A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee

D. Appleton

Written by American novelist John Esten Cooke,A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee includes information on the Civil War leader's early life, family, politics and military strategy.
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Publisher
D. Appleton
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Published on
Dec 31, 1883
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Pages
577
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The name of Lee is beloved and respected throughout the world. Men of all parties and opinions unite in this sentiment, not only those who thought and fought with him, but those most violently opposed to his political views and career. It is natural that his own people should love and honor him as their great leader and defender in a struggle of intense bitterness—that his old enemies should share this profound regard and admiration is due solely to the character of the individual. His military genius will always be conceded, and his figure remain a conspicuous landmark in history; but this does not account for the fact that his very enemies love the man. His private character is the origin of this sentiment. The people of the North, no less than the people of the South, feel that Lee was truly great; and the harshest critic has been able to find nothing to detract from this view of him. The soldier was great, but the man himself was greater. No one was ever simpler, truer, or more honest. Those who knew him best loved him the most. Reserved and silent, with a bearing of almost austere dignity, he impressed many persons as cold and unsympathetic, and his true character was long in revealing itself to the world. To-day all men know what his friends knew during his life—that under the grave exterior of the soldier, oppressed with care and anxiety, beat a warm and kindly heart, full of an even extraordinary gentleness and sweetness; that the man himself was not cold, or stiff, or harsh, but patient, forbearing, charitable under many trials of his equanimity, and magnanimous without effort, from the native impulse of his heart. Friend and foe thus to-day regard him with much the same sentiment, as a genuinely honest man, incapable of duplicity in thought or deed, wholly good and sincere, inspired always under all temptations by that prisca fides which purifies and ennobles, and resolutely bent, in the dark hour, as in the bright, on the full performance of his duty. “Duty is the sublimest word in our language,” he wrote to his son; and, if we add that other august maxim, “Human virtue should be equal to human calamity,” we shall have in a few words a summary of the principles which inspired Lee.
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