tv The Civil War Robert E. Lee after the War CSPAN May 10, 2020 10:00am-11:16am EDT
on the civil war, matt atkinson, a gettysburg national military park ranger discusses the postwar life of robert e lee. he highlights lee's efforts to promote a wreck conciliatory -- promote a conciliatory attitude among southerners. this was recorded in 2015 by the national park service. i was asked if this would be a beatification. besideam hoping to do,
give you a timeline as to what robert ely did in the postwar years, often the most overlooked portion of his life. the other main theme of this lecture i will try to get across -- i would amount of not say he did a lot of work -- but through his own personal example is probably the best way. robert his own example, e lee tries to reconcile the nation. havei think a lot of us forgotten is how far apart this country was in 1865. is the view of a lot of people that lee surrendered at appomattox and then, bam, we will forget about it.
we will just hold hands and reunite and continue down the path again. decades,the country some would say a century, someone say not even yet, for the country to reunite. i would put the country seriously coming back together in the spanish-american war when we all had a common enemy once again. that would be roughly 30 years after the end of the civil war. robert e lee does not live that long. he is only going to live for five years. but you think about who symbolized the confederacy coming out of the civil war and who the southerners were going to emulate, and then put yourself in the shoes of the man himself. you are robert ely. everything you do is under a microscope. you know he hated that.
the crowds and everything else. of 1865ox is on april 9 . he surrenders to general grant. i think robert ealy is surprised by the terms he gets from grant. unanimousant's gesture there -- magnanimous gesture there is overlooked in the reconciliation of the country. so lee has to stick around appomattox. three days after he surrenders he sets out from appomattox writing traveler, his famous boars -- his famous horse. he makes his way back to richmond, virginia.
this is the site he beholds. he did not see this personally because he was down in petersburg, but the confederates set the town fire when they were evacuating, when richmond fell. that is the virginia state capital, the old capital of the confederacy right there in the middle. leee days later, robert e is going to pull up at the river and look at the scene of desolation. he is not going to have a big calvert cave with them -- cavalcade with them. he is going to have one staff officer, his son, one wagon coming behind him stamped u.s. on the side. it served as his headquarters wagon. wagon and leeat on horseback or going to wind their way through the streets of richmond, up main street, and
then turn onto franklin street. inerally they will come up the front of the house. it is 707 franklin street. believe it or not, that fire that had engulfed richmond had come right to the house next door, but that one had been saved. a crowd gathered. they wanted to touch lee as an icon or whatever. touch his boots. can you imagine us doing that today? in 1977.who died lee gets off his horse, bows gravely, and walk inside -- walks inside. this is the scene which i do not have any record of. this is the one i have always been curious about. when robert e lee amounts those
steps and walks into the front door, bows to the crowd and everything, and walks back in, he still has his uniform. that will be the last time, i , in his official capacity as a soldier. when he walked through that door, what went through his mind? what did he do? his wife, his children, his daughters. he had children ranging from 19 to 32 years of age at the time. he came in. they were always a close family. i wonder what he said to mary. did he express any regrets? did he say anything? did he cry? at some point, every soldier has to look back at what they have
done. you can go from privates to generals to lieutenants to captains to major generals to lieutenant generals. everybody looks back on the decisions they have made. i wonder when he came home that day what he thought. trying to get his nonehts back together, other than the famous civil war photographer matthew bravely -- matthew brady is going to call on him. i will go through some of these pictures. this picture, which you have seen cropped and blown up and -- ande inside why colorized and sideways is always chosen for a wizened -- for a reason. that photo sums up robert ealy
at this point in his life -- sums up robert e lee at this point in his life. you can only imagine the people that are coming to call upon lee. seekers, some just want to see him, old friends, acquaintances. lee does not want to see all these people. it is the last thing he wants to do up here. , who is to your left, is going to answer the door. there will be this ragged confederate soldier standing there. he has his arm in a sling. he says to custis, i would like to see general lee. custis says, the general is not receiving at this time. and is, i am from texas would like to see the general i
have fallen on so many campaigns. standing there in his rags. probably stinking too. custis says i will see what i can do. lee is upstairs in some bedroom or office. they show the soldier in. he sits down. the texan sits down. in a few moments later, the steps of general robert e lee. the staffr and officer stood as lee came around the corner. as he comes around, he bows graciously to the people in the room and extends his hand. he walks over to that texan, this private. andtexan extends his hand they embrace in a handshake. lee looks at him. the texan looks at him. the soldier cannot say anything. he just cannot say anything.
