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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
p405
Chapter XXIV

Colonel Lee Declares the Faith That Is in Him

Pitying his tired fellow-travellers more than himself, Lee reached New Orleans on the afternoon of February 13, 1860, and humorously admitted the next day, in a letter to Custis, that he had failed to bring some rather personal belongings with him: ". . . imagine my horror this morning when I found I had left my shaving-brush and pants behind. The first I constantly leave, but my pants, my new pants, I cannot account for. . . . I could hardly believe my own eyes when I found them out of their accustomed place. Take care of them, or use them as may be most convenient."1

From New Orleans on February 15, Lee sailed by steamer for Indianola, and thence he went to San Antonio, arriving on February 19. As he expected to direct the department for a short time only, he did not open elaborate private quarters, but thriftily boarded on the plaza. The next day he assumed command.2 He found part of the forces disorganized by a series of plundering raids, made by Indians in northern Texas. On February 3, the animals of residents in the vicinity of Camp Colorado had been driven off. On February 17 many mules were stolen from Camp Cooper, perhaps by collusion. The garrison had been so reduced at the time, because of numerous detachments for scouting expeditions, that the band men had to be sent in pursuit of the thieves. Twenty-three mules were recovered, but forty others and three horses were lost. The very next day all the animals from the Indian agency near Camp Cooper were whipped into the p406 wilds by marauders, and a citizen was shot within two or three miles of a fort by three Indians on foot. Lee attributed these outrages to the lack of adequate troops in Texas, and also to the fact that the horses of the troopers were so worn down by hard riding that they could not overtake fleeing robbers.3 The War Department promptly took cognizance of these and of other depredations by the Comanches and Kiowas, and authorized a large expedition sent out against the Indians as soon as the grass on the prairies would suffice for the horses.4 Until this could be done, Lee worked as best he might to restore order.

The situation in the North had improved to such an extent by March 15 that Lee left San Antonio on that date for the Rio Grande to deal with Juan Cortinas. This man had been a bandit and desperado for ten years and in various ways had defied the Texas authorities. With something more than fifty men, on September 28, 1859, he had seized the town of Brownsville, where there were no United States troops and only a few American citizens. Cortinas had a free hand to murder and to rob, and then, for a time, he played hide and seek on both sides of the Rio Grande. On October 22 he worsted an irregular force sent out against him, and captured two light field-pieces from it. This success greatly emboldened him and gave to his activities almost the appearance of an insurrection. On the night of December 5, however, Lee's old West Point acquaintance, Major S. P. Heintzelman, arrived at Brownsville with 117 men, took over the demoralized Texas Rangers, and on December 27, near Rio Grande City, attacked and routed Cortinas's bandits. Thereafter the thieving band disintegrated rapidly.5 With the leader on the run and his followers dispersed, Lee anticipated no trouble, "but," he wrote Custis, "there are so many contradictory reports that I think it better to see for myself, that I may if possible give quiet there and rest to the authorities at Washington."6

p407 Accompanied by a single company of cavalry, Lee pushed on toward Ringgold Barracks, but turned to the southwest and made for the Rio Grande in the vicinity of Eagle Pass, when he heard a rumor that Cortinas was in that quarter. From Eagle Pass, Lee and his men rode down the river to the barracks, where they arrived on March 31.7 Once on the Rio Grande, Lee saw it would be impossible to catch Cortinas, or to prevent his return, unless the Mexican Government also took action against the bandit. Lee had been authorized to demand co-operation and to enter Mexico, if need be, in pursuit of Cortinas, so he called the Mexicans to their duty in this letter, written in a style he probably had acquired thirteen years before from General Scott:

Hd. Qrs. Ringgold Barracks, 2d April, 1860.

His Excy. Andres Trevino,

Govr. of State of Tamulipas, etc.,
       Victoria, Mexico.

