The natal day of General Robert Edward LeeAppropriately observed throughout the South, Jan. 19, 1901.
The exercises at New Orleans, La., under the auspices of the local Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, peculiarly impressive.
The Poem of Mrs. Mary Ashley Townsend a Stirring Requiem.The Chaste and appealing address of the venerable soldier of the cross, B. M. Palmer, D. D., a Gem of Eloquence.
Secretary, reported that the total collections during the year amounted to $132.75. January 14, 1900, she collected dues for 1900 amounting, with the per capita tax for 1899, to $2.25; received from the Treasurer for stationery, $4.50; dues still due for 1900, with tax for 1899, $8.50.
Since my last annual report a number of valuable and interesting relics have been received and deposited in the case set aside for use in Memorial Hall. A detailed description of them has been given in monthly reports at the meetings of this Association, and need not be repeated here. The case has lately been embellished with a handsome plate, bearing the inscription “United Daughters of the Confederacy,” which was secured through the kindness of our ever-courteous friend, Colonel Chalaron. It now contains some ninety relics and souvenirs, including the Favrot and Kirby-Smith collections, and is not the least interesting of the many valuable collections which have been gathered within these walls.An excellent report of the Historical Committee was presented by Mrs. C. H. Tebault. Mrs. A. Boisblanc, Chairman, pro tem., of the Credentials Committee, in the absence of Mrs. F. G. Freret, submitted the following:
Since January last there have been nine meetings of this Chapter. The Credentials Committee for the year was composed of Mrs. F. G. Freret, Chairman; Mrs. Joe Davis, Mrs. Heyman, Mrs. George Vincent and Mrs. A. Boisblanc. Since the month of October, in the absence of Mrs. Freret, Mrs. Boisblanc has been acting as Chairman. In Mrs. Freret's time there were twenty admissions, and since I took charge, nine, making in all, twenty-nine admissions during the year.
Chairman of the Relief Committee of the Soldiers' Home, presented the following able report of the work done by the Committee at this noble institution: 
Chairman of Committee on Designs, said:
Your Committee on Designs begs leave to report that during the past year floral tributes were sent for Miss Winnie Davis, the “Daughter of the Confederacy;” Major Lincoln, Commander Army of Northern Virginia Association; Major-General Gilmore, Commander Louisiana Division, U. D. C.; Mrs. Bentley, Mrs. Stamps and Miss Katharine Nobles, one of our charter members, who had done much towards organizing our Chapter. On April 6, “Decoration day,” a design was placed on the Confederate Monument at Greenwood, and the grave of Mumford, whose name is linked with the history of Louisiana, was not forgotten. In June a large floral offering was sent to Camp Chase, Ohio, where lie buried the remains of some 5,000 Confederates. All designs were ornamented with the Association ribbon.Mrs. Dickson, President of the Association, then read
the following beautiful address,
which was listened to with the deepest attention: Memory takes me back five years and shows me a few earnest, patriotic southern women forming this Chapter. To-day I see as a result of that movement this large and enthusiastic assemblage. The growth and expansion of this work have been fully manifested, and  to me, who has been associated with it since its incipiency, is of peculiar and tender interest—like to a mother who guides the tottering footstep of her child until by increased growth and strength it walks alone, and who with pardonable pride and ambition looks forward to a still greater and fuller development of the loved one. It is most gratifying to me, as I am sure it is to each of you, to have listened to the comprehensive and interesting reports of our officers and chairmen of committees, as it is only by this means that we can fully realize what we have accomplished in the past year. To you ladies I wish to express my deep appreciation of your unswerving faithfulness in the capable discharge of your duties, and to the society at large my kindliest feelings and thanks for their co-operation and the encouragement given me. And more pleasing than all it is for me to record the perfect harmony that has existed between us during my entire term of office extending over a period of two years. I can only wish you, my successor, the same happy experience which has been mine. The annual
election of officers
