tribute of its love. Sir, there is a unity
in the grapes when they grow together in the clusters upon the vine,
and holding the bunch in your hand you speak of it as one; but there
is another unity when you throw these grapes into the wine-press,
and the feet of those that bruise these grapes trample them almost
profanely beneath their feet together in the communion of pure wine;
and such is the union and communion of hearts that have been fused by
tribulation and sorrow, and that meet together in the true feeling of
an honest grief to express the homage of their affection, as well as
to render a tribute of praise to him upon whose face we shall never
look until on that immortal day when we shall behold it transfigured
before the throne of God."

The meeting then adopted the following preamble and resolutions:

"_Whereas_, Like orphans at the grave of a parent untimely snatched
away, our hearts have lingered and brooded, with a grief that no
cunning of speech could interpret, over the thought that Robert Edward
Lee exists no more, in bodily life, in sensible form, in visible
presence, for our love and veneration, for our edification and
guidance, for our comfort and solace; and--

"_Whereas_, We have invoked all mute funeral emblems to aid us with
their utmost eloquence of woe, and we cannot content ourselves with
contemplating, from the depth and the gloom of our bereavement, the
exalted and radiant virtues of the dead:

"_Resolved_, That we, the people of New Orleans, have come together
under one common impulse to render united homage to the memory which
holds mastery in our minds, whether we turn with bitter regard to the
past, or with prayerful and chastened aspirations to the future.

"_Resolved_, That as Louisianians, as Southerners, as Americans,
we proudly claim our share in the fame of Lee as an inheritance
rightfully belonging to us, and endowed with which we shall piously
cherish, though all calamities should rain upon us, true poverty--the
poverty indeed that abases and starves the spirit can never approach
us with its noisome breath and withering look.

"_Resolved_, That it is infinitely more bitter to have to mourn the
loss of our Lee, than not to have learned to prize him as the noblest
gift which could have been allotted to a people and an epoch; a grand
man, rounded to the symmetry of equal moral and intellectual powers,
graces, and accomplishments; a man whose masterly and heroic energy
left nothing undone in defending a just cause while there was a
possibility of striking for it a rational and hopeful blow, and whose
sublime resignation when the last blow was struck in vain, and when
human virtue was challenged to match itself with the consummation of
human adversity, taught wiser, more convincing, more reassuring, more
soul-sustaining lessons than were to be found in all the philosophies
of all books.

"_Resolved_, That worthily to show our veneration for this majestic
and beautiful character, we must revolve it habitually in our
thoughts, and try to appropriate it to the purification and elevation
of our lives, and so educate our children that they shall, if
possible, grow up into its likeness.

"_Resolved_, That while it is honorable for a people to deeply lament
the death of such a man, it would be glorious for a generation to
mould itself after his model; for it would be a generation fraught
with all high manly qualities, tempered with all gentle and Christian
virtues; for truth, love, goodness, health, strength, would be with
it, and consequently victory, liberty, majesty, and beauty.

"_Resolved_, That we would hail the erection of the proposed monument
as well adapted to the purpose of preserving this admirable and most
precious memory as a vital and beneficent influence for all time
to come, and we will therefore cordially aid in promoting the Lee
Monument which has just been inaugurated."


A crowded meeting assembled in this city on October 15th. After an
impressive prayer from the Rev. Dr. Brantly, the meeting was addressed


"_My Friends_: We have met to weep, to mingle our tears, and give vent
to our bursting hearts. The sorrowing South, already clad in mourners'
weeds, bows her head afresh to-day in a heart-stricken orphanage; and
if I could have been permitted to indulge the sensibilities of my
heart, I would have fled this most honorable task, and in solitude and
silence have wept the loss of the great and good man whose death we so
deplore. I loved General Lee; for it was my proud privilege to know
him well. I loved him with a profound and all-filial love, with a
sincere and unfaded affection. I say I would have retired from this
flattering task which your kindness has imposed, but remembering that
his words, his deeds, his great example, has taught us that duty was
the most commanding obligation, I yield this morning to your wishes.

"We have met to honor General Lee, to honor him dead whom we loved
while living. Honor General Lee! How utterly vain, what a mockery of
language do these words seem! Honor Lee! Why, my countrymen, his deeds
have honored him! The very trump of Fame itself is proud to honor him!
Europe and the civilized world have united to honor him supremely, and
History itself has caught the echo and made it immortal. Honor Lee!
Why, sir, as the sad news of his death is with the speed of thought
communicated to the world, it will carry a pang even to the hearts of
marshals and of monarchs; and I can easily fancy that, amid the din
and clash and carnage of war, the cannon itself, in mute pause at
the whispering news, will briefly cease its roar around the walls of
Paris. The task is not without pain, while yet his manly frame lies
stretched upon his bier, to attempt to analyze the elements that made
him truly great. It has been my fortune in life from circumstances to
have come in contact with some whom the world pronounced great--some
of the earth's celebrated and distinguished; but I declare it here
to-day that, of any mortal man whom it has ever been my privilege to
approach, he was the greatest; and I assert here that, grand as might
be your conceptions of the man before, he arose in incomparable
majesty on more familiar acquaintance. This can be affirmed of few men
who have ever lived or died, and of no other man whom it has ever been
my fortune to approach. Like Niagara, the more you gazed the more his
grandeur grew upon you, the more his majesty expanded and filled your
spirit with a full satisfaction that left a perfect delight without
the slightest feeling of oppression. Grandly majestic and dignified in
all his deportment, he was genial as the sunlight of this beautiful
day, and not a ray of that cordial, social intercourse but brought
warmth to the heart as it did light to the understanding.

"But as one of the great captains will General Lee first pass review
and inspection before the criticism of history. We will not compare
him with Washington. The mind will halt instinctively at the
comparison of two such men, so equally and gloriously great. But with
modest, yet calm and unflinching confidence we place him by the side
of the Marlboroughs and Wellingtons who take high niches in the
pantheon of immortality. Let us dwell for a moment, my friends, on
this thought. Marlborough never met defeat, it is true. Victory marked
every step of his triumphant march; but when, where, and whom did
Marlborough fight? The ambitious and vain but able Louis XIV. But he
had already exhausted the resources of his kingdom before Marlborough
stepped upon the stage. The great marshals Turenne and Condé were
no more, and Luxembourg the beloved had vanished from the scene.
Marlborough, preëminently great as he certainly was, nevertheless led
the combined forces of England and of Holland, in the freshness of
their strength and the fulness of their financial ability, against
prostrate France, with a treasury depleted, a people worn out,
discouraged, and dejected. But let us turn to another comparison. The
great Von Moltke, who now rides upon the whirlwind and commands the
storm of Prussian invasion, has recently declared that General Lee,
in all respects, was fully the equal of Wellington, and you may the
better appreciate this admission when you remember that Wellington was
the benefactor of Prussia, and probably Von Moltke's special idol. But
let us examine the arguments ourselves. France was already prostrate
when Wellington met Napoleon. That great emperor had seemed to make
war upon the very elements themselves, to have contended with Nature,
and to have almost defeated Providence itself. The enemies of the
North, more savage than Goth or Vandal, mounting the swift gales of a
Russian winter, had carried death, desolation, and ruin, to the very
gates of Paris. Wellington fought at Waterloo a bleeding and broken
nation--a nation electrified, it is true, to almost superhuman energy
by the genius of Napoleon, but a nation prostrate and bleeding
nevertheless. Compare this, my friends, the condition of France and
the condition of the United States, in the freshness of her strength,
in the luxuriance of her resources, in the lustihood of her gigantic
youth. Tell me whether to place the chaplet of military superiority
with him, or with Marlborough, or Wellington? Even the greatest
of captains, in his Italian campaigns, flashing fame in lightning
splendor over the world, even Bonaparte met and crushed in battle but
three or four (I think) Austrian armies; while our Lee, with one army
badly equipped, in time incredibly short, met and hurled back in
broken and shattered fragments five of the greatest prepared and most
magnificently appointed invasions. Yea, more! He discrowned, in rapid
succession, one after another of the United States' most, accomplished
and admirable commanders.

"Lee was never really defeated. Lee could not be defeated!
Overpowered, foiled in his efforts, he might be; but never defeated
until the props which supported him gave way. Never, until the
platform sank beneath him, did any enemy ever dare pursue. On that
melancholy occasion, the downfall of the Confederacy, no Leipsic, no
Waterloo, no Sedan, can ever be recorded.

"General Lee is known to the world as a military man; but it is easy
to divine from his history how mindful of all just authority, how
observant of all constitutional restriction, would have been his
career as a civilian. When, near the conclusion of the war, darkness
was thickening about the falling fortunes of the Confederacy, when its
very life was in the sword of Lee, it was my proud privilege to know
with a special admiration the modest demeanor, the manly decorum,
respectful homage, which marked all his dealings with the constituted
authorities of his country. Clothed with all power, he hid its very
symbol behind a genial modesty, and refused ever to exert it save in
obedience to law. And even in his triumphant entry into the territory
of the enemy, so regardful was he of civilized warfare, that the
observance of his general orders as to private property and private
rights left the line of his march marked and marred by no devastated
fields, charred ruins, or desolated homes. But it is in his private
character, or rather I should say his personal emotion and virtue,
which his countrymen will most delight to consider and dwell upon. His
magnanimity, transcending all historic precedent, seemed to form a new
chapter in the book of humanity. Witness that letter to Jackson, after
his wounds at Chancellorsville, in which he said: 'I am praying for
you with more fervor than I have ever prayed for myself;' and that
other, more disinterested and pathetic: 'I could, for the good of
my country, wish that the wounds which you have received had been
inflicted upon my own body;' or that of the latter message, saying to
General Jackson that 'his wounds were not so severe as mine, for he
loses but his left arm, while I, in my loss, lose my right;' or that
other expression of unequalled magnanimity which enabled him to
ascribe the glory of their joint victory to the sole credit of
the dying hero. Did I say unequalled? Yes, that was an avowal of
unequalled magnanimity, until it met its parallel in his own grander
self-negation in assuming the sole responsibility for the defeat at
Gettysburg. Ay, my countrymen, Alexander had his Arbela, Caesar his
Pharsalia, Napoleon his Austerlitz; but it was reserved for Lee
to grow grander and more illustrious in defeat than even in
victory--grander, because in defeat he showed a spirit greater than in
the heroism of battles or all the achievements of war, a spirit which
crowns him with a chaplet grander far than ever mighty conqueror wore.