Sir: In consequence of the recent outrages of Cortinas and his followers upon the persons and property of American citizens, I have been instructed by the Sec'y of War of the U. S. to notify the authorities of Mexico on the Rio Grande frontier, that they must break up and disperse the bands of banditti which have been concerned in these depredations and have sought protection in Mexican territory. Further, that they will be held responsible for the faithful performance of this plain duty on their part. I have, therefore, the honor to request that your Excellency will cause to be dispersed any bands within the States under your jurisdiction, having for their object depredations upon American soil.8

From Ringgold Barracks, on April 3, Lee conducted a careful inspection of the lower Rio Grande valley and not until April 11 did he reach Fort Brown.9 On the way he had some correspondence with the authorities at Reynosa,10 and later he received a protest from General G. Garcia of the Mexican army, over the action of some of the Texas Rangers, who had gone across the river p408 into Mexican territory at that point, forty miles west of Matamoras, in quest of Cortinas. Lee answered with some sharpness:

Hd. Qrs. Fort Brown, Texas, 12th April, 1860.

Gen'l G. Garcia,

Commr. in Chief of the line of the Bravo,

    Matamoras, Mexico.

Gen'l: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 6th inst. on my way to this place, and postponed replying till my arrival. I regret that you consider the visit of Captain Ford of the Texas Rangers to the town of Reynosa, a cause for complaint, as that officer in his official report of the occurrence supposed he was acting in accordance with your sanction and the general understanding between yourself and Major Heintzelman, commanding the U. S. troops on the Rio Grande, viz., that the outlaw Cortinas and his band should be pursued and arrested wherever found.

I was gratified to learn from the authorities of the city of Reynosa and am pleased to have it repeated in your letter of the 6th that the authorities and public force of Mexico, under the orders of the superior authorities, will pursue and punish Cortinas and his followers; as the vindication of the violated laws of the United States will conduce to the restoration of quiet on our frontiers, and of amicable feelings between the two countries. For the attainment of this object I shall employ, if necessary, all the force in this Department, and I beg leave to inform you that I have been directed by the Honble Sec'y of War of the U. S., to notify the Mexican authorities on the Rio Grande, that they must break up and disperse the bands of banditti concerned in the outrages against the persons and property of American citizens. I shall therefore consider it my duty to hold them responsible for its faithful performance. As this agrees with the orders of the superior authorities of your own Govt. and I am sure is in accordance with your own sentiments, I feel confident of your cordial cooperation in the only means of preserving peace between the two countries. I have been informed that there are now in Matamoras persons that were engaged with Cortinas in his depredations upon American soil, ready, if opportunity favors, to renew these aggressions. If this is the case, I shall expect as an evidence p409 of the friendly relations between the Govts. of the U. S. and Mexico, that they be apprehended and punished agreeably to the orders of the superior authorities of Mexico.11

Lee did not think the Mexicans would act against Cortinas, and though the bandit was reported to be 135 miles away, moving into the interior, Lee would have crossed the river and would have started in pursuit if he had believed his feeble horses could have found food in the country they would have had to cover.12 As time passed and Lee heard nothing more of the bandit, he decided that Cortinas had left the Rio Grande, and he accordingly planned to return to San Antonio. The day before he had arranged to start, however, he got a report that Cortinas was back on the Rio Grande. To trap him Lee sent two companies across the river, only to find, once again, that rumor outrode the bandit. More correspondence with the Mexican authorities followed. Finally they promised to arrest Cortinas, and Lee set out for San Antonio. He covered the 264 miles between May 8 and 17.13 Two months later Lee was able to report that even rumors of Cortinas's presence on the north bank of the Rio Grande had ceased and that he proposed to withdraw some of the troops from unhealthy districts on the river.14

From the time of his arrival at San Antonio until late in the autumn Lee had only his routine duties to occupy him.a He drew up a plan for the establishment of a military post at the headwaters of the Concha, but could do nothing to carry out the idea, as the Secretary of War had no funds available for it.15 He had a few things to cheer him, such as the arrival of his first grandchild, whom Rooney and Charlotte insisted on naming after him. "I wish," he said, "I could offer him a more worthy name and a better example. He must elevate the first, and make use of the latter to avoid the errors I have committed. I also expressed the thought [in a separate letter to Charlotte] that under the circumstances you might like to name him after his great-grandfather, and wish you both, 'upon mature consideration,' to follow p410 your inclinations and judgment. I should love him all the same, and nothing could make me love you two more than I do."16

