The spirit of 1861--correspondence of General R. E. Lee.
[The following hitherto unpublished letters are of interest and value as Illustrating the spirit of the early days of the war.]
Alexandria, April 23, 1861.My Dear Robert — The enclosed letter was written to me, as you will see, in consequence of a remark I made to Dr. Sparrow, which he repeated to the writer, Dr. May, that I hoped your connection with the Virginia forces — if you concluded to accept the command — might lead to some peaceful settlement of our difficulties. I hoped this from the friendship between yourself and General Scott. I have only time now to enclose you Dr. May's letter, and to offer my earnest prayer that God may make you instrumental in saving our land from this dreadful strife. In haste, yours truly,
Theological Seminary of Virginia, April 22, 1861.My Dear Sir — I am sure of your sympathy with me in the motive of what I now write, even though you may think me presumptuous and lacking in judgment. Two considerations prompt me: one, an editorial in the National Intelligencer of to-day, placed by yourself in Dr. Sparrow's hands, and read by him to me a few minutes ago; the other a suggestion that Colonel Lee, now to be put in command of the Virginia troops might, by God's blessing, bring peace to our distracted country. Oh, how my heart leaped at the thought! How many thousands, yea, millions, would rise up to bless the man that should bring this to pass? I may be stepping out of my line in offering a word on the subject; but my heart is full, and I know you at least are willing to give me your attention. Who knows but your cousin may be raised up by God for such a time as this? Could he bring about, at least, an armistice, preparatory to a national assembly for peaceful settlement of our troubles, how many hearts would he relieve and how large his share in the blessedness of peace-makers! I do not enter into the political considerations of the matter. That is not my province. It may suffice to say, that so far as became me, whether in the North or