Smith D Fry.

Lincoln and Lee; a patriotic story online

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Historian of the Capitol

All of Fry's Patriotic Stories Disseminate
the American's Creed

( official)

I BELIEVE in the United States of America as a government of the
people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived
from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a-sover-
eign Nation of many sovereign States ; a perfect Union, one and inseparable,
established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity
for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support
its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it
against all enemies.

.J 5"


PRICE, $1.00

Address all communications to


P. O. Lock Box No. L714,

Washington, D. C.

>CI.A(?0 251 1 '

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DEC ^ tfu


American History Story of Drama, Romance, and Tragedy
in Real Life, Told at Last, in Full

Listen! Hearken and Heed the wonderful words which were
given to the world by Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem; by Jesus,
the un-heeded Carpenter of Nazareth; Jesus, the Marvelous and
Popular Philosopher of Galilee; Jesus, the Betrayed Man of
Sorrows in Gethsemane; Jesus, the Christ of Calvary; Jesus, who
sat within the boat, on the crystal waves afloat while he taught
the listening people on the land; the Master who said;

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he will lay doivn his
life for another."



TO my wife, Mary Randolph, daughter of Lieutenant Com-
mander John B. Randolph, U. S. Navy, this last literary
effort of a long life of endeavor, is heartily and fervently
dedicated, with the hope that better than marble, bronze, brass or
granite this work of historic value will prove to be a monument
worthy of the subject ; a woman that was a model for woman-
hood, a wife of incomparable fidelity, a mother of angelic affec-
tion and a friend of legions who benefited by her friendship ;
a monument chiseled with the heart and hands of love, by

The Author.


FR( ).M the dawn of the day when the curtain was raised on
the stage of the first theatre in this country, each, every and
all playwrights and play-writers have sought and striven in
vain for the theme, the suggestion or the story from which might
he developed and produced the outstanding and the everlasting
Great American Play.

George Washington Custis Lee and William Henry Fitzhugh
Lee, first and second-horn sons of Robert E. Lee, were present,
and in their youthful ways participated in the great reception at
Arlington Mansion; a reception concerning which there has been
nothing recorded heretofore; a reception which surely deserves
a paragraph or a page in the history of our country.

From the lips of those participants in the reception the nar-
rator obtained vivid informative descriptions of the event. The
second son, known at home as "Rooney," remembered a great
deal, in fact nearly all of the utterances of his grand-father,
whom he loved and almost idolized. While "Rooney" was a
Member of the House of Representatives in Washington he was
frequently a dinner guest or an evening caller at the home of
the writer. He spoke unreservedly and with wonderful loving
appreciation of the heroism of his elder brother during the tragedy
of the Civil War.

But, concerning the silent suffering of Charlotte Wickham, his
beloved wife, "Rooney" was surely ignorant entirely.

General Custis Lee absolutely commanded every member of the
family to be silent concerning his own unexampled self-sacri-
lices. The only thing that he would say to the folks at home, or to
trusted friends, was that "General Ould had charge of the ex-
change of prisoners, and I did have some conversation with him
about that matter."

General Custis Lee never spoke of Charlotte, nor allowed any
conversation concerning that almost unknown heroine, except on
one exceptional occasion when he described to the writer the
scene of his visit to inform Charlotte that he was going to visit
"Rooney" in prison ; and even then the marvelous man was un-
emotional, apparently, as he quietly said: "That was the last
time that I saw Charlotte. I did not realize then that she was
really dying, even as she gave me a farewell smile and waved
her hand so cheerfully. I understood her tears, but I did not
understand her physical condition."


Not until General Custis Lee was in the sere and yellow leaf
of life when he knew and fearlessly faced the fact that he should
soon stand before "the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem" did
that masterful and mandatory man modify his command of
silence concerning his unparalleled deeds.