A certain amusement Lee found in the observance of Saint John's Day, when every Mexican in San Antonio rode wildly up and down the streets. "I did not know before," he said, "that Saint John set so high a value upon equitation."17 He interested himself in the building of an Episcopal church at San Antonio,18 and he was rejoiced that his youngest son, Robert, was preparing for confirmation.19 Despite his separation from his family, he tried to be philosophical. ". . . We want but little," he wrote Rooney. "Our happiness depends upon our independence, the success of our operations, prosperity of our plans, health, contentment, and the esteem of our friends."20 But under the surface of cheerfulness, this was a time of deep depression with Lee. He only hinted at it vaguely in one of his letters:

"At this distance from those you love and care for, with the knowledge of the vicissitudes and necessities of life, one is rent by a thousand anxieties, and the mind as well as body is worn and racked to pieces. But I will not, dear Cousin Anna, impose my sad thoughts upon you, for a man may manifest and communicate his joy, but he should conceal and smother his grief as much as possible. Touching your kind wishes for my speedy return, you know the embarrassment that attends it. A divided heart I have too long had, and a divided life too long led. That may be one cause of the small progress I have made on either hand, my professional and civil career. Success is not always attained by a single undivided effort, it rarely follows a halting vacillating course. My military duties require me here, whereas my affections and urgent domestic claims call me away. And thus p411 I live and am unable to advance either. But while I live I must toil and trust."21

Slow promotion, as well as homesickness, had something to do with this mild but melancholy expression of the old sense of frustration. He was now fifty-three, and had been twenty-two years in advancing from the grade of captain to that of lieutenant colonel. Between him and the rank of general officer stood nineteen colonels and three lieutenant colonels, while four other lieutenant colonels had been commissioned the same day he had been. Twenty-two men at least between him and titular brigade command! After holding a commission for thirty-one years his pay was only $1205 per annum, and his gross return from the government — pay, rations, quarters, travel, and everything — wasº only $4060.22 This was discouraging to the father of four unmarried daughters, and the husband of an invalid wife. What made it worse was the belief that he did not know how to advance his interests in the army. There was Joe Johnston, for instance. Johnston had belonged to the topographical engineers, but he had early undertaken special duties in order to win promotion. Lee had realized what Johnston was after, had seen how he was proceeding to get what he wanted, and yet Lee had felt himself wholly incapable, somehow, of doing the same thing.23 Johnston, who was a cousin of the Secretary of War, had been on detached duty in Washington and had been assigned important duties. Lee was glad to see his friend advanced and cheerfully admitted that Johnston was worthy of the honor, but he was stung by what he considered the injustice of Floyd's preferment of Johnston. "I think it must be evident to him," Lee confided to Custis, "that it never was the intention of Congress to advance him to the position assigned him by the Sec'y. It was not so recognized before, and in proportion to his services he has been advanced beyond anyone in the army and has thrown more discredit than ever on the system of favoritism and making brevets."24

p412 While Johnston was in Washington, death made vacant the office of quartermaster general, long held by Thomas S. Jesup. The office carried with it the rank of brigadier general and, of course, was much sought after. Scott is reported to have been asked to suggest a successor to Jesup and is said to have declined to do so, preferring instead to name four men, any one of whom he considered qualified. The four were Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Albert Sidney Johnston, and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Charles F. Smith.25 As among these possible appointees, Floyd chose Joseph E. Johnston.26 Lee cheerfully wrote his congratulations to the fortunate brigadier:

San Antonio, Texas, July 30, 1860.

