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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.


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Vol. I
p170
Chapter XI

An Established Place in the Corps

Some dim hope had been cherished that Congress would appropriate money at the "short session" of December, 1838 - March 4, 1839, for rivers and harbors. In the acute financial distress of the government, following the notorious "specie circular" this hope was not realized. Congress was hard put to provide revenues for the indispensable work of the departments, without undertaking projects that could wait. Not only so, but Lee was called upon to divide part of the money remaining from previous appropriations. Twenty thousand dollars of the balance left in his hands by his close economy were diverted to pay for the removal of snags from the Missouri River under the direction of Captain Shreve. Lee was told: "The Department is particularly desirous that, under the present state of political affairs, you should not be involved in the details of these civil works more than is absolutely necessary. It has no fears that you will consider this arrangement as indicating any purpose of lessening your trust or restricting your functions." He was further enjoined to keep "operations in such a condition that they may be transferred to other hands on the briefest notice."1 This was discouraging to a man who was deeply interested in the completion of an improvement he believed to be of great value to the entire West. Moreover, through the whole of 1839, Lee's financial transactions with banks that held tightly to all available funds during a monetary crisis were tedious and difficult.2

Before he could begin work that year, with his scant balance, Lee had to take his wife home. She was expecting her fourth baby in June. Sentiment and prudence alike dictated that she p171 should be delivered at Arlington, rather than on the frontier. The children, of course, had to go with her. The family accordingly set out on May 1, reached Wheeling, Va., by steamboat on May 8, and took a private stage for Frederick, Md. They proceeded as leisurely as possible, for Mrs. Lee's comfort, but they had very hard travel on May 11, the last day of their journey. No ill-effect followed, however, and the mother and her brood were safely placed in Mrs. Custis's care late that night.3 Lee was pleased that only eleven days had been consumed en route from Saint Louis to Washington. In communicating the news of that feat to his old-time comrade, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Charles Talcott, he confided, with some adroitness, the reason that had brought him East. "We have six little Lees here now," he said, "and will then have seven, . . . three of whom belong to my brother, which I have borrowed for the occasion." The family, he explained, with the new accession, was to leave about August 1, for the mountains, not to return until the beginning of October.4

It was during his brief stay in Washington that Lee sought to ascertain the facts about the dismissal of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Gratiot, and procured for him certain papers that Gratiot believed would be helpful to him in the rehearing of his case. Investigation did not disclose much. Lee confessed, before he left, that he was "still in the dark," though satisfied that the condition of Gratiot's accounts was only a pretext for action that had previously been determined on.5

Leaving Arlington about May 25, 1839, Lee started out alone for the West and pursued a new route, via Staunton, Va., a journey that he was to remember twenty-two years thereafter, when he followed part of the same road at the beginning of a forlorn campaign to redeem disaster. He reached Guyandotte, on the Ohio, Sunday, June 2, and before he even alighted from the stage he had the good fortune to see a steamer coming downstream. He hailed her, got aboard, and went on to Cincinnati, which was her destination. Thence he voyaged to Louisville, where he arrived on the evening of June 4. His thoughts naturally p172 were of his growing family, and of the indulgent mother left to care for them. The familiar note of homesickness crept into the letter he wrote his wife the morning after he got to Louisville:

"You do not know how much I have missed you and the children, my dear Mary. To be alone in a crowd is very solitary. In the woods I feel sympathy with the trees and birds, in whose company I take delight, but experience no pleasure in a strange crowd.

"I hope you are all well and will continue so, and therefore must again urge you to be very prudent and careful of those dear children. If I could only get a squeeze at that little fellow turning up his sweet mouth to 'Keese babe!' You must not let them run wild in my absence, and will have to exercise firm authority over all of them. This will not require severity or even strictness, but constant attention and an unwavering course. Mildness and forbearance, tempered by firmness and judgment, will strengthen their affection for you, while it will maintain your control over them."6

Back in Saint Louis, Lee received word, about July 1, 1839, that he had a new daughter, who had arrived on June 18 and had been named Annie Carter Lee.7 The father was philosophical about the event: "Do you know," he remarked in a letter to Mackay, "how many little Lees there are now? It is astonishing with what facility the precious creatures are dressed up for the return of their Papa! I am sure to be introduced to a new one every Christmas. They are the dearest annuals of the season. . . . I am informed that there is now at home a little long nosed fellow waiting for my first benediction, and my sister Nanie has a black headed duplicate to greet the arrival of my sailor brother from the West Indies. With what a bountiful hand are these little responsibilities distributed."8