On the occasion of his last visit to Washington City, not many
months before he reclined upon the bed of illness which held
him for more than a year, General Custis Lee met with the nar-
rator by appointment at the Ebbitt House ; and there, after a
brief conversation concerning family affairs and the final success
which he had achieved in obtaining recompense from the federal
government for the Arlington Estate, he listened patiently to
the hundredth-time request for permission to write his story
because it seemed to the writer to belong to American history.
Laying one flight and slender hand upon the shoulder of the
smaller man, and holding before his eyes the other up-lifted hand
as though giving an oath to a witness. General Custis Lee said :

"After I am gone you may write, but with the absolute under-
standing that nothing that I have done shall be blazoned forth so
as to share nor to shade the glory and fame of my father whose
memory I worship. The people of the South must know no other
hero than General Robert E. Lee."

That impressive inhibition, which could not be forgotten nor
evaded, may give to history an innate idea of the magnificent
grandeur of the character of General George Washington Cus-
tis Lee.

Inasmuch as the great peasant prince, Abraham Lincoln, was
called upon by the conditions into which the life of Custis Lee
ran, to stand forth as a commanding figure in the story, mention
must be made of him in this prefatory statement. Not many
years previous to the production of this work, the narrator gave
newspaper publication to the most marvelous description of
Abraham Lincoln that ever had been uttered, and it is here re-
produced :

"No sculptor has told the story and no artist has recorded the
drama-comedy-tragedy revealed in the features of that meteor of
humanity and spirituality which flashed its brightest iridescence
on the field of Gettysburg," said Colonel Richard J. Bright, long
time eminent in Washington as the matchless executive official
of the United States Senate, the good man who was closing the
eighty-fifth year of his sojourn on this planet as these lines were

"I saw Abraham Lincoln when 1 believed him to be the home-
liest creature in human form ever permitted to cumber this earth,
by walking and talking with the statesmen of our republic," said
the venerable sage.

"1 saw Abraham Lincoln on the platform engaged in earnest
discussion of then current topics and 1 believed him to be the
most forceful character ever known in the political arena.

"1 saw Abraham Lincoln keyed up to righteous wrath on the
subject of human slavery and 1 regarded him as a singularly
lofty demon of immense proportions, stirring strife between the
sections of our sacred union of confederated States.

"I saw Abraham Lincoln administering justice in military and
naval affairs, when he seemed to be a composite incarnation of
Julius Caesar and the hero of Trafalgar.

"1 saw Abraham Lincoln in the White House tenderly offering
to a mother mercy for her condemned son, sentenced to death by
court martial ; saw him revoking the doctrine of 'an eye for an
eye and a tooth for a tooth,' substituting for it the new com-
mandment 'that ye love one another,' and 1 believed his face to
be the most awe-inspiringly beautiful cameo ever cut by Almighty
God to demonstrate that Omnipotence had 'created man in His
own image.' and then sent His Son to say concerning mortal man :
-'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

"Future generations cannot see Abraham Lincoln in marble, in
bronze, nor on canvas, for no human being can portray him with
chisel nor with brush. Almost do I offer up a prayer for in-
spiration when 1 strive in words to picture that wonderful man,
of whom it may be said with becoming reverence that he was
indeed also 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.' '


when mournful and sorrowing millions were bowing their heads
in poignant grief, while the mortal remains of Abraham Lincoln,
the great Disciple of the Golden Rule, were being laid away in
their windowless palace of Rest, at Springfield, Illinois, who
would have supposed that the Boys in Blue and the Boys in Gray
would ever again become reconciled ; would ever fervently re-
peat the vow of the lamented Lincoln, "with malice towards
none and with charity for all?" At that time, such a re-union
would have been deemed utterly impossible.

And yet, in less than a quarter of a century, the sons of the
valiant American soldiers who had followed Grant and Lee, were
enthusiastically marching together, shoulder to shoulder, in Cuba
and in Porto Rico, under one flag, with the greatest American
soldier then living. Major General Nelson A. Miles, and the
greatest living American cavalry leader. Major General Joseph

And furthermore, who then would have supposed that any one
of those Boys in Blue would ever be pleading for an enlargement


of the reputation in history of an officer of the Boys in Gray?