not one word comes out of his mouth. he eventually, still holding lee's hand, burst into tears. this veteran of four years. he just burst into tears. and after a few moments, he just walks out the door. nobody says anything. the eyewitness says lee about it graciously to the crowd and walked back up the stairs. that is the type of emotion you are dealing with coming out of appomattox. you are talking about a people that have just lost their hopes for a nation. who defined that? that man right there. that is why the civil war ends, folks, when robert e lee surrenders. he is the definition of the confederacy. he is the symbol of the confederacy.
matthew brady calls. he took these pictures. that lee sitsn her stands for these pictures here, ladies and gentlemen, is because at first he rebuffed brady, but what did brady do? boss, who was's -- >> his wife. >> his wife, that's right. told the general to get dressed. so he comes down with his son and staff officer. he says, mr. brady, we are ready. can seeook closely, you the stand behind lee that holds his head in place. that is how you got him to stand still. here.tured these this is my favorite.
this is not the appomattox uniform. i used to think that. it must be one of his field uniforms. it looks in very good shape, hardly worn. [laughter] i actually forgot that picture was in this queue. previouslyually a unreleased photograph of my ancestor. ok. friend actually did that to me -- for me as a joke. i have had it on my door ever since. ok.
what is the situation? president 1865, andrew johnson offers a general amnesty to former confederates who signed the oath of allegiance, but excludes all who have held civil office under the confederate government and people with an estate value over $20,000. lee is indicted for treason on june 7. encloses in a letter to general grant his application for a pardon. i am ready tos " meet any charges that may be preferred against me, but if i i desire to comply with the provision of the president's proclamation." and therefore enclose the required application."
lee did not sign the oath. -- did grant do? he immediately requested that all indictments be squashed. prosecutors quietly halted proceedings against robert really, but did not formally dismiss the charges. no pardon would be forthcoming from president johnson either. this is what we know now, but lee did not know that. headd to lee's woes, he's hehe had, starting in june, had the sword of demosthenes over his head. -- damocles over his head.
southerners -- in southerns' eyes, it was probably the most controversial act of his life. by submitting that, to say the least, he is not making any friends. , if lee of thousands applied for a pardon, then maybe they should also apply for a pardon. the veterans who did sign were restored their rights in a manner that the government would never get the general. lee, mygeorge wise asks parole covers it in i do not think it should be required of me. what would you advise? is anponded, i feel this indignity.
i will seek another country where i can at least preserve myself respect. saidt leave virginia, lee in a sad voice. our country needs her young men now. he did take the oath. when he informed his father, his father exclaimed, you have disgraced the family. the son said general lee advised me to do it. oh, that alters the case. whatever general lee says is all right. i don't care what it is. i want you to think about i startg right here as to read this part of it. know.f you already this is washington college in lexington, virginia. i want you to think about something right now as i get into it. if you are robert e lee, what
would you do after the war ? i do not know if there's a right or wrong answer. i am just pondering. the college itself had been heavily damaged during the war. federal soldiers were using some of the buildings for barracks. the college had been kept open as a prep school. it only had four professors as faculty. meeting the were night of august 4, 1865, in order to elect a new president. a member stood and said that miss mary lee, daughter of the general, stood -- said the south stood ready to give the general everything but what he really wanted, a way to make an honest living. later, hadminutes
been unanimously elected president. then there was a pause and silence prevailed for some moments. the board seemed impressed with the gravity of the situation and feared they had acted rashly. it seemed presumptive to elect lead the head of a broken down college. nevertheless, a letter was drafted and a judge was sent to urge the general to accept. the general looked as close and did not -- the judge looked at his clothes and realized he did not have any befitting to call upon generally. -- call upon it general lee. so he borrowed a suit. they obtained transportation. that is the way the judge called upon lee, who at the time was being west of richmond, to
president of this college. after muchlee, urging from friends, is going to accept the presidency on august 31. --s is how lee excepts it accepts it. lee pointed out that he had not been pardoned yet. he was also explicit in what his political views might be. at the duty of every citizen to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony and in no way to oppose the policy of the state or general government directed to that object. it is incumbent on those charged with the instruction of the young to set them an example of submission to authority." leeeeks after appomattox, was urging the healing of all dissension.
