Sunday afternoon he closed his eyes and smiled at his own spoken dream-“Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”
The dream thus spoken is yet unbroken; and his soul went out to heaven, uplifted by sighs and prayers, rising that hour from altar and cloister, all over the South
, for his recovery.
On Friday, the 15th of May, 1863, his body was taken for burial to his home, in Lexington
He had not been there since he left it, two years before, at tile beginning of the war. Only two years, and yet how like romance is the simple story of his growth in fame.
And now he lies buried as he directed, “in the Valley of Virginia
,” and among the people he loved so well.
It were better so. He could not have saved the South
, and it was merciful that he should perish first.
The tender memory he left behind him in the army, and the stern sense of duty he bequeathed his soldiers, will be told by this little incident, with which I close this unworthy sketch.
The army of Lee
was on its march to Gettysburg
, and the commanding general
had given strict orders for its discipline in Pennsylvania
An officer riding to camp from Chambersburg
, late at night, was halted by the outposts.
Having neither pass nor countersign, in his dilemma he bethought him of an old pass in his pocket-book, signed by General Jackson
, whose recent death hung like a cloud over the army.
He found it, handed it with confidence to the sentinel.
The trusty fellow managed to read it by the light of a match, and as he did so he seemed to linger and hesitate over the signature.
And then, as the light went out, he handed it back, and looking up toward the stars beyond, he said, sadly and firmly: “Captain
, you can go to heaven on that paper, but you can't pass this post.”
's death this whole land has been speedy to do full justice.
In this tribute there has been no North, no South.
The one admired him greatly, the other loved him dearly.
And coming from over the sea, it is said, an affectionate friend planted on his grave, at Lexington
, a sprig of laurel brought from the grave of Napoleon
This was most fit; it was appropriate that the greatest general of the Old World should welcome to the tomb and immortality the most brilliant soldier of the New
. From his grave, and from kindred others North and South, let us hope that the true spirit of reconstruction, in justice, prosperity, and peace, will come at last.