Derwent (HMC15)

Location: Powhatan, VA 23139 Powhatan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 36.331', W 78° 4.778'

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Rest and Reconciliation

In the summer of 1865, Robert E. Lee and his family resided here at Derwent. Lee had reunited with his wife and children in a rented house in Richmond after he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House on April 9. Financially broken, uncertain of his future, and ill in health, Lee sought "some small little home in the woods" where he might live simply as a farmer and provide for his family. At the end of June, Mrs. Elizabeth Randolph Cocke offered him sanctuary at this cottage.

Here at Derwent, named after a beautiful lake in England, Lee found the quietness he needed to focus on his future. He often rode his famous warhorse, Traveller, through the Powhatan countryside and conversed with surprised farmers. From Derwent he communicated with former comrades and others who sought his advice. To many Southerners Lee remained a leader and a model of proper conduct during Military Reconstruction. Late in the summer, Judge John W. Brokenbrough of Lexington asked Lee to become the president of Washington College there. Lee accepted, leaving his Powhatan retreat on September 15 and devoting the remainder of his life to the education of young men.

"The questions which for years were in dispute between the State and General government, and which unhappily were not decided by the dictates of reason, but referred to the decision of war, having been decided against us, it is the part of wisdom to acquiesce in the result, and of candor to recognize the fact. ? All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace, ? promote harmony and good feeling; ? and elect to the State and general Legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interest of the country, and the healing of all dissensions." - Lee to former Virginia Gov. John Letcher, Aug. 28, 1865

"The war being at an end, the Southern States having laid down their arms, and the questions at issue between them and the Northern States having been decided, I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country, and the reestablishment of peace and harmony." - Lee to Capt. Josiah Tatnall, Savannah, Ga., Sept. 7, 1865
HM NumberHMC15
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 1:46pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 757796 N 4166058
Decimal Degrees37.60551667, -78.07963333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 36.331', W 78° 4.778'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 36' 19.86" N, 78° 4' 46.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6099 State Rte 646, Powhatan VA 23139, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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