lee is inaugurated as president. that is fast, within a month of offering him the job. the college opened with 40 students. another 100 drifted in by late fall. once lee meets a student, he is able to remember their name, which is a wonderful gift if you are a good student. by the second year, there are over 400 students, some from outside the south. like --he things that i and i like to go on tangents -- one of the neatest things i have always liked about robert e lee. we do not write like he did or they did today. one thing i like about lee is how he would put letters together to parents. a he had a student,
recalcitrant student acting up or something, lee would usually write three or four paragraphs. basically how he constructs his sentences is this way. first paragraph, johnny is a fantastic kid. he is smart, intelligent, and he can do anything. paragraph, unfortunately, he is not living up to his ability. third paragraph, i am sure you understand. robertly, respectfully, e lee. you get the point. jubal early, the confederate general, the favorite thing out of everything he did during the war was show people lee's letter to him demoting him, removing him from command of the shenandoah army.
that is what he has got to deal with. today, i would think it would be worth being flunked out of school just to get a letter from lee. that was just a joke. all right. 3.starts october he signs the oath of allegiance to the united states. the oath was sent to washington where it landed on the desk of william stewart. thinking that the document had already been recorded, stewart gave it to a friend for a souvenir. it was found in a bundle of papers 105 years later. what happeneder during the ford administration? he got his pardon. gerald ford.
else,doned everybody might as well. [laughter] political joke there. no chevy chase fans? the letteropened from general beauregard. he asked, what position should i take in relation to defeat? glad to seed, i am no indication of an intention to leave the country. i think the south requires the aids of her son now more than in any period of her history. i have no thought of abandoning her endless compelled to do so -- her unless compelled to do so. passage,uded with this
which will be quoted by generations. tell you that true patriotism requires a man sometimes to act contrary at one period to that which it does at another. the mode which impels them to desire to do right is precisely the same. the circumstances that govern their actions change and their conduct must conform to the new order of things. history is full of illustrations of this. washington himself is an example of this. at one time he fought in the service of the king of great britain. at another, he fought with the british at yorktown -- he fought with the french at yorktown against him. here is your paradox. that is how robert really howifies his actions -- of
robert e lee justifies his actions. we go into 1866. by this time, ladies and gentlemen, there are race riots in memphis, and newer lens -- and new orleans. it would turn into a northern referendum on how to treat the south. "war"ent johnson was at with congress. wished for lenient treatment which would let the south back in without ratifying the 14th amendment. leeng this turmoil, counseled everybody to stay calm. to misses his jefferson davis -- to miss jefferson davis, he wrote, i think so still. -- to jubalrly
the yankee this day worse than i have ever done and my hatred is increasing every day. lee replied it, we shall have to be patient and suffer for a while at least. all controversy will only serve to prolong angry and bitter feelings and postpone the period when reason and charity may resume their sway. the name is on the bottom. the south was listening. harris,nathaniel post-gettysburg, which is why you do not know him for the most part. the mame thing he did -- the most famous thinking did was
battery greg outside of petersburg. well worth seeing. thank you, greg. right your great example we are all pursuing and following. all of your men are peacefully trying to build up their shattered fortunes, and the country its peace and prosperity. 1867, january 7, congress looks into acts of impeachment against president johnson. march 2, the federal government passes the reconstruction act. it strips state governments of power and places the south in five military districts. congress declares it can change any aspect of local government
without notice. states must ratify the 14th amendment. and some confederates are excluded from voting. all african-americans are included. area -- carpetbagger era is beginning. the governor of virginias from new york, to give an example. what does this do to these confederates? at the time, we would call them racist. they do not like the situation. lee wasth a broken leg visiting recalled this time. "i remember he sat by the window and his face looked so sad. he spoke of the southern people, their losses, privations, sufferings, and vain struggle. often i feel so weighted down with sorrow that i have to get
to walk until i thoroughly worry myself before i can sleep. was the only melancholy sentence i overheard him utter in the only time i saw that her broken look on his face. " lee, in ad that moment of being unguarded, said to lee, why do you look sad? about alld, i think the soldiers who died in vain when i knew it was too she goes, basically, well why didn't you say something? he said no, they had to find out for themselves. that, ladies and gentlemen, is the separation between civilian and military authority that makes our government even today so unique. look at any other government out there, notice how often the military overthrows. ok.
