Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/61

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promoted to the rank of General.

No telegraph yet, no regular postal service in the vast western solitude, Scott sent to Texas an envoy proposing to Lee to exert the Supreme Command under his name. The attitude of Virginia who, by a vote on April the 4th, had refused the proposition of alliance with the Confederate States, made him think that Lee would feel free to accept his offer. While the messenger was on his long trip, Lee had delegated his command to a Lieutenant and was proceeding towards Arlington, where his family was assembled. But, events were following one another with speed. Virginia, though belonging to the group of Southern states by its situation and its laws, had remained faithful to the Union ; and one had been able to hope that she would have a role of mediation between them. Would this have been the case, under the direct influence of General Lee ? His presence was greatly missed during that troubled time. He never hid, even in the gravest circumstances that, in his opinion, if he had arrived in time, perhaps appeasement would have prevailed. Virginia, mother of the states, such as she was called, would have been a link between the rebels and the central power. Peace might have been preserved. But, he was still traveling when the Presidential Decree was published demanding the mobilization of the Virginia quota of troops against the revolted states. For the Virginian people, it was the straw that broke the camel′s back. They could not bring themselves to fight those they called their real brothers --