previous next

9% of the text is displayed below. If you wish to view the entire text, please click here


Unveiling of Valentine's Recumbent figure of Lee at Lexington, Va., June 28th, 1883.

Remarks of General Early—oration of Major John W. Daniel, Ll.D., of Va.—description of the ceremonies, &c.

The occasion of the unveiling of Valentine's superb figure of Lee, was one of extraordinary interest, and deserves a place in our records.

General J. A. Early, First Vice-President of the Lee Memorial Association, presided on the occasion, called the vast assemblage to order, and called on the Rev. R. J. McBryde, of Lexington, who made an appropriate and fervent prayer.

General Early then made the following

Introductory remarks.

Friends, Comrades and Fellow-Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The sickness of General Joseph E. Johnston, the distinguished President of the Lee Memorial Association, which prevents his attendance here, has devolved on me, as First Vice-President, [338] the unexpected duty of presiding on this occasion; and I am sure no one can regret the cause of this change in the programme more than I do.

The great commander of the Army of Northern Virginia died on the 12th of October, 1870, and as soon as his remains were consigned to the tomb a meeting of the citizens of Lexington was held and steps taken for the formation of an Association to erect a monument to his memory. More effectually to carry out that purpose an act of incorporation was obtained from the Legislature of Virginia on the 14th of January, 1871, by which certain gentlemen, most of whom were residents of Lexington, and such other persons as they should associate with themselves, were incorporated by the name and style of ‘The Lee Memorial Association.’ Subsequently the Association was further organized by the appointment of General John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, who had been the last Secretary of War of the Confederate States, as President, and of fifteen VicePresi-dents, as also a Treasurer—the nineteen persons named in the act of incorporation, by the terms of the act itself, constituting the Executive Committee. The chairman of that committee was General William N. Pendleton, the distinguished Chief of Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia, and the secretary was Captain Charles A. Davidson, a gallant officer of the First Virginia Battalion.

The act of incorporation does not specify the place at which the proposed monument should be erected, nor the nature of it; but, after the passage of the act changing the name of Washington College to that of Washington and Lee University, it was determined by the Executive Committee, with the sanction of the authorities of the University, that the monument should consist of a mausoleum, attached to the University chapel, which latter had been constructed under the supervision of General Lee himself, where his remains should be deposited in a vault, to be surmounted by a recumbent figure in marble representing our great chieftain at rest, it being part of the plan to provide vaults also in the same mausoleum for the immediate members of his family, especially the estimable and noble lady who had been his partner in life.

The resident members of the Executive Committee proceeded to carry out this scheme with great energy and perseverance, in which the chairman and secretary were especially conspicuous. A distinguished Virginia artist was selected to execute in marble the recumbent figure, and years ago he completed his work in a manner that links his name forever with that of Lee. [339]

Upon the death of General Breckinridge General Joseph E. Johnston, the senior surviving officer of the Confederate army, and the predecessor of General Lee in command of that army, which, under the lead of the latter, became so renowned as the Army of Northern Virginia, was made the President.

On the 29th of November, 1878, the corner stone of the mausoleum was laid, under the superintendence of a distinguished architect of Baltimore, who was charged with its construction. The requisite funds have been raised by great exertion, a large part having been contributed in small sums. The noble work has now been completed, and we are assembled here to perform the crowning act, in unveiling the recumbent figure of one of the grandest and noblest heroes, soldiers and patriots, who have figured in all the history of the world. In doing this we are not conferring honor on the memory of General Robert E. Lee—we are merely demonstrating to the world that we were worthy to have been the followers and compatriots of such a man. Unfortunately, neither the gallant soldier and Christian gentleman, General Pendleton, Chairman of the Executive Committee, nor the gallant Davidson, the efficient Secretary of that Committee, have survived to witness the completion of the work, to the success of which they contributed so largely.

