|The modern “White House.”|
|The modern “White House.”|
1 The “White House,” as it was called, was the property of Mary Custis Lee, a great-granddaughter of Mrs. Washington, daughter of George W. P. Custis, the adopted son of Washington, and wife of the Confederate Commander, Robert E. Lee. It stood on or near the site of the dwelling known as “The White House,” in which the widow Custis lived, and where the nuptial ceremonies of her marriage with Colonel George Washington were performed. That ancient house, then so honored, had been destroyed about thirty years before, and the one standing there in 1862 was only a modern structure bearing the ancient title. It was occupied, when the war broke out, by a son of Robert E. Lee. The wife and some of the family of Lee, who were there, fled from it on the approach of the National army, at the time we are considering. The first officer who entered the house found, on a piece of paper attached to the wall of the main passage, the following note:--
See The Siege of Richmond, by Joel Cook, page 169. This misrepresentation, made to save from injury property that was not in existence until more than thirty years after Washington's death, had the effect, for a while, to have it guarded, by order of the Commanding General, with as much care as if it had been the Tomb of the Father of his Country Members of the Second regiment of cavalry, of which Robert E. Lee was Lieutenant-colonel when he abandoned his flag, were detailed to guard the house; and so sacred was it held to be, that the suffering sick soldiers, who greatly needed the shelter (of its roof, were not allowed even to rest upon the dry ground around it. The false story of its history was soon exposed, and it was left to the fate that overtook the property of other rebellious Virginians.
2 Cool Arbor derived its name from a tavern, at a delightful place of summer resort in the woods for the Richmond people, even so early as the time of the Revolution. The derivation of the name determines its orthography. It has been erroneously spelled Coal Harbor and Cold Harbor. The picture on the next page is a view of the house known as New Cool Arbor, not far from the site of the old one. It was yet standing when the writer visited the spot in June, 1866. It was on a level plain, and near it was a National cemetery into which the remains of the slain Union soldiers buried in the surrounding fields were then being collected and reinterred.
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