was then declared in order, and Mrs. Dickson was gracefully honored with a renomination. In a few pleasant remarks Mrs. Dickson thanked the Chapter for the honor conferred upon her, but declined the nominatiou, expressing her belief in rotation in office. Mrs. Alden McLellan, wife of General Alden McLellan, President of the Soldiers' Home, and one of the most lovable women in the Chapter and a most devoted worker was then put in nomination for the Presidency and unanimously elected. In a few pleasant remarks Mrs. McLellan expressed her appreciation of the high honor conferred upon her. Miss Kate Eastman was elected First Vice-President; Mrs. J. R. Powell, Second Vice-President; Mrs. J. B. Ferguson, Recording Secretary; Miss Sallie Owen, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. D. A. S. Vaught was appointed Chairman of the Historical Committee; Mrs. F. G. Freret, Chairman of the Soldiers' Home Committee; Mrs. William H. Dickson, Chairman of the Credentials Committee. and Mrs. Theodore Maginnis, Chairman of the Design Committee. The hearing of reports and election of officers being finished, the remainder of the session was devoted to exercises in which the most beautiful and touching tributes were paid to the memory of General Lee. If the North courted protest it certainly got it, for never were  nobler or more heartfelt tributes paid to the memory of one who honored his manhood and proved true to his country in every act of a pure and beautiful life, that stands out in American history as its most spotless and glorious page. Mrs. J. Pinckney Smith was the Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements, and to her zeal and ability in perfecting every detail, no less than to the faithful devotion and interest of the retiring President, Mrs. William H. Dickson, was the great success of the celebration due. It was a matter of regret that Judge Fenner was unable to be present, and for a while it was also feared that Dr. Palmer would not appear, as he had sent word that he was ill and would be unable to speak, but if possible he would endeavor to be present during the course of the meeting. This Mrs. Smith explained as she took her seat upon the platform and called the meeting to order. There were seated on the platform Mrs. J. Pinckney Smith, president of the State division of the Daughters of the Confederacy; Mrs. William H. Dickson, retiring president of the New Orleans Chapter; Mrs. Alden McLellan, the newly elected president; Mrs. Mary Ashley Townsend, the gifted southern poetess; General Alden McClellan, president of the Soldiers' Home: Mr. Edwin Marks, Dr. Tichenor and Colonel W. R. Lyman; Mrs. Smith introduced
Mr. Edwin Marks.
who had kindly consented to deliver a few impromptu remarks, as the other speakers were not present. Mr. Marks explained that he was taken totally unaware, having come to hear Dr. Palmer and Judge Fenner, and not expecting to he asked to take either of their places in speaking on the immortal hero whose anniversary was commemorated to-day. The memory of Robert Lee, who led the grandest army on to victory, and who was as great in defeat as he ever was in the palmiest hours of triumph, is living to-day and will continue to live to the remotest generations. It is a fact beyond controversy that the men who went to war by the thousands in the not very remote past, and those who are gradually falling out of the veterans' ranks, knew that the cause for which they stood was a grand one, the noblest for which men could stand, and this thought made them perform deeds of heroism unknown to the world before. The great captain, the great Christian soldier, who led that army, and  who put aside the highest honors that he might stand with his people and country, will go down to history as the peerless man, the man who brought to this great cause the greatest talents, wonderful judgment, and noblest pariotism than which no greater gifts were ever given to man. We have seen pictures and statues of Lee, but none could ever convey the idea of the man, for none could ever depict him as his old soldiers saw him. Only those who knew him and had seen him riding along the long line of men who bowed at his word could comprehend the man he was. He was the most incomparable warrior and peerless gentleman of modern times. Grand in character, when the war was over, and he looked into the desolate faces of his old soldiers, and bade them goodbye, what did he do but set an example to American manhood by accepting a subordinate position, comparatively, as president of a college, and beginning life all over again. Ever since that fatal day when he laid clown the most spotless sword that was ever wielded, he has stood as the incarnate representation of the incomparable soldier, the true gentleman. Mr. Marks concluded by saying that he was only a business man, unused to public speaking, and all unworthy to handle the great theme that had been assigned him. But he was a soldier and had a soldiers' reverence for Robert Lee. If these few remarks could add anything to the evening of a day sacred in the heart of the south, he was glad to lay this simple thought at the feet of his old commander. Mrs. Smith introduced Dr. Tichenor, who read in a beautiful and dramatic manner, Father Ryan's noble poem, ‘The Sword of Robert Lee.’ Continuing, Dr. Tichenor said that he felt that at the mention of the name of Robert Lee every man and woman of the South should bow their heads and thank God that to this age and generation had been given such a man. Mrs. William H. Dickson then read a beautiful tribute penned to the memory of General Lee, in answer to the New York Sun's attack, by John G. Hood of Meridian, Miss. After this beautiful reading the following beautiful poem, from the pen of our sweet southern songbird,
