Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/71

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dark, but it will brighten again, and I hope a kind Providence will yet smile upon us, and give us freedom and independence…

“… You must do all you can for our dear country. Pray for the aid of our Father in heaven, for our suffering soldiers and their distressed families. I pray day and night for you. May Almighty God guide, guard, and protect you ! I have but little time to write, my dear daughter. you must excuse my short and dull letters. Write me when you can, and love always your devoted father,

‘R. E. Lee’ ”

During six monchs -- the winter months -- General Lee scoured without rest, nor respite, the coast entrusted to his care. In the first days of Spring, a sudden order summoned him to Richmond, which the new Confederation had turned into its capital. The situation, from excellent the previous year, had become critical, and President Davis, waking up to reality, put Lee in charge of the defense of the whole country.

What had happened ? How did the Confederates, whom we saw victorious in July, 1861, at Bull Run, find themselves, so few months after, in such a dangerous situation ? We shall try to make it understandable.

Blinded by the smokes of their first, and brilliant, success, imagining, because the principle European governments had gratified them with a quality of belligerence, that those