My dear General: I am delighted at accosting you by your present title, and I feel my heart exult within me at your high position. I hope the old State may always be able to furnish worthy successors to the first chief of your new department; and that in your administration the country and army will have cause to rejoice that it has fallen upon you. Please present my cordial congratulations to Mrs. J., and say that I fear, now that she will have you constantly with her, she will never want to see me again. May happiness and prosperity always attend you is the sincere wish of

Very truly yours,           
R. E. Lee27

His old classmate's attainment to the rank of the general officer made Lee look on himself, more than ever, as a failure, a man whose errors of judgment and slowness in promoting his own interests had left him far down the ladder.28

In this depression of mind, as the autumn of 1860 opened, Lee found himself involved in the darkest of American tragedies. He had bantered Cassius Lee years before about the superiority of the Whigs, and he had watched the outcome of the successive presidential elections with more than the average man's interest, but this had primarily been because of the effect that changes of p413 administration had on the War Department and on the army. Of Congress he had seen enough to view it without illusion, but he had served in no Southern state except Texas in nearly thirty years, and he had not had close contact with the passions the slavery question had aroused there. It was his nature, moreover, to leave politics to the politicians.

It could no longer be so. The wrath aroused by the John Brown raid had not cooled. Politics had become the affair of every man and the concern of every soldier, for the old amity among the states was gone. Men all around Lee were talking of secession if the "Black Republicans" carried the presidential election. The Republican ticket, Lincoln and Hamlin, had no support in Texas. Douglas and Johnson, the nominees of the Northern element of the disrupted Democratic party, had only a scant following. Lee himself had believed in July that Judge Douglas should withdraw "and join himself and party to aid in the election of Breckinridge" and the defeat of Lincoln, but he had added regretfully, "Politicians I fear are too selfish to become martyrs."29 The real contest in the Lone Star State was between Bell and Everett, the Whig candidates, and Breckinridge and Lane, chosen by the Southern Democrats who had left the Charleston convention because of disagreement over the party's declaration on slavery in the territories. When the state elections of October 9 in Pennsylvania and Indiana were carried by the Republicans,30 the Southern Democrats in Texas argued that the only possible way to defeat Lincoln was to throw the whole strength of the South to Breckinridge.31 This view prevailed. In the fateful election of November 6, 1860, Texas's vote was Breckinridge, 47,548, Bell, 15,463. Lee's own state went for Bell by a plurality of 358 over Breckinridge. But Lincoln was elected. In four days the South Carolina legislature issued a call for a convention to withdraw the state from the Union; sentiment for secession grew stronger over night; and everywhere in Texas the people were flying the "Lone Star" flag. Governor Sam Houston was opposed to secession, and as his opponents were sure he would not call an extra p414 session of the legislature, they began to agitate for a "popular convention" chosen without a formal legislative call.32 Much influence in behalf of secession was exerted by the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret organization somewhat similar to the post-bellum Ku Klux Klan. The K. G. C. had "castles" all over the state. It was believed they could on four days' notice put 8000 fully equipped men in the field.33

From Lee's own state such newspapers as he received during the first weeks after the election told of much dissatisfaction and of many appeals for secession, but of no action to that end. Lee was profoundly concerned but not despairing. "The Southern states," he wrote Custis, "seem to be in a convulsion . . . It is difficult to see what will be the result, but I hope all will end well." He was expecting at the time to be relieved of command of the Department of Texas by the return of General D. E. Twiggs,34 and he thought that after the General's arrival he would be sent on an expedition into the Comanche country. In the letter just quoted he told his son of this: "But I shall not mind that, nor regret my departure from San Antonio, except so far as it will take me farther from you all, and render my communication with you more distant and precarious. But God's will be done! It will only prepare us for a longer separation soon to come. My little personal troubles sink into insignificance when I contemplate the condition of the country, and I feel as if I could easily lay down my life for its safety. But I also feel that would bring but little good."35

His distress over the threat to the Union, and his lack of sympathy with the extreme policies proposed by many of those about him, caused Lee to withdraw into himself and to guard his tongue. From this period date the first of the references to the reserve he showed so strongly in later years that it has been p415 mistakenly assumed to be a part of his personality from youth. "I knew him well," wrote a Kentuckian, who was thrown with him often in the fall of 1860, "perhaps I might say, intimately, though his grave, cold dignity of bearing and the prudential reserve of his manners rather chilled over-early, or over-much intimacy."36 There is no earlier comment on Lee's "coldness." On the other hand, his exuberance of spirit was often noted, especially in his youth.

