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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Arlington House: Revenge of the Yankees!

The house known as the Arlington House, located in the Arlington National Cemetery, was bequeathed to Mary Anna Custis Lee by her father where she was to reside  until her death, then to be passed on to her eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee.  Robert E. Lee served as custodian of the estate and he and his wife resided in that house until 1861 when Lee was made a major-general of the C. S. A. As soon as Virginia seceded from the Union, military installations were erected on the old Washington estate of some 1100 acres which included Fort Whipple (now Fort Myer) and Fort McPherson (now Section 11 of the cemetery). The loss of this estate was regretted by Lee, especially when it the federal government levied taxes in order to confiscate the land. And as further insult to the beloved Robert E. Lee, the yankees got their revenge when they turned the estate into a cemetery! It was General Montgomery C. Meigs who commanded the garrison at Arlington house and appropriated the grounds for a cemetery. What revenge against the beloved Robert E. Lee! My visit there was sad.  We were allowed inside the old home and saw the original furnishings. It was typically farm-house-style.  The photos suggest elegance, yet an actual on-the-site inspection of the home is quite different.  I must suggest that you do not take your children here.  The Lee mansion sitting admidst graves and memorials is disheartening and a sense of eerieness and revenge swoops the entire area.  The sight of it made me want to cry.

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