"I turn me now to that last closing scene at Appomattox, and I will
draw thence a picture of that man as he laid aside the sword, the
unrivalled soldier, to become the most exemplary of citizens.

"I can never forget the deferential homage paid this great citizen by
even the Federal soldiers, as with uncovered heads they contemplated
in mute admiration this now captive hero as he rode through their
ranks. Impressed forever, daguerreotyped on my heart is that last
parting scene with that handful of heroes still crowding around him.
Few indeed were the words then spoken, but the quivering lip and
the tearful eye told of the love they bore him, in symphonies more
eloquent than any language can describe. Can I ever forget? No, never
can I forget the words which fell from his lips as I rode beside him
amid the defeated, dejected, and weeping soldiery, when, turning to
me, he said, 'I could wish that I was numbered among the fallen in the
last battle;' but oh! as he thought of the loss of the cause--of the
many dead scattered over so many fields, who, sleeping neglected, with
no governmental arms to gather up their remains--sleeping neglected,
isolated, and alone, beneath the weeping stars, with naught but their
soldiers' blankets about them!--oh! as these emotions swept over his
great soul, he felt that he would have laid him down to rest in
the same grave where lay buried the common hope of his people. But
Providence willed it otherwise. He rests now forever, my countrymen,
his spirit in the bosom of that Father whom he so faithfully served,
his body beside the river whose banks are forever memorable, and whose
waters are vocal with the glories of his triumphs. No sound shall ever
wake him to martial glory again; no more shall he lead his invincible
lines to victory; no more shall we gaze upon him and draw from his
quiet demeanor lessons of life. But oh! it is a sweet consolation to
us, my countrymen, who loved him, that no more shall his bright spirit
be bowed down to earth with the burdens of the people's wrongs. It is
sweet consolation to us that his last victory, through faith in his
crucified Redeemer, is the most transcendently glorious of all his
triumphs. At this very hour, while we mourn here, kind friends
are consigning the last that remains of our hero to his quiet
sleeping-place, surrounded by the mountains of his native
State--mountains the autumnal glory of whose magnificent forests
to-day seem but habiliments of mourning. In the Valley, the pearly
dew-drops seem but tears of sadness upon the grasses and flowers. Let
him rest! And now as he has gone from us, and as we regard him in all
the aspects of his career and character and attainments as a great
captain, ranking among the first of any age; as a patriot, whose
sacrificing devotion to his country ranks him with Washington; as a
Christian, like Havelock, recognizing his duty to his God above every
other earthly consideration, with a native modesty that refused to
appropriate the glory of his own, and which surrounds now his entire
character and career with a halo of unfading light; with an integrity
of life and a sacred regard for truth which no man dare assail; with
a fidelity to principle which no misfortune could shake--he must
ever stand peerless among men in the estimation of Christendom, this
representative son of the South, Robert E. Lee, of Virginia."


A meeting was held on November 3d, presided over by Mr. Jefferson
Davis. Mr. Davis delivered an address, of which we regret that we have
received no complete copy. We give it as reported in the Richmond


As Mr. Davis arose to walk to the stand, every person in the house
stood, and there followed such a storm of applause as seemed to shake
the very foundations of the building, while cheer upon cheer was
echoed from the throats of veterans saluting one whom they delighted
to honor.

Mr. Davis spoke at length, and with his accustomed thrilling, moving
eloquence. We shall not attempt, at the late hour at which we write,
to give a full report of his address.

He addressed his hearers as "Soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy,
comrades and friends: Assembled on this sad occasion, with hearts
oppressed with the grief that follows the loss of him who was our
leader on many a bloody battle-field, a pleasing though melancholy
spectacle is presented. Hitherto, and in all times, men have been
honored when successful; but here is the case of one who amid
disaster went down to his grave, and those who were his companions in
misfortune have assembled to honor his memory. It is as much an honor
to you who give as to him who receives; for, above the vulgar test of
merit, you show yourselves competent to discriminate between him who
enjoys and him who deserves success.

"Robert E. Lee was my associate and friend in the Military Academy,
and we were friends until the hour of his death. We were associates
and friends when he was a soldier and I a Congressman; and associates
and friends when he led the armies of the Confederacy and I presided
in its cabinet. We passed through many sad scenes together, but I
cannot remember that there was ever aught but perfect harmony between
us. If ever there was difference of opinion, it was dissipated
by discussion, and harmony was the result. I repeat, _we never
disagreed_; and I may add that I never in my life saw in him the
slightest tendency to self-seeking. It was not his to make a record,
it was not his to shift blame to other shoulders; but it was his, with
an eye fixed upon the welfare of his country, never faltering, to
follow the line of duty to the end. His was the heart that braved
every difficulty; his was the mind that wrought victory out of defeat.

"He has been charged with 'want of dash.' I wish to say that I never
knew Lee to falter to attempt any thing ever man could dare. An
attempt has also been made to throw a cloud upon his character because
he left the Army of the United States to join in the struggle for the
liberty of his State. Without trenching at all upon politics, I deem
it my duty to say one word in reference to this charge. Virginian
born, descended from a family illustrious in Virginia's annals, given
by Virginia to the service of the United States, he represented her in
the Military Academy at West Point. He was not educated by the Federal
Government, but by Virginia; for she paid her full share for the
support of that institution, and was entitled to demand in return
the services of her sons. Entering the Army of the United States, he
represented Virginia there also, and nobly. On many a hard-fought
field Lee was conspicuous, battling for his native State as much as
for the Union. He came from Mexico crowned with honors, covered by
brevets, and recognized, young as he was, as one of the ablest of his
country's soldiers. And, to prove that he was estimated then as such,
let me tell you that when Lee was a captain of engineers stationed in
Baltimore, the Cuban Junta in New York selected him to be their leader
in the struggle for the independence of their native country. They
were anxious to secure his services, and offered him every temptation
that ambition could desire. He thought the matter over, and, I
remember, came to Washington to consult me as to what he should do;
and when I began to discuss the complications which might arise from
his acceptance of the trust, he gently rebuked me, saying that this
was not the line upon which he wished my advice: the simple question
was, 'Whether it was right or not?' He had been educated by the United
States, and felt wrong to accept a place in the army of a foreign
power. Such was his extreme delicacy, such was the nice sense of honor
of the gallant gentleman whose death we deplore. But when Virginia
withdrew, the State to whom he owed his first and last allegiance, the
same nice sense of honor led him to draw his sword and throw it in the
scale for good or for evil. Pardon me for this brief defence of my
illustrious friend.

"When Virginia joined the Confederacy, Robert Lee, the highest officer
in the little army of Virginia, came to Richmond; and, not pausing to
inquire what would be his rank in the service of the Confederacy, went
to Western Virginia under the belief that he was still an officer of
the State. He came back, carrying the heavy weight of defeat, and
unappreciated by the people whom he served, for they could not know,
as I knew, that if his plans and orders had been carried out the
result would have been victory rather than retreat. You did not know,
for I would not have known it had he not breathed it in my ear only
at my earnest request, and begging that nothing be said about it. The
clamor which then arose followed him when he went to South Carolina,
so that it became necessary on his going to South Carolina to write a
letter to the Governor of that State, telling him what manner of man
he was. Yet, through all this, with a magnanimity rarely equalled,
he stood in silence without defending himself or allowing others to
defend him, for he was unwilling to offend any one who was wearing a
sword and striking blows for the Confederacy."

Mr. Davis then spoke of the straits to which the Confederacy was
reduced, and of the danger to which her capital was exposed, just
after the battle of Seven Pines, and told how General Lee had
conceived and executed the desperate plan to turn their flank and
rear, which, after seven days of bloody battle, was crowned with the
protection of Richmond, while the enemy was driven far from the city.

The speaker referred also to the circumstances attending General Lee's
crossing the Potomac on the march into Pennsylvania. He (Mr. Davis)
assumed the responsibility of that movement. The enemy had long been
concentrating his force, and it was evident that if he continued his
steady progress the Confederacy would be overwhelmed. Our only hope
was to drive him to the defence of his own capital, we being enabled
in the mean time to reënforce our shattered army. How well General Lee
carried out that dangerous experiment need not be told. Richmond was
relieved, the Confederacy was relieved, and time was obtained, if
other things had favored, to reënforce the army.

"But," said Mr. Davis, "I shall not attempt to review the military
career of our fallen chieftain. Of the man, how shall I speak? He was
my friend, and in that word is included all that I could say of
any man. His moral qualities rose to the height of his genius.
Self-denying; always intent upon the one idea of duty; self-controlled
to an extent that many thought him cold, his feelings were really
warm, and his heart melted freely at the sight of a wounded soldier,
or the story of the sufferings of the widow and orphan. During the war
he was ever conscious of the inequality of the means at his control;
but it was never his to complain or to utter a doubt; it was always
his to do. When, in the last campaign, he was beleaguered at
Petersburg, and painfully aware of the straits to which we were
reduced, he said: 'With my army in the mountains of Virginia, I could
carry on this war for twenty years longer.' His men exhausted, and his
supplies failing, he was unable to carry out his plans. An untoward
event caused him to anticipate the movement, and the Army of Northern
Virginia was overwhelmed. But, in the surrender, he anticipated
conditions that have not been fulfilled; he expected his army to be
respected, and his paroled soldiers to be allowed the enjoyments of
life and property. Whether these conditions have been fulfilled, let
others say.

"Here he now sleeps in the land he loved so well; and that land is not
Virginia only, for they do injustice to Lee who believe he fought only
for Virginia. He was ready to go anywhere, on any service, for the
good of his country; and his heart was as broad as the fifteen States
struggling for the principles that our forefathers fought for in the
Revolution of 1776. He is sleeping in the same soil with the thousands
who fought under the same flag, but first offered up their lives.
Here, the living are assembled to honor his memory, and there the
skeleton sentinels keep watch over his grave. This citizen, this
soldier, this great general, this true patriot, left behind him the
crowning glory of a true Christian. His Christianity ennobled him in
life, and affords us grounds for the belief that he is happy beyond
the grave.

