|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Thu May 22nd, 2014 03:55 pm||
I doubt that General Meigs had any idea in 1864 that the cemetery at Arlington would become what it has become 150 years later. His purpose then was to make the estate unlivable should the Lee family try to return to it after the war. It was also a convenient place to put thousands of bodies that needed to be buried somewhere.
As soon as Virginia seceded, federal forces invaded the state and Arlington House was quickly occupied. The Federal Government declared itself the owner of the property in 1864. During the war, many priceless George Washington related artifacts that were collected by Mrs. Lee's father were stolen from the property, and many others were shipped to WDC. This injustice was partially remedied in 1901.
eHistory.com: The Life of Mary Custis Lee
Arlington was General Lee's home for many years, but he did not own the property. Mrs. Lee was the owner, having inherited the estate from her father. The property was taken from her, and she did not live to see the USSC declare the Federal Government's previous actions to be illegal. She died almost ten years before the ownership of the property was returned to the Lee family.
As for General Lee, I do not know how he would view the estate if he could see it today. Nowadays, the cemetery at Arlington is certainly the largest collection of prominent Americans buried in any one place. But there is no honor in how that place came to be a cemetery. I certainly can't regard that as: "Poetic justice."
Arlington National Cemetery, and the fight over Robert E. Lee’s home - The Was
General Lee only had a few years left to live after the war ended, but more than once he was on a train that passed within view of Arlington. I have read that whenever he passed by, he made sure to look in the opposite direction.
Early in the war, General Lee had written to his wife: "It is better to make up our minds to a general loss. They cannot take away the remembrance of the spot and the memories of those that to us rendered it sacred. That will remain to us as long as life will last, and that we can preserve."
Last edited on Thu May 22nd, 2014 04:40 pm by Texas Defender