Mary Ashley Townsend,
was read by Colonel W. R. Lyman. Mr. Lyman read the poem with great force and diction, and every word sank as a note that  would linger in the hearts of all present. The following was the poem:
The poem was applauded to the echo. The brilliant authoress was then presented, and a rising vote of thanks was extended to her. At the same time she was presented with a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses tied with red, white and red. Mrs. Smith again regretted that Dr. Palmer was not present, but said that this evening was to have been the occasion of the presentation  to him of the Cross of the Legion of Honor from the Daughters of the Confederacy. The cross, however, would be sent to him. Mrs. Lewis Graham moved that a committee be appointed to take the cross to Dr. Palmer, and Mrs. Smith asked Mrs. Graham to serve as chairman of the committee. But just at this moment the cry rang through the hall:
‘Dr. Palmer! Here is Dr. Palmer!’
and Mrs. Graham escorted him to the platform, while the audience rose to greet him. Approaching Dr. Palmer, Mrs. Smith said:
Dr. Palmer, in the name of the Daughters of the Confederacy, I have the honor and pleasure to present you with this Cross of the Legion of Honor; we know of no one who deserved it more, for your name and fame is almost as great as that of the immortal hero whose memory we celebrate to-day.Dr. Palmer was completely overcome; when he recovered somewhat he said in a voice tremulous with emotion, but so distinct that he could be heard to the furthermost end of the room:
Ladies and Mme. President: You have almost taken away my breath, not only in presenting me with this beautiful medal, but in mentioning my name in connection with the noble character who has passed into history. There are some things in nature that cannot be reproduced in art. The gleam of the lightning flash cannot be reproduced on the painter's canvas; the rush of the sea's mighty waves, as they dash in billows over the waters and rise in crested foam, cannot be pictured; what painter has ever succeeded in transferring to canvas the gleam of the skies, either in the rosy flash of dawn or when the evening, with its myriads of colors of orange and blue and red and burnished gold bespeak the great painter, the uncreated artist? And so it seems with the characters of history that are supremely great; neither the depth nor power of poet or painter can ever do them justice. Nature generally discriminates, and men who are great are so along some particular line; one is gifted with the power of poetry, another with the gift of art; another with the power of oratory, and still another is a military genius, gifted with the wonderful power of massing great bodies of men and converging these forces at the right moment so as to win a glorious triumph and wrest victory even from defeat. These are men who are placed in the nation's records, and whose names are handed down to time.  But there is another kind of greatness that, to me, is infinitely greater, and that is the greatness of personal character. It is seldom that we find in exact proportions all the virtues united in any man; seldom that we find a man who by their combination secures universal confidence and trust from those in all ranks of life. It is not often that such men are represented in the history of the world. I have sometimes, in my personal contact with people, thought that there are some such in private life, of whom the world never hears; men who have the making of great geniuses within them; men who combine all these great virtues and qualities, which on occasion would rise and assert themselves, but they live on their quiet, hidden, beautiful lives, and many such often die without their power ever being known, perhaps, even to themselves, because the opportunity was never given to them to signalize these qualities. To me there are two men in American history who are great all around; two men whose lives stand out in beautiful harmony of proportion, in noble exemplification of all virtues, and all the excellence that can be summed up as belonging to the noblest types of manhood; the best of God. And I am glad that these men belong to the American nation.The audience rose as one body to greet Dr. Palmer as he closed, and Mrs D. M. Sholars gracefully moved that a vote of thanks be thus given to the distinguished patriot and divine. It was given with heartfelt feeling, the tears rising to the eyes of many as they looked upon the venerable figure that has stood so long and so faithfully in the front ranks of the south's veterans, a true exponent of the purity and truth of the cause so dear to his heart. The evening then resolved itself into a pleasant circle, and the center and thought of the gathering was the picture of Robert Lee, with a wreath of arbor vitae beneath and a bow of Confederate ribbon above, as it smiled down from the platform the same courtly smile that used to light up his features when he saw his old guards gathered around the camp fires in the days of ‘61-65.