"But, while we mourn the loss of the great and the true, drop we also
tears of sympathy with her who was his helpmeet--the noble woman
who, while her husband was in the field leading the army of the
Confederacy, though an invalid herself, passed the time in knitting
socks for the marching soldiers! A woman fit to be the mother of
heroes; and heroes are descended from her. Mourning with her, we can
only offer the consolation of a Christian. Our loss is not his; but
he now enjoys the rewards of a life well spent, and a never-wavering
trust in a risen Saviour. This day we unite our words of sorrow with
those of the good and great throughout Christendom, for his fame
is gone over the water; his deeds will be remembered, and when the
monument we build shall have crumbled into dust, his virtues will
still live, a high model for the imitation of generations yet unborn."

We have given but a faint idea of the eloquent thoughts and chaste
oratory of the speaker. His words were heard with profound attention,
and received with frequent applause.


Colonel C.S. Venable then presented the following report of the
Committee on Resolutions:

"_Whereas_, It is a high and holy duty, as well as a noble privilege,
to perpetuate the honors of those who have displayed eminent virtues
and performed great achievements, that they may serve as incentives
and examples to the latest generation of their countrymen, and
attest the reverential admiration and affectionate regard of their
compatriots; and--

"_Whereas_, This duty and privilege devolve on all who love and admire
General Robert E. Lee throughout this country and the world, and in
an especial manner upon those who followed him in the field, or who
fought in the same cause, who shared in his glories, partook of his
trials, and were united with him in the same sorrows and adversity,
who were devoted to him in war by the baptism of fire and blood, and
bound to him in peace by the still higher homage due to the rare and
grand exhibition of a character pure and lofty and gentle and true,
under all changes of fortune, and serene amid the greatest disasters:

therefore, be it

"_Resolved_, That we favor an association to erect a monument at
Richmond to the memory of Robert E. Lee, as an enduring testimonial of
our love and respect, and devotion to his fame.

"_Resolved_, That, while donations will be gladly received from all
who recognize in the excellences of General Lee's character an honor
and an encouragement to our common humanity, and an abiding hope
that coming generations may be found to imitate his virtues, it is
desirable that every Confederate soldier and sailor should make some
contribution, however small, to the proposed monument.

"_Resolved_, That, for the purpose of securing efficiency and
dispatch in the erection of the monument, an executive committee of
seventy-five, with a president, secretary, treasurer, auditor, etc.,
be appointed, to invite and collect subscriptions, to procure designs
for said monument, to select the best, to provide for the organization
of central executive committees in other States, which may serve
as mediums of communication between the executive committee of the
Association and the local associations of these States.

"_Resolved_, That we respectfully invite the ladies of the Hollywood
Association to lend us their assistance and coöperation in the
collection of subscriptions.

"_Resolved_, That we cordially approve of the local monument now
proposed to be erected by other associations at Atlanta, and at
Lexington, his last home, whose people were so closely united with him
in the last sad years of his life.

"_Resolved_, That, while we cordially thank the Governor and
Legislature of Virginia, for the steps they have taken to do honor to
the memory of General Lee, yet in deference to the wishes of his loved
and venerated widow, with whom we mourn, we will not discuss the
question of the most fitting resting-place for his ever-glorious
remains, but will content ourselves with expressing the earnest desire
and hope that at some future proper time they will be committed to the
charge of this Association."

Generals John S. Preston, John B. Gordon, Henry A. Wise, and William
Henry Preston, and Colonels Robert E. Withers and Charles Marshall,
delivered eloquent and appropriate speeches, and argued that Richmond
is the proper place for the final interment of the remains of General

The resolutions were adopted, and the meeting adjourned.


At a meeting in this city the following remarks were made by--


"_Fellow-Citizens_: We are called together to-day by an announcement
which will cause profound sorrow throughout the civilized world, and
which comes to us bearing the additional grief of a personal and
private bereavement. The foremost man in all the world is no more;
and, as that news is carried by the speed of lightning through every
town, village, and hamlet of this land which he loved so well,
and among those people who loved and honored and venerated him so
profoundly, every true heart in the stricken South will feel that the
country has lost its pride and glory, and that the citizens of that
country have lost a father. I dare not venture to speak of him as I
feel. Nor do we come to eulogize him. Not only wherever the English
language is spoken, but wherever civilization extends, the sorrow--a
part at least of the sorrow--we feel will be felt, and more eloquent
tongues than mine will tell the fame and recount the virtues of Robert
E. Lee. We need not come to praise him. We come only to express our
sympathy, our grief, our bereavement. We come not to mourn him, for we
know that it is well with him. We come only to extend our sympathy to
those who are bereaved.

"Now that he is fallen, I may mention what I have never spoken of
before, to show you not only what were the feelings that actuated him
in the duty to which his beloved countrymen called him, but what noble
sentiments inspired him when he saw the cause for which he had been
fighting so long about to perish. Just before the surrender, after a
night devoted to the most arduous duties, as one of his staff came
in to see him in the morning, he found him worn and weary and
disheartened, and the general said to him, 'How easily I could get rid
of this and be at rest! I have only to ride along the line, and
all will be over. But,' said he--and there spoke the Christian
patriot--'it is our duty to _live_, for what will become of the women
and children of the South if we are not here to protect them?' That
same spirit of duty which had actuated him through all the perils and
all the hardships of that unequalled conflict which he had waged so
heroically, that same high spirit of duty told him that he must live
to show that he was great--greater, if that were possible, in peace
than in war; live to teach the people whom he had before led to
victory how to bear defeat; live to show what a great and good man can
accomplish; live to set an example to his people for all time; live to
bear, if nothing else, his share of the sorrows, and the afflictions,
and the troubles, which had come upon his people. He is now at rest;
and surely we of the South can say of him, as we say of his great
exemplar, the 'Father of his Country,' that 'he was first in war,
first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.'"


At a meeting of the officers and soldiers who served under General
Lee, held in this city on October 15th, a number of addresses were
made, which we are compelled to somewhat condense. That of Colonel
Marshall, General Lee's chief of staff, was as follows:


"In presenting the resolutions of the committee, I cannot refrain from
expressing the feelings inspired by the memories that crowd upon my
mind when I reflect that these resolutions are intended to express
what General Lee's surviving soldiers feel toward General Lee. The
committee are fully aware of their inability to do justice to the
sentiments that inspire the hearts of those for whom they speak. How
can we portray in words the gratitude, the pride, the veneration, the
anguish, that now fill the hearts of those who shared his victories
and his reverses, his triumphs and his defeats? How can we tell the
world what we can only feel ourselves? How can we give expression to
the crowding memories called forth by the sad event we are met to

"We recall him as he appeared in the hour of victory, grand, imposing,
awe-inspiring, yet self-forgetful and humble. We recall the great
scenes of his triumph, when we hailed him victor on many a bloody
field, and when above the paeans of victory we listened with reverence
to his voice as he ascribed 'all glory to the Lord of hosts, from
whom all glories are.' We remember that grand magnanimity that never
stooped to pluck those meaner things that grew nearest the earth upon
the tree of victory, but which, with eyes turned toward the stars, and
hands raised toward heaven, gathered the golden fruits of mercy,
pity, and holy charity, that ripen on its topmost boughs beneath the
approving smile of the great God of battles. We remember the sublime
self-abnegation of Chancellorsville, when, in the midst of his
victorious legions, who, with the light of battle yet on their faces,
hailed him conqueror, he thought only of his great lieutenant lying
wounded on the field, and transferred to him all the honor of that
illustrious day.

"I will be pardoned, I am sure, for referring to an incident which
affords to my mind a most striking illustration of one of the grandest
features of his character. On the morning of May 3, 1863, as many of
you will remember, the final assault was made upon the Federal lines
at Chancellorsville. General Lee accompanied the troops in person, and
as they emerged from the fierce combat they had waged in 'the depths
of that tangled wilderness,' driving the superior forces of the enemy
before them across the open ground, he rode into their midst. The
scene is one that can never be effaced from the minds of those who
witnessed it. The troops were pressing forward with all the ardor and
enthusiasm of combat. The white smoke of musketry fringed the front of
the line of battle, while the artillery on the hills in the rear of
the infantry shook the earth with its thunder, and filled the air with
the wild shrieks of the shells that plunged into the masses of the
retreating foe. To add greater horror and sublimity to the scene, the
Chancellorsville House and the woods surrounding it were wrapped in
flames. In the midst of this awful scene, General Lee, mounted upon
that horse which we all remember so well, rode to the front of his
advancing battalions. His presence was the signal for one of those
uncontrollable outbursts of enthusiasm which none can appreciate
who have not witnessed them. The fierce soldiers, with their faces
blackened with the smoke of battle; the wounded, crawling with feeble
limbs from the fury of the devouring flames, all seemed possessed with
a common impulse. One long, unbroken cheer, in which the feeble cry of
those who lay helpless on the earth blended with the strong voices of
those who still fought, rose high above the roar of battle and hailed
the presence of the victorious chief. He sat in the full realization
of all that soldiers dream of--triumph; and, as I looked upon him in
the complete fruition of the success which his genius, courage, and
confidence in his army, had won, I thought it must have been from some
such scene that men in ancient days ascended to the dignity of the
gods. His first care was for the wounded of both armies, and he was
among the foremost at the burning mansion where some of them lay. But
at that moment, when the transports of his victorious troops were
drowning the roar of battle with acclamations, a note was brought to
him from General Jackson. It was brought to General Lee as he sat on
his horse near the Chancellorsville House, and, unable to open it with
his gauntleted hands, he passed it to me with directions to read it to
him. The note made no mention of the wound that General Jackson had
received, but congratulated General Lee upon the great victory. I
shall never forget the look of pain and anguish that passed over his
face as he listened. With a voice broken with emotion he bade me
say to General Jackson that the victory was his, and that the
congratulations were due to him. I know not how others may regard this
incident, but, for myself, as I gave expression to the thoughts of his
exalted mind, I forgot the genius that won the day in my reverence for
the generosity that refused its glory.

