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Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

by Captain Robert E. Lee, His Son

Table of Contents


Chapter I
Services in the United States Army

Captain Lee, of the Engineers, a hero to his child--The family
pets--Home from the Mexican War--Three years in Baltimore--
Superintendent of the West Point Military Academy--Lieutenant-
Colonel of Second Cavalry--Supresses "John Brown Raid" at Harper's
Ferry--Commands the Department of Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Chapter II
The Confederate General

Resigns from Colonelcy of First United States Cavalry--Motives for
this step--Chosen to command Virginia forces--Anxiety about his
wife, family, and possessions--Chief advisor to President Davis--
Battle of Manassas--Military operations in West Virginia--Letter
to State Governor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Chapter III
Letters to Wife and Daughters

From Camp on Sewell's Mountain--Quotation from Colonel Taylor's
book--From Professor Wm. P. Trent--From Mr. Davis's Memorial
Address--Defense of Southern ports--Christmas, 1861--The General
visits his father's grave--Commands, under the President, all the
armies of the Confederate States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Chapter IV
Army Life of Robert the Younger

Volunteer in Rockbridge Artillery--"Four Years with General Lee"
quoted--Meeting between father and son--Personal characteristics
of the General--Death of his daughter Annie--His son Robert raised
from the ranks--the horses, "Grace Darling" and "Traveller"--
Fredricksburg--Freeing slaves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Chapter V
The Army of Northern Virginia

The General's sympathy for his suffering soldiers--
Chancellorsville--Death of "Stonewall" Jackson--General Fitzhugh
Lee wounded and captured--Escape of his brother Robert--
Gettysburg--Religious revival--Infantry review--Unsatisfactory
commissariat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Chapter VI
The Winter of 1863-4

The Lee family in Richmond--The General's letters to them from
Camps Rappahannock and Rapidan--Death of Mrs. Fitzhugh Lee--
Preparations to meet General Grant--The Wilderness--Spottsylvania
Court House--Death of General Stuart--General Lee's illness . . . 112

Chapter VII
Fronting the Army of the Potomac

Battle of Cold Harbour--Siege of Petersburg--The General intrusts
a mission to his son Robert--Battle of the Crater--Grant crosses
the James River--General Long's pen-picture of Lee--Knitting socks
for the soldiers--A Christmas dinner--Incidents of camp life . . . 128

Chapter VIII
The Surrender

Fort Fisher captured--Lee made Commander-in-Chief--Battle of Five
Forks--The General's farewell to his men--His reception in
Richmond after the surrender--President Davis hears the news--
Lee's visitors--His son Robert turns farmer . . . . . . . . . . . 144

Chapter IX
A Private Citizen

Lee's conception of the part--His influence exerted toward the
restoration of Virginia--He visits old friends throughout the
country--Receives offers of positions--Compares notes with the
Union General Hunter--Longs for a country home--Finds one at
"Derwent," near Cartersville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162

Chapter X
President of Washington College

Patriotic motives for acceptance of trust--Condition of college--
The General's arrival at Lexington--He prepares for the removal of
his family to that city--Advice to Robert Junior--Trip to "Bremo"
on private canal-boat--Mrs. Lee's invalidism . . . . . . . . . . . 179

Chapter XI
The Idol of the South

Photographs and autographs in demand--The General's interest in
young people--His happy home life--Labours at Washington College--
He gains financial aid for it--Worsley's translation of Homer
dedicated to him--Tributes from other English scholars . . . . . . 198

Chapter XII
Lee's Opinion upon the Late War

His intention to write the history of his Virginia campaigns--
Called before a committee of Congress--Preaches patience and
silence in the South--Shuns controversy and publicity--Corresponds
with an Englishman, Herbert C. Saunders . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218

Chapter XIII
Family Affairs

The General writes to his sons--To his wife at Rockbridge Baths--
He joins her there about once a week--Distinguised and
undistinguished callers at his Lexington home--He advocates early
hours--His fondness for animals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

Chapter XIV
An Ideal Father

Letters to Mildred Lee--To Robert--To Fitzhugh--Interviewed by
Swinton, historian of the Army of the Potomac--Improvement in
grounds and buildings of Washington College--Punctuality a
prominent trait of its President--A strong supporter of the
Y.M.C.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252

Chapter XV
Mountain Rides

An incident about "Traveller"--The General's love for children--
His friendship with Ex-President Davis--A ride with his daughter
to the Peaks of Otter--Mildred Lee's narrative--Mrs. Lee at the
White Sulphur Springs--The great attention paid her husband
there--His idea of life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264

Chapter XVI
An Advisor of Young Men

Lee's policy as college president--His advice on agricultural
matters--His affection for his prospective daughter-in-law--
Fitzhugh's wedding--The General's ovation at Petersburg--his
personal interest in the students under his care . . . . . . . . . 280

Chapter XVII
The Reconstruction Period

The General believes in the enforcement of law and order--His
moral influence in the college--Playful humour shown in his
letters--His opinion of negro labour--Mr. Davis's trial--Letter to
Mrs. Fitzhugh Lee--Intercourse with Faculty . . . . . . . . . . . 299

Chapter XVIII
Mrs. R. E. Lee

Goest to Warm Springs for rheumatism--Her daughter Mildred takes
typhoid there--Removes to Hot Springs--Her husband's devotion--
Visit of Fitzhugh and bride to Lexington--Miss Jones, a would-be
benefactor of Washington College--Fate of Washington relics
belonging to Mrs. Lee's family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318

Chapter XIX
Lee's Letters to His Sons

The building of Robert's house--The General as a railroad
delegate--Lionised in Baltimore--Calls on President Grant--Visits
Alexandria--Declines to be interviewed--Interested in his
grandson--The Washington portraits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339

Chapter XX
The New Home in Lexington

Numerous guests--Further sojourns at different Baths--Death of the
General's brother, Smith Lee--Visits to "Ravensworth" and "The
White House"--Meetings with interesting people at White Sulphur
Springs--Death of Professor Preston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357

Chapter XXI
Failing Health

The General declines lucrative positions in New York and Atlanta--
He suffers from an obstinate cold--Local gossip--He is advised to
go South in the spring of 1870--Desires to visit his daughter
Annie's grave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376

Chapter XXII
The Southern Trip

Letters to Mrs. Lee from Richmond and Savannah--From Brandon--
Agnes Lee's account of her father's greetings from old friends and
old soldiers--Wilmington and Norfolk do him honour--Visits to
Fitzhugh and Robert in their homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388

Chapter XXIII
A Round of Visits

Baltimore--Alexandria--A war-talk with Cousin Cassius Lee--
"Ravensworth"--Letter to Doctor Buckler declining invitation to
Europe--To General Cooper--To Mrs. Lee from the Hot Springs--Tired
of public places--Preference for country life . . . . . . . . . . 412

Chapter XXIV
Last Days

Letter to his wife--To Mr. Tagart--Obituary notice in "Personal
Reminiscences of General Robert E. Lee"--Mrs. Lee's account of his
death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431

(140,049 words)


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