The New York Herald, On Our Best

David Burchard History Leave a Comment

“On a quiet autumn morning, in the land which he loved so well and served so faithfully, the spirit of Robert Edward Lee left the clay which it had so much ennobled and traveled out of this world into the great and mysterious land. Here in the North, forgetting that the time was when the sword of Robert Edward Lee was drawn against us—forgetting and forgiving all the years of bloodshed and agony—we have long since ceased to look upon him as the Confederate leader, but have claimed him as one of ourselves; have cherished and felt proud of his military genius; have recounted and recorded his triumphs as our own; have extolled his virtue as reflecting upon us—for Robert Edward Lee was an American, and the great nation which gave him birth would be today unworthy of such a son if she regarded him lightly.

“Never had mother a nobler son. In him the military genius of America was developed to a greater extent than ever before. In him all that was pure and lofty in mind and purpose found lodgment. Dignified without presumption, affable without familiarity, he united all those charms of manners which made him the idol of his friends and of his soldiers and won for him the respect and admiration of the world. Even as in the days of triumph, glory did not intoxicate, so, when the dark clouds swept over him, adversity did not depress.”

— The New York Herald, on the death of Gen Robert E Lee, October 12, 1870

“But if the Democratic Committee must nominate a soldier — if it must have a name identified with the glories of the war — we will recommend a candidate for its favors. Let it nominate General R. E. Lee. Let it boldly take over the best of all its soldiers, making no palaver or apology. He is a better soldier than any of those they have thought upon and a greater man. He is one in whom the only genius of this nation finds its fullest development. Here the inequality will be in favor of the Democrats for this soldier, with a handful of men whom he had moulded into an army, baffled our greater Northern armies for four years; and when opposed by Grant was only worn down by that solid strategy of stupidity that accomplishes its strategy by mere weight. With one quarter the men Grant had this soldier fought magnificently across the territory of his native State, and fought his army to a stump. There never was such an army or such a campaign, or such a General for illustrating the military genius and possibilities of our people; and this General is the best of all for a Democratic candidate. It is certain that with half as many men as Grant he would have beaten him from the field in Virginia, and he affords the best promise of any soldier for beating him again.”

— The New York Herald, July 1, 1868

Both quotes were read due to the historical research of Adam Craig, a worthy Virginian.

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