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Why Robert E. Lee Never Returned Home

Arlington House (photo by Fovea-Centralis@Flickr)

A little bit of history you may not have known.  As battles during the Civil War intensified in Virginia, Robert E. Lee and his wife fled their estate overlooking Washington, D.C.  In 1863 the U.S. government confiscated the entire 11-hundred acre estate for non-payment of $92 in taxes.  Abraham Lincoln ordered a soldiers cemetery to be built on the estate including a burial vault on what had been the Lee family’s rose garden.

A biography says the idea behind that was that no matter which way the war went, if the Lee’s ever returned to their estate the graves would remind him of what he caused.  The Lee’s never did return but after his parents died, their oldest son sued the federal government for illegally confiscating the property and won.  But by that time there were hundreds of graves on their property.  So the Lee family agreed to sell the property to the government for $150-thousand.

Today over 285,000 soldiers are buried in what is known as Arlington National Cemetery.

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