We found Gen. Lee on the rear portico of the house I have mentioned. He had washed his face in a tin basin and stood drying his beard with a coarse towel as we approached. “Gen. Lee,” exclaimed my father, “my poor brave men are lying on yonder hill more dead than alive. For more than a week they have been fighting day and night, without food, and, by God, Sir, they shall not move another step until somebody gives them something to eat.” “Come in, general,” said Gen. Lee, soothingly. “They deserve something to eat and shall have it; and meanwhile you shall share my breakfast.” He disarmed everything like defiance by his kindness. . . . Gen. Lee inquired what he thought of the situation. “Situation?” said the bold old man. “There is no situation. Nothing remains, Gen. Lee, but to put your poor men on your poor mules and send them home in time for the spring ploughing. This army is hopelessly whipped, and is fast becoming demoralized. These men have already endured more than I believed flesh and blood could stand, and I say to you, Sir, emphatically, that to prolong the struggle is murder, and the blood of every man who is killed from this time forth is on your head, Gen. Lee.” This last expression seemed to cause Gen. Lee great pain. With a gesture of remonstrance, and even of impatience, he protested. “Oh, General, do not talk so wildly. My burdens are heavy enough! What would the country think of me, if I did what you suggest?” “Country be d—d,” was the quick reply. “There is no country. There has been no country, General, for a year or more. You are the country to these men. They have fought for you. They have shivered through a long winter for you. Without pay or clothes or care of any sort their devotion to you and faith in you have been the only things that have held ”
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