the American Washington and the American Lee
are the two men who have always stood in my mind for the best things American—genius, talent, power, for the best things Christian. The first of these men immortalized himself a hundred years ago. Washington was as great at Valley Forge as when he led the American army to victory. He was quite as great when he retired to private life, and when people wanted to make him king he rejected the temptation, content to be the representative of American principle among his people. Repelling temptation showed that he had within him the true elements of greatness, the power to resist, and this more than all else made him first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen. In my judgment George Washington, from the moment when he showed the power to set aside temptation and reject the crown, has been the uncrowned king of the American people. From that day to this he is king, and will remain as long as there is an historian capable of writing American history. It has always seemed to me that Robert Lee, born a century after, was the twin brother of George Washington. I am glad that  both were Americans; that both were born on southern soil; that both were representatives of that peculiar type of American cvilization that belonged to the old south; a civilization that had running through it all the grandeur and beauty of the chivalry of the old past, and its heroism and devotion united to the common-sense characteristic of American modern life. It is not necessary for me to make analysis of these things that made either of these men great; not necessary for me to even suggest that they were the embodiment of all the virtues and all the gifts that make men great in all avenues of life and all contingencies of society. But I am willing that Robert Lee and George Washington shall go into history together and stand side by side; I am willing to have our cause go into history with Washington; I am willing to leave it to the world to judge, since the concurrence of events transpiring to-day will substantiate its purity in the past, and that it stood for the principles that gave to our nation life and being which were its past glory, and which must be perpetuated if the nation is to survive. Let us feel secure, then, in the future, as we have been in the past. General Lee was never greater when he passed along the line of his troops and heard their shouts of joy as they recognized their uncrowned hero than he was on that dark day at Appomattox, when he yielded his untarnished sword and bade his troops be victors indeed, and go back and rehabilitate their shattered fortunes and homes rendered desolate. I believe that the entire south, from the surrender at Appomattox, held General Lee as great, if not greater than before. Our people had the courage to face defeat. They were never ashamed of their colors. After forty years they stand steadfast to those colors and principles, and colors and principles are reverenced as much today as they were in the days of battle and triumphant victory. I only desire for my people that the Sons of Veterans may keep sacred the principles of that cause for which their fathers bled and transmit that cause in all honor and integrity to their children as they received it from their fathers. I believe that if I could speak in my dying moments to the young men of the south I would ask them to be as faithful, and honest, and honorable, and self-respecting as their fathers have been, to be as true to their country, as pure in their principles, and as steadfast in their faith and devotion to the Constitution as their ancestors were. Ladies, no words of mine can express my great thanks to this Association for this beautiful medal that has been presented to me. I shall ever cherish it as a reminder of your  loyalty and devotion to one who loved the south and believed in the sacredness of the cause which is hers still to defend.