From the 10 November 1901 issue of The New York Times.


To the Editor of The New York Times:

In your issue of the 19th ult. you publish an extract from a paper read by Charles Francis Adams before the Historical Society of the State of Massachusetts in which he says that but for Gen. Robert E. Lee the civil war, after the surrender, would have been prolonged in the South as is now the war in South Africa by the Boers.

I am glad that Mr. Adams has discovered the truth by his researches and that he has the manliness and generosity to avow it publicly.

As confirmatory of what Mr. Adams says permit me to relate the following incident:

Belonging to the Quartermaster’s staff of the army, my station was in Lynchburg, Va. About noon of the day of the surrender the commandant of the post, Gen. Nichols, sent an order to each officer in the city to make such disposition of the Government property in his possession as under the circumstances he thought best, and then take horse and report to Gen. Joe Johnston in North Carolina.

I could not get away from my office before 6 P.M. Meantime some regiments and battalions of our cavalry had come up from Appomattox Court House. In the suburbs I noticed a body of horse drawn up in close order before one of the faces of a mud fort. On the rampart stood their commanding officer haranguing his men in the most impassioned manner.

As I rode up I heard him say: “Men! You were not included in the surrender to-day. You were not present, and are here with your arms and horses. Don’t give up the fight. Let us swear to wage eternal war until the enemy is driven from our State. Look at yonder mountain range. In its forests and deep recesses we can find shelter and defy the foe. Should it be otherwise and they prove too strong for us, better far to die the death of heroes than to yield.”

The men were greatly moved, and there were shouts of fierce approval.

A Sergeant whose appearance proved him every inch a soldier quietly dismounted from his horse and climbed the rampart. Stretching out his hand, there was an instant hush.

“Men!” he said, “when Uncle Robert surrendered his army to-day at Appomattox he surrendered me and he surrendered you. I am going home.”

He climbed down the embankment and remounted his horse. In a moment the men were taking leave of each other, with tears and embraces, and riding off to every point of the compass. It was a moving spectacle.

No higher proof could have been given to the world of the innate civilization and Christianity of the Southern people than the surrender of Lee and his army. Conditions were such as would naturally lead the soldier to accept counsels of desperation. Ragged and starving, they were to return to homes where want and suffering were as great as they had endured in the war.

Yet at the command of their General the soldiers laid down their arms and went home to take up the rôle of citizens under conditions more adverse than ever before befell a people.

I know one brave man who commenced plowing for corn the morning after he had reached home late the night before. His children picked up seed from the droppings of passing horses, which he planted, and by diligent labor made more than enough to feed his family in the coming year.

We of the South love Gen. Lee’s memory. His name and his fame will never perish from among us. And it is distinctly gratifying to us to discover that some of our former enemies are beginning to recognize how great and good a man he was.

Evington, Va., Nov. 8, 1901.