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CIVIL WAR OP-ED: October Marks 142nd Anniversary of Death of Gen. Robert E. Lee
Every year, the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia presents a lecture and special events commemorating the Washington College presidency of Robert E. Lee on the anniversary of his death.
On Monday, October 8, 2012, the college chapel will present a book signing beginning at 10:30 am, followed by an Address at 12:15 pm in the auditorium. A program commemorating the 142th anniversary of Lee's death will feature Jeffry D. Wert, speaking on "Lee and the Rebirth of an Army: From Seven Days to Gettysburg." See details at: http://www.wlu.edu/x56830.xml
America mourned the death of Gen. Robert E. Lee on Wednesday, October 12, 1870 and Friday, October 12thmarks the 142nd anniversary of his death.
Robert E. Lee, son of Light Horse “Harry” Lee of Revolutionary War fame and Anne Hill Carter Lee, distinguished himself as an exceptional officer and combat engineer in the United States Army for 32 years and Commanded the legendary Army of Northern Virginia for the Confederacy during the War Between the States. He was also a top honored student at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he would serve as Superintendent in 1852.
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.
Returning home from a church meeting, Robert E. Lee sat at the supper table and was about to say grace. The general could not say a word and slumped down in his chair. It was believed that he had a stroke.
His condition seemed hopeless when a doctor told him, "General, you must make haste and get well---Traveller--- has been standing too long in his stable and needs exercise." Lee could only shake his head as he knew he would never again ride his beloved horse.
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 and the town of Lexington. School Cadet's carried the remains of the old soldier to Washington Chapel where he lay in state and would be buried.
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.
“Duty, then is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less”---Robert E. Lee.
The War Between the States Sesquicentennial, 150th Anniversary, runs 2011 through 2015. The Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans joins the nation in remembering this historic time in our nation’s history. See information at: http://www.150wbts.org/
Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said, “Old soldier’s don’t die; they just fade away”!
Let’s not allow the memory of our nation’s heroes to fade away!
* * *Johnson, from Kennesaw, GA., is a speaker, writer of historical essays and the author of the book “When America Stood for God, Family and Country.” He's the chairman of the Confederate History and Heritage Month Committee for the Sons of Confederate Veterans http://confederateheritagemonth.com/heritage/2011/entry.php