Mrs. Lee's Rose Garden

The True Story of the Founding of Arlington National Cemetery

Mrs. Lee's Rose Garden

The poignant, personal, and unbelievably true story of Mrs. Robert E. Lee and General Montgomery Meigs, and the founding of the Arlington National Cemetery, in the midst of America's greatest struggle--the Civil War.

Mrs. Lee’s Rose Garden is the intensely personal story of Arlington National Cemetery’s earliest history as seen through the lives of three people during the outbreak of the Civil War: Mary Ann Randolph Custis Lee, Robert E. Lee, and Montgomery C. Meigs. With all the majesty and pathos of a Greek tragedy, this story unfolds as the war's inevitable spiral of betrayal, tragedy, loss, and death begins, ultimately transforming the nation’s most famous country estate into its most sacred ground. In the years before the war, the Arlington estate sat like an American Acropolis towering above Washington. Mary Custis Lee was known as the Rose of Arlington, a brash, young, willful, and charming young woman, indulged by her famous father, George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of George Washington. Artistic, well read, and highly intelligent, she was an avid gardener who spent as much time as possible tending the numerous flowerbeds of the Arlington Mansion, along with her mother and her three daughters. Handsome and dashing, Robert E. Lee was easily the most promising soldier of his generation. But long before he was a field commander he was also a great success in the Army Corps of Engineers, having worked on major projects around the U.S. His friend, Montgomery C. Meigs, who had served under Robert, was a scion of Philadelphia society, and rose to become the engineer responsible for helping to complete the capital, and one of the most accomplished builders of his generation. When the time for war arose, Lee refused the opportunity to head the Union Army. He could not draw his sword against his own state, his own people, and instead accepted a commission in the Confederate Army, pitting himself against many of his old comrades. Thus began a series of events that would ultimately pit these three against each other. Mrs. Lee’s Rose Garden is an intimate retelling of Arlington National Cemetery’s tragic beginnings, and sheds new light on this profound chapter in American history.
  • Cider Mill Press | 
  • 160 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781604335460 | 
  • April 2015

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About the Author

Carlo DeVito

Carlo DeVito is the author of more than 15 titles. He has written on history, sports, and wine. Carlo he has appeared on television dozens of times including multiple times as guests on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX morning shows in New York, as well as throughout the eastern seaboard. He has been a featured guest on WFAN (both TV and Radio), ESPN radio, WCBS and WABC radio, WAMC, and more than 60 radio stations nationwide. He has edited and written more than a dozen books reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and other national newspapers. Previous titles include Mrs. Lee's Rose Garden, A Mark Twain Christmas and Inventing Scrooge.

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