From the 13 April 1890 issue of The New York Times.


The expected invitation to the Seventh Regiment and the Old Guard to participate in the ceremonies attending the unveiling of the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond on the 29th of May was the occasion of much discussion among the members of those organzations yesterday. The younger officers and the immature soldiers in the Seventh were virtually a unit in declaring that the invitation should be accepted. The older men, however, were alert to perceive that much more was involved in the undertaking than a mere pleasure excursion. It was recognized that the time of year selected brought the celebration dangerously near Decoration day, which, by common consent, has taken the place of the Fourth of July as military parade day.

“The Seventh,” remarked a prominent officer in close sympathy with regimental headquarters, “is disposed to do all in its poer to show that the sectional feeling awakened by the civil war is obliterated. We have a thousand men who would cheerfully journey to Richmond for that purpose. But there is a sentimental idea back of all which causes us to hesitate. Robert E. Lee we recognize as one of the most famous products of American manhood. His achievements asa a military leader were marvelous, but we cannot afford, as Northern men, to lose sight of the fact that those achievements were obtained while Gen. Lee was in rebellion against the National Government, through whose liberality and fostering care he had obtained his professional education.

“If the Richmond celebration were purley a local enterprise there would be no hesitancy on the part of the Seventh Regiment to accept the Virginians’ invitation and take part in the procession in the celebration arranged for the 29th of May. But we are by no means assured that the sentiments expressed by the orators of the day on that occasion will not be diametrically opposed to the genius of the union of States. We cannot afford to give even moral support or countenance to any sentiment which shall seem to uphold the ‘lost cause.’

“If the Confederate flag is to fly over Richmond on that day, the Seventh Regiment would be false to its traditions and its record if it consented to march under it without expressing dissent, which would be impossible to the organization in view of its character as guests of the Dominion Commonwealth.

“It has been suggested that the regiment might leave Richmond on the night of the 29th and arrive in New-York in time to take part in the Decoration Day celebration of the 30th of May. But as this would impose an immense amount of fatigue upon the members of the regiment, without corresponding advantage, it is safe to assume that the invitation of Gen. Henderson and his associates to visit Richmond will be declined with thanks.”

In the armory of the Old Guard yesterday an uncommonly large gathering of members assembled, among whom the Richmond invitation was the chief topic of discussion. The prevailing sentiment was to the effect that it would be a graceful thing to accept the invitation of the Virginia authorities, but this course, it was agreed, could not be pursued inasmuch as the Old Guard had agreed officially to act as escort to the President of the United States on Decoration Day.