On April 29, 1864, Confederate General Robert E. Lee rode to Gordonsville, Virginia, to welcome his Old War Horse Lieutenant General James Longstreet back to Virginia and to review the troops of the 1st Corps.
Francis M. Poore, his brother John F. Poore and the other infantrymen lined up in double columns on a broad pasture to await the army’s commander. The 1st Corps’ artillery set up on the right and left side of the formation.
A bugle call announced Lee’s arrival. Immediately Francis, John and the other men let out boisterous cheers and threw their caps into the air. Thirteen cannon boomed a thunderous salute and fifes and drums struck up “Hail to the Chief.”
For two hours the troops passed in review by their beloved commander. Perhaps Francis and John were among the men who after the review pressed near the general and stretched out their hands to touch his horse or just brush against a teary-eyed Lee.
In a few days, the time for parades would be over. The men would return to the serious business of killing and dying.
A genuine affection for Lee is one of the reasons the Poore brothers and the other troops continued to fight.
A comrade of William B. Poore’s, David Eldred Holt of Company K, 16th Mississippi Infantry, wrote “as long as ‘Marse Bob’ said stay in the game we were going to stay.”