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A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke

By John Esten Cooke

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It is tolerably certain, however, that, even after the arrival of Jackson, the army numbered less than seventy-five thousand. Officers of high rank and character state the whole force to have been sixty or seventy 57 thousand only. It will thus be seen that the Federal army was larger than the Confederate; but this was comparatively an unimportant fact. The event was decided rather by generalship than the numbers of the combatants. IV LEE RESOLVES TO ATTACK. General Lee assumed command of the army on the 3d of June.

The confidence of the Virginia people in his great abilities had never wavered, and there is no reason to suppose that the Confederate authorities were backward in conceding his merits as a soldier. Whatever may have been the considerations leading to his appointment, he was assigned on the 3d day of June to the command of the army, and thus the Virginians assembled to defend the capital of their State found themselves under the command of the most illustrious of their own countrymen. III. LEE ASSIGNED TO THE COMMAND--HIS FAMILY AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

He spoke, doubtless, as he felt, and uttered no expression of heated animosity, because he cherished no such sentiment. His heart was bleeding still from the cruel trial it had undergone in abruptly tearing away from the old service to embark upon civil war; with the emotions of the present occasion, excited by the great ovation in his honor, no bitterness mingled--or at least, if there were such bitterness in his heart, he did not permit it to rise to his lips. He accepted the trust confided to him in terms of dignity and moderation, worthy of Washington; exchanged grave salutations with the members of the convention; and then, retiring from the hall where he had solemnly consecrated his life to his native Commonwealth, proceeded at once to energetic work to get the State in a posture of defence.

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