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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

January 20, 1865

Editorial Tribute to Lee from Georgia Reprinted

The Richmond Times Dispatch reprinted an editorial tribute to General Robert E. Lee from a Macon, Georgia newspaper, which included a prophetic - and accurate - prediction: “Though the cause should perish, Lee will live.”

Robert E. Lee. The record of the great ever attracts the attention of mankind. History proves, however, that greatness is too often allied with qualities which cannot fail to excite pity, horror or disgust. Among the great of modern times, upon whom the eyes of Christendom have been turned, there has been none, up to the present day, save Washington, whose record is sustained and whose escutcheon is without blot. It is therefore with a justifiable pride that the people of the South may point to General Lee as an example, so rarely found, of goodness and greatness combined. Among our enemies, wicked as they are, none has been found to breathe a word against the honor, purity and patriotism of Robert E. Lee. Save him, there is no man of prominence in the South whom they have not slandered and belied. His simple word would outweigh in the land of our enemies the sworn attestation of their highest dignitaries. In Europe his word is the synonym of truth; and the respect shown his name in other lands is second only to that entertained for him in his own. The temple of his renown has not sprung up in a night. It took four years to build it. It stands to-day without a rival - its foundation laid in the heart of the people and its superstructure formed of noble and heroic deeds. Too earnest for words, this man, Robert E. Lee, does his work silently - all unconscious that on him are fixed the admiring glances of the world. If he is great in victory, he is sublime in defeat. His calm soul frets not at the decrees of Fate. He does what man can do, and leaves the rest to God. He has no time to talk. Mark Anthony, defeated at Actium, slew himself and died in the arms of a royal harlot. Lee, repulsed at Gettysburg, said, “It is my fault,” and turned to his appointed work. No wonder men love him and can find no one with whom to liken him. Who thinks of calling Lee a Bayard, a Caesar or a Napoleon? When Jackson fell, we lost the Moses of the South; should Lee be taken from us, we should be without - Lee. He is indeed, the main prop of our cause. With him between them and the vandal hordes, men sleep in peace at night and dream of victory. Though the cause should perish, Lee will live. Time can do him no wrong. Should it be the decree of Providence that our people be exterminated and the land made desolate, the name and fame of Robert E. Lee, like the pyramids in the Egyptian desert, will stand a monument of former power and glory, exciting alike the wonder and the admiration of mankind.– Macon Telegraph and Confederacy.