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[452] moderation and elevation of sentiment under the most trying circumstances.

As soon as it was made public that Virginia had passed the ordinance of secession, of course there was the greatest excitement in the public mind in Virginia. The Virginia Convention was still in session when General Lee came from Washington, and it was announced to him that he had been elected Commander-in-Chief of the Virginia troops, which were then being called into service as rapidly as possible. Of course, among people who knew nothing from actual experience of what war was, many extreme ideas prevailed, and many extreme measures were proposed. The military committee of the convention held daily sessions. General Lee was frequently invited to appear before that committee for advice and counsel, as to what was best to be done in regard to the various measures suggested. He always seemed from the first to have a thorough appreciation of the gravity, and even solemnity of the situation, and I remember upon one occasion especially, when it was proposed to seize the coasting vessels which were in Virginia waters as being the property of aliens and enemies, he was consulted, and I never shall forget the earnest and solemn manner with which he warned those around him that they were just on the threshold of a long and bloody war, and advised them if they had any idea that the contest in which they were about to engage was to be a slight one, to dismiss all such thoughts from their minds, saying that he knew the Northern people well, and knew that they never would yield in that contest except at the conclusion of a long and desperate struggle. He urged the committee that it was of the last importance that the South should so conduct herself in the struggle as to attract to herself the respect and sympathy of the civilized nations of the earth. Going on to apply the same thought to the matter then in hand, he said that there was no amount of mere individual suffering which could be inflicted that could add to the public good; that if we should seize these coasting vessels without warning, it would be a matter of doubtful propriety, and inflict ruin upon the owners, without adding strength to our own cause or making friends with the outside world. His whole influence throughout all the eventful scenes of the war was in the direction of moderation and humanity, and highest principles of modern civilized warfare.

I saw him again upon another occasion, which will be of lifelong interest to me, when his purity and singular unselfishness of character were strikingly exhibited. In the winter of 1863-4, if my

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