"There is one other incident to which I beg permission to refer, that
I may perfect the picture. On the 3d day of July, 1863, the last
assault of the Confederate troops upon the heights of Gettysburg
failed, and again General Lee was among his baffled and shattered
battalions as they sullenly retired from their brave attempt. The
history of that battle is yet to be written, and the responsibility
for the result is yet to be fixed. But there, with the painful
consciousness that his plans had been frustrated by others, and that
defeat and humiliation had overtaken his army, in the presence of his
troops he openly assumed the entire responsibility of the campaign and
of the lost battle. One word from him would have relieved him of this
responsibility, but that word he refused to utter until it could be
spoken without fear of doing the least injustice.

"Thus, my fellow-soldiers, I have presented to you our great commander
in the supreme moments of triumph and defeat. I cannot more strongly
illustrate his character. Has it been surpassed in history? Is there
another instance of such self-abnegation among men? The man rose
high above victory in one instance; and, harder still, the man rose
superior to disaster in the other. It was such incidents as these that
gave General Lee the absolute and undoubting confidence and affection
of his soldiers. Need I speak of the many exhibitions of that
confidence? You all remember them, my comrades. Have you not seen a
wavering line restored by the magic of his presence? Have you not seen
the few forget that they were fighting against the many, because he
was among the few?

"But I pass from the contemplation of his greatness in war, to look to
his example under the oppressive circumstances of final failure--to
look to that example to which it is most useful for us now to refer
for our guidance and instruction. When the attempt to establish the
Southern Confederacy had failed, and the event of the war seemed to
have established the indivisibility of the Federal Union, General Lee
gave his adhesion to the new order of things. His was no hollow truce;
but, with the pure faith and honor that marked every act of his
illustrious career, he immediately devoted himself to the restoration
of peace, harmony, and concord. He entered zealously into the subject
of education, believing, as he often declared, that popular education
is the only sure foundation of free government. He gave his earnest
support to all plans of internal improvements designed to bind more
firmly together the social and commercial interests of the country,
and among the last acts of his life was the effort to secure the
construction of a line of railway communication of incalculable
importance as a connecting link between the North and the South. He
devoted all his great energies to the advancement of the welfare of
his countrymen while shrinking from public notice, and sought to lay
deep and strong the foundations of government which it was supposed
would rise from the ruins of the old. But I need not repeat to you, my
comrades, the history of his life since the war. You have watched it
to its close, and you know how faithfully and truly he performed every
duty of his position. Let us take to heart the lesson of his bright
example. Disregarding all that malice may impute to us, with an eye
single to the faithful performance of our duties as American citizens,
and with an honest and sincere resolution to support with heart and
hand the honor, the safety, and the true liberties of our country, let
us invoke our fellow-citizens to forget the animosities of the past by
the side of this honored grave, and, 'joining hands around this royal
corpse, friends now, enemies no more, proclaim perpetual truce to

The following are among the resolutions:

"The officers, soldiers, and sailors, of the Southern Confederacy,
residing in Maryland, who served under General Lee, desiring to record
their grief for his death, their admiration for his exalted virtues,
and their affectionate veneration for his illustrious memory--

"_Resolved_, That, leaving with pride the name and fame of our
illustrious commander to the judgment of history, we, who followed
him through the trials, dangers, and hardships of a sanguinary and
protracted war; who have felt the inspiration of his genius and
valor in the time of trial; who have witnessed his magnanimity and
moderation in the hour of victory, and his firmness and fortitude in
defeat, claim the privilege of laying the tribute of our heart-felt
sorrow upon his honored grave.

"_Resolved_, That the confidence and admiration which his eminent
achievements deserved and received were strengthened by the noble
example of his constancy in adversity, and that we honored and revered
him in his retirement as we trusted and followed him on the field of

"_Resolved_, That, as a token of respect and sorrow, we will wear the
customary badge of mourning for thirty days.

"_Resolved_, That a copy of these resolutions and of the proceedings
of this meeting be transmitted to the family of our lamented chief."

On the 29th of October a meeting was held to appoint delegates to
represent the State of Maryland at the Richmond Lee Monumental
Convention. After some brief remarks by General I.R. Trimble, and the
adoption of resolutions constituting the Lee Monument Association of
Maryland, the Hon. Reverdy Johnson addressed the meeting as follows:


"_Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen_: I am here in compliance with the
request of many gentlemen present, and I not only willingly complied
with that request, but I am willing to do all I am able, to show my
appreciation of the character, civil and military, of Robert E. Lee.
It was my good fortune to know him before the Mexican War, in those
better days before the commencement of the sad struggle through which
we have recently passed. I saw in him every thing that could command
the respect and admiration of men, and I watched with peculiar
interest his course in the Mexican War. It was also my good fortune
to know the late Lieutenant-General Scott. In the commencement of
the struggle to which I have alluded, I occupied in Washington
the position of _quasi_ military adviser to him, and was, in that
capacity, intimately associated with him. I have heard him often
declare that the glorious and continued success which crowned our arms
in the war with Mexico was owing, in a large measure, to the skill,
valor, and undaunted courage of Robert E. Lee. He entertained for him
the warmest personal friendship, and it was his purpose to recommend
him as his successor in the event of his death or inability to
perform the duties of his high position. In April, 1861, after the
commencement of hostilities between the two great sections of our
country, General Lee, then lieutenant-colonel of cavalry in the Army
of the United States, offered his resignation. I was with General
Scott when he was handed the letter of resignation, and I saw what
pain the fact caused him. While he regretted the step his most
valuable officer had taken, he never failed to say emphatically,
and over and over again, that he believed he had taken it from _an
imperative sense of duty_. He was also consoled by the belief that if
he was placed at the head of the armies of the then Confederation, he
would have in him a foeman in every way worthy of him, and one who
would conduct the war upon the highest principles of civilized
warfare, and that he would not suffer encroachments to be made upon
the rights of private property and the rights of unoffending citizens.

"Some may be surprised that I am here to eulogize Robert E. Lee. It is
well known that I did not agree with him in his political views. At
the beginning of the late war, and for many years preceding it, even
from the foundation of this Government, two great questions agitated
the greatest minds of this country. Many believed that the allegiance
of the citizen was due first to his State, and many were of the
opinion that, according to the true reading of the Constitution, a
State had no right to leave the Union and claim sovereign rights and
the perpetual allegiance of her citizens. I did not agree in the
first-named opinion, but I knew it was honestly entertained. I knew
men of the purest character, of the highest ability, and of the most
liberal and patriotic feelings, who conscientiously believed it. Now
the war is over, thank God! and to that thank I am sure this meeting
will respond, it is the duty of every citizen of this land to seek
to heal the wounds of the war, to forget past differences, and to
forgive, as far as possible, the faults to which the war gave rise. In
no other way can the Union be truly and permanently restored. We are
now together as a band of brothers. The soldiers of the Confederacy,
headed by the great chief we now mourn, have expressed their
willingness to abide by the issue of the contest. What a spectacle to
the world! After years of military devastation, with tens of thousands
dead on her battle-fields, with the flower of her children slain, with
her wealth destroyed, her commerce swept away, her agricultural and
mechanical pursuits almost ruined, the South yielded. The North,
victorious and strong, could not forget what she owed to liberty
and human rights. We may well swear now that as long as liberty is
virtuous we will be brothers.

"Robert E. Lee is worthy of all praise. As a man, he was peerless; as
a soldier, he had no equal and no superior; as a humane and Christian
soldier, he towers high in the political horizon. You cannot imagine
with what delight, when I had the honor to represent this country
at the court of Great Britain, I heard the praises of his fame and
character which came from soldiers and statesmen. I need not speak
of the comparative merits of General Lee and the Union generals who
opposed him; this is not the place or time for a discussion of their
respective successes and defeats; but I may say that, as far as I was
able to judge of the sentiments of the military men of Great Britain,
they thought none of the Union officers superior to General Robert E.
Lee. Their admiration for him was not only on account of his skill on
the battle-field, and the skilful manner with which he planned and
executed his campaigns, but the humane manner in which he performed
his sad duty. They alluded specially to his conduct when invading the
territory of his enemy--his restraint upon his men, telling them that
the honor of the army depended upon the manner of conducting the war
in the enemy's country--and his refusal to resort to retaliatory
measures. I know that great influences were brought to bear upon him,
when he invaded Pennsylvania, to induce him to consent to extreme
measures. His answer, however, was, 'No; if I suffer my army to pursue
the course recommended, I cannot invoke the blessing of God upon my
arms.' He would not allow his troops to destroy private property or to
violate the rights of the citizens. When the necessities of his army
compelled the taking of commissary stores, by his orders his officers
paid for them in Confederate money at its then valuation. No burning
homesteads illumined his march, no shivering and helpless children
were turned out of their homes to witness their destruction by the
torch. With him all the rules of civilized war, having the higher
sanction of God, were strictly observed. The manly fortitude with
which he yielded at Appomattox to three times his numbers showed that
he was worthy of the honors and the fame the South had given him.
This is not the first time since the termination of the war I have
expressed admiration and friendship for Robert E. Lee. When I heard
that he was about to be prosecuted in a Virginia court for the alleged
crime of treason, I wrote to him at once, and with all my heart, that
if he believed I could be of any service to him, professionally, I
was at his command. All the ability I possess, increased by more
than fifty years of study and experience, would have been cheerfully
exerted to have saved him, for in saving him I believe I would have
been saving the honor of my country. I received a characteristic reply
in terms of friendship and grateful thanks. He wrote that he did not
think the prosecution would take place. Hearing, however, some time
after, that the prosecution would commence at Richmond, I went at once
to that city and saw his legal adviser, Hon. William H. McFarland, one
of the ablest men of the bar of Virginia. Mr. McFarland showed me
a copy of a letter from General Lee to General Grant, enclosing an
application for a pardon which he desired General Grant to present to
the President, but telling him not to present it if any steps had been
taken for his prosecution, as he was willing to stand the test. He
wrote that he had understood by the terms of surrender at Appomattox
that he and all his officers and men were to be protected. That
letter, I am glad to say, raised General Lee higher in my esteem.
General Grant at once replied, and he showed his reply to me. He wrote
that he had seen the President, and protested against any steps being
taken against General Lee, and had informed him that he considered his
honor and the honor of the nation pledged to him. The President
became satisfied, and no proceedings were ever taken. General Grant
transmitted to the President the application of General Lee for
pardon, indorsed with his most earnest approval. No pardon was
granted. He did not need it here, and, when he appears before that
great tribunal before which we must all be called, he will find he has
no account to settle there. No soldier who followed General Lee could
have felt more grief and sympathy at his grave than I would, could I
have been present upon the mournful occasion of his burial. I lamented
his loss as a private loss, and still more as a public loss. I knew
that his example would continue to allay the passions aroused by the
war, and which I was not surprised were excited by some acts in that
war. I love my country; I am jealous of her honor. I cherish her good
name, and I am proud of the land of my birth. I forbear to criticise
the lives and characters of her high officers and servants, but I can
say with truth that, during the late war, the laws of humanity were
forgotten, and the higher orders of God were trodden under foot.