It is deeply to be regretted that President Davis, who was expected to deliver an address on this occasion, has been prevented by circumstances from being present, but his lovely and accomplished young daughter, whose pride it is to have been born on the soil of Virginia, has sent from his Southern home two Confederate flags made of immortelles, and two bay wreaths, one of each to be placed on the tombs of Generals Lee and Jackson, respectively, as tokens of her admiration for their great characters, and of the sympathy of her family with us. There is also another whose absence is to be deeply regretted, though he is nearly within reach of my voice—I mean that war-Governor of Virginia, who conferred upon Generals Lee and Jackson the commissions which brought them into the service of their native State, in defence of right, justice, liberty and independence, and who sustained them throughout, whether they were in the State or Confederate service, with such unswerving fidelity and unselfish devotion-you must know that I can mean no other than John Letcher, with whom we all so heartily sympathize in the bodily affliction, which alone prevents him from being with us.

And now permit me to introduce to you, as the orator of the [340] occasion, Major John W. Daniel, who needs no words of commendation from me, but will speak for himself:

Address of Major John W. Daniel, Ll. D.

Mr. President, My Comrades and Countrymen:
There was no happier or lovelier home than that of Colonel Robert Edward Lee, in the spring of 1861, when for the first time its threshold was darkened with the omens of civil war.

Crowning the green slopes of the Virginia hills that overlook the Potomac, and embowered in stately trees, stood the venerable mansion of Arlington, facing a prospect of varied and imposing beauty. Its broad porch, and wide-spread wings, held out open arms, as it were, to welcome the coming guest. Its simple Doric columns graced domestic comfort with a classic air. Its halls and chambers were adorned with the portraits of patriots and heroes, and with illustrations and relics of the great revolution, and of the Father of his country. And within and without, history and tradition seemed to breathe their legends upon a canvass as soft as a dream of peace.

The noble river, which in its history, as well as in its name, carries us back to the days when the red man trod its banks, sweeps in full and even flow along the forefront of the landscape; while beyond its waters stretch the splendid avenues and rise the gleaming spires of Washington; and over all, the great white dome of the National Capital looms up against the eastern sky, like a glory in the air.

Southward and westward, toward the blue rim of the Alleghanies, roll away the pine and oak clad hills, and the fields of the ‘Old Dominion,’ dotted here and there with the homes of a people of simple tastes and upright minds, renowned for their devotion to their native land, and for their fierce love of liberty;—a people who had drunk into their souls with their mother's milk, that Man is of right, and ought to be, free.

On the one hand there was impressed upon the most casual eye that contemplated the pleasing prospect, the munificence and grandeur of American progress, the arts of industry and commerce, and the symbols of power. On the other hand, Nature seemed to woo the heart back to her sacred haunts, with vistas of sparkling waters, and verdant pastures, and many a wildwood scene; and to penetrate [341] 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 Colonel1 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 already established his own martial fame at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey, Chepultepec and Mexico, and had proved how little he depended upon any merit but his own. Such was his early distinction., that when but a Captain, the Cuban Junta had offered to make him the leader of their revolutionary movement for the independence of Cuba;—a position which as an American officer, he felt it his duty to decline. And so deep was the impression made of his genius and his valor, that General Scott, Commander-in-Chief of the army in which he served, had declared that he ‘was the best soldier he ever saw in the field,’ ‘the greatest military genius in America,’ that ‘if opportunity offered, he would show himself the foremost Captain of his times,’ and that ‘if a great battle were to be fought for the liberty or slavery of the country, his judgment was that the commander should be Robert Lee.’

