Robert E. Lee, The Southerner, by Thomas Nelson Page, Chapter 3

Robert E. Lee, The Southerner


WHEN the war came Lee had to face the most momentous question that ever confronted a soldier. The Government of the United States and his own State, which was later to form a part of a new National Government, were about to be arrayed in arms against each other. The former was preparing to invade his native State to coerce by arms the seceded States. He had to decide between allegiance to the general Government whose commission he had borne, whose honors had been conferred on him, and under whose flag he had won high distinction; and allegiance to his native State, which had been a constituent part of that government, and which in the exercise of its Constitutional right, seceded from the Union on being invaded.

The John Brown Raid with its aim, the heading of a servile insurrection throughout the South, backed as it was by blind enthusiasts at the North, affected profoundly all thinking men at the South. Had it proved successful, the horrors of San Domingo would have been multiplied a thousandfold and have swept over the South in a deluge of blood. The South was enraged by this effort to arouse a slave-insurrection; but the wild sympathy expressed at the North with its murderous leader gave it a shock from which it never recovered. Lee had no illusions respecting slavery. He saw its evils with an eye as clear as Wendell Phillips’. He set forth his views in favor of emancipation in as positive terms as Lincoln ever employed. He manumitted all the slaves he owned in his own right before the war, and within a week after the emancipation proclamation he manumitted all the negroes received by him from the Custis estate, having previous to that time made his arrangements to do so in conformity with the provisions of Mr. Custis’s will.

Most men of open minds have long passed the point when we should deny to any honorable man the right to make that election as his conscience dictated. But with most of us sympathy and affection go to the man who chose the weaker side. This choice Lee deliberately made. Who knows what agony that accomplished soldier and noble gentleman went through during those long weeks, when the sword was suspended and he with unblinded vision foresaw that it must fall. To some men the decision might have been made more difficult by the prize that was suddenly held out to him. But not so with Lee. The only question with him was what was his duty.

The President of the United States tendered to him the command of the armies of the Union about to take the field. This has long been regarded by those who know as an established fact; but it has become the custom of late among a certain class to deny the fact on the principle, perhaps, that an untruth well stuck to may possibly supplant the truth. Of the fact that he was offered the command of the armies of the United States there is, however, abundant proof outside of General Lee’s own statement to Senator Reverdy Johnson, were more proof needed. The Hon. Montgomery Blair published the fact as stated by his father, the Hon. Francis P. Blair, that he had been sent by Mr. Lincoln to Colonel Lee with the offer of the command, and long afterwards the Hon. Simon Cameron, formerly Secretary of War in Mr. Lincoln’s cabinet, in a published interview, frankly admitted the fact. “It is true,” he says, “that Gen. Robert E. Lee was tendered the command of the Union Army. It was the wish of Mr. Lincoln’s administration that as many as possible of the southern officers then in the regular army should remain true to the nation which had educated them. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston were then the leading southern soldiers. . . . In the moves and counter moves in the game of war and peace then going on, Francis P. Blair, Sr., was a prominent figure. The tender of the command of the U. S. forces was made to General Lee through him. Mr. Blair came to me expressing the opinion that General Lee could be held to our cause by the offer of the chief command of our forces. I authorized Mr. Blair to make the offer. . . .”*

But the matter is set at rest by a letter from General Lee—his letter of February 25, 1868, to Reverdy Johnston—in which he states that a conversation with Mr. Francis Preston Blair, at his invitation, and as he understood at the instance of President Lincoln. “After listening to his remarks,” he says, “I declined the offer he made me to take command of the army that was to be brought into the field, stating as candidly and as courteously as I could that, though opposed to Secession and deprecating War, I could take no part in an invasion of the Southern States. I went directly from the interview with Mr. Blair to the office of General Scott, told him of the proposition that had been made me and my decision.”* Indeed, it was this offer which possibly hastened his decision.

Two days later, on April 20th, he resigned his commission in the United States Army, declaring that he never wished to draw his sword again save in defence of his native State. Even then he “hoped that Peace might be preserved and some way found to save the country from the calamities of War.”

So much we have from his own lips, and that is proof enough for those who know his character.

