be put on or put off; it was the greatness which comes from the very absence of pretension. And those who came the closest to him give us a still further insight into his nature, by telling us that what struck them most was the extent of his sympathy. Soldiers are commonly supposed to be cold and hard—a temper of mind to which they are inured by their very profession. Those whose business is the shedding of blood are thought to delight in human suffering. It is hard to believe that a soldier can have a very tender heart. Yet few men were more sensitive to others pain than General Lee. All who came near him perceived that with his manly strength there was united an almost womanly sweetness. It was this gentleness which made him great, and which has enshrined him forever in the hearts of his people. This sympathy for the suffering showed itself, not in any public act so much as a most private and delicate office which imposed upon him a very heavy burden, one that he might have declined, but the taking of which showed the man. He had an unlimited correspondence. Letters poured in upon him by the hundred and the thousand. They came from all parts of the South, not only from his old companions in arms, but from those he had never seen or heard of. Every mother that had lost a son in the war felt that she had the right to pour her sorrow into the ear of one who was not insensible to her grief. Families left in utter poverty appealed to him for aid. Most men would have shrunk from a labor so great as that of answering these letters. Not so General Lee. He read them, not only patiently, as a man performs a disagreeable duty, but with a tender interest, and so far as possible returned the kindest of answers. If he had little money to give he could at least give sympathy, and to his old soldiers and their wives and children it was more than money to know that they had a place in that great heart. While thus ministering to his stricken people there is one public benefit which he rendered that ought never to be forgotten. Though the war was over he still stood in public relations in which he could render an immeasurable service to the whole country. There are no crises in a nation's life more perilous than those following civil war. The peace that comes after it is peace only in name if the passions of the war still live. After our great struggle the South was full of inflammable materials. The fires were but smouldering in ashes, and might break out at any moment and rage with destructive fury. If
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
The race problem in the South —Was the Fifteenth Amendment a mistake?
Times have changed.
A list of Confederate officers, prisoners, who were held by Federal authority on Morris Island, S. C. , under Confederate fire from September 7th to October 21st , 1864 .
Annual Reunion of the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia .
Oration of the evening.
Life, services and character of Jefferson Davis .
He truly represented the South in not Negotiating for peace on other terms than independence.
Two revolutions rising on parallel lines—the Revolution of the North against the Constitution .
Secession preached and threatened in all sections—the Northern record for it and against extension of the Union .
The United States treated secession as a political question and met it by Revolution.
The Twelfth Georgia Infantry .
List of casualties in the Twelfth Georgia regiment in the battle of Gettysburg , July 1st , 1863 .
The Monument to General Robert E. Lee .
The unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee , at Richmond, Va. , May 29th , 1890 .
Testimonials from visiting soldiers.
Robert Edward Lee .
Letters of R. E. Lee .
At Lee 's tomb.
Lee 's Birthday: eminent men of the United States send sentiments for the day—ministers, soldiers, statesmen and scholars each bring an offering.
Lee as an educator.
Robert E. Lee .
Prisoners of the civil war.
Andersonville prison .
The unveiling. [ Richmond Dispatch , June 10 , 1890 .]
Valuable war relic.
Casualties in the old First at Gettysburg : two out of every three men who were carried into the charge shot down.
Lee 's Lieutenants.
Names of surviving Generals of the Confederate Army —a valuable Roster. [ Richmond Dispatch , May 29 , 1890 .]
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.