And yet, during the summer and autumn months of the year
1922, Ira M. Bond, one of the soldiers in Blue, 1861 to 1865,
having heard a casual and superficial narration of the Golden Rule
life of General Custis Lee, insisted and persisted in his insistence,
until the veteran and retired journalist was practically compelled
hy that Yankee demand for historic justice, to tell to mankind
the wonderful life of the Confederate General, George Wash-
ington Custis Lee.

Without this statement of fact, giving honor to whom honor
is due, this prefatory statement would not be complete. It has
keen owing to the persistent insistence of Ira M. Bond, himself
a veteran journalist, that American history, American literature,
and American valor are given this story of Lincoln and Lee ;
by one in the sere and yellow leaf of life; but the only writer
who could produce these informative and valuable facts con-
cerning a departed friend.

Miss Letitia C. Tyler, daughter of President John Tyler, gave
to the narrator, verbally, her own version of the flag raising. The
story was written and submitted to Miss Tyler for her approval,
or for correction.

On Monday, August 17, 1908, on letter paper bearing the
family crest and motto, "Spes et Fortitudo," Miss Tyler wrote
to the narrator an autographic communication which now lies
before the writer, in which letter Miss Tyler wrote :

"1 am afraid I shall have to ask you to call and see me about
the article you have sent to me. I cannot go into the question
on paper. If there is nothing to prevent, suppose you call on
Tuesday night. Yours truly, Letitia C. Tyler."

Miss Tyler also gave to the narrator her view of the heroism
and self-sacrifice of General Custis Lee, after the battle of Brandy

Seeking diligently to cover all possible points in the story, the
narrator wrote to Col. R. E. Lee concerning the nickname of
"Rooney," and received the following letter:
"Ravensworth, Burke, Fairfax Co., Virginia, March 12, 1918.

"As to how Gen. W. H. F. Lee got the nickname of 'Rooney'
presents another difficulty. There is nothing harder to get than
the truth. I can't recall my father ever telling me how he came
by ^ the name, but it is a tradition of my childhood from my
earliest recollection, that there was an Irish servant employed by
Gen. R. E. Lee, possibly as a groom or in some other capacity,
by the name of Patrick Rooney, who, as a small boy, Gen. W. H.
F. Lee resembled ; and, as Gen. R. E. Lee was very fond of
nicknames, having one for every child, and to distinguish W. H.
Fitzhugh Lee from his cousin, Fitzhugh Lee, who was a few

years his senior, the former was called 'Rooney,' which name
stuck to him to the day he died.

"I related practically the above in the sick room of Gen. G. W.
C. Lee, where he was flat on his back for fourteen months, and
he said with a good deal of impatience that that was not true,
that the name was gotten from the hero of some book popular at
that time. He named the character of the book, a novel I think,
but unfortunately 1 have forgotten both. This much is to be
said, Gen. G. W. C. Lee never took any stock in accepted legends
of history. He generally had a contrary version; so. realizing
that fact, I am very much at sea in this matter. Either deriva-
tion is possible.

"Hoping that you will advise me if I can be of further service
in this matter, Yours very sincerely, R. E. Lee."

This much of private correspondence is given in order that
the American people may know that, with the instinct, training
and half century of experience in newspaper work, nothing was
left undone by the narrator to obtain accurate historic statements ;
so that there can be no doubt in the future of the evidentiary
facts herein given to the history of our country.

That truth is stranger than fiction is a fact thus demonstrated.
Future readers and writers will place the more value upon and
manifest the greater interest because it is miraculously true that
these mortals did live and dwell in our own country, and that
truth is told on every page of this final production of the long-
sought genuine Great American Story. S. D. F.









The Prologue

WITHOUT careful and comprehensive reading of Euro-
pean history you cannot comprehend American history.
Without acquiring detailed knowledge of the history of
Great Britain, particularly of England, you cannot intelligently
read the history of the United States. English history is a pro-
logue to our own history.

