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[648] Grant that Lee had not dared to dispatch any force to the aid of his endangered subordinates. He remained, as he doubtless felt, only to be the last destroyed.

The rebel chief, it is claimed, desired to leave Richmond during the last few months of the war, but was restrained from this course by the civil authorities, his superiors. These were mere political managers, unable to cope with emergencies that required superlative courage; full of chicanery and subtlety, and the weaker arts of weaker men, but lacking those grand qualities which alone succeed in times of war and revolution. They were afraid, at this juncture, to take the chance of flight, and, like all timid people, suffered more than if they had been brave; submitting to the horrors of assault and the possibilities of capture rather than leave what seemed defenses, but at last were only snares. If Lee perceived this situation, he had not the force to impress it on his coadjutors, and therefore lacked the greatness essential in his position at such a crisis.

When finally all things were ready and the great blow was struck, it was seen how complete had been the preparations and combinations which had preceded the end; how absolute the execution of the scheme devised a year before. Lee surrendered because he had nothing else to do. He could not run away. Johnston and Maury and Richard Taylor and Kirby Smith surrendered for exactly the same reason. The various victories were not hap-hazard; it was not that each man chanced to come out right. All the arrangements were made in advance. Army after army came up to surrender, like the pieces in chess in a complicated game, when the beaten player

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Custis Lee (3)
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