New PDF release: A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee

By John Esten Cooke

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Reappearing with his force of about forty thousand men on the Peninsula, he had obstinately opposed McClellan, and only retired when he was compelled by numbers to do so, with the resolution, however, of fighting a decisive battle on the Chickahominy. In face, figure, and character, General Johnston was thoroughly the soldier. Above the medium height, with an erect figure, in a close-fitting uniform buttoned to the chin; with a ruddy face, decorated with close-cut gray side-whiskers, mustache, and tuft on the 52 chin; reserved in manner, brief of speech, without impulses of any description, it seemed, General Johnston's appearance and bearing were military to stiffness; and he was popularly compared to "a gamecock," ready for battle at any moment.

The appointment was confirmed by the convention, rather by acclamation than formal vote; and on the 23d of April, Lee, who had meanwhile left Washington and repaired to Richmond, was honored by a formal presentation to the convention. The address of President Janney was eloquent, and deserves to be preserved. Lee stood in the middle aisle, and the president, rising, said: "MAJOR-GENERAL LEE: In the name of the people of our native State, here represented, I bid you a cordial and heart-felt welcome to this hall, in which we may almost yet hear the echoes of the voices of the statesmen, the soldiers, and sages of by-gone days, who have borne your name, and whose blood now flows in your veins.

This was undertaken with great energy, the Congress coöperating with the Executive in every manner. The city of Washington resounded with the wheels of artillery and the tramp of cavalry; the workshops were busy night and day to supply arms and ammunition; and the best officers devoted themselves, without rest, to the work of drilling and disciplining the mass. By the spring of 1862 a force of about two hundred thousand men was ready to take the field in Virginia. General Scott was not to command in the coming campaigns.

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

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