This action of Lee’s at the outbreak of the war, in resigning from the Army of the United States, and later in assuming the command, first of the Virginia forces, and afterwards of the Confederate forces, used, during the period of passion covered by the war and the bitter years which followed, to be made the basis of a criticism whose rancor bore an almost precise relation to the degree of security which had been sought by the assailant during the hour of danger. The men who fought the battles of the Union said little upon the subject. They knew for the most part the feeling which animated th breasts which opposed them, and paid it the tribute of unfeigned respect. The conduct of Grant and of his officers at Appomattox, with a single exeption, was such as to reflect unending credit on them as men of honour and generosity. The charge of treason was mainly left to those who, having risked nothing on the field of honor, were fain later, when all danger was past, to achieve a reputation for patriotism by the fury of their cries for revenge. To these, the vultures of the race, may be added an element, sincere and not well-informed, who more than half wishing to avail themselves of Lee’s transcendent character, have found his action in this crisis a stumbling-block in their way. Having been reared solely upon the doctrine of Federalism, and taught all their lives that the officers of the Army of the Union had received their education at West Point at the hands of the National Government and were guilty of something like treason, or, as it used to be put, treachery, in giving up their commands in the Union Army and bearing arms for their States against the United States, they find it difficult to accept the plainest facts. These are the bigots of Politics.

As the statement is wholly unfounded and as the matter goes to the basis of character, it is well to point these latter to the facts which disprove wholly and forever the premises on which they have based their erroneous conclusion.

It is well to remember at the outset that in the first place, the action of every man must be considered in relation to the conditions from which that action springs, and amid which it had its being. The most fallacious method of considering history is that which excludes contemporary conditions and undertakes to judge it by the present, the two eras often being far more different than would be indicated by the mere passage of time.

At the time when these officers received their education at the Military Academy, they were sent there as State cadets, and the expense of their education was borne at last by the several States, which, there being at that time no high tariff and no internal revenue taxation to maintain the National Government, made a yet more direct contribution than since the war to the Government for its expenses. In recognition of this fact and as compensation for the contribution by the States, each Representative of a State had the right to send a cadet to each academy. Virginia had been peculiarly instrumental in creating the Union. She had taken a foremost and decisive part in the Revolution for those rights on which the Constitution was based and subsequently in the adoption of the Constitution. She had led alike in the field and in the Council Chamber. Without her no Union would have been formed, and without her no Union would have been preserved during the early decades of its existence. To make the Union possible she had ceded her vast northwest territory, first embraced in her charter, and later conquered by her sons led by George Rogers Clark.

There had long been two different schools of governmental thought in the country, the one representing the Federalist Party, and the other representing the Republican or Democratic Party. They had their rise in the very inception of the National Government. Their teachings had divided the country from that time on. Originally the chief agitation against the Federal Government had been at the North, and while the parties were not demarked by any sectional lines, for the most part, the body of the Federalist Party were at the period of the outbreak of war, owing to certain conditions connected with the institution of slavery, and to various advantages accruing to the Northern States, as manufacturing States, at the North, while the body of the States’ rights party were at the South. Not only were the powers of the greatest statesmen and debaters in the country continually exercised upon this question, as for example, in the great debates in which Clay, Webster, Hayne, and Calhoun took part on the floor of the Senate, but the teachings in the great institutions of learning were divided.*

But Lee had from his boyhood been reared in the Southern school of States’ Rights as interpreted by the conservative statesmen of Virginia. His gallant and distinguished father had been governor of Virginia, and, while heartily advocating in the Virginia Convention the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, favored the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798–99, drawn by Mr. Madison and Mr. Jefferson, which were based upon the States’ Rights doctrine. He said in debate, “Virginia is my country, her will I obey, however lamentable the fate to which it may subject me.”

He wrote to Mr. Madison in January, 1792, a letter in which he, said, “No consideration on earth could induce me to act a part, however gratifying to me, which could be construed into disregard of, or faithlessness to, this Commonwealth.”

Such was the teaching under which Robert E. Lee had been reared. One knows little of Virginia who does not know in what passionate esteem the traditions and opinions of a father were cherished by a son. Political views were as much inherited as religious tenets.