Wedded to her who had been the playmate of his boyhood, and who was worthy in every relation to be the companion of his bosom, sons and daughters had risen up to call them blessed, and there, decorated with his country's honors and surrounded by ‘love, obedience, and troops of friends,’ the host of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Appomattox (Virginia, United States) (9)
Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, United States) (5)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (5)
Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (5)
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (4)
United States (United States) (4)
Sharpsburg (Maryland, United States) (4)
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (4)
Lynchburg (Virginia, United States) (4)
West Point (Virginia, United States) (3)
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (3)
Spottsylvania (Virginia, United States) (3)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (3)
Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (3)
Rockbridge (Virginia, United States) (2)
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (2)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (2)
Augusta county (Virginia, United States) (2)
Alleghany Mountains (United States) (2)
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (2)
York, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Washington College (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Vera Cruz, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (1)
Valley Forge (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Savannah (Georgia, United States) (1)
Mount Pleasant, W. Va. (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Montgomery (Alabama, United States) (1)
Mississippi (United States) (1)
Mine Run (Virginia, United States) (1)
Martinsburg (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Liberty Hall (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Lexington, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Jamestown (Virginia) (Virginia, United States) (1)
Hollywood (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Hastings (Michigan, United States) (1)
Gethsemane (Tennessee, United States) (1)
France (France) (1)
Forum (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Five Forks (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fairfield, Conn. (Connecticut, United States) (1)
Europe (1)
Dublin (Virginia, United States) (1)
Danville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Cuba (Cuba) (1)
Contreras (Indiana, United States) (1)
Churubusco (Indiana, United States) (1)
Chepultepec (Alabama, United States) (1)
Cerro Gordo, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Boonsboro (Maryland, United States) (1)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
Atlanta (Georgia, United States) (1)
Arlington (Virginia, United States) (1)
Alleghany River (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Robert Lee (81)
Frederick Grant (17)
Robert E. Lee (16)
Stonewall Jackson (15)
Harry Lee (13)
George Washington (11)
Joseph E. Johnston (10)
Robert Edward Lee (9)
H. B. McClellan (7)
Jubal A. Early (7)
Jefferson Davis (7)
George C. Meade (6)
Fitzhugh Lee (6)
F. Lee (5)
Robert E. Scott (4)
Lincoln (4)
David Hunter (4)
Joe Hooker (4)
G. W. Gordon (4)
Spotswood (3)
William N. Pendleton (3)
J. Longstreet (3)
John Letcher (3)
William Graham (3)
John W. Daniel (3)
Octavius Caesar (3)
John C. Breckinridge (3)
Arlington (3)
Americans (3)
Edward Virginius Valentine (2)
John Thornton (2)
Sheridan (2)
George E. Pickett (2)
Milroy (2)
McDowell (2)
Alma Mater (2)
Burnside (2)
John W. Brockenbrough (2)
Francis Preston Blair (2)
Charles Anderson (2)
W. S. White (1)
I. R. Trimble (1)
Swift (1)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
A. H. H. Stuart (1)
Stael (1)
Sophocles (1)
W. T. Sherman (1)
Sedgwick (1)
Henry Ruffner (1)
Rodes (1)
Rey (1)
Personal Reminiscences (1)
James Priestly (1)
William C. Preston (1)
John Pope (1)
Plato (1)
Patterson (1)
William Hamar Parker (1)
Pallas (1)
Ord (1)
Virginian Napoleon (1)
Samuel McDowell Moore (1)
Miles (1)
Applied Mechanics (1)
R. J. McBryde (1)
Socrates Maupin (1)
Macedon (1)
R. E. Lee (1)
Kemper (1)
Philip Kearney (1)
William Jones (1)
J. William Jones (1)
Edward Johnston (1)
Thomas Jefferson (1)
John Janney (1)
Thomas J. Jackson (1)
Thomas Hughes (1)
Moses Hoge (1)
Tell A. P. Hill (1)
E. M. Herndon (1)
Hampden (1)
Gates (1)
Gard (1)
Bedford Forrest (1)
H. S. Foote (1)
Fitz (1)
Field (1)
J. A. Early (1)
De Long (1)
Charles A. Davidson (1)
Mary Custis (1)
Crittenden (1)
Charlotte Corday (1)
Robert Y. Conrad (1)
Coalter (1)
Bolivar Christian (1)
Burks (1)
Edmund Burke (1)
John Brown (1)
Braddock (1)
G. T. Beauregard (1)
G. A. Baxter (1)
Banks (1)
John B. Baldwin (1)
Arthur (1)
Artaxerxes (1)
Allen (1)
Robert Alexander (1)
Archibald Alexander (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: