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Lee's manners.

General Grant, in his history of his campaigns, says that General Lee's manners were austere and that his soldiers were in awe of him. I consider this statement not correct. His soldiers had a profound respect, even reverence for him, but they all loved him. Several times at critical periods in battles, when Lee proposed to lead them, they refused to charge unless he retired to their rear. I saw him in the winter of 1864-‘65, when riding along our breastworks, stop and shake hands with a plain private who was at work on them with his spade. The man told me he was remembered by Lee, who was formerly acquainted with him. I do not suppose that he looked cheerful and genial when he surrendered men who had stood by him during a four-years' war. It would have been discreditable to him if he had done so. There was no frigidness or austerity in his manners when I knew him. I had opportunity to meet him not only in his own house, but in that of others, and what specially struck me about him was the rare union of dignity and suavity. He rarely forgot any one whom he had ever known, and had the happy faculty of putting his guests at their ease. His manners were always those of a refined gentleman; in his own home they were perfectly charming, and on a number of occasions he showed that he was not destitute of humor. In Lexington, Virginia, which was his home as an educator for five years, he was beloved by all classes, even by the children, of this I had many ocular proofs.

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R. E. Lee (4)
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1864 AD (1)
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