As a matter of fact, at the time that young Lee was attending the Military Academy at West Point, the text-books, such as “Rawle on the Constitution,” which were used there, taught with great distinctness the absolute right of a State to secede, and the primary duty of every man to his native State.* “It depends on the State itself,” declares this authority then taught at West Point, “to retain or abolish the principle of representation, because it depends on itself whether it will continue a member of the Union.” This position was that held by the leaders of New England during the first half of the century, and was earnestly advanced both at the time of the acquisition of Louisiana and of Texas.

The action of the Hartford Convention in threatening secession had blazoned abroad the views of the leaders of New England thought at the time when the Virginians were straining every force to maintain the Union; and John Quincy Adams had presented to Congress (January 23, 1842) a petition from a Massachusetts town (Haverhill), asking the dissolution of the Union, on which a motion had been made by a Virginia member (Mr. Gilmer), to censure him, which had been debated for ten days, Mr. Adams ably defending himself.

Indeed, whatever question existed as to the right of a State to secede, there was no question whatever as to her citizens being bound by her action should she secede. The basic principle of the Anglo-Saxon Civilization was the defence of the inner circle against whatever assailed it from the outside, and nowhere was this principle more absolutely established than in Virginia.

In a thoughtful discussion of the action of Virginia at this time, Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, the noted biographer of Stonewall Jackson, says, “There can be no question but that secession was Revolution, and Revolutions, as has been well said, are not made for the sake of ‘greased cartridges.’ . . . Secession, in fact, was a protest against mob rule. . . . It is always difficult to analyse the motives of those by whom revolution is provoked; but if a whole people acquiesce, it is a certain proof of the existence of universal apprehension and deep-rooted discontent. This spirit of self-sacrifice which animated the Confederate South has been characteristic of every revolution which has been the expression of a nation’s wrongs , but it has never yet accompanied mere factious insurrection. When, in the process of time, the history of secession comes to be viewed with the same freedom from prejudice as the history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it will be clear that the fourth great revolution of the English speaking race differs in no essential characteristic from those that preceded it. . . . In a great principle was at stake: in 1642 the liberty of the subject; in 1688, the integrity of the Protestant faith; in 1775, taxation only with consent of the taxed; in 1861, the sovereignty of the individual states.”*

Whether, then, those who were in the service of the United States at the outbreak of the war were under obligation to remain in her service after the States seceded, or were under obligation to resign and espouse the side of their several States, was a matter for each man to decide according to his conscience, and scores of gallant and high-minded gentlemen thus decided. Of the three hundred and odd graduates of West Point who were from the South, at least nine-tenths followed their States, and these, men whose character would challenge comparison with the loftiest examples of the human race. That there was an obligation on them to remain, because of the source from which their education came, is sheer nonsense. This education was but a simple return for the money contributed by their States to the General Government. And Virginia had paid for all she got, a hundred times over.

When the great conflict came, the time which tried men’s souls, no soul in all the limits of this broad country was more tried than that lofty soul which had for its home the breast of Robert E. Lee. A glimpse of his love for and pride in his country may be found in a letter written during his stay in Texas in 1856. Writing to his wife of the Fourth of July, he says, “Mine was spent after a march of thirty miles, on one of the branches of the Brazos, under my blanket, elevated on four sticks driven in the ground, as a sunshade. The sun was fiery hot, the atmosphere like a blast from a hot-air furnace, the water salt, still my feelings for my country were as ardent, my faith in her future as true, and my hope for her advancement as unabated as they would have been under better circumstances.”*

Such was the feeling of this Virginian for his country.

Writing of secession, from Texas in the beginning of 1861, he said, “The South, in my opinion, has been aggrieved by the act of the North. I feel the aggression and am willing to take every proper step for redress. It is the principle I contend for, not individual or private interest. As an American citizen I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions. But I can anticipate no greater calamity for this country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. . . . Still a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country, and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defence, will draw my sword no more.”*

The agonizing which he endured, when the crucial time came, may possibly never be known to us. All night nearly he paced his chamber floor alone, often seeking on his knees the guidance of the God he trusted in. But in the morning light had come. His wife’s family were strongly Union in their sentiments, and the writer has heard that powerful family influences were exerted to prevail on him to adhere to the Union side. “My husband has wept tears of blood,” wrote Mrs. Lee to his old commander, Scott, who did him the justice to declare that he knew he acted under a compelling sense of duty.

