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[325] he dispatched A. P. Hill's division on the same service. Jackson's fierce attack on Banks at Cedar Mountain at once caused new alarm for Washington. A rapid weakening of McClellan's force was the result. Reading this with that intuitive perception of what is passing behind the enemy's lines, which henceforth marks him as fit to command, Lee recognizes that the initiative is now in his hands, and presently moves with nearly his whole army to the line of the Rapidan. His design is by celerity and vigor to counterbalance the enormous preponderance of his enemies. He means to fall upon Pope before McClellan's army can join him. You know the splendid boldness of Jackson's immortal march to Pope's rear, which Lee approved and ordered. You know how, after prodigies of rapid movement, obstinate fighting and intrepid guidance, the Army of Northern Virginia stood once more united on the plains of Manassas, and there baffled and crushed an adversary, its superior, by one-half in numbers. Again the Federal army turned its back upon the goal of the campaign; again the Federal army bent its march, not to its commander's, but to Lee's imperious will. The invasion of Maryland, the capture of Harper's Ferry attested it, and Lee's victorious sweep was only checked by one of those unlucky accidents inseparable from war. His order for the combined movements of his troops fell into McClellan's hands when the ink upon it was scarcely dry.

This precipitated the great battle of Sharpsburg.

On that sanguinary field 40,000 Confederates finally repulsed every attack of an army of 87,000 Federal soldiers. On the day following the battle they grimly stood in their long, thin lines, inviting the assault which, as history will record, was not delivered.

If ever commander was tried by overwhelming and continous peril, and rose superior to it, and triumphed by sheer moral power over force and fortune, Lee on those two fateful days gave that supreme proof of a greatness of soul as much above depression under reverses as elation in success. In such moments the army feel the lofty genius of their leader. They acknowledge his royal right to command. They recognize their proud privilege to follow and obey. To such leaders only is it given to form heroic soldiers. Such were the ragged, half-starved men in gray who stood with Lee at Sharpsburg.

It is a vision of some such moment, perhaps, that our sculptor, Mercie, has caught with the eye of genius, and fixed in imperishable bronze. The General has ridden up, it seems to me, in some pause

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Robert Lee (6)
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