lee at this time is summoned to testify -- here is a good picture of it -- lee is summoned to testify in jefferson davis' treason trial. we was offered amnesty in his trial against davis or face re-indictment for treason. after the prosecutor tried to establish lee had only followed orders davis was responsible lee dug in his heels. i am responsible for what i did and i cannot now recall any important movement i made had i not acted on my own responsibility. now, how many of you -- how many times have you seen in your life when somebody puts the squeeze on them, they fold in court? how many of you would have that hanging over your head, the potential indictment, would be able to get on a witness stand and self indict yourself?
it is a lot. christmas day, 1868, president johnson sends out a general amnesty to all confederates who had not been restored their rights by previous acts. it was over. lee and davis would never be tried. but lee was still not a citizen because his application had been misplaced. right there. a couple things on that. one, robert e lee never votes again. two, could you imagine any other revolution that you ever hear about in the world where the ringleaders don't get hung? or worse. if you watch "braveheart." you know, there is always a better way to kill somebody. if you think about it right there, jefferson davis is not hung for war crimes. once again, who is the symbol of the rebellion? robert e lee.
now, he gets to go in peace. i mean, it is remarkable in a way, definitely unique. -- they very well well could have created a martyr. when washington and lee -- do i want to tell the story -- do you all want to hear a story? ok, i will do a tangent for you. i did not know if i was going to tell this one or not. when lee was the administrator at washington college, there was i forget what his joins, who edward s. is professor of modern language. one-day professor joins -- is a
cold winter day. he proceeds to take out a stick of wood and put it in his potbelly stove. the fire heats up, the woods starts to burn. all of a sudden there is a humongous explosion that goes off, and that potbelly stove bursts into 1000 fragments. and it is lucky that the professor was not killed. he actually emerged without a scratch. well, now robert e lee, as professor of washington college had to deal with attempted murder. because somebody tried to kill the professor. so chapel services, which lee always attended, which i don't think was required of the students -- no? it was not required of the students, but lee always set a personal example by attending himself, and that morning chapel services he goes up there and says to them in a vast understatement that he would be
happy for anybody that has any information on this to please come by and call upon him later in his office. well, lo and behold about 11:00 that morning, two freshmen show up. and they sit outside the door, lee was interviewing someone at the time. may sit outside the door. -- they sit outside the door. lee concludes his visit and says gentlemen, come on in. could you imagine that visit? could you imagine walking into the office with robert e lee? he has them sit down and the boys proceed to explain to him that something had gone terribly awry. four of them that lived in the dorm room, one of them, somebody kept stealing their firewood. all right? and so in order to discover who was stealing the firewood for their dorm room, one of the
soldiers concocted a plan where he set about to take a piece of the cordwood. he drilled it out. he stuffed it full of black pair put clay powder, over it. he put it back on the pile. outside. sure enough, somebody took it. and he said he didn't understand why. come to find out the janitor, who was being too lazy, did not want to walk the extra 200 yards to the woodpile. so the students had to get their own wood, but the professors had their wood retrieved by the groundskeepers. that groundskeeper was taking shortcuts. so when the professor through -- threw that piece of wood on his stove, that is why it blew up right there.
they are telling robert e lee this with a straight face and probably thinking they will get kicked out of school. lee looks at them for a minute and then a few second later he is going to to laugh. the one thing i think we forget -- and not a lot of people saw this -- lee loved to laugh. you didn't see it often because he was always in the public eye. we had that exterior. he was the marble man. behind closed doors and in certain instances he would laugh and he loved it. lee would end up telling the kids, one of them's name was graham. well mr. graham, your plan to find out who was taking your wood was a good one but your powder charge was too heavy. i would recommend the next time you use less powder. [laughter] you want to get inside robert e lee's psyche?
