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Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 18: Campaign of 1864-the Wilderness (search)
prisoner of war, I was standing on the roadside near General Custis Lee when he was shocked by a report of the death of histold that orders had been sent by General Grant that General Custis Lee should not be received as a prisoner of war, and he y fine smoke wreath or ring, and said quietly, If I beat General Lee I sha'n't want any pontoons; and if General Lee beats meGeneral Lee beats me I can take all the men I intend to take back across the river on a log. As to his capacity and our estimate of it, we dide did not wish to be reinforced from a source that must give Lee man for man with him; that it would be cheaper and more merc upon Him. If any think this is a fond fancy, we don't. Lee's ready acceptance of the gage of battle flung down by Grant upon an inner line was just what Grant desired and expected Lee to do, and would have been in exact furtherance of Grant's plans. In this instance, as usual, Lee's audacity meant the exercise of his unerring military instinct and judgment. As j
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 19: Spottsylvania (search)
, but that he had disappeared; that I could not track him far and soon gave it up, concluding I would never see him again. I certainly laid down that night one of Lee's Miserables, as we used to term ourselves, after reading Victor Hugo's great novel — a soldier edition of his works in Confederate sheep's wool paper having been d or for any other hour in all the tide of time. But for frequency and pertinacity of attack, and repetition and constancy of repulse, I question if the left of General Lee's line on the 10th of May, 1864, has ever been surpassed. I cannot pretend to identify the separate attacks or to distinguish between them, but should think thervice which, in the opinion of prominent officers thoroughly acquainted with the facts and every way competent and qualified to judge, was deemed to have saved General Lee's army from being cut in twain. There is one other feature or incident of the closing fight of the 10th of May which may be worthy of record, not alone beca
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 21: Cold Harbor of 1864. (search)
ty miles of space and thirty days of time. General Lee had a little under 64,000 men of all arms pand men per day during the campaign. Again, Lee had, as stated, at the start, present for duty,he would not have dared to leave man for man in Lee's front; that it would have been utterly unsafehen; he might have left two for one in front of Lee, and yet have free from 13,000 to 36,000 men wif Col. Walter Taylor, and are less favorable to Lee than those of most of the Confederate authoritit opposite to the picture just sketched that of Lee holding the front of Hooker's 92,000 with scant, and in endeavoring to form a just estimate of Lee's operations throughout this campaign of 1864, well as an estimate of the ability displayed by Lee in the conduct of it. I ask leave to submit onen itself and in its general. In the case of Lee's army none of these consequences followed, whe and made for him his world-wide fame; that General Lee throughout his great career wielded an unri[5 more...]
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 22: from Cold Harbor to evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg (search)
etersburg Proves to be his immediate objective Lee just in time to prevent the capture of the cityand that was to fight, to renew his attack upon Lee's lines. He was as close to Richmond as he couJune 12th. He was just in time. It was not Lee's habit to give his adversary the choice of mov then Early, to meet this new peril threatening Lee's communications. As Early's corps was to haveck at all with his army thus seriously reduced, Lee was compelled to abandon his cherished plan, and Grant retired unmolested from Lee's front on the very night that Early received his orders to movacent thereto constituted the division of Gen. Custis Lee, eldest son of Gen. Robert E. Lee, a man way's battalion and one in Haskell's. But Gen. Custis Lee, commanding our division, declined to givtwo men with me; but I dispatched one to General Custis Lee, with a brief note of explanation, askinf heart or of hope. One of our dreams was that Lee, having the inner line, might draw away from Gr[2 more...]
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 23: the retreat from Chaffin's Bluff to Sailor's Creek (search)
iled upon their backs than any one brigade, perhaps I might say division, in General Lee's army was bearing at the same moment. I could hardly blame them, and thereanswered instantly, with head raised high, face flushing, eyes flashing- General Lee hasn't a better in his army! As she uttered these words she put her hand heads --and then I read an endorsement on application for furlough, in which General Lee himself had signed a recommendation of this woman's husband for a furlough oit somewhat. I ran back up the hill and had a brief conversation with General Custis Lee,--commanding the division, our brigade commander having been killed,--expr contemplated capture. I think it was at this juncture I encountered General Custis Lee, but it may have been after I was picked up. At all events, selecting theing in the world to be simply arrested and taken in. My recollection is that General Lee asked to be carried before the Federal general commanding on that part of th
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 24: fatal mistake of the Confederate military authorities (search)
evelopment as soldiers neglected decoration for gallantry, and promotion on the field unknown in the Confederate service Lee himself without authority to confer such promotion or distinction contrasted spirit and practice of the Federal authoritiacy, from the beginning to the end of the war. Indeed, I am confident it never did; for, incredible as it may appear, even Lee himself did not have the power to make such a promotion. On page 147 of his book, Colonel Taylor, the Adjutant-General of his army, says: General Lee should have been supreme in all matters touching the movements and discipline of his Army; whereas, under the law and the regulations of the Department of War made in conformity thereto, he had not even the power ton and some deeds necessarily rose above it. Besides, men were sometimes promoted for gallantry in our service, and even in Lee's glorious army; but the point is, the promotion lagged and followed afar off-so far that, before the tardy recognition ca
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 25: Potpourri (search)
federate armies prison life Deforest medal Gen. Lee's hat. Some years ago, during the discussiact or feature of the physical condition of General Lee's army during the latter half of the war waage 145 of Colonel Taylor's Four years with General Lee --a passage which, by the way, I had not rey tested than was the case with the soldiers of Lee's army during the last year of the war. Man, long after midnight, I handed in my batch, Major Lee, the courteous and kindly commandant of the next day, as soon as the prisoners had left, Major Lee sent for me, and I explained to him that thed raised no such question of conscience. Major Lee was very kind and considerate. He attempted it to say these papers were all endorsed by Major Lee, Respectfully forwarded approved --and all be from prison, was quite intimate with General Lee's family and a great favorite with the general. of the time with the ladies of the family in Mrs. Lee's room. The general was preparing for a trip
Robert Stiles, Four years under Marse Robert, Chapter 26: analysis of the soldier-life (search)
for duty ; absent from duty ; shot to death for absence from duty --how many times, during the four years from 1861 to 1865, do you suppose I read, wrote, uttered, heard these and kindred expressions? Is it not clear that, by his everyday's experience and intercourse, this one great figure-his life a service, its employment duty --is burned in upon the soldier's soul? In the light of these principles, and of his lifelong training, we gain a new conception of that sublime sentence in General Lee's letter to his son, Duty is the sublimest word in the English language; and of that groan of his mighty soul in the crisis and agony of defeat, It is my duty to live. The first lesson of the soldier-life is unquestioning Obedience. No one will deny the justness of the analysis here. Undeniably, the first lesson of the soldier's life, logically and chronologically, is obedience. There is no department, no business, no station, in which instant, implicit, blindfold obedience is so