His domestic affairs thus settled in the fashion of his fecund generation, Lee dispatched Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bliss to begin the removal of rock from the Des Moines Rapids as soon as the stage of the p173 river permitted. For his own part he prepared to continue work on the dyke above Bloody Island, which had been somewhat damaged the previous winter by the accumulation of ice against the section that had not been strengthened with rock. To increase his funds for the enterprise Lee got permission from the bureau to sell the equipment he did not need for his reduced force.9 He had, also, to abandon his revised plan for running the dyke, and under orders from the chief engineer returned to the original project of a dyke perpendicular to the Illinois pier. There was added to the design an intersecting dam, which was intended to secure the head of the dyke on the Illinois side.10 Despite these discouragements Lee was cheerful, as he usually was when so busy that he had no time to think of his distant family or the uncertainties and disappointments of the public service. "We are just getting to work at the Rapids with a good prospect of success," he wrote his friend, Major W. A. Hitchcock on July 24. The river here has not been very high this year. The bar has elongated from the foot of the B[loody] Is[lan]d, and the head of Duncan's Is[lan]d has been proportionately shortened. The river is falling quite rapidly and I am preparing to get to work here the 1st of next month."11

By August 12 the Mississippi was low enough for Lee to begin construction. It was undertaken with all his energy. "He went in person with the hands every morning about sunrise," the then mayor of Saint Louis wrote, "and worked day by day in the hot broiling sun, — the heat being greatly increased by the reflection of the river. He shared the hard task and common fare and rations furnished to the common laborers, — eating at the same table, in the cabin of the steamboat used in the prosecution of the work, but never on any occasion becoming too familiar with the men. He maintained and preserved under all circumstances his dignity and gentlemanly bearing, winning and commanding the esteem, regard, and respect of every one under him. He also slept in the cabin of the steamboat, moored to the bank near the p174 works. In the same place, Lieut. Lee,12 with his assistant, Henry Kayser, Esq., worked at his drawings, plans and estimates every night till 11 o'clock."13

The driving of piles and the extension of the pier to the head of Bloody Island had been going on just two weeks when a man named Morris, a property holder on the Illinois shore, procured from the judge of the Second Illinois Circuit an injunction against the further prosecution of the work. Lee had procured the necessary permits from the owners of Bloody Island and from the owner of the land where the dyke left the Illinois shore, but he was restrained by the court because it was alleged that the harbor improvements would create a shoal on the Illinois side and would injure property values in Brooklyn, a "town" laid out on paper below the ferry that operated to Saint Louis. Lee regarded the argument as fallacious and the fears of the Illinois complainants as unfounded. He reported the proceedings to United States district attorney for Illinois, and requested him to move to have the injunction vacated, but that was all he could do.14 There was little probability that the case would be decided before the regular term of the court in February, 1840.

Work at Saint Louis, therefore, had to be suspended after August 27, despite many grumblings and some protests that Lee should go ahead in the face of the court order,15 but the improvement in conditions on the river had been great. The dyke at the lower end of Bloody Island was holding fast and had given so much added strength to the current that a further section of Duncan's Island and a stretch of 1700 feet of the bar above the island had been swept away. Where the bar had previously been dry, when the river was still six feet above low water, a two-fathom channel now gave access to the wharves. The upper dyke, though still unfinished, had so contracted the sweep of the river that a new channel, a thousand feet wide, had been cut through what, as recently as 1838, had been a dry sand bar. Steamboats now had a straight course down the river. The results satisfied p175 Lee, but when he came to sum them up he gave warning that the project had to be carried to completion if the improvement was to be permanent. A year's delay, he cautioned, might produce a wholly changed situation. The expenditures had only been some $57,000 of the estimated $158,000.16

For the work on the upper Mississippi in 1839 Lee had proposed that a large party be organized, with ample machinery, and that the rock in the river be attacked simultaneously at several points, so that if interruption came at one place this extensive plan had to be curtailed. With no money except the balance carried over from 1838 Lee was forced to confine his activities to the Des Moines Rapids. And in order that no charge of favoritism could be brought he was directed to divide his time and money between the bad "lower chain," opposite the modern Keokuk, and the still worse "English chain," slightly more than two miles upstream.17