that story right there is something that lee would relay when he was president of washington college to people and he would always get a kick out of that. the time there was a murder plot on his campus. all right. 1868, lee is going to go on his vacation. firsthe will choose the rockbridge baths resort. at the resort, there was a nightly dance called the treadmill. there were northerners and southerners. does anybody know what you call a southerner who helped the north? it's probably a term that's lost now. scalawag. very good, larry. >> i know the story. >> there was a west virginia girl at the hotel where one man who was said was very beautiful
and more handsomely dressed than any man, then any woman at the springs. however, the girl's father had been a union man during the war and remain at home and made a fortune while the men in the south had gone in the army and lost all they had. the women would have none of her and the men dared not risk their wrath. the girl became very lonely. one evening when the dance was occurring the girl was in the other room reading. she became aware of the brilliantly shined pair of shoes that had stopped before her. looking up, her eyes met those of general lee. he smiled, bowed, and asked for her company at the next dance. when the dance was over, there was a general rush for introductions. and from that time on the girl not only had all the partners
she wanted, but actually became the belle of the season. now, let's go back. that is another act. does it change the whole south? no. nobody outside the ball that night ever saw that. did the newspapers report it? no. did it go out on the telegram? no. come out in a book? no. but those people, they say it was 100 people at that dance that night, all eyes were on general lee. and his personal example by going over there, he probably knew the backdrop of that story. he had daughters. i'm sure they would inform him that were there at the resort, his personal example led to that girl being allowed back into social circles. now, another side view, same
sitting. general lee is rocking out a little bit. now, while lee was on vacation, when he was in a group of ladies, one of the belles turned to him and said she was tired of being friendly to northerners. she turned to lee and said, they say general grant is coming here next week. what will you do then? christina bond, the lady who recorded this, said some of us would've gladly slain her on the spot. you didn't ask him that. but lee answered, with a earnest, faraway look in his eyes, if general grant comes i shall welcome him to my home, show him all of the courtesy due from one gentleman to another and try to do everything in my power to make his stay agreeable. end of quote.
grant did not come, but lee posey example continued to penetrate hardened confederate hearts. christina bond concluded, we saw his absolute loyalty to the allegiance he had swarmed when -- had sworn when he laid down his arms and his whole soul was engaged in the work of reconstruction. he lost no opportunity to promote it socially. grant decided to run for president in 1867, he becomes a republican, which infuriates the south. one day, one of the members launches into a diatribe against grand -- grant. lee's face grew flush. sir, lee said, if you ever speak this respectively -- disrespectfully of general grant in my presence, you or i will sever his connection with the ity.ers
what do you remember about general grant? he remembers he was generous. exactly. i like that loyalty. lee never forgot. there was a beef flirting of running lee on the democratic ticket. it is flattering. as we all know, grant is elected president. lee and grant would meet one more time, ladies and gentlemen, when lee was on a trip to baltimore to see about financing a railroad to lexington. lee's speech in baltimore is actually the longest speech he ever made in the postwar period. and it is uneventful, i have read it. it is uneventful. it doesn't say anything controversial or anything like that, but it goes on for quite some length on the merits of this railroad. anyway, on his way back, lee called on grant at the white
house. that day, may 1, it was only four years since the opening shots and only three years since that of the wilderness. for the next 11 months, lee have piled up union losses. when they met, one observer said we don't have the whole conversation. that both men seem to be saddened by the memories each other brought. can you imagine sitting across from your greatest opponent and on the anniversary, neither one of them talked about the war. grant apparently, if this version is true, did make one allusion to the war when he asked lee what he was doing in town. lee informed him he was trying to get a railroad to lexington. -- you and iral have had a lot more to do with destroying railroads than we have had in building them. do you know what lee did? did not even acknowledge him.
that is the public robert e lee. stoic to the last. that interview probably lasted 5, 10 minutes before they got up. the two men would never see each other again. yeah, that is a rare one right there. now, the reason i brought this picture up -- it is not the best for clarity right here, but nevertheless it is a rare picture. weant you to see how white have gotten -- his beard, his hair, etc. right there. we think as far as his health, lee will suffer a stroke in 1962 or 1963. his health is never fully recovered ever since then. we suffered from, depending on who you read, probably from the deterioration of the circulatory system that made him vulnerable to another heart attack.
lee was aware of his precarious position. my health has been so feeble this winter that i am only waiting to see the effect of the opening spring before really wishing my present position. i am admonished by my feelings that my years of labor are nearly over. the faculty urged lee to take time off and visit his many friends in savannah. lee added profitably that he could not go to savannah without meeting more people than he -- prophetically that he did not go to savannah without meeting more people than he wanted to. it is now naive for us to think robert e lee could go south and get any kind of rest. what are they trying to do? they had the best intentions in mind. what did they do if they had nothing else they could do for you medically? they would send you to warmer climate.
