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[562] the flag of the United States in Indian and in foreign wars, to whom, on sea and land, it revived the memories of home, whose friends and associates from boyhood were chiefly in the army, it was a severe trial to sever their professional ties and turn their backs upon a flag dear to them as the memory of early love; but so many of the Southern officers of the army and navy made that sacrifice, that the exceptions are not sufficiently numerous to shield them from the contempt which belongs to desertion.

On pages 451-454 is a letter from General John Echols, of whom it will be unneccessary, to those who know him, to say that he is so incapable of misstatement that error must be unintentional; yet he has committed a grave mistake, which does injustice to General Lee and to myself, and is quite out of keeping with the law and the usage of the Confederate States. I extract as follows: ‘In the winter of 1863-1864, if my memory serves me, when General Lee's headquarters were near Orange Courthouse, Virginia, I was directed by President Davis to go to the General and to urge upon him to recommend his distinguished son, General Custis Lee, to an important command, for which President Davis thought him admirably fitted, but to which he could not assign him without the recommendation of his father, who was in chief command of the army. I went to him and spent several hours in his tent at night talking over the importance of the command to which it was desired that General Custis Lee should be assigned, and delivered to him messages which had been sent by President Davis upon the subject, * * * but I could make no impression upon the General, and the only answer which I could get from him, and which he reiterated at different times in the conversation, when I would urge the President's wishes, was, “General Custis Lee is my son, and whilst I think very well of his abilities, yet, in my opinion, he has not been sufficiently tried in the field, and because he is my son and because of his want of sufficient experience in the field, I cannot and I will not recommend him for the place. You may return and say to the President that I recognize the importance of the position to which he refers, and that I am willing to send to that command any other officer here with my army whom he may designate, however valuable that officer is, or may be, to me in my present position.” ’ Modesty and courtesy were characteristics of Lee, and self-assertion, even to the extent it was just, was no part of his usual conduct; but he is here presented in a guise never worn by him in his frequent correspondence and conversation during the four


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