Work began early and favorably, with Lieutenant Bliss in charge. The weather was mild. The river was low. Lee himself was at the rapids about the middle of July. He saw the redoubtable Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Dick Tilghman then, returning from Dubuque, where he had been to award a contract for a road. "General Brooke happened at Galena while we were there," Lee subsequently reported to Joe Johnston, "and besides the pleasure of meeting him again, we had much sport in fighting the battles of Old Point over again. But it was done temperately and in a temperance manner, for the general has foresworn strong potations, and our refreshments consisted of only soda-water and ice-cream, delicacies that had been untasted by the general for the last nine years, and four times a day did we pay our respects to the fountain and freezer. Dick . . . finding some spare days on his hands, 'accoutred as he was,' . . . plunged into a pleasure party for the Falls of St. Anthony that came along in fine spirits with music playing and colors flying."18

p176 The upper "English chain" at the Des Moines Rapids was the best point at which to begin work. Going north through this chain the anxious navigator first encountered a detached bed of rock, and then entered a channel not more than thirty feet wide, obscurely marked and swept by a heavy current. This channel ran parallel to the Illinois shore for some 500 yards and then turned at right angles to the west and wound around a reef in a course that could hardly be followed at all when the water was low. From the pool reached at the end of these windings the channel passed through another detached bed of rock. Under Lee's plan the narrow thirty-foot channel at the lower end of the chain was widened to fifty to eighty feet, according to the position. The difficult windings above the right angle were cut to a straight channel for the removal of the beds of rock at the head and the foot of the channel.

From the "English chain" the whole force was moved down the river to attack the "lower chain." Here the great obstacle to navigation was a flat reef 200 feet long and upwards of 40 feet wide, with only a narrow chute on either side. As there was a bad cross-current through this chain, as well as a crooked channel and a shoal, navigation at low water was impossible. Bliss removed nearly all the reef during the period of operations at the "lower chain" and opened a passage fifty feet wide and nearly four feet deep. Before suspending work at the close of the season Lee set eight buoys, though he suspected that the ice would carry them away that winter.19

When the boats were brought back to Saint Louis from the rapids and the men were discharged in the fall of 1839, some 2000 tons of stone had been removed. Lee believed that "a tolerable season's work" had been done, "considering the lack of cash,"20 but he was persuaded that sound economy called for the p177 construction of boats and machinery capable of working a larger force of men. The decay of boats and the time spent in repairing them, he reported, consumed nearly half of the appropriations.21

He had few added opportunities to study costs and results that autumn, for after the injunction had halted operations in Saint Louis harbor, Colonel Totten, back in Washington, had shown no disposition to let Lee kick his heels idly off the side of the steamboat. Instead, Lee was sent to inspect improvement work on the Ohio, and then down the Mississippi, where he made a faithful count of snags. Lee was next ordered to the Missouri and again up the "Father of Waters" to "Lamallee's Chain," midway the Des Moines Rapids. Through this chain a very practicable channel was found that would admit of easy navigation simply by widening a narrow passage. In making these reports on the activities, particularly in that on the improvement of the Missouri River, Lee argued downrightly for internal improvements to help build up the West. A Whig politician would hardly have been more serious.22

Having no duties to perform during the winter season, either in the harbor or at the rapids, Lee procured leave of absence and made the long journey overland to Arlington. He had been gone more than seven months and he was overjoyed to be home. "I suppose you have heard of my escape from the West," he jubilantly wrote his cousin, Hill Carter of Shirley. ". . . . You must not understand that I am displeased with the state of things in that country; on the contrary I think it is a great country and will one day be a grand one, all is life, animation and prosperity, but that it is far more pleasant for me to be here than there. I felt so elated when I again found myself within the confines of the Ancient Dominion that I nodded to all the old trees as I passed, chatted with the drivers and stable-boys, shook hands with the landlords, and in the fulness of my heart — don't tell Cousin Mary — wanted to kiss all the pretty girls I met."23 His real reward p178 was not the greetings of wayside maidens, but the sight of his new baby, Annie. As he gathered his children about him he must have felt patriarchal for a man just thirty-three. His progeny now numbered four, a boy of eight and another approaching his fourth birthday, a girl in her sixth year and the newcomer in the cradle. It may have been at this time, during the winter of his return from the West, that the youthful Custis unwittingly impressed on Lee his ever increasing moral responsibility for this growing household. Lee took Custis out for a walk one snowy day, and when they had ploughed along together awhile, Custis dropped behind. After a few minutes Lee looked back and found that his little boy was behind him, imitating his every move and walking in the tracks the father had made in the snow. "When I saw this," Lee told one of his friends long afterwards, "I said to myself, 'it behooves me to walk very straight when this fellow is already following in my tracks.' "24

