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enabled me to bestow upon Liberty Hall—now by your politeness called Washington Academy—is likely to prove a means to accomplish these ends, it will contribute to the gratification of my desires. Soon after this, the Legislature, which had already incorporated the institution on a comprehensive basis, gave it the name of The College of Washington in Virginia. In the spirit of their beloved commander, The Cincinnati Society, composed of survivors of the Revolutionary war, on dissolving in 1803, donated their funds, amounting to nearly $25,000, to the institution which had received his patronage and bore his name; and, thus endowed, the College of Washington, went forward in a career which, for nearly threescore years and ten, was a period of uninterrupted usefulness, prosperity and honor. All ranks of honorable enterprise and ambition in this rising empire felt the impress of the noble spirits who came forth from its halls, trained and equipped for life's arduous tasks with keen
April 23rd (search for this): chapter 60
led upon to draw my sword. Lee devotes his sword to his native State. Bidding an affectionate adieu to his old friend and commander, General Scott, who mourned his loss, but nobly expressed his confidence in his motives, he repaired to Richmond. Governor John Letcher immediately appointed him to the command-in-chief of the Virginia forces, and the Convention unanimously confirmed the nomination. Memorable and impressive was the scene when he came into the presence of that body on April 23d. Its venerable President, John Janney, with brief, sententious eloquence, addressed him, and concluded saying: Sir, we have by this unanimous vote expressed our convictions that you are at this day, among the living citizens of Virginia, first in war. We pray to God most fervently that you may so conduct the operations committed to your charge, that it may be said of you that you are first in peace, and when that time comes, you will have earned the still prouder distinction of bei
d never quailed before bayonet or blade beat now with tremulous and irrepressible emotion? Is it wonder that, in the watches of the night, the sentinel in the trenches, tortured to excrutiation with the thought that those dearest of earth to him were without an arm to save, felt his soul sink in anguish and his hope perish? So it was, that with hunger and nakedness as its companions, and foes in front and foes in rear, the Army of Northern Virginia seemed bound to the rock of fate. On April 1st the left wing of Grant's massive lines swept around the right and rear of Lee. Gallantly did Pickett and his men meet and resist them at Five Forks; but that commanding strategic point was taken, and the fall of Petersburg and of Richmond alike became inevitable. On the next day, April 2d, they were evacuated. Grant was now on a shorter line projected toward Danville than Lee, and the latter commenced at once that memorable retreat towards Lynchburg, which ended at Appomattox. The bat
ink in anguish and his hope perish? So it was, that with hunger and nakedness as its companions, and foes in front and foes in rear, the Army of Northern Virginia seemed bound to the rock of fate. On April 1st the left wing of Grant's massive lines swept around the right and rear of Lee. Gallantly did Pickett and his men meet and resist them at Five Forks; but that commanding strategic point was taken, and the fall of Petersburg and of Richmond alike became inevitable. On the next day, April 2d, they were evacuated. Grant was now on a shorter line projected toward Danville than Lee, and the latter commenced at once that memorable retreat towards Lynchburg, which ended at Appomattox. The battle of Appomattox—the last charge. Over that march of desperate valor disputing fate, as over the face of a hero in the throes of dissolution, I throw the blood-reeking batte-flag, rent with wounds, as a veil. And I hail the heroic army and its heroic chief, as on the 9th of April morn,
March 16th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 60
waters, and verdant pastures, and many a wildwood scene; and to penetrate its deepest recesses with the halcyon charm that ever lingers about the thought of Home. The host of Arlington. The head of the house established here was a man whom Nature had richly endowed with graces of person, and high qualities of head and heart. Fame had already bound his brow with her laurel, and Fortune had poured into his lap her golden horn. Himself a soldier, and Colonel Appointed Colonel March 16th, 1861. in the army of the United States, the son of that renowned Light Horse Harry Lee, who was the devoted friend and compatriot of Washington in the revolutionary struggle, and whose memorable eulogy upon his august Chief has become his epitaph;—descended indeed from a long line of illustrious progenitors, whose names are written on the brightest scrolls of English and American history, from the conquest of the Norman at Hastings, to the triumph of the Continentals at Yorktown,—he had alre
September, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 60
