Detouring at the old hero's final resting place

Lexington Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 26 › view all entries
The entrance to Lee and Washington University

This morning the weather has turned bad for the first time on my trip. Instead of the usual warm sunshine it is actually pretty cold and raining. Hence my idea of going back to the Blue Ridge Parkway doesn't look all that appealing anymore. Instead I go on the interstate to save some time on my travels towards Charlottesville. But I am not all that good at sticking with my original plan - hence I end up making a detour.

 

I go to Lexington which is an old town - but that is not the real reason I go there. No the reason the main hero of the Confederate Army from the war - possibly the main hero from any of the armies of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee. His final resting spot is in the very town of Lexington.

 

Lee is pretty much as close as you will ever get to royalty in the States.

The main building taken from just in front of Lee's chapel
He decent from some of the oldest and wealthiest families in Virginia and his wife's great grandmother was Martha Washington. His success came in the army which he left as a colonel to manage his new estate Arlington which his wife inherited. When the war between the Union and the southern states seemed inevitable Lincoln offered him the post as commander of the Union army. Lee was not really a big fan of the idea of secession but he ended up following his state of Virginia and became a general in the Confederate army.

 

His time as an army general had its ups and downs with some impressive victories and the most notable defeat at Gettysburg. The war had great cost for Lee - he lost many of his friends in the army when he resigned and joined the Confederates. He lost all rights to a military pension - he lost his citizenship until he got it reinstated in 1975 - more than 100 years after his death. He also lost his fortune including his personal estate Arlington which was turned into a cemetery for Union troops and later to the national cemetery of Arlington today.

 

But in Virginia Lee is a hero - and after the war he became the President of the Washington University in Lexington.

The grave of Traveller - Lee's horse
After his death the name of the university has been change to the Lee & Washington University. His final resting place is in a church build just in front of the main building of the University. You can go in and look at his tomb which includes a magnificent marble sculpture of Lee sleeping at the battlefield. You are not allowed to take pictures inside but the sculpture is a truly impressive piece of craftsmanship. Just outside the chapel you will find a grave - this is not an ordinary grave - but the grave of Traveller. Lee horse during the war which lived along with Lee in Lexington after the war.

 

After I had seen the chapel I went out to see the grounds of the University. You can see the main building which is an old and very impressive building. Unfortunately some of the newer buildings have been constructed during times when the university was lacking some the former funds and they do not quite live up to the standards set by the main building. Most of the surrounding buildings are quite impressive though.

 

A bit further down the road is a military campus which house the museum of Marshall but the buildings down there have been cleared away and new buildings put up as replacement hence you don't get the feel of former glory - just modern effectiveness.

Stonewall Jackson

 

After my visit to the university it is time to head down through the town of Lexington - and here I get to see the final home of Traveller - which today has been turned into an ordinary garage. The city itself is quite nice with the traditional style of the south - hence even without the attraction of the legend of Lee the town could make an interesting short visit to see.

 

On my way out of town I just have to do one more stop - another southern legend is buried on the cemetery in town - Stonewall Jackson. Hence out to see the final resting spot of Stonewall before I can get going.

 

 

bkretzer says:
Great Blog! You have a good command of American history. Very impressive.
Posted on: Nov 03, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The entrance to Lee and Washington…
The entrance to Lee and Washingto…
The house of Stonewall Jackson
The house of Stonewall Jackson
The main building taken from just …
The main building taken from just…
The grave of Traveller - Lees hor…
The grave of Traveller - Lee's ho…
Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
Just a random house in Lexington
Just a random house in Lexington
On more random houser
On more random houser
Some of the buildning outside the …
Some of the buildning outside the…
Some of the buildning outside the …
Some of the buildning outside the…
The main building taken from just …
The main building taken from just…
The military college in town
The military college in town
Travellers last home
Travellers last home
Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
Lexington
photo by: tj1777