Lee was apprehensive that he would be sent to the Red River, but after four happy months of leave, approximately for the somewhat dull social season of January-April, 1840,25 he was assigned to temporary duty in the office of the chief engineer, waiting for the decision of Congress on further appropriations for the Mississippi. Virtually all the money that had previously been voted for the work had been spent; there was no use going West again until he knew whether it would be to resume operations or to close the project, unfinished. On July 21 Congress adjourned without allowing a dollar for the enterprise. Not only so, but the temper of the lawmakers was such that Lee doubted whether Congress would resume internal improvements for years to come. Lee was convinced by the politicians' arguments, stoutly as he had advocated the work entrusted to him. "As far as I could learn, . . ." he said, [congressmen] seem satisfied to leave the subject to the individual States, and I think the U. S. have done their part in commencing it."26 Nothing remained except p179 to cover the long road once more and write "finis" to all the hopes of a completed Federal enterprise. "I anticipate no pleasure on the trip, I assure you, but altogether the reverse," Lee wrote in disgust to Charles Mackay. "The rivers are all low, weather hot and country sickly and I am afraid I shall have to go all the way over land."27

Receiving his orders on July 24,28 Lee started west shortly thereafter, and on his arrival in Saint Louis began a survey of the effects of the ice and freshets on the piers he had constructed in 1838‑39. The dyke from the Illinois shore to the head of Bloody Island continued to operate, as Lee had expected, in throwing the current west of the island, thereby deepening the channel on the Missouri side. The other dyke was still diverting the water and throwing it against the head of Duncan's Island, which was steadily being washed away. By this time the channel between Bloody Island and Duncan's Island was deep enough to pass the largest of the Mississippi steamboats to the Saint Louis wharves. If the Missouri side of Bloody Island were revetted with stone to protect it from a curious cross-current that had developed, the work, it appeared, would permanently serve its purpose, when finished. There was, also, a new small shoal near the foot of the lower pier and between it and the city. This gave Lee some temporary concern. Watching it closely, however, he concluded that it was gradually diminishing and that it consisted only of sand washed downstream from the vicinity of Bloody Island.29 Up at the Des Moines Rapids, Lee found that the buoys he had placed the previous autumn had washed away. The new channels cut in 1839 were being used exclusively and had facilitated navigation. The improvement, however, was incomplete and failed to give passing ships the depth of direct channel the growing commerce of the river required.30

Now that he was back in the West, he was not so philosophical about the abandonment of the project to the state and the city. It seemed a shame to have made so effective a beginning and not to finish it after so much labor. But orders were given to be obeyed! The maintenance of the equipment was so expensive p180 that it was uneconomical to retain some of the boats in the hope they might be useful when and if Congress authorized resumption. Lee accordingly sold at public auction all the boats, the machinery at Saint Louis and the greater part of that which had been employed at the rapids. It was with a heavy heart that he did this. "Lee expressed to me," the mayor of Saint Louis recorded, "his chagrin and mortification at being compelled to discontinue the work. It seemed as if it were a great personal misfortune to stop, when the work was about half finished."31 Lee's distress was deepened by another attack of the homesickness that so often beset him in the West. The very sight of children made him yearn for his own. He wrote Mrs. Lee:

"A few evenings since, feeling lonesome, as the saying is, and out of sorts, I got on a horse and took a ride. On returning through the lower part of the town, I saw a number of little girls all dressed up in their white frocks and pantalets, their hair plaited and tied up with ribbons, running and chasing each other in all directions. I counted twenty-three nearly the same size. As I drew up my horse to admire the spectacle a man appeared at the door with the twenty-fourth in his arms. 'My friend,' said I, 'are all these your children?' 'Yes,' he said, 'and there are nine more in the house, and this is the youngest.' Upon further inquiry, however, I found that they were only temporarily his, and that they were invited to a party at his house. He said, however, he had been admiring them before I came up, and just wished that he had a million of dollars and that they were all his in reality. I do not think the eldest exceeded seven or eight years old. It was the prettiest sight I have seen in the West, and perhaps in my life."32

