After resigning from the U.S. Army, in 1861, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s 200-acre Arlington estate, where he had married his wife Mary, raised seven children, and lived for over 30 years, was occupied by Union troops.
The government seized the property in 1864. Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs recommended it as the location of a new military cemetery to be named Arlington National Cemete…ry. To ensure the house would forever be uninhabitable for the Lees, Meigs directed graves to be placed as close to the mansion as possible, and in 1866 he ordered the remains of 2,111 unknown Civil War soldiers killed on battlefields near Washington, D.C., to be placed inside a vault in the Lees’ rose garden.
General Lee would never return. Most men would have been bitter, but not General Lee.
Attempts to embroil Robert E. Lee in politics failed, though The New York Herald endorsed him for President in 1868 on the grounds that he was a much better man in every way than U.S. Grant. Lee refused.
After the Civil War, General Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to General Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss.
After a brief silence, General Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.”
Perhaps we all need to cut down a few trees today and forget them…?
~ Randy Willis
“Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:15 (NKJV)
photo: Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Randy Willis is an American novelist, biographer, and music publisher .