As the exciting days passed it looked for a time as if secession might be accomplished peaceably and by consent. General Scott believed the Southern states should not be forced to remain in the Union or punished for leaving it, though he had no sympathy with secession. Horace Greeley said in the Tribune: "We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets."37 This "Greeley policy" was strengthened by a reaction on the part of some who had voted for Lincoln without realizing what the consequences might be.38 Lee sensed this movement, and momentarily he, too, reasoned that the Union might simply be dissolved. In such a case his command would, of course, be withdrawn from Texas and might be disbanded. If, on the other hand, the Union were preserved, he was still ambitious to win advancement. In a letter to Custis, he stated the alternatives half-awkwardly and half-seriously: "If the Union is dissolved, which God in his mercy forbid, I shall return to you. If not, tell my friends to give me all the promotion they can."39 That, surely, was not the language of one who believed war was inevitable. Neither was it the language of a man who knew the adroit, secret methods of getting the promotion he naturally desired.

Passion continued high while Lee still hoped. Events rushed on. A committee of Texans on December 3 joined in a call to the p416 people to elect a convention to decide whether the state should secede. The next day President Buchanan in his annual message to Congress declared that secession was "neither more nor less than revolution," a sentence that stuck in Lee's mind. On December 6 the people of South Carolina elected a convention, every member of which was a secessionist. Then, on the 7th, seeing that a convention might be called in spite of him, Governor Houston summoned the Texas legislature to meet on January 21, 1861, in extra session. The air was full of boasts and threats; the advocates of immediate secession were asserting that they spoke for the entire South, and some were hinting that disaster would overtake the border slave states unless they joined the secession movement.

Lee's wrath slowly rose as this attitude showed itself among "Cotton-state" extremists with whom he had little in common. He did not admit the unity of Southern interests. Save as he felt that the citizens of every south had equal rights in the territories, he had no regard at the time for the South as a section, much less as a confederation. His mind was for the Union; his instinct was for his state, Virginia. He felt powerless to help in preserving the Union, but with the religious faith that had been growing steadily since the Mexican War, he could not believe a beneficent Providence would permit its destruction. As for his state, he looked on Virginia much as he did on his family. He did not then or thereafter stop to reason out the nature of this feeling, which was instinctive.

He set forth these views in a letter he wrote Custis on December 14. He told first of the arrival of General Twiggs and of his own prospective departure for the headquarters of his regiment at Fort Mason:

"He [General Twiggs] thinks the Union will be dissolved in six weeks, and that he will then return to N[ew] O[rleans]. If I thought so, I would not take the trouble to go to Mason, but [would] return to you now. I hope, however, the wisdom and patriotism of the country will devise some way of saving it, and that a kind Providence has not yet turned the current of Hisº blessings from us. The three propositions of the President are p417 eminently just, are in accordance with the constitution and ought to be cheerfully assented to by all the States.40 But I do not think the Northern and Western States will agree to them."

Then he went on:

"It is, however, my only hope for the preservation of the Union, and I will cling to it to the last. Feeling the aggressions of the North, resenting their denial of the equal rights of our citizens to the common territory of the commonwealth, etc., I am not pleased with the course of the 'Cotton States,' as they term themselves. In addition to their selfish, dictatorial bearing, the threats they throw out against the 'Border States,' as they call them, if they will not join them, argue [sic] little for the benefit While I wish to do what is right, I am unwilling to do what is wrong, either at the bidding of the South or the North. One of their plans seems to be the renewal of the slave trade. That I am opposed to on every ground. . . .41

He added the practical counsel that Custis should pay all debts as soon as possible and should "hold on to specie."42 Almost before this letter had left San Antonio, Lee declared himself even more fully when Charles Anderson came to him with a copy of a confidential pamphlet General Scott had sent him. Anderson explained that Scott had asked him to show this document to General Twiggs, to Lee, to such other officers as Anderson thought proper. Anderson had already lent it to General Twiggs, who had grumbled over it, and had remarked, on Anderson's statement that he intended to pass it on to Lee, "Ah! I know General Scott full believes that God Almighty had to spit on his hands to make Bob Lee and Bob Anderson."

