Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/69

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sudden panic.[1] This victory raised very high -- too high -- the hopes of the South ; whereas the defeat gave the North a warning from which they knew how to profit.

As the war was escalating, General Lee, seeing that the Virginian soil itself was invaded, had given in to the call of his fellow citizens. “I am ready to take any position the country assigns to me, and do the best I can ,” he had said with simplicity. He had been sent to the western part of Virginia. He had to repair serious failures and endeavor to organize the defense of the region, but the sympathies of the local people were with the cause of the North, and they ended up by rallying it completely.

Lee was still at that post when the government at Richmond, worrying about the coasts of Georgia and Carolina, threatened by the North′s powerful Navy, put him in charge of fortifying the ports of those two states. This was far from the Supreme Command offered by Scott, but no thought of personal ambition had ever haunted General Lee. To serve his

  1. The numbers we give here, and those we will give further on, of the strength present at each battle, are borrowed from Swinton, the historian for the North. They have been adopted by Miss Mason in her A Popular Life of General Robert E . Lee, excellent work from which we have often borrowed, and by other writers of different tendencies.