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Extra info for A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee
God bless you! " he faltered out, "and fit you for your high and responsible duties. " General Lee pressed the feeble hand, and tears rolled down his cheeks. "Yes, bishop--very often," he said, in reply to the last words uttered by the bishop. A brief conversation followed, Bishop Meade making inquiries in reference to Mrs. Lee, who was his own relative, and other members of the family. " It now became necessary to terminate an interview which, in the feeble condition of the aged man, could not be prolonged.
The sentiment of the country in reference to Lee was even warmer than that of the convention. For weeks, reports had been rife that he had determined to adhere to the Federal Government in the approaching struggle. Such an event, it was felt by all, would be a public calamity to Virginia; and the general joy may be imagined when it was known that Lee had resigned and come to fight with his own people. He 36 assumed command, therefore, of all the Virginia forces, in the midst of universal public rejoicing; and the fact gave strength and consistency to the general determination to resist the Federal Government to the last.
Here he had erected heavy defences to protect that wing until the right wing crossed in turn. The tangled thickets of the White-oak Swamp, on his left flank, were a natural defence; but he had added to these obstacles, as we have stated, by felling trees, and guarding every approach by redoubts. In these, heavy artillery kept watch against an approaching enemy; and any attempt to attack from that quarter seemed certain to result in repulse. In front, toward Seven Pines, the chance of success was equally doubtful.