he snows of Valley Forge; and the army seemed to live only on its innate, indomitable will, as oftentimes we see some noble mind survive when the physical powers of nature have been exhausted. Like a rock of old ocean, it had received, and broken, and hurled back into the deep in bloody foam those swiftly succeeding waves of four years of incessant battle; but now the rock itself was wearing away, and still the waves came on. A new enemy was approaching the sturdy devoted band. In September, 1864, Atlanta fell, and through Georgia to the sea, with fire and sword, swept the victorious columns of Sherman. In January, 1865, the head of the column had been turned northward; and in February, Columbia and Charleston shared the fate that had already befallen Savannah. Yes, a new enemy was approaching the Army of Northern Virginia, and this time in the rear. The homes of the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Southern States were now in ashes. Wives, mothers and sist
June 3rd, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 60
measure, his own great skill had created, opened the opportunity of Lee. Fortunate the State, and great the people from whom sprung two such sons—fortunate the army that always had a leader worthy of it—happy he who can transmit his place to one so well qualified to fill it—and happy likewise he who has had such predecessor to prepare the way for victory. General Lee in command of the Army of Northern Virginia—Richmond, Manassas, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg. On the 3d of June, 1862, General Lee was assigned to command in person the Army of Northern Virginia; and from that day to April 9th, 1865, nearly three years, he was at its head. And on the page of history now laid open are crowded schemes of war and feats of arms as brilliant as ever thrilled the soul of heroism and genius with admiration,—a page of history that feasted glory till pity cried, no more. Swift was Lee to plan, and swift to execute. Making a feint of reinforcing Jackson in the Valley, star
ext day, April 2d, they were evacuated. Grant was now on a shorter line projected toward Danville than Lee, and the latter commenced at once that memorable retreat towards Lynchburg, which ended at Appomattox. The battle of Appomattox—the last charge. Over that march of desperate valor disputing fate, as over the face of a hero in the throes of dissolution, I throw the blood-reeking batte-flag, rent with wounds, as a veil. And I hail the heroic army and its heroic chief, as on the 9th of April morn, they stand embattled in calm and stern repose, ready to die with their harness on, —warriors every inch, without fear, without stain. Around the little hamlet of Appomattox Courthouse is gathered the remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia,—less than 8,000 men with arms in their hands,--less than 27,000 all told, counting camp followers and stragglers; and around them in massive concentric lines the army of Grant, flushed with success and expectation—more than 80,000 strong upon
April 13th (search for this): chapter 60
but slow and deliberate in its course. The State which had done so much to found the Union was 10th to assent to its dissolution, and still guided by the wise counsels of such men as Robert E. Scott, Robert Y. Conrad, Jubal A. Early, John B. Baldwin, Samuel McDowell Moore, and A. H. H. Stuart, she persisted in efforts to avert the calamity of war. Events followed swiftly. The Peace Conference had failed. Overtures for the peaceful evacuation of Fort Sumter had likewise failed. On the 13th of April, under bombardment, the Federal Commander, Major Anderson, with its garrison, surrendered. On April 15th President Lincoln issued his proclamation for 75,000 men to make war against the seceded States, which he styled: Combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings. This proclamation determined Virginia's course. War had come. Her mediation had been in vain. She was too noble to be neutral. Of the arts of duplicity she knew nothing save
boys are marching, and Grant (who had succeeded Meade), crossing the Rappahannock with 141,000 men, plunges boldly into the Wilderness on May 4th, leading the sixth crusade for the reduction of Richmond. But scarce had he disclosed his line of march, than Lee, with 50,000 of his braves, springs upon him and hurls him back, staggering and gory, through the tangled chapparal of the Wilderness, and from the fields of Spotsylvania; and though the redoubtable Grant writes to the Government on May 12th, I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer, when we look over the field of Cold Harbor on June 3d, we see there, stretched in swaths and piled in reeking mounds 13,000 of his men,—the killed and wounded of his last assault in the over-land campaign, and when Grant ordered his lines to attack again the flinty front of Lee, they stood immobile,—in silent protest against the vain attempt, and in silent eulogy of their sturdy foe. One summer month had been summer time enough
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