"The resolutions need no support which human lips can by human
language give. Their subject is their support. The name of Lee appeals
at once, and strongly, to every true heart in this land and throughout
the world. Let political partisans, influenced by fanaticism and the
hope of political plunder, find fault with and condemn us. They will
be forgotten when the name of Lee will be resplendent with immortal

"Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, in the course of Nature my career upon
earth must soon terminate. God grant that when the day of my death
comes, I may look up to Heaven with that confidence and faith which
the life and character of Robert E. Lee gave him! He died trusting in
God, as a good man, with a good life and a pure conscience. He was
consoled with the knowledge that the religion of Christ had ordered
all his ways, and he knew that the verdict of God upon the account he
would have to render in heaven would be one of judgment seasoned with
mercy. He had a right to believe that when God passed judgment upon
the account of his life, though He would find him an erring human
being, He would find virtue enough and religious faith enough to save
him from any other verdict than that of 'Well done, good and faithful
servant.' The monument will be raised; and when it is raised many a
man will visit Richmond to stand beside it, to do reverence to the
remains it may cover, and to say, 'Here lie the remains of one of the
noblest men who ever lived or died in America.'"


"_Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen_: The able and eloquent gentlemen who
have preceded me have left but little for me to say. I rise, however,
to express my hearty assent to the resolutions. Their broad and
liberal views are worthy of the great and good man whose virtues and
fame we seek to commemorate. He has passed away from earth, and our
blame or censure is nothing to him now. The most eloquent eulogies
that human lips can utter, and the loftiest monuments that human hands
can build, cannot affect him now. But it is a satisfaction to us
to know that expressions of the love for him which lives in every
Southern heart--ay, in many a Northern heart--were heard long before
his death, and that honor shed noble lustre around the last years of
his life. He was the representative of a lost cause; he had sheathed
his sword forever; he had surrendered his army to superior numbers;
he was broken in fortune and in health, and was only president of a
Virginia college, yet he was one of the foremost men of all the world.

"It has been said of General Lee, as it has been said of Washington,
that he was deficient in genius. His character was so complete that
what would have seemed evidences of genius with other men, were lost
in the combination of his character and mind. He was always, and
especially in every great crisis, a leader among men. During the four
years of his education at West Point he did not receive a single
reprimand. As a cavalry-officer, wherever he went he was a marked man;
and when General Scott made his wonderful march to the capital of
Mexico, Captain Lee was his right arm. At the commencement of the late
war, though only a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry, he was offered the
command of the armies of the United States. What a prize for ambition!
Fortune, fame, and honors, awaited him. Where would he have been
to-day? Probably in the presidential chair of this great nation. But
he rejected all to take his chance with his own people, and to unite
with them in their resistance to the vast numbers and resources which
he knew the North was able to bring against them. There is nothing
more remarkable in the annals of warfare than the success with which
General Lee defeated for years the armies of the United States.
Consider the six-days' battles around Richmond; the second battle of
Manassas; the battles at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg;
the wonderful contest at Chancellorsville; then again the remarkable
battle of the Wilderness, in which it has been said by Federal
authority that General Lee actually killed as many men as he had under
his command; the defence at Cold Harbor, the prolonged defence of
Richmond and Petersburg, and the admirably-conducted retreat with but
a handful before an immense army. Well has he been spoken of as
'the incomparable strategist.' Did any man ever fight against more
desperate odds or resources?

"But not merely as a great general is General Lee to be admired. He
claims our admiration as a great man--great in adversity. I think
there is nothing more admirable in all his life than his conduct in
assuming the sole responsibility at Gettysburg. In the midst of defeat
Lee was calm, unmoved, showing no fear where despair would have been
in the heart of any other general, and saying to his officers and men,
'The fault is all mine.' Let the monument be raised, not merely by
soldiers of General Lee, but by all men, no matter of what political
feelings, who appreciate and honor that which is manly, great, and
patriotic. The monument at Richmond will be the resort of pilgrims
from the North as well as from the South, and the grave of Lee will be
second only in the hearts of the people to the grave of Washington."


At the meeting at Lexington, resolutions were adopted similar to
those already given. The meeting was addressed by General Preston and


"I am permitted to accompany the report with a few remarks, although I
deem it unnecessary to use one word of commendation on the character
of such a man. These resolutions are no doubt very short, but they
will testify the feelings of every right-minded, noble-hearted man, no
matter what may have been his opinions as to the past. Every true
and generous soul feels that these resolutions are expressive of the
sorrow entertained by the whole country. We speak not only the common
voice of America, but of the world at this hour. It is no ordinary
case of eulogy over an ordinary being, but over one who was the man
of the century; a man who, by mighty armies commanded with admirable
skill; by great victories achieved, and yet never stained by
exultation; by mighty misfortunes met with a calm eye, and submitted
to with all the dignity that belongs to elevated intelligence, and by
his simplicity and grandeur, challenged the admiration of civilized
mankind; and still more remarkable, after yielding to the greatest
vicissitudes that the world ever saw, resigned himself to the
improvement of the youth of the country, to the last moment of his
mortal life, looking to the glorious life which he contemplated beyond
the tomb. I must confess that, notwithstanding the splendor and glory
of his career, I envy him the dignity of the pacific close of
his life. Nothing more gentle, nothing more great, nothing more
uncomplaining, has ever been recorded in the history of the world. By
returning to Napoleon, we find he murmured, we find all the marks
of mortality and mortal anger; but in Lee we find a man perfect in
Christian principles--dignified, yet simple.

"I knew him first when he was a captain. I was then a young man
connected with one of the regiments of this State, in Mexico, the
Fourth Kentucky; and when I first saw him he was a man of extreme
physical beauty, remarkable for his great gentleness of manner, and
for his freedom from all military and social vices. At that time,
General Scott, by common consent, had fixed upon General Lee as the
man who would make his mark if ever the country needed his services.
He never swore an oath, he never drank, he never wrangled, but there
was not a single dispute between gentlemen that his voice was not more
potent than any other; his rare calmness, serenity, and dignity,
were above all. When the war came on, he followed his native State,
Virginia, for he was the true representative of the great Virginia
family at Washington. He was the real type of his race. He was
possessed of all the most perfect points of Washington's character,
with all the noble traits of his own.

"Scott maintained that Lee was the greatest soldier in the army. His
discerning eye compared men; and I remember when, in some respects, I
thought General Lee's military education had not fitted him for the
great talents which he was destined to display. I remember when
General Scott made use of these remarkable words: 'I tell you one
thing, if I was on my death-bed, and knew there was a battle to be
fought for the liberties of my country, and the President was to say
to me, "Scott, who shall command?" I tell you that, with my dying
breath, I should say Robert Lee. Nobody but Robert Lee! Robert Lee,
and nobody but Lee!' That impressed me very much, because, at the
beginning of the campaign, Lee was not prosperous; and why? because
he was building up his men with that science which he possessed. His
great qualities were discerned not after his remarkable campaigns;
but, long before it, his name was regarded with that respected
preëminence to which it did rise under that campaign. And I now say,
and even opposite officers will admit, that no man has displayed
greater power, more military ability, or more noble traits of
character, than Robert E. Lee. Therefore it is that America has lost
much. Europe will testify this as well as ourselves in this local
community. Europe will weigh this, but after-ages will weigh him with
Moltke and Bazaine, with the Duke of Magenta, and with all military
men, and, in my judgment, those ages will say that the greatest fame
and ability belonged to Robert Lee. But let us look to his moral
character, to which I have already alluded. Through his whole life he
had been a fervent and simple Christian; throughout his campaigns he
was a brave and splendid soldier. If you ask of his friends, you will
find that they adore him. If you ask his character from his enemies,
you will find that they respect him, and respect is the involuntary
tribute which friend and enemy alike have to pay to elevated worth;
and, to-day, as the bells toll, their sounds will vibrate with the
tenderest feelings through every noble heart. Public confessions of
his worth and his greatness will be made through thousands of the
towns and cities throughout this broad land; and, even where they are
silent, monitors within will tell that a great spirit hath fled. This
secret monitor will tell that a great and good man has passed away,
who has left, in my opinion, no equal behind him."


"Since the announcement of the death of Robert E. Lee, I have been
momentarily expecting the appearance of a call to pay some tribute to
his splendid memory; but, if a notice had been given of this meeting,
it altogether escaped my attention, else I would have been here freely
and voluntarily. If I am a stranger in Lexington, and my lot has been
cast here only during the last three weeks, yet I am happy that my
fellow-citizens here have paid me such great respect as to call on me,
on such an occasion as the present, to testify to the greatness and
glory of General Robert E. Lee. Some public calamity is required to
bring us into one great brotherhood. 'One touch of Nature makes the
whole world kin.' Though you are all strangers to me, yet, in that
common sympathy which we all feel, we are mourners together at the
bier of departed worth.