hoping that will recuperate your health. that is why they will send lee south. lee, another reason for him to go was he wanted to visit the grave of ann carter, he had not been to her gravesite. she had died during the war. what this would turn out -- her grave was in north carolina. but on his journey to the south toward savannah, what this would turn out to be is his farewell tour. which was something he would never allow himself to ever be knowingly led into. it's going to really hasten his death, as you will see in just a second. it is not going to be very good for him. but in a way, i don't know if anything was going to save him at this point. and it is a visiting way, as -- a fitting way as far as history for him to go out. this is the first time he would travel south of virginia. he was on his way, launching
himself right at them. lee was thinking of himself as a tourist, carrying train schedules and wondering about the availability of hotel rooms. the south would receive him as an emperor, almost as a god. now, lee goes to richmond. that picture right there -- doesn't even look like the same man. i want to point out the confederate uniform he still has on, but look at his buttons. they are either wooden or covered with black cloth, because it was against the law to wear a confederate uniform. you had to cover the button and take off the military insignia. so lee goes to richmond to catch the train south. he sees colonel mosby on the street. the general was pale and haggard
andst be -- mosby recalled, did not look like the apollo i knew in the army. lee invited him to his room. i felt depressed by the great memories his presence revived. while both of us were thinking about the war, neither of us referred to it. mosby, after leaving lee, runs -- anybody know who that is? you wouldn't recognize him, would you? mosby is going to invite george pickett back to that hotel room. probably the worst thing that ever happened. we are all familiar with gettysburg. now, we are all -- what is he famous for? taking charge. the other half of the story which most of you have either
forgotten or never heard of in the first place is the end of george pickett in the civil war. a week before appomattox on orders pickett to go out to his right flank at petersburg, and pickett is ordered to hold his crossroads. last railroad into petersburg, and therefore richmond. there andett goes out then the confederate calvary man will invite him to a shad make. -- shad bake. i have never had it. it is a type of fish. you don't get too much meat off of it, but they were pretty hungry. a participant said the hours passed along idly. shad,g the bottle, eating having grand old time.
unfortunately, there was an acoustical shadow. only a mile or two, his command was being routed. this was by sheridan and warren. george pickett was out of a command. richmond fell. petersburg, then richmond, etc. reportedly, when liaison the ride back to what will become appomattox, he sees george pickett ride by him. and lee turns to one of his staff officers and he said why is that man still with this army? which leads to the speculation of did lee remove him? did the order not go through? it?pickett just ignore but the two men had been cross ever since. pickett over gettysburg and lee
over fight force. and now they are set to meet in richmond, virginia. you have to understand, when lee in a foul mood, lee would meet you when you came into a room, he would meet you with icy cold formality. icy cold. if he was under a lot of stress, for example, like after appomattox when the officers were coming, he didn't want to talk to anybody. he would be sitting there, pacing back and forth after the surrender. his staff officers stayed away from him. they did not want to get near him. when they had to introduce somebody, they would bring him up, which was the formal part of it. lee would draw himself up. and then he would meet you with that icy reserve. it would let you know that he was being courteous, but he that is exactly
what he did when george pickett walked into that room. it was icy from the beginning. george pickett probably went in there to try and bury the hatchet. but lee does not like people who do not perform their duty. the interview quickly concluded and mosby quickly knew he should have never got those two together. on the way out, pickett turns to mosby and he will say, that old man had my division massacred at gettysburg. and mosby will turn to pickett and he says george, he made you famous. [laughter] pickett will die shortly. 1870's? you a good idea of how far his health is deteriorating. after visiting annie's grave, they continue to raleigh.
the telegraph operator sends a simple message ahead. general lee is aboard. and even at midnight, a crowd gathers and lee is startled "lee,by the chants of lee, lee." lee's daughter would write to say we are laying in that sleeping car. when the chants started it woke both of them up. one was on the top tier, i guess she was on the top, he was on the bottom. neither one of them said a word. by sunrise, places where the train did not stop, people stood by the railway. dignified looking men. they thrust they are -- their caps into the air and give a big rebel yell. where the crowds cheered, it was the last thing lee wanted to hear. on to charlotte where a bigger crowd awaited.
