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 Posted: Mon Jun 17th, 2013 03:20 pm
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Texas Defender

Joined: Sat Jan 27th, 2007
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 920

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  The events leading to the transformation of the estate at Arlington into a national cemetery have previously been discussed on this forum. But this excellent article is a worthy addition to the board:

How Arlington National Cemetery Came to Be | History & Archaeology | Smithsoni

  The article explains how the estate was confiscated at the beginning of the war, and how it was used as an instrument of revenge by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs (who was a logistical genius). General Meigs' enmity towards Robert E. Lee (And all other Virginians who served the CSA) was probably unmatched among Union generals.

  The estate was converted into a cemetery in 1864, but in the end, many years later, the Lee family prevailed in the Federal Judicial System, and recovered the ownership of the property. Custis Lee chose to take a cash settlement, rather than having the already 20,000 buried there removed. It was the right decision for the Lee family, as the money was needed to restore the family fortune. However, I can't help but wonder if Custis Lee would have relished having all traces of federal occupation removed from the estate.

  As for General Meigs, he later joined his family members, being buried in a very prominent place on the property. One has to wonder what his reaction was when the Lee family prevailed in the USSC.

  As an aside, Mrs. Lee's young cousin, William Orton Williams, who told her in May of 1861 that she would have to leave her beloved home, soon became a CSA officer. Along with a fellow officer (Also a cousin), he set out on a bizarre scheme, impersonating a Union officer. He was soon recognized, captured, tried as a spy, and hung.

Col William Orton Williams (1839 - 1863) - Find A Grave Memorial

Robert E. Lee (by Freeman) — Vol. III Chap. 12 The story is discussed in this chapter by Freeman.

Last edited on Mon Jun 17th, 2013 03:23 pm by Texas Defender

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