"It does not become one of my profession to take any partisan view of
the life of such a man, although it was my fortune to follow the same
flag which he carried to victory upon so many fields. When it was
furled, it was done with such calm magnificence as to win the
admiration of his enemies and of the world. Yet I do not stand here to
make any reference to that cause which has passed from the theatre of
earth's activity, and taken its place only in history. But I do claim
the right, from the stand-point which I occupy, of pointing to a man
worthy of the emulation of all who love the true nobility of humanity;
a man who was magnanimous to his enemies; who would weep at the
calamities of his foes; who, throughout the sanguinary struggle, could
preserve in himself the fullest share of human sympathy. History will
challenge the world to produce a single instance in which this
great man ever wantonly inflicted a blow, or ever wilfully imposed
punishment upon any of his captives, or ever pushed his victory upon
an enemy to gain unnecessary results--a man who, in all his campaigns,
showed the same bright example to all the battalions that followed the
lead of his sword. And now, since that flag which he carried has been
furled, what a magnificent example has been presented to the world! It
was said of Washington that he was first in war and first in peace,
but, in the latter regard, Robert E. Lee showed more greatness than
even the Father of his Country. He was struck down; the sun that had
brightened up the horizon of hopes sank in dark eclipse to set in
the shadow of disappointment. Calm and magnificent in the repose of
conscious strength, he felt that he had lived and struggled for a
principle that was dear to him. Though dead, it only remained for him
to be our example to the stricken and suffering people for whom he
labored, and to show how magnanimously a brave and true Christian
could act even when all he held sacred and dear was shattered by the
hand of calamity. And, at the close of his career, he devoted his
splendid capacity to the culture of the minds of his country's
youth. He came down from the summit on which he had won the world's
admiration, to the steady, regular duties of the school-room, to take
his place in the vestry of a Christian church, and to administer the
affairs of a country parish in the interest of Christianity. A man
who, by his dignity and simplicity, preserved the constant admiration
of his enemies, without even giving offence to his friends, such a man
should receive a niche in the Pantheon of Fame.

"He stood in that great struggle of which as a star he was the leader,
of unclouded brightness, drawing over its mournful history a splendor
which is reflected from every sentence of its chronicle. He was an
example of a man, who, though branded because of defeat, still, by
his exalted character, gave a dignity and nobility to a cause which,
doubtless, is forever dead, yet still is rendered immortal by the
achievements of Robert E. Lee's sword and character."


"Services were held last evening," says a New-York journal, "in the
large hall of the Cooper Institute, in commemoration of the life and
character of the late General Robert E. Lee, of the Confederate States
Army, with especial reference to his civic and Christian virtues. The
call for the meeting stated that, although it was inaugurated by the
Southern residents in the city of New York, it was 'yet to be regarded
as in no sense born of partisan feeling, but solely from the desire
to do honor to the memory of a great and good man--an illustrious
American.' The attendance therefore of all, without reference to
section or nationality, was cordially invited.

"There was no special decoration of the hall. Grafulla's band was in
attendance, and, prior to the opening of the meeting, played several
fine dirges. The choir of St. Stephen's Church also appeared upon the
platform and opened the proceedings by singing 'Come, Holy Spirit.'
The choir consisted of Madame de Luzan, Mrs. Jennie Kempton, Dr.
Bauos, and Herr Weinlich. Mr. H.B. Denforth presided at the piano.

"Among the gentlemen present on the platform were General Imboden,
ex-Governor Lowe, General Walker, Colonel Hunter, General Daniel W.
Adams, Dr. Van Avery, Mr. M.B. Fielding, Colonel Fellows, General
Cabell, Colonel T.L. Gnead, Mr. McCormick, Mr. T.A. Hoyt, etc.

"Mr. M.B. Fielding called the meeting to order, and requested the Rev.
Dr. Carter to offer prayer.

"The Hon. John E. Ward was then called to preside, and delivered
the following address--all the marked passages of which were loudly

"We meet to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of one whom
the whole South revered with more than filial affection. The kind
manifestations of sympathy expressed through the press of this great
metropolis, this assemblage, the presence of these distinguished men,
who join with us this evening, testify that the afflicted voice of
his bereaved people has charmed down with sweet persuasion the angry
passions kindled by the conflict in which he was their chosen leader.
This is not the occasion either for an elaborate review of his life or
a eulogy of his character. I propose to attempt neither. Born of one
of the oldest and most distinguished families of our country--one
so renowned in the field and in the cabinet that it seemed almost
impossible to give brighter lustre to it--General Robert E. Lee
rendered that family name even more illustrious, and by his genius and
virtues extended its fame to regions of the globe where it had never
before been mentioned. There is no cause for envy or hatred left
now. His soldiers adored him most, not in the glare of his brilliant
victories, but in the hour of his deepest humiliation, when his last
great battle had been fought and lost--when the government for which
he had struggled was crumbling about him--when his staff, asking, in
despair, 'What can now be done?' he gave that memorable reply, 'It
were strange indeed if human virtue were not at least as strong as
human calamity.' This is the key to his life--the belief that trials
and strength, suffering and consolation, come alike from God.
Obedience to duty was ever his ruling principle. Infallibility is not
claimed for him in the exercise of his judgment in deciding what duty
was. But what he believed duty to command, that he performed without
thought of how he would appear in the performance. In the judgment of
many he may have mistaken his duty when he decided that it did not
require him to draw his sword 'against his home, his kindred, and his
children.' But Lee was no casuist or politician; he was a soldier.
'All that he would do highly that would he do holily.' He taught the
world that the Christian and the gentleman could be united in the
warrior. It was not when in pomp and power--when he commanded
successful legions and led armies to victories--but when in sorrow
and privation he assumed the instruction and guidance of the youth of
Virginia, laying the only true foundation upon which a republic can
rest, the Christian education of its youth--that he reaped the rich
harvest of a people's love. Goodness was the chief attribute of Lee's
greatness. Uniting in himself the rigid piety of the Puritan with the
genial, generous impulses of the cavalier, he won the love of all with
whom he came in contact, from the thoughtless child, with whom it was
ever his delight to sport, to the great captain of the age, with whom
he fought all the hard-won battles of Mexico. Some may believe that
the world has given birth to warriors more renowned, to rulers more
skilled in statecraft, but all must concede that a purer, nobler man
never lived. What successful warrior or ruler, in ancient or modern
times, has descended to his grave amid such universal grief and
lamentation as our Lee? Caesar fell by the hands of his own beloved
Brutus, because, by his tyranny, he would have enslaved Rome.
Frederick the Great, the founder of an empire, became so hated of men,
and learned so to despise them, that he ordered his 'poor carcass,' as
he called it, to be buried with his favorite dogs at Potsdam. Napoleon
reached his giddy height by paths which Lee would have scorned to
tread, only to be hurled from his eminence by all the powers of Europe
which his insatiate ambition had combined against him. Wellington, the
conqueror of Napoleon, became the leader of a political party, and
lived to need the protection of police from a mob. Even our own
Washington, whose character was as high above that of the mere warrior
and conqueror as is the blue vault of heaven above us to the low earth
we tread beneath our feet, was libelled in life and slandered in
death. Such were the fates of the most successful captains and
warriors of the world. For four long years Lee occupied a position not
less prominent than that of the most distinguished among them. The
eyes of the civilized world watched his every movement and scanned his
every motive. His cause was lost. He was unsuccessful. Yet he lived
to illustrate to the world how, despite failure and defeat, a soldier
could command honor and love from those for whom he struggled, and
admiration and respect from his foes, such as no success had ever
before won for warrior, prince, or potentate. And, when his life was
ended, the whole population of the South, forming one mighty funeral
procession, followed him to his grave. His obsequies modestly
performed by those most tenderly allied to him, he sleeps in the bosom
of the land he loved so well. His spotless fame will gather new vigor
and freshness from the lapse of time, and the day is not distant when
that fame will be claimed, not as the property of a section, but as
the heritage of a united people. His soul, now forever freed from
earth's defilements, basks in the sunlight of God.' _Pro tumulo
ponas patriam, pro tegmine caelum, sidera pro facibus, pro lachrymis
maria_.'" (Great applause.)


Rose and said:

"It is with emotions of infinite grief I rise to perform one of
the saddest duties of my life. The committee who have arranged the
ceremonies on this occasion, deemed it expedient and proper to select
a Virginian as their organ to present to this large assembly of the
people of New York a formal preamble and resolutions, which give
expression to their feelings in regard to the death of General Robert
E. Lee. This distinction has been conferred by the committee upon me;
and I shall proceed to read their report, without offering to submit
any remarks as to the feelings excited in my own heart by this,
mournful intelligence:"


"In this great metropolitan city of America, where men of every clime
and of all nationalities mingle in the daily intercourse of pleasure
and of business, no great public calamity can befall any people in the
world without touching a sympathetic chord in the hearts of thousands.
When, therefore, tidings reached us that General Robert E. Lee, of
Virginia, was dead, and that the people of that and all the other
Southern States of the Union were stricken with grief, the great
public heart of New York was moved with a generous sympathy, which
found kindly and spontaneous expression through the columns of the
city press of every shade of opinion.

"All differences of the past, all bitter memories, all the feuds
that have kept two great sections of our country in angry strife and
controversy for so long, have been forgotten in the presence of the
awe-inspiring fact that no virtues, no deeds, no honors, nor any
position, can save any member of the human family from the common lot
of all.

"The universal and profound grief of our Southern countrymen is
natural and honorable alike to themselves and to him whom they mourn,
and is respected throughout the world; for Robert E. Lee was allied
and endeared to them by all the most sacred ties that can unite an
individual to a community. He was born and reared in their midst,
and shared their local peculiarities, opinions, and traditional
characteristics; and his preëminent abilities and exalted personal
integrity and Christian character made him, by common consent, their
leader and representative in a great national conflict in which they
had staked life, fortune, and honor; and in Virginia his family was
coeval with the existence of the State, and its name was emblazoned
upon those bright pages of her early civil and military annals which
record the patriotic deeds of Washington and his compeers.

