Monday, November 28, 2005

"But We Do Know You"

While reading, "A Girl's Life in Virginia Before the War" first published in 1895, I came across this tidbit about a visitor to the home of the author, Letitia M. Burwell.

"Trust in God kept him calm in victory as in defeat. When I remember General Lee during the war, in his family circle at Richmond, then at the height of his renown, his manner, voice, and conversation were the same as when, a year after the surrender, he came to pay my mother a visit from his Lexington home.

His circumstances and surroundings were now changed: no longer the stars and epaulets adorned his manly form; but, dressed in a simple suit of pure white linen, he looked a king, and adversity had wrought no change in his character, manner, or conversation.

To reach our house he made a journey, on his old war horse "Traveler," forty miles across the mountains, describing which, on the night of his arrival, he said:

"To-day an incident occurred which gratified me more than anything that has happened for a long time. As I was riding over the most desolate mountain region, where not even a cabin could be seen, I was surprised to find, on a sudden turn in the road, two little girls playing on a large rock. They were very poorly clad, and after looking a moment at me began to run away. 'Children,' said I, 'don't run away. If you could know who I am, you would know that I am the last man in the world for anybody to run from now.'

" 'But we do know you,' they replied.

" 'You never saw me before,' I said, 'for I never passed along here.'

" 'But we do know you' they said. 'And we've got your picture up yonder in the house, and you are General Lee! And we aint dressed clean enough to see you.'

"With this they scampered off to a poor low hut on the mountain side."



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References for this article:
  1. Documenting the American South

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