From the 20 January 1891 issue of The New York Times.

Georgia Declares Lee’s Birthday a Holiday

ATLANTA, Ga., Jan. 19.—The 19th of January being the birthday of Gen. Robert E. Lee, is now a legal holiday in Georgia. To-day not only were all the banks and business houses here closed, but the Post Office, by order of Gen. Lewis, a one-armed Union veteran, who is Postmaster, observed holiday hours. From all parts of the State come reports of similar observances.

The State capital held an immense audience to-night, which was addressed by Capt. Gorden McCabe of Virginia, followed by a banquet at which Gov. Northen was the leading orator. A souvenir of the occasion was the reproduction of a graphic description of Lee’s parting with his Generals, written at the time by a well-known Virginia lady:

Amid the ruins of their capital, with bare, bowed heads, in utter silence and bitter tears, Lee and his Generals separated and went their several ways to homes destroyed, families broken up and scattered, and often exile and oblivion. The final parting was in front of Lee’s mansion in Richmond, two days after Appomattox.

Lee’s house is an ordinary square brick structure standing alone on Jackson Street one square from the Capitol. All the other houses on the square are connected. On the afternoon of the second day after the surrender people in that vicinity were surprised to see come riding up the street from the south a company of Confederate horsemen. They were unarmed. Their gray uniforms were worn, soiled, and often tattered, their trappings old and patched. They wore slouched hats, and here and there was a feather remaining of the once smart and jaunty drooping plumes of the Confederate cavalrymen. They were bronzed and browned and bearded. They sat erect and came on with the splendid horsemanship for which they were noted.

Upon the collars of some of the gray jackets could still be seen the faded and tarnished gilt stars, the emblems of the wearer’s rank. In front of them rod Lee. His hands held the loosely-swinging reins and rested upon the pommel. His head was bent and his eyes were looking straight ahead from under his downcast brow, but they seemed to see nothing. As the trooops cantered up to his old home his horse stopped at the gate and he roused himself suddenly as from a dream and cast his eyes upon the familiar windows and then around over the group of gallant soldiers who had followed his fortunes for four bloody years and gone down in defeat under his banner.

The end of it all had come at last. He threw himself from his horse, and all of his companions followed his action. They stood hat in hand, with an arm through the bridle rein, while Lee went from man to man, grasping each hand, looking inten[tl]y into each face as though he would impress it upon his memory forever. Then he turned and walked through the gate and up the steps to his door. As a servant opened it he paused, with his left foot upon the veranda, his right upon the topmost step, and looked back for the last time.

Not a word had been spoken, not a good-bye uttered. There was only the sound of sobs as these unkempt and grizzled heroes of a hundred battles leaned their heads against the shoulders of their horses and wept. Lee gave one look and then broke down at last. His hands were over his eyes, his frame shook with sobs, and he turned quickly and disappeared into his lonely house. With the closing of the door behind him ended forever the wild dream of the Southern Confederacy.