They cannot vote intelligently in the next national elections
who do not know the history of their own country ; and they
cannot understand conditions existing in this twentieth century,
without having a clear and clearly understood knowledge of the
history of our country in the three centuries preceding this cen-
tury in which we live.

This great American story is told for the general welfare, and
in order that the narrative may be clearly understood this pro-
logue is a literary and educational necessity. You must at least
know the name and the character of one ancestor, horn two
hundred years ago, in order that you may the better comprehend
the marvelous character of that one of his descendants, the great,
great grand-son who walked with men and talked with men and
lived, "in this world and vet not of this world," because he was
intellectually and spiritually far above it, in an atmosphere of
purity which was then and is now almost beyond human com-

For the warp, woof and worth of this hero

Read names carved on his family tree ;
Custis, Calvert. Lord Baltimore, Randolph,
"Light Horse Harry." and Robert E. Lee.

Daniel Parke Custis, first great merchant prince of Virginia,.
was the founder of a family that was well nigh a dynasty. Being
neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, Daniel Parke Custis
bad neither knowledge nor image of the fact that Mother Nature
had planted within his loins and nourished with his blood the
germs of America's most chivalric courage, unparalleled romance,
and Galilean self -sacrifice.

John Parke Custis, only son of the merchant prince and of
his wife who had been Margaret Dandridge, and who subsequently
became Martha Washington, was the title holder of the famous
and extensive Arlington estate; and his son George Washington
Parke Custis, adopted son of George Washington, built the
famous Arlington Mansion as a home for his bride. In that
mansion was born his only daughter, Maiw Ann Randolph Custis,


and she, as the wife of Robert E. Lee, became the mother of
the typical American hero concerning whose remarkable life these
lines are written, George Washington Custis Lee.

During his entire life of half a century in Arlington Mansion
George Washington Parke Custis was one of the most dis-
tinguished and at the same time one of the best beloved citizens
of this republic. As an entertainer he had no equal during that
half century and since that time his superior has not appeared.

Such were the conditions when George Washington Parke
Custis announced to the society of Washington City, his inten-
tion to give a public reception at Arlington Mansion in honor of
his son-in-law. Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee, who had re-
turned a wounded veteran of distinction and military renown
from the war with Mexico ; and so great was the desire of all of
the leading citizens, their wives, and developing children to at-
tend that reception in honor of Colonel Robert E. Lee, at the
magnificent Colonial home of his distinguished father-in-law, that
it became necessary to limit the attendance by special cards of


But for George Washington Parke Custis the people might have
given to "Old Zack" a terrible trouncing.

Although he was an outstanding figure as a great hero of the
Mexican War, there were others ; and his election to the presi-
dency in 1848 might not have been accomplished, and Zachary
Taylor knew it, if the grand-son of Martha Washington had op-
posed him.

But, that magnificent old gentleman, then in his sixty-seventh
year, prayed for guidance by the spirit of Washington, his father
by adoption whom he had almost worshipped, and then George
Washington Parke Custis announced that he would support
Zachary Taylor, and vote for him cheerfuly. He did more, for
the old Virginian, the only man living who had personally and
most intimately known George Washington, went out and made
several speeches for Taylor ; and the political managers of that
day knew how to disseminate those speeches throughout the
length and breadth of the land.

In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November loth,
in the year 1818, The Niles' National Register published the fol-
lowing news item :

"The venerable George Washington Parke Custis gave his
maiden vote for the presidency to General Taylor on the 7th
instant. This circumstance is handsomely alluded to in the fol-
lowing eloquent extract of a speech delivered by him at a bar-
becue held recently at Bladensburg :