His letters to his family and to his friends, though self-restrained, as was the habit of the man, show plainly to those who knew his character how stern was the sense of duty under which he acted when in his own person he had to meet the question whether he should take part against his native State. Unlike many other officers who knew no home but the post where they were quartered, Lee’s home was in Virginia, and to this home in his most distant service his heart had ever yearned.

Lee had no personal interests to subserve connected with the preservation of the institution of slavery; his inclinations and his views all tended the other way. “In this enlightened age,” he had already written, “there are few, I believe, but will acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a and political evil.” He had set free the slaves he owned in his own right and was “in favor of freeing all the slaves in the South, giving to each owner a bond to be the first paid by the Confederacy when its independence should be secured.”*

The slaves owned by Mrs. Lee he manumitted in 1862 or in January, 1863. In fact, it is a curious commentary on the motives connected with the war that while Lee had set his slaves free, Grant is said to have continued in the possession of slaves until they were emancipated by the Government of the United States.*

It was, however, not so much the freeing of these slaves as the compassion and affection that breathe in his letters about them that testify his character. His care that every one should have his papers even though he might have gone off to the North; his provision for their wages; his solicitude for the weak and feeble among them; all testify to the feeling that the Virginia master had for his servants. His thoughts were constantly with his children—even amid the most arduous duties and the most perilous scenes his mind reverted to them. His letters from Mexico were full of them. On Christmas eve he, in his imagination, filled their stockings, as on another occasion; in lieu of his own children, from whom he was far distant, he acted Santa Claus and bought presents for all the children in the post. He ever kept in touch with his children, writing them of the interesting scenes through which he passed. To his eldest son, then a schoolboy, later a gallant and efficient soldier of high rank, he wrote, just after the Battle of Cerro Gordo,* how, in the battle, he had wondered while the musket balls and grape were whistling over his head in a perfect shower, where he could have put him if with him, to be safe. Indeed, all through his life children had a charm for him known only to the starved heart of a father exiled from his own fireside and little ones. To the day of his death, the entrance of a child was a signal for the dignified soldier to unbend, and among his latest companions in his retirement, when he was, perhaps, the most noted Captain in the world, were the little sunbonneted daughters of the professors of the college of which he was the President.

The crisis that came rent Virginia. It was known that in the event of war, should Virginia secede, her soil would become the battle ground. Lee had no illusion as to this; nor had he any illusion as to the fury and duration of the war if it should come. Whatever delusions others might cherish, he knew the Union thoroughly, and knew the temper and the mettle of the people of both sections. In the dread shadow of war the people of Virginia selected for the great convention, which was to decide the question of remaining in the Union or taking part with the other Southern States, the most conservative men within her borders. Thus, the Virginia convention was a Whig body with a large majority of staunch Union men, the first Whig body that ever sat in the State.

Throughout its entire duration this great body of representative Virginians resisted all the influences that were brought to bear on it, both from the South and from the people of the State, who, under unreasoning provocation, gradually changed their opinion and began to clamor for secession. Only two weeks before the final act by which she severed her connection with the Union, she, by a two-thirds majority, rejected the idea of secession. A relief squadron sailed for Charleston while negotiations were going on, and preparations for war were being pushed which could only mean one thing. As a last and supreme effort to prevent war, Union men went to Washington to beg Mr. Lincoln to withdraw the garrisons of Sumter and Pickens, and understood him to say that he had been willing to take it under favorable consideration.* The reply when it came was the imperative call for troops to be furnished by the States. It meant war and the invasion of the State. Even after Sumter was fired on, every effort was made by the State to bring about a reconciliation between the estranged and divided sections. But it was too late. Troops were already marching on her. The State did not make war. War was made on her. And under the shock Virginia, on the 17th day of April, solemnly reversed her former action and seceded from the Union she had done so much to create and so much to make great.