lee had refused to emerge from the train so far. and he was horrified by all of the attention. columbia, south carolina, a holiday had been declared. stores were closed. there was a parade to the station in the pouring rain. columbia was only a 15 minute knew heut lee must emerge. the last thing he needs to get into a rainstorm. standing there was a line of his former officers. among them, edward porter alexander. alexander, the man who commanded the long streets artillery before pickett's charge during the bombardment. lee puts on his hat and coat and emerges. little girls came forward with bouquets of flowers. the crowd wanted a speech but lee would not concede. he simply docked his hat. the band thundered on again and the veterans cheered themselves hoarse. after 24 hours, the train
arrives in savannah. a reception was held at the hotel where crowds filed through for hours. sweetns on crutches, little children dressed to the eyes. many of them being introduced to a general with tiny cars and fat -- tiny cards in their fat youle hands with names, and can imagine what their name would be. could you imagine meeting somebody named after you? among those that came there that day was a 13-year-old boy, who would never forget meeting robert e lee. his name was woodrow wilson. from savannah, lee wrote two classic understatements in reporting to his wife. -- the old soldiers have greeted me very cordially, and i do not
think traveling in this way procures me much quiet and repose. as for his health, lee wrote i perceive no change in the stricture in my chest. if i attempt to walk beyond a very slow gait, the pain is always there. while in savannah, lee will pose with former confederate general joseph e johnson as part of a fundraiser. two photographs come out of that set. i think two. two or three. 2. you will get this at the end of the program, what i have struggled under, this whole program. lee leaves savannah and visits his father's grave. light horse harry lee's final resting place on cumberland island. then he leaves by boat to norfolk. while there, lee decides to
attend church. now, in my search for robert e lee and all things pertaining to robert e lee, i could tell you after many hours of searching that the church which he attended does not exist anymore. however, the house which he stayed at is still there. and the carriage step -- they had a stepping stone for you to get up into the carriage is still out in front of the house. i stood on it. [laughter] i had my picture taken. thank you. so lee tries to go to church, it is sunday. you got to remember, ladies and gentlemen, you don't party on sunday. remember, that is why we used to have blue laws.
nobody could cheer robert e lee because it was a sunday. but because it was generally, every hat was doffed -- general lee, every hat was doffed in the air. one lady wrote a young cousin who never met lee remarked, we regarded him with the greatest veneration. we had heard of god, but here was general lee [laughter] . [laughter] -- general lee. [laughter] ok, ok it is kind of funny. lee arrived in lexington on may 28. 1870's. on june 23, lee hands out his last diplomas. on august 6, he is called to a special meeting to see if the trustees could raise $100,000 for new astronomy observatory.
$100,000. 1870 -- it was five years to the day that the judge borrowed $50 and a suit to persuade lee to take the job. and now they are talking about $100,000. when he got back from savannah, he had a letter. a lot of mail waiting on him, but he had one letter from a spiritualist that was asking lee's opinion on the current franco-prussian war. lee responded, and replied that the question was one about which military critics were different. -- would differ. you all understand, being from gettysburg, what a spiritualist is, right? i am in the wrong business. he wrote, the question was one about which military critics
would differ and that his own opinions on such matters was deficient. he then pointed out that the medium was free to consult julius caesar, alexander, napoleon, wellington, and all of history's great captains. and all of history's great captains. , felt he should not voices and dutch voices opinion in such august company. [laughter] jokes.ve got the i got all the letters. i will try not to run too much overtime today. office --bert ely's robert e lee's office, the way he left it. if you go down to lexington today to washington and lee university, that offices still there. it is kind of neat.
surely they have dusted. i have never asked. it is on the bucket list right there. business,es his days which he was always diligent in doing. paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. we remember the battles, but lee was paperwork. meeting at he has a the episcopal church. walk the short distance from his office over to the episcopal church. the meeting goes long. the main sanctuary, which is unheeded. unheated, because of that it is cold. the only thing he has on his is old army overcoat or possibly
his poncho, so to speak. he sits there and he is freezing. they get to the end of the meeting and they are trying to get a raise for the pastor. they have come up short. they say we are asked amount short, and lee says i will pledge that amount. with that, the meeting concludes. lee walks back to the president's home. it is kind of like a triangle as he goes back to the new president's home which he hadn't been in for about a year. he steps inside and depending on who you read, whatever mary was trying to say here, it is always hard to read mary at times from time to time whether she was hard or nice or whatever. is always chastising
his family for being late for dinner. he is a punctual man. sayshe comes in, miss mary why are you late? you have kept us waiting. husband pulls off his overcoat, hangs it on the rack, steps to the table, starts to say grace and nothing comes out of his mouth. he freezes. i can't describe it because i didn't see it, but onlookers said a pale came over him at the moment. lee got up, patted him on the hand and said dear, you look tired. let me get you a cup of tea. lee sunk back into the chair. he had already been seeing doctors but they couldn't do anything for him. was hearten knew it
