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 I used to see Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Lee ride over on his chesnut sorrel from Arlington to Seminary Hill, near Alexandria, alone, quietly dismount, tie his horse to the fence and enter the little chapel, taking his seat near by me, as Sunday after Sunday was his custom, whenever he happened to be at home on furlough. At that time he was Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Cavalry, and a little later he became Colonel of the First, as the following letter shows:
The very next morning, just at daybreak, as I was checking my trunk, coming South, at Alexandria, I brushed up against a military-looking man, with a dark moustache, but otherwise clean-shaven face, getting his trunk checked at the door of the same baggage car. This was Colonel Lee, and had I known at that moment that he had just come from the presence of General Scott, who had prevailed upon President Lincoln to tender to Colonel Lee the command of the Active Army of the United States and that he had declined it, I would have fallen at his feet and thanked God for his unparalleled devotion to duty. How few of us ever think of this! How many of us know what would have happened if he had chosen the other course. Imagine Lee at Sharpsburg with 87,000 men, and McClellan opposing him with 27,000. Picture to yourself Lee at Chancellorsville with 120,000 men confronted by Hooker with 40,000. Suppose, for one moment, that at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Lee, with 125,000 had moved against Grant with 45,000 men—where would Grant's place in history be to-day? The journey to Richmond was interrupted at Gordonsville, and there I saw Colonel Lee uncheck his trunk, as we had to do in those days, and have it transferred to the Richmond train. I can remember distinctly as I stood at his elbow, that I said to myself—here is a man who is destined to high command, and as I am going to follow
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