“To have acceded to the demand (for her quota of troops to attack South Carolina) would,” says Henderson, “have been to abjure the most cherished principles of her political existence. . . . Neutrality was impossible. She was bound to furnish her tale of troops and thus belie her principles, or to secede at once and reject with a clean conscience the President’s mandate. . . . The world has long since done justice to the motives of Cromwell and of Washington, and signs are not wanting that before many years have passed it will do justice to the motives of the southern people.”

Speaking of Virginia’s action specifically, he declares, “Her best endeavors were exerted to maintain the peace between the hostile sections, and not till her liberties were menaced did she a compact which had become intolerable. It was to preserve the freedom which her forefathers had bequeathed her, and which she desired to hand down unsullied to future generations, that she acquiesced in the revolution.”*

“I can contemplate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union,” wrote Lee in January. In April the calamity had come. Virginia had been invaded and had risen to repel the invasion. The Union was dissolved in so far as his State was concerned.

Her action concluded her citizens. This was Lee’s view, and it was the view of every man who sat in her Convention, Unionist and Secessionist. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the intelligent men in what was known as Old Virginia, the great section east of the Alleghanies which had largely made her history, bowed to her decree and not with the less unanimity that a considerable element among them were grief-stricken at her decision to separate from the Union which their fathers had done so much to create.

Among these was Robert E. Lee. Before him stood the example of his life-long model, Washington, who, having fought with Braddock under the English flag, when war came between England and his State, threw in his lot with his people. To him his thoughts recurred not only at this moment of supreme decision, but years afterwards in the seclusion of the little mountain-town, where he spent the evening of his days as the head of the academic institution which Washington had endowed.

Two or three days later, on the 20th of April, the same day on which he tendered the resignation of his command of his regiment of cavalry, he wrote to both his brother and sister, informing them of the grounds of his action. To his brother, with whom he had had an earnest consultation on the subject two days before, he stated that he had no desire ever again to draw his sword save in defence of his native State. To his sister he wrote:

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.

All that we know is that, sacrificing place and honors and emoluments; leaving his home to the sack of the enemy already preparing to seize it, he decided in the sight of God, under the all-compelling sense of duty, and this is enough for us to know. His letter to General Scott tendering his resignation is full of noble dignity and not without a note of noble pathos. “I shall carry to the grave,” he says in its conclusion, “the most grateful recollection of your kind consideration, and your name and fame will always be dear to me.” And to his dying day he always held his old commander in undiminished affection.

Yet, however clear Lee was in his view as to his own duty, he left others to judge for themselves. Holding that the matter was one of conscience, he did not attempt to decide the momentous question for others—not even for his own son. Nearly a month after he had resigned (May 13, 1861), he wrote his wife, “Tell Custis he must consult his own judgment, reason, and conscience as to the course he may take. I do not wish him to be guided by my wishes or example. If I have done wrong let him do better. The present is a momentous question, which every man must settle for himself and upon principle.”

After the war, when he was, perhaps, the most famous captain of the world, he from time to time recurred to this action. For example, in a letter to General Beauregard, written the day after his entrance on his duties at Washington College, he refers to it.

“ d not tell you,” he says, ”that true patriotism sometimes requires men to act exactly contrary at one period to that which it does at another—and the motive which impels them—the desire to do right—is precisely the same. History is full of illustrations of this. Washington himself is an example. [He was ever his example.] He fought at one time against the French under Braddock, in the service of the King of Great Britain; at another he fought with the French at Yorktown, under the orders of the Continental Congress, against him. He has not been branded by the world with reproach for this; but his course has been applauded.”

To the Committee of Congress before which led after the war, he stated that he resigned because he believed that the act of Virginia in withdrawing herself from the United States carried him along with it as a citizen of Virginia, and that her laws and acts were binding upon him.*

On one other occasion he stated his motives in his action at this crisis. He says, “I must give you my thanks for doing me the justice to believe that my conduct during the last five years has been governed by my sense of duty. I had no other guide, nor had I any other object than the defence of those principles of American Liberty upon which the Constitutions of the several States were originally founded, and unless they are strictly observed I fear there will be an end to Republican Government in this country.”

