Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

 Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

When we learned that General Lee was ill--confined for a day or twoto his tent, at the time he was confronting General Grant on the NorthAnna--this terrible thought forced itself upon us: Suppose diseaseshould disable him, even for a time, or, worse, should take him foreverfrom the front of his men! It could not be! It was too awful toconsider! And we banished any such possibility from our minds. Whenwe saw him out again, on the lines, riding Traveller as usual, it wasas if some great crushing weight had been suddenly lifted from ourhearts. Colonel Walter H. Taylor, his adjutant-general, says:

"The indisposition of General Lee...was more serious than was generallysupposed. Those near him were very apprehensive lest he should becompelled to give up."

General Early also writes of this circumstance:

"One of his three corps commanders [Longstreet] had been disabled bywounds at the Wilderness, and another was too unwell to command hiscorps [A. P. Hill], while he (General Lee) was suffering from a mostannoying and weakening disease. In fact, nothing but his own determinedwill enabled him to keep the field at all; and it was then renderedmore manifest than ever that he was the head and front, the very lifeand soul of the army."