Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/404

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


398 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Havelock, while like the patriot Cincinnatus, he at length sheathed his sword and went back to the plow-handle of private life to teach the sons of his old soldiers lessons of peace. With rapid strategic movements after defeating the army of one hundred thousand men under McClellan before Richmond and hurling the boasting Pope and his great army into the defenses around Washington, he moved the besieging army from the beleagured Confederate capitol, and concentrated the enemy's forces to the defense of Washington, and in a few months recovered all Northern Virginia from the occupancy of the foe. When McClellan and Pope and Burnside and Hooker and Meade, each successfully commanding the largest and best equipped army ever gathered on the continent, entering no engage- ment with less than one hundred thousand men, each in turn tried to crush the noble little army of fifty thousand men, and each had in turn been defeated, then came Grant with the largest army of all- His mind was fully made up to give Lee two men for one until his noble little army, now no longer reinforced, should come to an end. Lee took four men instead of two for one. This was done by his skill, strategy and endurance. Yet it was only the question of time. The end must come. When he reached Richmond, Lee looked back, possibly with sadness in his great heart, on three battles in which General Grant had lost more men by thirty thousand than Welling- ton, Blucher and Napoleon altogether lost in the campaign which ended at Waterloo. A cordon of skeletons still lie along this path of carnage to mark the steps where our brave defenders trod to do and dare for liberty and honor, led by our own Robert Edward Lee. They followed him, feeling as his great Lieutenant Jackson expressed it: " He is the only man I would follow blindfolded." With the remnant of his army, without reinforcements, Lee held Grant at bay with his constantly accumulating forces and machinery of war for nine long months, on a line of defense nearly thirty miles in length, and then the march of Sherman, the retreat, the six days' march, the six foodless days, the six days' running fight and then the end.

AT HIS HOME.

Ten days thereafter, in company with Dr. John E. Edwards, I called to see our chieftain at his home on Franklin street, in this city, and his allusion to the surrender was: " My brave men and I have done the best we could." He showed there as everywhere that " Human virtue is equal to human calamity."