Memorializing Robert E Lee: The Story of Lee Chapel

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9780975349854: Memorializing Robert E Lee: The Story of Lee Chapel

On the day Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, he said, You must remember we are a Christian people. We have fought this fight as long as, and as well as, we know how. We have been defeated. For us, as a Christian people, there is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation. These men must go home and plant a crop, and we must proceed to build up our country on a new basis.

To keep this charge, Lee rejected many lucrative business offers following the war. Instead, he accepted the challenge of leading the South in peace by serving as president of a struggling college in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Washington College became Lee s final legacy. Serving as president from 1865 until his death in 1870, Lee s quiet and dignified manner pervaded the institution. In his first year as president, a student asked Lee to detail the college s rules of conduct. He responded that, We have no printed rules here, we have but one rule and that is that every student be a gentleman.

The construction of a chapel was one of the first recommendations made by Lee to the Board of Trustees. Lee Chapel, as it became known, opened in 1868, and quickly became a focal point for students to assemble as well as a place to worship, if they so chose. For Lee, religious faith was central to life. He began every day at the morning chapel service.

This story of Lee s final years shows how a small chapel became both the object of controversy and the final resting place for one of America s greatest military commanders and statesmen.

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About the Author:

Doug Bostick is a sleuth of an historian who has spent more than two decades actively collecting and piecing together histories of the South. He is the author of three books and has written numerous articles that have appeared in historical journals, magazines and national newsletters.

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