"By no act of his did he ever forfeit or impair the confidence thus
reposed in him by his own peculiar people; and when he had, through
years of heroic trial and suffering, done all that mortal man could
do in discharge of the high trust confided by them to his hands,
and failed, he bowed with dignified submission to the decree of
Providence; and from the day he gave his parole at Appomattox to the
hour of his death, he so lived and acted as to deprive enmity of its
malignity, and became to his defeated soldiers and countrymen a bright
example of unqualified obedience to the laws of the land, and of
support to its established government. Nay, more. With a spirit of
Christian and affectionate duty to his impoverished and suffering
people, and with a high estimate of the importance of mental and moral
culture to a generation of youth whose earlier years were attended by
war's rough teachings, he went from the tented field and the command
of armies to the quiet shades of a scholastic institution in the
secluded valleys of his own native Virginia, and entered with all the
earnestness of his nature upon the duties of instruction, and there
spent the closing years of his life in training the minds and hearts
of young men from all parts of the country for the highest usefulness
'in their day and generation.' By these pursuits, and his exemplary
and unobtrusive life since the close of the great war in America, he
won the respect and admiration of the enlightened and the good of the
whole world. It is meet and natural, therefore, that his own people
should bewail his death as a sore personal bereavement to each one of
them. Those of us here assembled who were his soldiers, friends, and
supporters, sharing all the trials and many of the responsibilities of
that period of his life which brought him so prominently before the
world, honored and trusted him then, have loved and admired him, have
been guided by his example since; and now that he is dead, we should
be unworthy of ourselves, and unworthy to be called his countrymen,
did we not feel and express the same poignant grief which now afflicts
those among whom he lived and died.

"Those of us who were not his soldiers, friends, and supporters, when
war raged throughout the land, but who have nevertheless met here
to-day with those who were our enemies then, but are now our friends
and countrymen, and appreciate with them the character of Lee, and
admire his rare accomplishments as an American citizen, whose fame and
name are the property of the nation, we all unite over his hallowed
sepulchre in an earnest prayer that old divisions may be composed, and
that a complete and perfect reconciliation of all estrangements may be
effected at the tomb, where all alike, in a feeling of common
humanity and universal Christian brotherhood, may drop their tears of
heart-felt sorrow.

"Therefore, without regard to our former relations toward each other,
but meeting as Americans by birth or adoption, and in the broadest
sense of national unity, and in the spirit above indicated, to do
honor to a great man and Christian gentleman who has gone down to the
grave, we do

"_Resolve_, That we have received with feelings of profound sorrow
intelligence of the death of General Robert E. Lee. We can and do
fully appreciate the grief of our Southern countrymen at the death
of one so honored by and so dear to them, and we tender to them this
expression of our sympathy, with the assurance that we feel in
the contemplation of so sad an event that we are and ought to be,
henceforth and forever, one great and harmonious national family,
sharing on all occasions each others' joys and sympathizing in each
others' sorrows.

"_Resolved_, That a copy of the foregoing preamble, and these
resolutions, signed by the president and secretary, be transmitted to
the Governor of Virginia, with a request that the same be preserved in
the archives of the State; and that another copy be sent to the family
of General Lee.

  _Committee on Resolutions_"

"On motion, the resolutions were unanimously adopted by a standing and
silent vote, which was followed by a spontaneous outburst of hearty

We have given but a small portion of the addresses which were called
forth by this national calamity, and these, no doubt, have suffered
injustice by imperfect reporting. But we have shown, as we wished to
show, the standard by which our people estimate an heroic character,
and how the South loves and honors the memory of her great leader.

A few extracts from the English press will show the feeling in that


"Even amid the turmoil of the great European struggle, the
intelligence from America announcing that General Robert E. Lee is
dead, will be received with deep sorrow by many in this country, as
well as by his followers and fellow-soldiers in America. It is but
a few years since Robert E. Lee ranked among the great men of the
present time. He was the able soldier of the Southern Confederacy, the
bulwark of her northern frontier, the obstacle to the advance of the
Federal armies, and the leader who twice threatened, by the capture
of Washington, to turn the tide of success, and to accomplish a
revolution which would have changed the destiny of the United States.
Six years passed by, and then we heard that he was dying at an obscure
town in Virginia, where, since the collapse of the Confederacy, he had
been acting as a school-master. When, at the head of the last eight
thousand of his valiant army, the remnants which battle, sickness, and
famine had left him, he delivered up his sword to General Grant at
Appomattox Court-House, his public career ended; he passed away from
men's thoughts; and few in Europe cared to inquire the fate of
the general whose exploits had aroused the wonder of neutrals and
belligerents, and whose noble character had excited the admiration of
even the most bitter of his political enemies. If, however, success is
not always to be accounted as the sole foundation of renown, General
Lee's life and career deserve to be held in reverence by all who
admire the talents of a general and the noblest qualities of a
soldier. His family were well known in Virginia. Descended from the
Cavaliers who first colonized that State, they had produced more than
one man who fought with distinction for their country. They were
allied by marriage to Washington, and, previous to the recent war,
were possessed of much wealth; General (then Colonel) Robert Lee
residing, when not employed with his regiment, at Arlington Heights,
one of the most beautiful places in the neighborhood of Washington.
When the civil war first broke out, he was a colonel in the United
States Army, who had served with distinction in Mexico, and was
accounted among the best of the American officers. To him, as to
others, the difficult choice presented itself, whether to take the
side of his State, which had joined in the secession of the South, or
to support the central Government. It is said that Lee debated the
matter with General Scott, then Commander-in-chief, that both agreed
that their first duty lay with their State, but that the former only
put the theory into practice.

"It was not until the second year of the war that Lee came prominently
forward, when, at the indecisive battle of Fair Oaks, in front of
Richmond, General Johnston having been wounded, he took command of the
army; and subsequently drove McClellan, with great loss, to the banks
of the James River. From that time he became the recognized leader
of the Confederate army of Virginia. He repulsed wave after wave of
invasion, army after army being hurled against him only to be thrown
back, beaten and in disorder. The Government at Washington were kept
in constant alarm by the near vicinity of his troops, and witnessed
more than once the entry into their intrenchments of a defeated
and disorganized rabble, which a few days previous had left them a
confident host. Twice he entered the Northern States at the head of
a successful army, and twice indecisive battles alone preserved from
destruction the Federal Government, and turned the fortune of the war.
He impressed his character on those who acted under him. Ambition for
him had no charms, duty alone was his guide. His simplicity of life
checked luxury and display among his officers, while his disregard of
hardships silenced the murmurs of his harassed soldiery. By the troops
he was loved as a father, as well as admired as a general; and his
deeply-religious character impressed itself on all who were brought
in contact with him, and made itself felt through the ranks of the
Virginian army. It is said that, during four years of war, he never
slept in a house, but in winter and summer shared the hardships of his
soldiers. Such was the man who, in mature age, at a period of life
when few generals have acquired renown, fought against overwhelming
odds for the cause which he believed just. He saw many of his bravest
generals and dearest friends fall around him, but, although constantly
exposed to fire, escaped without a wound.

"The battles which prolonged and finally decided the issue of the
contest are now little more than names. Antietam, Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, are forgotten in Europe by all
excepting those who study recent wars as lessons for the future, and
would collect from the deeds of other armies experience which they
may apply to their own. To them the boldness of Lee's tactics at
Chancellorsville will ever be a subject of admiration; while even
those who least sympathize with his cause will feel for the general
who saw the repulse of Longstreet's charge at Gettysburg, and beheld
the failure of an attempt to convert a defensive war into one of
attack, together with the consequent abandonment of the bold stroke
which he had hoped would terminate the contest. Quietly he rallied
the broken troops; taking all the blame on himself, he encouraged
the officers, dispirited by the reverse, and in person formed up the
scattered detachments. Again, when Fortune had turned against the
Confederacy, when overwhelming forces from all sides pressed back
her defenders, Lee for a year held his ground with a
constantly-diminishing army, fighting battle after battle in the
forests and swamps around Richmond. No reverses seemed to dispirit
him, no misfortune appeared to ruffle his calm, brave temperament.
Only at last, when he saw the remnants of his noble army about to
be ridden down by Sheridan's cavalry, when eight thousand men,
half-starved and broken with fatigue, were surrounded by the net which
Grant and Sherman had spread around them, did he yield; his fortitude
for the moment gave way; he took farewell of his soldiers, and, giving
himself up as a prisoner, retired a ruined man into private life,
gaining his bread by the hard and uncongenial work of governing
Lexington College.

"When political animosity has calmed down, and when Americans can look
back on those years of war with feelings unbiassed by party strife,
then will General Lee's character be appreciated by all his countrymen
as it now is by a part, and his name will be honored as that of one of
the noblest soldiers who have ever drawn a sword in a cause which they
believed just, and at the sacrifice of all personal considerations
have fought manfully a losing battle."


This journal, after some remarks on the death of Admiral Farragut,

"A still more famous leader in the war has lately closed a blameless
life. There may be a difference of opinion on the military qualities
of the generals who fought on either side in the civil war; but it is
no disparagement to the capacity of Grant or of Sherman to say that
they had no opportunity of rivalling the achievements of General Lee.
Assuming the chief command in the Confederate army in the second
campaign of the war, he repelled three or four invasions of Virginia,
winning as many pitched battles over an enemy of enormously superior
resources. After driving McClellan from the Peninsula, he inflicted
on Burnside and Pope defeats which would have been ruinous if the
belligerents had been on equal terms; but twenty millions of men, with
the absolute command of the sea and the rivers, eventually overpowered
a third of their number. The drawn battle of Gettysburg proved that
the invasion of the Northern States was a blunder; and in 1863 it
became evident that the fall of the Confederacy could not be much
longer delayed. Nevertheless General Lee kept Grant's swarming legions
at bay for the whole summer and autumn, and the loss of the Northern
armies in the final campaign exceeded the entire strength of the
gallant defenders of Richmond. When General Lee, outnumbered, cut
off from his communications, and almost surrounded by his enemies,
surrendered at Appomattox Court-House, he might console himself with
the thought that he had only failed where success was impossible. From
that moment he used his unequalled and merited authority to reconcile
the Southern people to the new order of affairs. He had originally
dissented from the policy of secession; and he followed the banner
of his State exclusively from a sense of duty, in disregard of his
professional and private interests. He might at pleasure have been
Commander-in-Chief of the Northern army, for he was second in rank to
General Scott. His ancient home and his ample estate on the Potomac
were ravaged by the enemy; but he never expressed a regret for the
sacrifice of his fortune. There can be no doubt that he was often
thwarted by political superiors and by incompetent subordinates, but
his equable temper and lofty nature never inclined him to complaint.
The regret for his loss which is felt throughout the vast regions
of the South is a just tribute to one of the greatest and purest
characters in American history."