On October 6, Lee completed his last work at Saint Louis, the writing of his reports. A few days later he started back home,33 where his presence was needed for the usual reason — the approach of still another baby. Lee naturally was not anxious to have a fifth child arrive while Annie was under two years of age, but, as usual, he accepted the inevitable. "Among the things that then p181 distracted my attention," Lee wrote in March, 1841, was the arrival of another little Lee, whose approach, however long foreseen, I could have disposed with for a year or two more. However, as she was in such haste to greet her Pa, I am now very glad to see her."34

Lee's return to Washington, several months before the advent of this impatient youngster, marked the end of his labor on the Mississippi. Covering roughly the thirty-first to the thirty-fourth years of his life, it was his initial independent detail as a responsible supervising engineer. It taught him little that he did not know already concerning the management of labor, the handling of accounts, and the award of contracts, but it did three things for him. First, it developed his ingenuity in the practice of his profession and it strengthened still further his quiet confidence in his ability to meet unexpected problems. There had been no cocksureness in his approach to the task of diverting the current of the Mississippi. He had sought and doubtless had received the counsel of Shreve, of Gratiot, and of Talcott, the last of whom had been studying a similar condition on the Hudson. In some of his proposals, Lee had been overridden by Gratiot.35 Always deferring cheerfully, as well as officially, to the chief engineer, he had shown, on the other hand, no disposition to dodge his responsibility. He hesitated only once over the safe length of the pier from the Illinois shore to the head of Bloody Island, and then he chose the bolder alternative. As far as his method may be reconstructed, it was thoroughly scientific: He analyzed carefully the conditions he had to correct and he did not start construction until he was entirely satisfied that the solution he proposed was the one that gave the best promise of the desired result at a reasonable figure. As he left the West, he was more than ever convinced that study of a problem — detached and adequate study on the ground — was the engineer's first duty and his greatest pledge of success.

The Saint Louis enterprise brought him, in the second place, into close relations with municipal officers and a critical public. p182 He won the support of the officials, as he did of nearly all the men with whom he was closely associated. The people who had opposed the diversion of the current, because they believed the improvement would hurt their imaginary town of Brooklyn, failed to arouse any personal feeling in his heart. He reasoned with them candidly and in the light of all the facts, but he did not get angry. His experience in the injunction proceedings neither soured nor disgusted him. He met it with quiet poise as one of the vexations of his work. In this respect he had gained greatly since he left Fort Monroe. His letters shown none of the spirit, half-jesting though it was, that had made him wish in 1834 he might have a hand in "stewing" Macomb for the General's treatment of Talcott.

Finally, Lee's two years and a half on the Saint Louis project established his professional standing. He went to Missouri a promising young officer; he returned an engineer of recognized reputation in his corps. A difficult task had been brilliantly performed, and the fullest praise for it had been accorded him. From that time onward, though his friend General Gratiot was no longer chief engineer, and he was not yet intimate with Colonel Totten, he had the highest esteem of his superiors. He did not realize it at the time, for sometimes that old intermittent spirit of frustration arose in his heart and the neglect of the army by Congress made him think he was working in a blind alley. Yet the fact remained: the opportunities that were to come him in Mexico were created at Saint Louis.

The withdrawal of Federal aid did not prove the end of the Saint Louis project. What Congress refused to do, the city undertook on its own account. Henry Kayser, who had been one of Lee's civil assistants, was named to carry on the improvement at the expense of the municipality. He consulted Lee frequently about his difficulties and held to that officer's plan. Duncan's Island was washed completely away, and Bloody Island became, in time, a part of East Saint Louis.36 The people of the city gave chief credit to Lee. "By his rich gift of genius and scientific knowledge," wrote Mayor Darby, "Lieut. Lee brought the Father of Waters under control. . . . I made known to Robert E. Lee, in p183 appropriate terms, the great obligations the authorities and citizens generally were under to him, for his skill and labor in preserving the harbor. . . . One of the most gifted and cultivated minds I had ever met with, he was as scrupulously conscientious and faithful in the discharge of his duties as he was modest and unpretending. He had none of that coddling, and petty, puerile planning and scheming which men of little minds and small intellectual calibre use to make and take care of their fame. The labors of Robert E. Lee can speak for themselves."37


The Author's Notes:

1 MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, March 14, 1839, vol. 7, p93; cf. ibid., Feb. 11, 1839, vol. 7, p61.

