,—In performing the duty assigned to me by your committee, it may perhaps be expected that I should direct attention to something directly or remotely connected with Morgan
's command, but about these matters I prefer to talk to you in the camp rather than to write about them.
I feel the more strongly justified in what I am about to state by a belief that in any meeting of Confederate soldiers incidents not hitherto made public in the life of that great leader of armies, General Lee
, will be found of interest; and quite recently I have received information from two different and independent sources of certain facts in the life of General Lee
which I believe have not been made public, and yet which reflect such honor upon his life and character that I have thought well, in this humble way, to preserve them.
One of the distinguished gentlemen from whom my information is derived has agreed to verify my statement over his own signature for the purpose of laying it before you. To obtain that statement in writing from him, and to give it an historic form by thus laying it before you, has principally determined the form of this address.
The two gentlemen to whom I allude are Colonel Thomas Ludwell Alexander
, recently deceased, and Hon. Charles Anderson
, exGov-ernor of Ohio
, now living near Princeton, Kentucky
A few weeks ago, sitting in the office of General John Echols
, in Louisville
, Governor Anderson
came in. General Echols
held in hand the closing portions of the address by John W. Daniel
at the unveiling of the Lee
monument at Lexington, Virginia
While General Echols
was reading and commenting upon portions of this splendid address, Governor Anderson
interrupted him with the remark that no Confederate soldier or officer could entertain a higher or more reverent regard for the character of General Robert E. Lee
than he did; that from the days of Miltiades
to the present time he believed no character in history had proved so exalted devotion to duty as General Lee
had done, at the sacrifice of personal ambition and personal inclinations; which statement he said he could verify by reference to one incident in the life of Lee
, which he had in part witnessed and in part received from an unquestionable authority.
I asked him to relate the incident to which he referred, which he
did in glowing and earnest terms, which I cannot repeat except in their substance.
This, however, was impressed indelibly upon my mind, and I believe I can state it with exactness.
To those of you who are not personally acquainted with Governor Anderson
, I will state that he is a son of Colonel Richard C. Anderson, Sr.
, an old Revolutionary soldier of abilities and reputation, one of the early pioneers of the State of Kentucky
, and who settled in Jefferson county
in the year 1783.
was also a brother of General Robert Anderson
, the hero of Fort Sumter
Long before Robert Anderson
's views were known or his position taken on behalf of the Union
cause, Charles Anderson
, then a resident of Texas
, had proclaimed himself an uncompromising Union man, and suffered imprisonment at the hands of the Confederate
authorities in Texas
for some time and until his escape by flight into and through Mexico
He took up his residence in Ohio
, was elected Lieutenant Governor
, and became Governor of Ohio
by the death of Governor Brough
Now to my story.
Prior to 1860 Governor Anderson
had been upon intimate terms both with General Scott
and with General (then Colonel
) Robert E. Lee
He was a delegate at large from the State of Ohio
in the convention which nominated General Scott
for the Presidency, and largely contributed to that nomination.
In the fall of 1860 General Scott
, the commander of the army of the United States, was at Washington city
. Colonel Lee
, in command of his regiment, was stationed in Texas
living at San Antonio, Texas
. General Twiggs
was in command of the military department of Texas.
On November 20th, 1860, Governor Anderson
had made a speech at a secession meeting at the Alamo
, opposing secession, and announcing his own purpose of adherence to the Union
cause to the end. Shortly after that time, General Scott
, having learned his position on national affairs, prepared and sent to him a paper, partly military and partly political.1
These papers General Scott
enclosed to Governor Anderson
, and, in a private note, requested Governor Anderson
to exhibit the paper to General Twiggs
and Colonel Lee
especially, and to such other officers of the army as he might deem advisable.
The paper was left with Twiggs
and with Lee
, each retaining it for several days.
Some time after General Lee
had read and returned these papers to Governor Anderson
, the arrangement had been made by which the army of the United States in Texas
was surrendered to the Committee
of Vigilance, consisting of Messrs. Maverick
, all of which, being a part of the general history
of the times, is not necessary to be detailed here.
After this surrender, General Lee
, with the other army officers, being out of service, were leaving the Department of Texas.
This committee applied to him to resign his position in the army of the United States and to take command of the Confederate
troops in Texas
This he had declined to do, expressing his determination to await the action of Virginia
as his sole guide of duty in this tremendous emergency.
He was thereupon informed by the committee that he could not make use of the wagons and mules under his command for transportation to the sea coast.
At this time Governor Anderson
again met Colonel Lee
. Colonel Lee
informed him of what had occurred, and expressed deep indignation at the treatment he had received, regarding it as a most insulting indignity; but no indignities nor the anger or the grief produced by them, whether received from friends or others, seemed capable of moving the firmness of his conscientious purpose.
In that interview he stated to Governor Anderson
that it was his purpose to go to Washington
, and that he should there await the action of his native State of Virginia
, saying that his action would be governed solely by hers.
should stand by the Union
and the old flag, he would stand with her. If Virginia
should secede, he would go with her, for weal or woe.
Leaving all his chattle property in charge of Governor Anderson
, to be forwarded to him in Washington
, they parted—not to meet again.
The war moved on with that rapidity that astonished even those who participated in it. Governor Anderson
was subsequently confined in prison in Texas
The paper of General Scott
from him and forwarded to Richmond
in December, 1861, or January, 1862.
Upon his arrival, General Scott
sent for him, wishing to talk with him about the National
condition and prospects, as well as about other matters and people in that department.
