Friday, August 31, 2012
"War is inevitable, and there is no telling when it will burst around you . . . You have to move and make arrangements to go to some point of safety which you must select. The Mount Vernon plate and pictures ought to be secured. Keep quiet while you remain, and in your preparations . . . May God keep and preserve you and have mercy on all our people."
Robert E/ Lee to his wife, Mary Anna Custis May 1861
In January 1862 a Wisconsin soldier's description of the Arlington house rang true to Lee's prediction. “The grand old southern homestead of Arlington, with its quaint and curious pictures on the wall, its spectacular apartments, broad halls and stately pillars in front, was an object of especial interest; but, abandoned by its owner, General Robert E. Lee, who was using his great power as a military leader, to destroy the Government he had sworn to defend, it was now a desolation.
The military headquarters of McDowell's division was in the Arlington House, which was open to the public and hundreds tramped at will through its apartments.”
Anything left behind was carried off by Union soldiers...The Lee's were never able to return to their home and Arlington Plantation became what is today, Arlington National Cemetery.