By John Esten Cooke
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Additional resources for A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee
Grave, silent, with a military composure of bearing which amounted at times, 37 as we have said, to stiffness, he resembled a machine in the shape of a man. At least this was the impression which he produced upon those who saw him in public at this time. The writer's design, here, is to indicate the personal appearance and bearing of General Lee on the threshold of the war. It may be said, by way of summing up all, that he was a full-blooded "West-Pointer" in appearance; the _militaire_ as distinguished from the civilian; and no doubt impressed those who held official interviews with him as a personage of marked reserve.
This was not at that time or afterward the result of high living. Of all the prominent personages of his epoch. Lee was, perhaps, the most temperate. He rarely drank even so much as a single glass of wine, and it was a matter of general notoriety in the army afterward, that he cared not what he ate. The ruddy appearance which characterized him from first to last was the result of the most perfectly-developed physical health, which no species of indulgence had ever impaired. He used no tobacco then or afterward, in any shape--that seductive weed which has been called "the soldier's comfort"--and seemed, indeed, superior to all those small vices which assail men of his profession.
There were few arms, and but small supplies of ammunition. While the Federal Government entered upon the war with the amplest resources, the South found herself almost entirely destitute of the munitions essential to her protection. All was to be organized and put at once into operation--the quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and other departments. Transportation, supplies of rations, arms, ammunition, all were to be collected immediately. The material existed, or could be supplied, as the sequel clearly showed; but as yet there was almost nothing.
A life of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke
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