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2 MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, vol. 7, pp64, 72, 81, 100, 118, 135, 152, 154, 157, 163, 172, 179, 198, 232, 242, 262, 273, 283, 330, 332, 361, 362.

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3 Lee to Talcott, MS., May 18, 1839; Talcott MSS. (VHS). Lee applied for leave on March 29 and was allowed it on April 9 (MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, April 9, 1839, vol. 7, p136).

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4 Lee to Talcott, MS., May 18, 1839; Talcott MSS. (VHS).

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5 Ibid., and supra, pp157‑58.

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6 Lee to Mrs. Lee, June 5, 1839; Jones, 369.

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7 For her name and the date of her birth, see Brock, 163.

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8 Lee to Mackay, MS., Nov. n. d., 1839; Elliott MSS.

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9 MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, May 3, 1839, Aug. 23, 1839, vol. 7, pp165 and 260.

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10 MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, May 18, 1839, vol. 7, p182.

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11 Lee to E. A. Hitchcock, MS., July 24, 1839, graciously made available to the writer by Mrs. W. A. Croffut, of Washington, D. C., daughter of General Hitchcock.

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12 Darby always referred to Lee in his autobiography as "Lieutenant," the grade Lee held when he came to Saint Louis.

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13 Darby, 228.

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14 MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, Sept. 18, 1839, vol. 7, p286; Missouri Republican, Sept. 7, 1839.

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15 Missouri Republican, Sept. 7, 25, 1839.

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16 Lee's report 1838‑39, in Ex. Docs., 1st sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, pp199‑201.

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17 These places are accurately located on Sheet No. 116 of the Mississippi River, published by the Mississippi River Commission, 1895, courteously supplied by the chief engineer of the United States army.

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18 Lee to J. E. Johnston, July 26, 1839, Long, 45‑46. Some local references to Lee's quarters while on this or earlier expeditions to the rapids will be found in 2 Wisconsin (p176)Magazine of History, 229, 239. He is there said to have been at Fort Madison and at Montrose, but there are no specific references to these places in his extant correspondence. A few memorabilia, of no historical importance, appear in Lee's MS. Letter-book as president of Washington College, Feb. 11, and March 16, 1869. The Iowa Journal of History, 25, 646, stated that his map of the Des Moines Rapids was printed in The Burlington Post, June 18, 1927.

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19 Lee's report, Ex. Docs., 1st sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, p197 ff.; MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, Nov. 7, 1839, vol. 7, p336.

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20 Lee to Mackay, MS., Nov. n. d., 1839; Elliott MSS.

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21 Lee's report, Ex. Docs., 1st sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, p197 ff.

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22 Lee's report on the Missouri River, Ex. Docs., 1st sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, p202; Lee to chief engineer, MS., Oct. 31, 1839; Eng. MSS., 166; Lee's report on the lower Mississippi, Ex. Docs., 2d sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, p123; Lee's report on Lamelee's Chain, ibid., 1, 135; MS. Letters to Officers of Engineers, vol. 7, p345.

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23 Lee to Hill Carter, MS., Jan. 25, 1840; Shirley MSS., placed at the disposal of the writer through the kindness of Mrs. Marian Carter Oliver of Shirley.

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24 Long, 34.

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25 Lee to Hill Carter, MS., Jan. 25, 1840; Shirley MSS. One of his brothers was ill during this time. Lee mentioned it as a "domestic calamity"; Lee to chief engineer, MS., Dec. 16, [1839]; Eng. MSS.

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26 Lee to Mackay, MS., July 23, 1840, copy of which, from the original in the possession of Mrs. Robert L. Mercer, the writer has gratefully received through Mrs. Frank Screven of Savannah, Ga.

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27 Ibid.

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28 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Oct. 10, 1840; Eng. MSS., 263.

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29 Lee's report, Ex. Docs., 2d sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, p135.

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30 Ibid., p134.

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31 Darby, 230.

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32 Lee to Mrs. Lee, Sept. 4, 1840; Fitz Lee, 30.

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33 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Oct. 10, 1840; Eng. MSS., 263.

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34 Lee to Mackay, MS., March 18, 1841; Elliott MSS. The Misses Lee were not accustomed to confide their age to their friends, nor do accessible records give the dates of the birth of all of them. Brock stated Eleanor Agnes Lee was born "about 1842." The actual date was sometime in January-March, 1841.

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35 Darby, 229.

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36 Drumm, op. cit., 169.

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37 Darby, 229, 231, 231‑32.


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