disease, they couldn't do that -- they couldn't do anything. he doesn't say anything. they retrieve his old army cot and bring it downstairs into the parlor. he is going to lay there for a he is going to run out of energy. he will pass away. he was 63. how old are you? [laughter] 207, i like that. [laughter] are you picking up what i am laboring under? mask.s his death
free of charge. [laughter] how far have we come? how many people had their picture with 10 foot tall robert e lee death masks? this is his funeral. the -- around the columns. chapel.the this is where lee is buried today. lee'shapel was robert e favorite accomplishment as president of the university. his office is actually in the basement of that chapel. presidents house -- if we were standing where this picture was taken, the president's house
would be over here. the episcopal church would be over here. you can tell they had to have .he funeral so fast it is still full. it wasn't thousands upon thousands that you would think. close with ato quote by robert e lee. i could talk about his strength patriotism,, his his devotion to duty. hisould talk about accomplishments from battlefields to education to reconciliation, which i hope i have driven home. we could talk about the man himself and the sterling character qualities which he had. still -- we can still
learn a lot from. i choose to close with this letter from september 1870 two the tenant colonel charles marshall, his former staff officer. this letter shows lee's realism and optimism. theet the stage, this is recumbent statue of lee inside that chapel. is --s not lee dead, this this is supposed to represent lee sleeping on the battlefield. until a few years ago, they actually had real confederate battle flag flying in there. kid always had some college -- thank y'all -- some college docents sit in there with the back -- with her back to him. if you time it right and nobody was looking, you could reach up there and touch the actual
confederate battle flag. it had the netting over it, oh my gosh. [laughter] that's great stuff right there. he said this to marshall. this, myonclude with expansive men has neither disposed me to think worse of to serveindisposed me them. nor in spite of failures which i lament of hairs which i now see and acknowledge, or of the present aspect of affairs do i despair of the future. this, the march of providences so slow and our desires so impatient, the work of progress so immense and the means so feeble, the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief that we often see only the ebb of the
announcer: you're watching "american history tv." with the event coverage, eyewitness accounts, archival films, lectures in college classrooms and visits to museums and historic places. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. each week, "american history tv," brings you archival films that provide context for today's public affairs issue. >> this asian flu has covered a lot of territory in a short time. i would like to know how did it all get started.
origin ofct point of the influenza virus is of course not known. itscurrent epidemic had beginnings in hong kong and singapore. early april. by mid april, the disease had become epidemic in both of these cities and remains so throughout the rest of the month. from hong kong and singapore, the disease rapidly moved to the island of formosa. estimated that as many as half a million people were attacked in a short period of time. also during the month of may, the disease made next its appearance in borneo and japan.
from the major shipping centers of these areas, the disease very rapidly scattered into widely malaya,d places as guam and thedia, philippines. cases also in late may, the disease was reported as far away as australia and on board several ships en route from australia to san francisco. the first appearance of the disease in the united states was on june 2. the state is important because it means only a short six weeks from the time the first cases , occurredted in china in the united states.
it demonstrates the great rapidity that influenza can spread over the world. june, this disease had practically circled the globe including southeast asia, southwest asia, the middle east, europe, australia and north america. in june, the disease made its appearance in north africa, introduce probably by the moslems returning from their pilgrimages to mecca. early july, the disease made its appearance in chile, south america. in three short months, every continent on the globe had been involved in this great pandemic. >> dr. crabtree, you mention it had been reported on ships en route to san francisco and that several cases were definitely
diagnosed among our fleet in rhode island. wouldn't it have been comparatively simple to have isolated these cases and prevented the spreading of them? >> unfortunately, not so simple. quarantineson that against influenza is not effective. had it been possible for all of the cases on board the ships to have been isolated, it would have had little effect on the actual spread of the disease because, undoubtedly there were many more people on board these who, by reason of a more recently acquired infection, would have shown no ver and therefore could not have been readily identified if they were passing through a quarantine station. announcer: the national council for history education moved their conference online due to the coronavirus outbreak. the session next features albemarle high school teacher
chris bunin. he shows how geographic information systems can be used to trace the source and map the spread of diseases throughout history, including cholera, smallpox, and aids. he co-authored the book " jamestown to appomattox: mapping u.s. history with gis." >> i am so excited to be here with you. i am joining you from nelson county, virginia just outside of our albemarle county this is my school campus where i teach geography, oral history, and geospatial technologies a stones throw away from the border of charlottesville, virginia. if you would like to follow along with some of the links i am sharing today, if you go to this bitly, it is not a perfect alignment to this keynote. i had all the intentions for it to line up perfectly and my children running upstairs had different ideas. i was asked to give this