While the harpies were screaming and clamoring; and blind partisanry was declaiming about leaving him to the “avenging pen of History,” his high soul dwelt in the serene air of consciousness of duty performed. He said to General Wade Hampton in June, 1869, “I could have taken no other course save in dishonor, and if it were all to be gone over again I should act in precisely the same way.”

Thus spoke his constant soul. It was his deliberate judgment on calm reflection, with all the consequences known to him. As before writing it he cast his mind back he must have seen everything in the clear light of the inexorable past—the sacrifice of the chief command of the Union armies, with a great fleet at his back to keep open his lines of communication, hold the world for his recruiting ground, and blockade the enemy’s country until starvation forced capitulation. It had lifted Grant from poverty and obscurity to the Presidency, while his own choice, to follow his State and obey her sacred laws, had reduced him from station and affluence to poverty and toil. His beautiful home had been confiscated and turned into a cemetery, and its priceless treasures, endeared by association with Washington, had been seized and scattered. A trial for treason had been threatened and the furious pack were yet trying to hunt him down. Yet there was no repining—no questioning. “There was quietness in that man’s mind.” When the sky was darkened he had simply lighted the candles and gone on with his duty.

“Duty is the sublimest word in our language,” he had declared long before, and by it as a pilot-star he ever steered his steadfast course, abiding with calm satisfaction whatever issue God decreed.

“We are conscious that we have humbly tried to do our duty,” he said, about a year after the war; “we may, therefore, with calm satisfaction trust in God and leave results to him.”

In this devotion to duty and calm reliance on God lay the secret of his life. The same spirit animated his great lieutenant. “Duty belongs to us, consequences belong to God,” said Jackson. The same spirit animated the men who followed them. It was the teaching of the Southern home, which produced the type of character, the deep foundations of which were devotion to duty and reliance on God.


* New York Herald, cited Jones’s “Lee,” p. 130.

* See also Jones’s “Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee,” p. 128.

* A brief and simple statement of the position of the two sides may be found in Ropes’s “Story of The Civil War”: I. Chap. I.

* This has been ably and conclusively shown by Mr. Charles Francis Adams, of Massachusetts, in his admirable address on “Constitutional Ethics,” and in his memorial address on the life Robert E. Lee, delivered at Washington and Lee University on the occasion of the Hundredth Anniversary of General Lee’s birth. His distinguished grandfather, John Quincy Adams, who had been President of the United States, had enunciated the doctrine of Secession clearly, declaring that it would be better for the States to “part in friendship from each other than to be held together by constraint” and “to form again a more perfect Union by dissolving that which could not bind.”—Speech of John Quincy Adams, April 30, 1839.

* Henderson’s “Stonewall Jackson.” New Impression. I. pp. 93–4.

I have quoted extensively in this volume from this author, feeling that he, as an impartial student of the Civil War and its causes, is an authority to command respect.

* Letter of August 4th, 1856, cited in Jones’s Lee, p. 80.

* Letter of January 23,1861. Cited in Jones’s “Life and Letters of R. E. Lee,” p. 120.

† Jones’s “Life and Letters of Robert E. Lee,” p. 132.

* “The Confederate Cause and Conduct in the War,” p. 22; Official Report of the History Committee, Grand Camp, C.V., by the late Hunter McGuire, M.D., LL.D., Richmond, Va. See also Lee’s letter of December 27, 1856, “Life and Letters of Robert E. Lee”; Jones, p. 82.

* Ibid., p. 23, note, where Mrs. Grant is given as authority, the statement that “these slaves came to him from my father’s family; for I lived in the West when I married the General, who was then a Lieutenant in the Army.”

* Letter of April 25, 1847.

* Report of Joint Committee on Reconstruction. 1st Sess., 39th Cong., pp. 71, 114–115.

* Henderson’s “Life of Stonewall Jackson.” I. pp. 101–2.

† The writer’s father was a staunch Union man, and stood out against secession till the last; but three days after Virginia seceded he enlisted as a private in an infantry company, known as the “Patrick Henry Rifles,” Co. C., 3d Va. Reg’t, later 15th Va. Reg’t, and fought through to Appomattox.

* Report of Joint Com. on Reconstruction, 1st Sess., 39th Cong., p. 133.

† In a letter of July 9, 1866, to an old friend in Illinois, Captain James May.

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