The Lexington Physicians of General Robert E. Lee

Richard D. Mainwaring, MD; Harris D. Riley, Jr, MD


South Med J. 2005;98(8):800-804. 

In This Article

The Latter Years of Drs. Madison and Barton

Dr. Barton remarried in 1881 to Mrs. E.J. McBride and died on March 23, 1893, just shy of his 70th birthday. His eulogy referred to him as an able physician ... brave, kind-hearted ... and devoted Confederate. He was buried at the Grace Episcopal Church.

Dr. Madison contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 50 on May 26, 1878. He is buried in the VMI graveyard near his other famous Lexington patient, General Stonewall Jackson.

General Francis H. Smith, superintendent of VMI, presented the following eulogy of Dr. Madison.

Sunday, May 26th, 1878, at 10 pm, after severe protracted sufferings, endured with heroic fortitude and accepted with Christian submission, he closed his mortal career by death without struggle in full possession of his faculties and with his soul glowing with assured expectation of a blissful mortality. Dr. Madison was liberally gifted by nature for the noble profession to which he devoted his life. He was enthusiastic in his love for truth, and unwearied in the acquisition of knowledge. Without arrogance he was selfreliant, and without weakness he was exceedingly tender; unselfish in a rare degree, he enjoyed the triumphs of professional skill only because they removed or alleviated the sufferings of his fellow men. He not only studied Nature, but he loved her, and to his keen eyesight was added a certain poetic sensibility which imparted a rich coloring to his language when discoursing upon his favorite themes. The nicest sense of honor regulated all his conduct, and his amiable and genial temper made him seek to contribute to the enjoyment of all around. For such a man to acquire and preserve warm friends was natural and easy, and those that were most intimately associated with him were the most warmly attached to him. Of this, the whole community in which he lived is witness. How absolutely true it is, is best known to his fellow-professors, who in daily association with him for years found reason for ever-increasing admiration. And we venture to say that no officer of the Institute has ever been more kindly regarded by the Corps of Cadets. [5]