By John Esten Cooke
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Additional info for A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee
Doubtless many persons will urge that objection, and declare that the words here written are senseless panegyric. But that will not affect the truth or detract from Lee's great character. He performed at least what in his inmost soul _he_ considered his duty, and, from the beginning of his 39 career, when all was so bright, to its termination, when all was so dark, it will be found that his controlling sentiment was, first, last, and all the time, this performance of duty. The old Puritan, whose example he admired so much, was not more calm and resolute.
This was on the 19th of April, and on the next day reinforcements were thrown into Fortress Monroe; and the navy-yard at Norfolk, with the shipping, set on fire and abandoned. Lee thus found the Commonwealth in a state of war, and all his energies were immediately concentrated upon the work of placing her in a condition of defence. He established his headquarters in the custom-house at Richmond; orderlies were seen coming and going; bustle reigned throughout the building, and by night, as well as by day, General Lee labored incessantly to organize the means of resistance.
Much exhausted, and laboring under deep emotion, Bishop Meade shook the general by the hand, and said: "Heaven bless you! Heaven bless you! " These were the last words uttered during the interview. General Lee pressed the dying man's hand, released it, stood for several minutes by the bedside motionless and in perfect silence, and then went out of the room. On the next morning Bishop Meade expired. ] PART II. IN FRONT OF RICHMOND. I. PLAN OF THE FEDERAL CAMPAIGN. The pathetic interview which we have just described took place in the month of March, 1862.
A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke