Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/143
Robert Edward Lee. 143
to make effeminate or cold enough to dwarf them. In her were embraced forests, fields, rivers, mountains, and valleys, all going to form a country well worth fighting for.
The indomitable pluck of Virginians was well known, the governor said. He remembered hearing about one of Pickett's men who went West shortly after the war to Kansas City. He saw an advertise- ment for help in a store. When he answered he found several hun- dred applicants ahead of him. They were calling out, " I was under Grant," " I was under Hancock." He passed in front of the desk, and, holding up a hand from which three fingers were gone, said : " I lost those fighting under Lee in defense of the capital of my native State, Virginia.
The ex-Confederate was given the place, although the employer told him that he was no southern sympathizer, but because he felt that a man who asserted himself under such circumstances could be trusted.
HE MADE THE SACRIFICE.
At the time Virginia seceded Mrs. Lee was an invalid, and a female friend was staying with her. Late at night Mrs. Lee sent for her and told her she was afraid the Colonel was worried, as he had been walking the floor of the room above all night. Just at that moment the Colonel knocked at the door, walked in, and took a seat on the side of the bed. He said he was greatly troubled and wanted advice. "Virginia has seceded today. The United States educated me, and I have been offered the command of her army. But Virginia is my home and the birth-place of my fathers." The old lady responded, "The path of duty is the path of sacrifice." At that Colonel Lee brightened up and and said : " I tender my sword to Virginia to- morrow."
This was indeed a sacrifice. The United States was a great Gov- ernment, equipped for war; and he refused the command of her armies to come to Virginia, who was without a navy, without a treasury, and almost without hope, but which he loved, and was willing to die for.
SCARS OF WAR.
The Governor said he had lately seen a map of Virginia with red flags on it to designate where Virginia troops had fought. The flags were everywhere. They were the scars of war, but they did not