I said to Governor Anderson
that I was gratified to be able to confirm his statement by that of another gentleman of the highest character, who had made to me substantially the same statement a short time before his death—Colonel Thomas L. Alexander
. Colonel Alexander
was a native of Virginia
—an officer of the old army of the United States, who had seen many years of service.
By reason of age and ill-health he was retired from active service in the army in the year 18—. He was with General Scott
on the march to the city of Mexico
, and took much pleasure in his declining years in relating the incidents of that campaign.
He told me that a day or two after the occupation of the city of Mexico
the officers of the United States army gave to General Scott
a grand banquet.
In the course of the banquet and at its close, General Scott
, who was sitting at the head of the table, arose.
As he lifted his magnificent form to its full height, the action attracted the attention of all. He rapped lightly upon the table and asked attention, which was given amidst profound silence.
There were present the Generals
—all the officers of the army.
said, ‘Gentlemen, before we part, I desire that you shall fill your glasses, and, standing, drink with me a toast which I have to propose.’
You can imagine that that toast was looked for with interest and expectation.
While all were standing with their glasses filled, General Scott
, raising his own, said, ‘I ask you, gentlemen, to pledge me in the health of Captain Robert E. Lee
, without whose aid we should not now be here.’
To Colonel Alexander
, who admired and loved General Lee
, this incident seemed to give peculiar pleasure.
In the same conversation in which Colonel Alexander
made to me this statement, he gave me also this one, which I regard as in one sense even of greater value than that of Governor Anderson
, because of the immediate proximity of the information given by General Scott
to the event related.
, by reason of old association, was intimate with General Scott
, and loved and admired him. He was then in command of the Soldier
's Home, near Washington
He told me that he called upon General Scott
in his office at Washington
a short time before the secession of the State of Virginia
I believe he was not able to fix the precise day; if he did, it has escaped me. When he met General Scott
, he observed that he was in a state of unusual excitement—laboring under some very deep feeling.