" 'Strange as it may seem to you, my fellow countrymen, you
see before you an old man with whitened locks and a bald head,
in fact, a grandfather, who has never yet voted in his life. Living,'
as I aways have, within the limits of the District of Columbia!
no vote was vouchsafed to me until the recent act of retrocession
set that part of the District where my residence is back to the
State of Virginia. And now I am about to give my maiden vote !
In doing it, I shall exercise a privilege enjoyed by no other voter
in the nation— the privilege of casting the only vote that can be
cast hailing from the sacred shades of Mount Vernon, and repre-
senting the family of the greatest and best of departed men, the
father of his country, and, oh, when I appeal to his great spirit
in heaven to guide me, how I shall give my vote in this interesting
and important election, methinks 1 hear him say, 'bestow your
mi tf rage upon the most worthy.' "

Thus you will see and comprehend that it was quite natural,
and to be expected, that when Oeorge Washington Parke Custis
invited President Zachary Taylor to a grand reception at the
Arlington Mansion, the President of the United States would be
very prompt to respond, and to be glad of the opportunity to thus
show his appreciation of the support of the most distinguished
private citizen of our Republic.

Never before and never afterwards was there such a picture
of pride and power and pomp in this country; and no such
picture can ever again be presented. Over the some-time famous
old Long Bridge, there was a procession of gentlemen on horse
back, ladies in carriages, individual parties of ladies and gen-
tlemen riding high-stepping thoroughbreds; and all of those
ladies and gentlemen were individuals of the upper tendom of
exclusive society. They represented the incipient nobility of this
republic. Wealth flashed its jewels and expensive apparels, but
the nobility of intelligence also was there, and compelled implicit
obedience to the declaration that "all men are created equal."

Only in memory of the aged and ageing, and onlv upon the
pages of history can the Long Bridge live. Such styles of raiment
for men as well as for women cannot now be reproduced, nor
ever will be ; and never upon any stage can be depicted the scene
of that procession of the elect across that highway to the Arling-
ton estate, though the embowered roadways ascending Arlington
Heights, and into the great enclosure of landscape surrounding
the mansion.

Gayety prevailed, happiness was the dominating spirit of the
occasion. Although ambition may have shrouded the hearts of
some of the guests there, as everywhere, even the faces of those
were masked with smiles as seemingly real as the indescribable
smiles of innocence upon the beautiful faces of babes in arms of


And so, at the appointed time on the afternoon of March 8,
1849, a wonderfully beautiful spring-time day, joy was uncon-
fined; and as the guests began to arrive a line was formed along
the graveled pathway south of the mansion ; lively chattering and
gossiping echoing in the trees not unlike the musical discussions
of the myriads of birds.

Although the sun was shining, there was an invigorating breeze
sweeping over the heights. Prudent observers realized that out
of the great northwest clouds were coming and that cumuli were
forming in the warm glow of the declining sun. Wise men and
women of mature years realized that although the customary
blizzardy storm of inauguration day had not appeared, the season
was ripe for atmospheric gymnastics.

And, while the reception was at the pinnacle of perfection and
■"soft eyes looked love to eyes that spake again, and all went
merry as a marriage bell," the weather was developing mischief.
''The snow, the beautiful snow," was mantling the land, and,
while the sun was placing its good-night kiss upon the Federal
City, and was touching with gold the tall tree tops while it
purpled the distant hills, the winds began to whistle wierd

Consequently there was another moving picture on the Long
Bridge ; a picture of unrestrained gayety and undiminished hap-
piness, as the returning procession proceeded upon, over and
through the white roadway. Bright eyes were brighter and
roseate cheeks in perfect health became ruddy and glowing as
the rich and the great, in the pomp and the pride of their
worldly estate, rode, marched and ambled homeward. That night
many a gallant knight and many a lady fair retired to a com-
fortable bed to "listen to the patter of the soft rain overhead."

You should have been told before that, although useful and
absolutely necessary to contiguous mankind, the Long Bridge
was not ornamental, and there were no solemn obsequies when
it was destroyed to make room for the modern highway bridge,
an architectural achievement which is as beautiful as it is useful.

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Online LibrarySmith D FryLincoln and Lee; a patriotic story → online text (page 1 of 17)