It will not be inappropriate to reproduce here the tribute which
appeared in the London _Standard_, on the receipt of the news of
General Lee's illness:


"The announcement that General R.E. Lee has been struck down by
paralysis and is not expected to recover, will be received, even at
this crisis, with universal interest, and will everywhere excite a
sympathy and regret which testify to the deep impression made on the
world at large by his character and achievements. Few are the generals
who have earned, since history began, a greater military reputation;
still fewer are the men of similar eminence, civil or military, whose
personal qualities would bear comparison with his. The bitterest
enemies of his country hardly dared to whisper a word against the
character of her most distinguished general, while neutrals regarded
him with an admiration for his deeds and a respect for his lofty
and unselfish nature which almost grew into veneration, and his own
countrymen learned to look up to him with as much confidence and
esteem as they ever felt for Washington, and with an affection which
the cold demeanor and austere temper of Washington could never
inspire. The death of such a man, even at a moment so exciting as
the present, when all thoughts are absorbed by a nearer and present
conflict, would be felt as a misfortune by all who still retain any
recollection of the interest with which they watched the Virginian
campaigns, and by thousands who have almost forgotten the names of
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania.
By the South it would be recognized as a national calamity--as the
loss of a man not only inexpressibly dear to an unfortunate people by
his intimate association with their fallen hopes and their proudest
recollections, but still able to render services such as no other man
could perform, and to give counsel whose value is enhanced tenfold
by the source from which it comes. We hope, even yet, that a life so
honorable and so useful, so pure and noble in itself, so valuable to
a country that has much need of men like him, may be spared and
prolonged for further enjoyment of domestic peace and comfort, for
further service to his country; we cannot bear to think of a career so
singularly admirable and so singularly unfortunate, should close so
soon and so sadly. By the tens of thousands who will feel as we do
when they read the news that now lies before us, may be measured the
impressions made upon the world by the life and the deeds of the great
chief of the Army of Virginia.

"Whatever differences of opinion may exist as to the merits of the
generals against whom he had to contend, and especially of the
antagonist by whom he was at last overcome, no one pretending to
understand in the least either the general principles of military
science or the particular conditions of the American War, doubts that
General Lee gave higher proofs of military genius and soldiership than
any of his opponents. He was outnumbered from first to last; and all
his victories were gained against greatly superior forces, and with
troops greatly deficient in every necessary of war except courage
and discipline. Never, perhaps, was so much achieved against odds so
terrible. The Southern soldiers--'that incomparable Southern infantry'
to which a late Northern writer renders due tribute of respect--were
no doubt as splendid troops as a general could desire; but the
different fortune of the East and the West proves that the Virginian
army owed something of its excellence to its chief. Always
outnumbered, always opposed to a foe abundantly supplied with food,
transport, ammunition, clothing, all that was wanting to his own men,
he was always able to make courage and skill supply the deficiency of
strength and of supplies; and from the day when he assumed the command
after the battle of Seven Pines, where General Joseph Johnston
was disabled, to the morning of the final surrender at Appomattox
Court-House, he was almost invariably victorious in the field. At
Gettysburg only he was defeated in a pitched battle; on the offensive
at the Chickahominy, at Centreville, and at Chancellorsville, on
the defensive at Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, and
Spottsylvania, he was still successful. But no success could avail him
any thing from the moment that General Grant brought to bear upon
the Virginian army the inexhaustible population of the North, and,
employing Sherman to cut them off from the rest of the Confederacy,
set himself to work to wear them out by the simple process of
exchanging two lives for one. From that moment the fate of Richmond
and of the South was sealed. When General Lee commenced the campaign
of the Wilderness he had, we believe, about fifty thousand men; his
adversary had thrice that number at hand, and a still larger force in
reserve. When the army of Virginia marched out of Richmond it still
numbered some twenty-six thousand men; after a retreat of six days,
in the face of an overwhelming enemy, with a crushing artillery--a
retreat impeded by constant fighting, and harassed by countless hordes
of cavalry--eight thousand were given up by the capitulation of
Appomattox Court-House. Brilliant as were General Lee's earlier
triumphs, we believe that he gave higher proofs of genius in his last
campaign, and that hardly any of his victories were so honorable to
himself and his army as that six-days' retreat.

"There have, however, been other generals of genius as brilliant, of
courage and endurance hardly less distinguished. How many men have
ever displayed the perfect simplicity of nature, the utter absence
of vanity or affectation, which belongs to the truest and purest
greatness, in triumph or in defeat, as General Lee has done? When
Commander-in-Chief of the Southern armies, he moved from point to
point, as duty required, with less parade than a European general
of division, wearing no sword, attended by no other staff than the
immediate occasion demanded, and chatting with a comrade or a visitor
with a simple courtesy which had in it no shade of condescension.
Only on one occasion does he seem to have, been accoutred with the
slightest regard to military display or personal dignity; and that,
characteristically, was the last occasion on which he wore the
Confederate uniform--the occasion of his interview with General Grant
on April 9, 1865. After the war he retired without a word into privacy
and obscurity. Ruined by the seizure and destruction of his property,
which McClellan protected, and which his successors gave up to ravage
and pillage, the late Commander-in-Chief of the Southern armies
accepted the presidency of a Virginia college, and devoted himself as
simply and earnestly to its duties as if he had never filled a higher
station or performed more exciting functions. Well aware of the
jealous temper of the party dominant in the North, and anxious, above
all things, to avoid exasperating that temper against his conquered
countrymen, he carefully abstained from appearing in any public
ceremony or taking any overt part in political questions. His
influence has been exerted, quietly but steadily, in one direction,
with a single view to restore harmony and good-will between the two
sections, and to reconcile the oppressed Southerners to the Union from
which he fought so gallantly to free them. He has discountenanced all
regretful longings after the lost visions of Southern independence;
all demonstrations in honor of the 'conquered banner;' and has
encouraged the South to seek the restoration of her material
prosperity and the satisfaction of her national feelings in a frank
acceptance of the result of the war, and a loyal adhesion to the
Federal bond. It was characteristic and worthy of the man that he was
among the first to sue for a formal pardon from President Johnson; not
for any advantage which he personally could obtain thence, but to set
the example of submission to his comrades-in-arms, and to reconcile
them to a humiliation without which the conquerors refused them that
restitution to civil rights necessary to any effort to retrieve their
own or their country's fortunes. Truer greatness, a loftier nature, a
spirit more unselfish, a character purer, more chivalrous, the world
has rarely, if ever known. Of stainless life and deep religious
feeling, yet free from all taint of cant and fanaticism, and as dear
and congenial to the Cavalier Stuart as to the Puritan Stonewall
Jackson; unambitious, but ready to sacrifice all at the call of duty;
devoted to his cause, yet never moved by his feelings beyond the line
prescribed by his judgment; never provoked by just resentment to
punish wanton cruelty by reprisals which would have given a character
of needless savagery to the war--both North and South owe a deep debt
of gratitude to him, and the time will come when both will be equally
proud of him. And well they may, for his character and his life afford
a complete answer to the reproaches commonly cast on money-grubbing,
mechanical America. A country which has given birth to men like him,
and those who followed him, may look the chivalry of Europe in the
face without shame; for the fatherlands of Sidney and of Bayard never
produced a nobler soldier, gentleman, and Christian, than General
Robert E. Lee."

We may add to these the following just remarks upon the occupation to
which General Lee devoted himself at the close of his military career,


"Surely it should be a cause of thankfulness and encouragement for
those who are teachers, that their profession has received this
reflection of glory and honor from this choice of his, from this life,
and from this death. And it is enduring honor for all the colleges of
the South, and for all our schools--an honor in which all may share
alike without jealousy--that this pure and bright name is inseparably
connected by the will of him that bore it with the cause of education,
and is blended now with that of Washington in the name of one of our
own institutions of learning. We think that so long as the name of Lee
is honored and loved among us, our Southern teachers may rejoice and
grow stronger in their work, when they remember that he was one of
their number, and that his great heart, that had so bravely borne the
fortunes of a great empire, bore also, amid its latest aspirations,
the interests, the anxieties, and the hopes of the unpretending but
noble profession of teaching.

"To leave this out of the account would be, indeed, to do sad
injustice to General Lee's own memory. And that, not only because his
position in this profession was of his own choice, and was steadily
maintained with unchanging purpose to the end of his life, but also
because the acknowledgment of his service here is necessary to the
completeness of his fame. In no position of his life did he more
signally develop the great qualities of his character than in this;
and it may truly be said that some of the greatest can only be fully
understood in the light of the serene patience and of the simple and
quiet self-consecration of his latest years. It was then that, far
from the tumult of arms and from the great passions of public life,
with no great ambition to nerve his heart, nor any great events to
obscure the public criticism of his conduct, he displayed in calm
and steady light the grandest features of his character, and by this
crucial test, added certain confirmation to the highest estimate that
could have been formed of his character and of his abilities. It was
indeed a 'crucial test' for such a man; and that he sustained it as he
did is not among the smallest of his claims to the admiration of his
countrymen. No tribute to his memory can be just that does not take
this last great service into the account; and no history of his life
can be fairly written that shall not place in the strongest light his
career and influence as President of Washington College."

And we may appropriately close with the following thoughtful words
from the pen of


"In the darkest hour of our trials, in the very midst of our deepest
affliction, mourning over the loss of the noble Lee, Heaven sends to
us as consolation the best sign of the times vouchsafed in many a day.
It addresses the heart, rent as it is in surveying the desolations
around us, as the rainbow upon the breast of the receding storm-cloud
when its power and fury are over.

"That sign is the unmistakable estimation in which the real merits
and worth of this illustrious chieftain of the cause of the Southern
States is held by all classes of persons, not only in the South, but
in the North.

"Partisans and leaders, aiming at the overthrow of our institutions,
may, while temporarily in high places, by fraud and usurpation, keep
up the false cry of _rebel_ and _traitor_; but these irrepressible
outburstings of popular sentiment, regarding no restraints on
great-occasions which cause _Nature_ to speak, show clearly how this
cry and charge are regarded and looked upon by the masses of the
people everywhere.

"Everywhere Lee is honored; not only as a _hero_, but as a _patriot_.
This is bu