American Civil War and Ooty

(The American Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865 between the Northern States and the Southern States mainly over slavery of the blacks. Ooty locals will remember the many wonderful westerns staring John Wayne, Richard  Widmark, Robert Mitcham etc on the civil war stories –  especially, the climax with Unionists  riding in with their famous bugle sound and drums when the whole theatre will cheer. The Unionists (now Democrats) were led by General Ulysses Grant while the Confederates (now Republicans) were led by General Robert Lee. Sometime after the war, Robert Lee’s daughter (most likely the eldest Mary Curtis Lee) was a guest of Madras Governor Mountstuart Grant (already featured in Nuggets) in 1882 at the Raj Bhavan, Ooty. The others at the lunch were Field Marshall Frederick Roberts, Commander in Chief in India and his wife. The governor writes:)

“Miss Lee, a daughter of the famous Confederate General, who is staying with Sir Frederick and Lady Roberts, dined with us. She told me what I had either never known or quite forgotten, viz., that Stonewall Jackson had received a mortal wound by the fire of his own men and  her father (General Lee) said to her, ‘I have lost my right arm !’. (Jackson was a formidable commander who fought in Virginia and Maryland and was nick named Stonewall for his valour). This story was later corroborated by history”.

“ Miss Lee was wearing a bracelet, which attracted my attention, and she took it off, at my request. It was formed of buttons from uniforms worn in the American war. One was her father’s (General Lee’s), one Beauregard’s (Confederate officer), two belonged to two of her brothers (George Washington Lee, a great grand step son of George Washington and Robert Lee Jr) one to an uncle who was a Commodore, one to Prince Polignac (a French nobleman), who had fought on the Confederate side, and one to Wade Hampton (Confederate officer).

Nilgiri Documentation Centre

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