After extended and various conversation, in which General Scott
seemed with his usual delicacy to have avoided reference to any military comment or criticism of our campaigns or movements, Governor Anderson
said to him:
, what about Colonel Lee
replied, ‘Sir, Robert E. Lee
is, of his grade, the first soldier in Christendom.’
then said, ‘General Scott
, is it your habit at a distance of six or eight or ten years apart, in expressing the same thought, to use identically the same language?’
—‘If the same language should best express the same idea, why should I not?
But what do you mean?’
—‘I will swear, that when in 1854 I asked you about the qualifications of Major Robert E. Lee
of West Point
you used identically the same words that you have now used—viz., that of his grade, Lee
was the first soldier in Christendom.’
‘Well,’ said General Scott
, ‘I believed it then as I do now, and think it very likely that I did use the same language.’
He then proceeded to say that in the march from Vera Cruz
to the city of Mexico
there was not an encampment nor a battle-field which had not been previously selected by Lee
, then a Captain, and chief of engineers on the staff of General Scott
; that not a battle in that campaign, had been fought, the day and place of which had not been previously announced by despatches to the Government
, and that in every instance the announcement had been justified by the result in their due order; and this he attributed chiefly to the fact of having such a captain of Engineers.
then proceeded to detail an interview between Colonel Lee
and himself, held a short time before the secession of Virginia
, while the Convention
of that State was in session.
, having called upon General Scott
, opened the interview by saying:
, I have called upon you to say, what I deem it my duty to say to you as my superior officer and as my best friend’——
At this point, General Scott
divining his purpose, and not wishing him to commit himself, said:
, before you proceed, I have something to say to you. Permit me to speak first.
I am authorized by the President
of the United States
to say to you that, if you remain by the old flag and the Union
, you will be placed in supreme command of the armies of the United States
, subject only to a nominal command in myself; which command, you know, at my age must be nominal only.’
paused for a moment, and but for a moment, and replied, ‘General Scott
, I will conclude what I came to say. I am awaiting the action of the State of Virginia
stands by the old flag and the Union
, I shall stand by them with my sword and my life.
shall secede, I shall go with her. I hold my loyalty as due to Virginia
then proceeded to say that this fact rested not only upon the statement of General Scott
, but that he has since seen in the report of a Congressional committee that Francis P. Blair, Sr.
, had made the statement; that on the next day—General Scott
meanwhile having reported to Mr. Lincoln
this interview with Colonel Lee
went from Mr. Lincoln
to Colonel Lee
, and repeated in the same words the same offer, and received the same answer.2
I said to Governor Anderson
that I was gratified to be able to confirm his statement by that of another gentleman of the highest character, who had made to me substantially the same statement a short time before his death—Colonel Thomas L. Alexander
. Colonel Alexander
was a native of Virginia
—an officer of the old army of the United States, who had seen many years of service.
By reason of age and ill-health he was retired from active service in the army in the year 18—. He was with General Scott
on the march to the city of Mexico
, and took much pleasure in his declining years in relating the incidents of that campaign.
He told me that a day or two after the occupation of the city of Mexico
the officers of the United States army gave to General Scott
a grand banquet.
In the course of the banquet and at its close, General Scott
, who was sitting at the head of the table, arose.
As he lifted his magnificent form to its full height, the action attracted the attention of all. He rapped lightly upon the table and asked attention, which was given amidst profound silence.
There were present the Generals
—all the officers of the army.
said, ‘Gentlemen, before we part, I desire that you shall fill your glasses, and, standing, drink with me a toast which I have to propose.’
You can imagine that that toast was looked for with interest and expectation.
While all were standing with their glasses filled, General Scott
, raising his own, said, ‘I ask you, gentlemen, to pledge me in the health of Captain Robert E. Lee
, without whose aid we should not now be here.’
To Colonel Alexander
, who admired and loved General Lee
, this incident seemed to give peculiar pleasure.
In the same conversation in which Colonel Alexander
made to me this statement, he gave me also this one, which I regard as in one sense even of greater value than that of Governor Anderson
, because of the immediate proximity of the information given by General Scott
to the event related.
, by reason of old association, was intimate with General Scott
, and loved and admired him. He was then in command of the Soldier
's Home, near Washington
He told me that he called upon General Scott
in his office at Washington
a short time before the secession of the State of Virginia
I believe he was not able to fix the precise day; if he did, it has escaped me. When he met General Scott
, he observed that he was in a state of unusual excitement—laboring under some very deep feeling.
told him that he had just concluded a protracted and painful interview with Colonel Lee
; that he had said to Colonel Lee
that he was authorized by the President
of the United States
to tender to him the supreme command of the armies of the United States
, and that he received from Colonel Lee
the reply, that his first duty was to the State of Virginia
remained by the Union
, he should stand with her. If Virginia
should secede, he would go with her. In relating the interview General Scott
's feelings overcame him, and he sobbed aloud.
I do not remember in Colonel Alexander
's statement that the qualification of the nominal superiority in command of General Scott
was mentioned; that, however, I supposed to be implied.
My conversation with Colonel Alexander
was several years ago, and I would not undertake to repeat its details with the same accuracy that I do that of Governor Anderson
; but as to the substance of Colonel Alexander
's statement there can be no doubt.
I have believed, my comrades, that these incidents would be of interest to you, as they were to me. I have especially desired to preserve, in some permanent historical form, the statement of Governor Anderson
, who is still living, and who will verify the correctness of my statements so far as they refer to him.
If in any one thing more than another injustice has been done by the Northern
people to the South
, it is in the intimation, sometimes uttered in the highest places—uttered even in the Senate of the United States
—that the Southern
leaders were actuated by a false and unholy ambition.
If the fact here stated shall be accepted historically as true, it refutes the charge at once and forever as it relates to the great leader of the Southern