Lee and the wounded Union soldier

shanniereb

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
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Mt. Croghan South Carolina
#1
Here is a narrative from a collection of first-hand accounts found in “Civil War Treasury” edited by B.A. Botkin that speaks volumes to General Lee’s character. It also speaks to me about the ...power behind that greatest commandment… Love One Another.

“I was at the battle of Gettysburg myself, and an incident occurred there which largely changed my views of the Southern people. I had been a most bitter anti-Southman, and fought and cursed the Confederates desperately. I could see nothing good in any of them. The last day of the fight I was badly wounded. A ball had shattered my left leg. I lay on the ground not far from Cemetery Ridge, and as General Lee ordered his retreat, he and his officers rode near me. As they came along, I recognized him and, though faint from exposure and loss of blood, I raised up my hands, looked Lee in the face, and shouted as loud as I could, ‘Hurrah for the Union!’

The General heard me, looked, stopped his horse, dismounted and came toward me. I confess that I at first thought he meant to kill me. But as he came up he looked down at me with such a sad expression upon his face that all fear left me, and I wondered what he was about. He extended his hand to me, and grasping mine firmly and looking right into my eyes said, “My son, I hope you will soon be well.”

If I live a thousand years I shall never forget the expression on General Lee’s face. There he was, defeated, retiring from a field that had cost him and his cause almost their last hope, and yet he stopped to say words like those to a wounded soldier of the opposition who had taunted him as he passed by! As soon as the General had left me, I cried myself to sleep there upon the bloody ground.” Marcus J Wright
 

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Lee

Colonel
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Mar 25, 2012
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2,448
#4
I read a story in one of the countless books I have read about some prisoners being marched to the rear during one of the many fights during the Overland Campaign where a federal infantryman yelled out to General Lee who was among a group of senior officers and staff. General Lee rode over to the man who complained to the General that one of the confederate soldiers had taken his hat. The General called to a confederate soldier who admitted he had taken the prisoner's hat and Lee ordered him to return it which of course he did.

I have also read that General Lee would berate any teamster he felt was being abusive to horses or mules. I feel little incidents like that speak volumes about one's character and personality.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
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Georgia Coast
#5
In the many discussions on why confederates fought and why against great odds they were so successful-- the love and respect the army had for Lee and some of the other general officers is not mentioned very often--- But the belief Lee had in his men's abilities and they in turn in his abilities was almost mystical. I think this put a burden on the common soldier to not let the General down and to do more with great sacrifice. At one of the last battles before the fighting was over one soldier shouted that he had never seen Jesus, but now he could say he had seen Robert E. Lee. This loyality was an understated asset for Lee.
 

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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#6
One of my favorites about Lee was when a soldier came to the door and asked if the general could help an old vet down on his luck. Lee found a five in his pocket and gave it to the man, who thanked him muchly and went away. Lee turned around to his guest, who commented it was good of him to take care of his men. Lee replied, "That was a Union soldier!"
 

Lee

Colonel
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Mar 25, 2012
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2,448
#7
One of my favorites about Lee was when a soldier came to the door and asked if the general could help an old vet down on his luck. Lee found a five in his pocket and gave it to the man, who thanked him muchly and went away. Lee turned around to his guest, who commented it was good of him to take care of his men. Lee replied, "That was a Union soldier!"
That is one I haven't run across yet Diane. Of course that must have happened post war.
 

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
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State of Jefferson
#8
That is one I haven't run across yet Diane. Of course that must have happened post war.
Lol! :redface: Definitely - when he was a college president.

p s
When he was in Richmond, not too long after the war, some Union soldiers rounded up a basket of food for the Lees. They arrived at the door and told the general they had heard he was destitute and were afraid he'd go hungry! He assured them he wasn't starving nor likely to and asked them if they'd object if he gave it to the hospital - which was full of Confederate wounded. They were fine with that.
 



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