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[453] 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, and urged him by every consideration which I could think of to comply with the President's wishes as to the recommendation. General Custis Lee was recognized as one of the most distinguished graduates sent out from West Point, and a man of high attainments, great ability, and with a character very much resembling that of his distinguished father. 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 to me in my present position.’

Of course I may not, after this lapse of time, give you his exact language, but I think that I have very nearly done so, for I remember how deep an impression the interview made upon me. So it was throughout his whole career, with a purity of life, elevation of sentiment, and dignity of manner which seemed to raise him high above the plain of common humanity. Of his great abilities as a chieftain, of course, it is the province of history to speak. You only ask me to give you my personal reminiscences of the man upon the two occasions to which I have referred. It was my singular good fortune to have seen much of him during the war, and afterwards, when he devoted his great talents to the training of Southern youth as a president of Washington College. When looking back now at him, as I knew him, after the lapse of all these years, I say

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