Goodbye General Robert E. Lee
By: Guest Authors
By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Americans have always had a admiration for sport celebrities and the heritage of their ancestors who made this nation great. Free people are those who remember their past. Are young people still taught about Davy Crocket, Daniel Boone and George Washington Carver?
Do you know who Robert E. Lee was?
October 12th, will be the 137th anniversary of the death of Robert E. Lee. The United States flag, which Lee had defended as a soldier, flew at half mast in Lexington, Virginia and throughout the South.
General Lee died at his home at Lexington, Virginia at 9:30 AM on 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 people 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.”
The rains and flooding were the worse of Virginia’s history on the day General Lee died. On Wednesday, October 12, 1870, in the presence of his family, Lee quietly passed away.
The church bells rang as the sad news passed through Washington College, Virginia Military Institute, the town of Lexington and the nation. Cadets from Washington College carried the remains of the old soldier to Washington Chapel where he laid in state. Many buildings and homes were covered in black crepe for mourning.
Memorial meetings were held throughout the South and as far North as New York. At Washington College in Lexington eulogies were delivered by: Reverend Pemberton, Reverend W.S. White–Stonewall Jackson’s Pastor and Reverend J.William Jones. Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis brought the eulogy in Richmond, Virginia. Lee was also eulogized in Great Britain.
When all settled down, Mrs. Robert E. Lee said, “If he had succeeded in gaining by the sword all the South expected and hoped for, he could not have been more honored and lamented.”
Many thousands witnessed Lee’s funeral procession marching through the town of Lexington, Virginia, with muffled drums and the artillery firing as the hearse was driven to the school’s chapel where he was buried.
US President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew and appreciated our nation’s rich history. While President, Eisenhower was criticized for displaying a portrait on Robert E. Lee in his office. This was part of his response;
“Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by this nation.”
Robert E. Lee was the hero of the Southern people and admired both North and South of the Mason-Dixon Line. This Christian-gentleman’s last words were, “Strike the Tent.”
Lest We Forget Robert E. Lee, A Genuine American Hero!!!