Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XX: The New Home in Lexington: Death of Professor Preston

The Document

Frank Preston, at the time of his death, was professor of Greek at William and Mary College. He had been, prior to his appointment to that position, an assistant professor at Washington College. He was a native of Lexington, a son of Colonel Thomas L. Preston, who was for so long a time professor at the Virginia Military Institute. A brilliant scholar, trained in the best German universities, and a gentleman in the highest sense of the word. Frank had served his State in the late war, and had left an arm on the heights of Winchester. On hearing of his death, President Lee issued the following announcement:

"Washington College, November 23, 1869.

"The death of Professor Frank Preston, a distinguished graduate, and late Associate Professor of Greek in this college, has caused the deepest sorrow in the hearts of the institution.

"Endowed with a mind of rare capacity, which had been enriched by diligent study and careful cultivation, he stood among the first in the State in his pursuit in life.

"We who so long and so intimately possessed his acquaintance, and so fully enjoyed the privilege of his companionship, feel especially his loss, and grieve profoundly at his death; and we heartily sympathise with his parents and relations in their great affliction, and truly participate in the deep sorrow that has befallen them.

"With the view of testifying the esteem felt for his character and the respect due to his memory, all academic exercises will be suspended for the day, and the faculty and students are requested to attend in their respective bodies his funeral services at the Presbyterian church, at eleven o'clock, to pay the last sad tribute of respect to his earthly remains, while cherishing in their hearts his many virtues.

"R. E. Lee, President."

Next: Chapter XXI: Failing Health

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How to cite this article

Lee, Robert E. jr., The Recollections & Letters of Robert E. Lee,, webpage created by Rickard, J (8 June 2006),

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