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He made the sacrifice.

At the time Virginia seceded Mrs. Lee was an invalid, and a female friend was staying with her. Late at night Mrs. Lee sent for her and told her she was afraid the Colonel was worried, as he had been walking the floor of the room above all night. Just at that moment the Colonel knocked at the door, walked in, and took a seat on the side of the bed. He said he was greatly troubled and wanted advice. ‘Virginia has seceded today. The United States educated me, and I have been offered the command of her army. But Virginia is my home and the birth-place of my fathers.’ The old lady responded, ‘The path of duty is the path of sacrifice.’ At that Colonel Lee brightened up and and said: ‘I tender my sword to Virginia tomorrow.’

This was indeed a sacrifice. The United States was a great Government, equipped for war; and he refused the command of her armies to come to Virginia, who was without a navy, without a treasury, and almost without hope, but which he loved, and was willing to die for.

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