Letters of R, E. Lee. 335
of duty ! Let it stand for reproof and censure, if our people shall ever sink below the standards of their fathers ! Let it stand for patriotic hope and cheer, if a day of national gloom and disaster shall ever dawn upon our country ! Let it stand as the embodiment of a brave and virtuous people's ideal leader! Let it stand as a great public act of thanksgiving and praise, for that it pleased Almighty God to bestow upon these Southern States a man so formed to reflect His attributes of power, majesty, and goodness !
LETTERS OF R. E. LEE.
HIS SYMPATHY FOR HIS STARVING AND SHOELESS MEN.
Pathetic Appeals to the Confederate Government for Provisions and
May 24, 1890. To the Editor of the Dispatch :
I do not know of anything that could possibly be of more absorb- ing interest to the Army of Northern Virginia than the deep, heart- felt, anxious solicitude of General Lee for the forces under his com- mand ; and I do not know where this is so abundantly and so beau- tifully portrayed as in the letters of General Lee to President Davis, to the Secretary of War, to the Quartermaster and Commissary- General, to the various Generals under him, and to every other per- son to whom he could by any possibility appeal.
The letters will be found in full ia Long's Life of Lee. I have extracted from them only such portions as related to the destitute condition of his men and the agony which it occasioned him. They ought to know it. They ought to know that he witnessed it ; that it wrung his heart, and that he did everything that he could do to remedy it. They ought to know, and the world ought to know, that the great master-mind of the war, that ought only to have been con- cerned about strategy, was engaged chiefly in thoughts about the deplorable condition of his men, " thousands of whom are without shoes," " thousands of whom are bare-footed," ** nearly all without overcoats, blankets, or warm clothing, who was always " less uneasy about holding our position than about our ability to procure supplies for the army/* to whom the sublimest spectacle of the war which he witnessed was " the cheerfulness and alacrity exhibited by this army