View Full Version : REMEMBRANCE: Death of General Robert E. Lee

10-09-2009, 09:00 PM
The headline from a Richmond newspaper read:

“News of the death of Robert E. Lee, beloved chieftain of the Southern army, whose strategy mainly was responsible for the surprising fight staged by the Confederacy, brought a two-day halt to Richmond's business activities.”

The United States flag, which Robert E. Lee had defended as a soldier, flew at half mast in Lexington, Virginia and throughout the USA.

General Lee died at his home at Lexington, Virginia at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, October 12, 1870. His last great deed came after the War Between the States when he accepted the presidency of Washington College, now Washington and Lee University. He saved the financially troubled college and helped many young folks further their education.

Some write that Robert E. Lee suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on September 28, 1870, but was thought to greatly improve until October 12th, when he took a turn for the worse. His condition seemed more hopeless when his doctor told him, "General you must make haste and get well---Traveller---has been standing too long in his stable and needs exercise."

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Cadet William Nalle said in a letter home to his mother, dated October 16, 1870, quote;

“I suppose of course that you have all read full accounts of Gen Lee's death in the papers. He died on the morning of the 12th at about half past nine. All business was suspended at once all over the country and town, and all duties, military and academic suspended at the Institute, and all the black crape and all similar black material in Lexington, was used up at once, and they had to send on to Lynchburg for more. Every cadet had black crape issued to him, and an order was published at once requiring us to wear it as a badge of mourning for six months.” unquote

Read entire letter on Virginia Military Institute website at:


Bubba Dawg
10-09-2009, 09:14 PM
I had heart the account of this story before and was able to find it in print:

....soon after, Lee gave an interview to a reporter from The New York Herald. In the story he was quoted as saying he condemned the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He called it “deplorable,” “a crime.”

More important, Lee celebrated the end of slavery. (“I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished ... the best men of the South have long been anxious to do away with this institution ... “slavery [is] forever dead,” he said. “The South was anxious to get back into the Union and to peace.”)

The news story received wide circulation in both Northern and Southern newspapers. Lee’s words did more than anything else at this critical juncture to help bring the United States of America to peace.

Soon after, Lee and his family were attending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va. The blacks in church were seated at the back, as was the custom of the time. Their former white masters were seated in front. When the minister called for Holy Communion, a black man advanced to the communion rail. The congregation was stunned. Usually whites received communion first. After a moment, a tall white man got up and knelt beside the black man to take the Lord’s supper. Watching the scene, others both white and black followed. The white man who joined his black brother was Robert E. Lee.