Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/250

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242 Southern Historical Society Papers,

nected with General Lee, he would be glad to furnish me with one which had occurred under his own observation, and which he thoug^ht ought to be told, and at my request he narrated the following cir- cumstance. That I may not detract from its interest, I will him tell it in his own simple way :

Dear Sir y — Yours of late date received and contents noted. The information about the late lamented General Lee, which I wish to cop^municate to you, is as follows :

Q**On the 1 6th of August, 1864, I was engaged in batde with the Confederate army. I belonged to the Tenth corps. United States army, General Foster commanding division. About i o'clock, after- noon, the enemy drove us before them. Before that we had gained several lines of pits, &c., but at that time they swept down upon us, carrying all before them. We fought as brave as we could, but it was of no avail. I thought at the time that it had taken a sudden turn and could not account for it. I was taken prisoner with about three hundred others. I had not got but a hundred yards from the works when we saw General Lee standing beside his horse giving orders to his men. They would gallop off to different parts of the battle-field. He was cool and collected. A prisoner walked up to him and told him a rebel had stolen his hat. In the midst of his orders he stopped and told the rebel to give him back the hat, and saw that he done it, too. I wondered at him taking any notice of a prisoner in the midst of battle. It showed what a heart he had for them. I did not want his life to appear without notice of it, for I cannot forget it. These are the facts of the case. You may put them in what shape you wish A

    • Yours respectfully,

John E. Davis.

" Hunt's Station^ Knox county^ O.

I think this story worthy of a place beside that of Sir Philip Sidney and the wounded soldier. Sir Philip showed mercy, but here is the blessed union of mercy and justice on the battle-field.

There is hardly an incident in General Lee's life, great or small, when he was called upon to deal with the rights and the interests and the feelings of others, or to deal with matters affecting the public th$it does not present an illustration of some virtue.


I shall not refer now to the many instances that occurred during the war in his intercourse with his own officers and soldiers, or with