After Anderson left, Lee read the paper, which proved to be an p418 exposition of General Scott's views on the steps that might be taken to prevent war, and on the strategy that should be followed in case hostilities should be opened.43 Lee doubtless reflected that the publication of Scott's plan would be accepted in Texas as proof of the overt intentions of the Federal Government and might thereby aggravate the probability of war that Scott, Anderson, and he alike were anxious to avert.

He accordingly sent for Anderson, who called in company with Doctor Willis G. Edwards. Lee returned him the pamphlet. "My friend," said he, "I must make one request of you, and that is, that you will not suffer these Views to get into the newspapers." Anderson promised, though he did not understand why Lee was so solicitous on this point. The conversation then shifted, inevitably, to the crisis. Anderson spoke out vigorously. Lee remarked, "Somebody surely is grievously at fault, probably both factions." Anderson, strongly Federalist in his views, answered that he had previously thought both sides were to blame, but that he had concluded there was a definite conspiracy against the Union, by men who were only alleging abolition as an excuse. Lee made no answer. Then Doctor Edwards raised the question whether a man's allegiance was due his state or the nation. Lee's courteous reticence vanished. Instantly he spoke out, and unequivocally. He had been taught to believe, he said, and he did believe that his first obligations were due Virginia.44

His own position plain to all his intimates, Lee left San Antonio on December 19 for the comparative isolation of Fort Mason, the headquarters of the 2d Cavalry.45 He had not been with his regiment for two years and two months; in fact, from the time he had taken command at Louisville, in 1856, until he left Texas for the last time in February, 1861, he was with his own soldiers only fourteen months and with other troops a little more than two months. That constituted his experience as a line officer prior to the time he resigned from the United States army.46 In Mexico, p419 of course, during 1847, he had enjoyed larger opportunities, but always as a staff officer, even though a most favored one.

Neither Lee nor his men were in a mood to improve their renewed acquaintance by hard drilling or field manoeuvres after the lieutenant colonel came back to headquarters. They discharged their routine duties, of course, but in bewilderment of mind they saw their world being dissolved about them. Every mail brought reports of some new tragedy. While Lee had been riding toward Fort Mason, South Carolina's convention had voted unanimously for secession, and hotheads had rejoiced as though the division of the Union were as great an act as its creation. In Congress the Crittenden compromise was voted down almost in the hour of South Carolina's secession. On December 26, Colonel Robert Anderson, commanding the United States coast defenses at Charleston, S. C., moved his troops from an exposed position at Fort Moultrie to the security of Fort Sumter, in the harbor. Men held their breath, not knowing whether the next day would see madness sweeping the country into the agonies of war, or whether sanity would assert itself in a new compromise that all would accept as a better alternative than bloodshed among brothers.

The new year came, the blackest in American history. On January 9, the steamer Star of the West was fired on by South Carolinians as she attempted to enter Charleston harbor, with reinforcements for the garrison of Fort Sumter. On the same day Mississippi seceded. Florida followed on the 10th, Alabama on the 11th, and Georgia on the 18th. Every hour the prospect seemed darker, but earnest men, in and out of Congress, were still at work and had not despaired of effecting a settlement.

At Fort Mason, Lee watched events and spent some of those dismal January days in reading Everett's Life of Washington, which had been prepared for the Encyclopaedia Britannica and had been separately republished. It was a hasty work of no originality, and it traced the career of Lee's hero with scant interpretative comment. One passage, however, suggested a parallel that probably did not escape Lee's eye. It was this:

"Washington, by nature the most loyal of men to order and law, whose rule of social life was obedience to rightful authority, was from the first firmly on the American side; not courting, not p420 contemplating, even, till the eve of the explosion, a forcible resistance to the mother country, but not recoiling from it when forced upon the colonies as the inevitable result of their principles."47

That was almost precisely the state of mind in which, on January 23, 1861, Lee wrote in a letter home his fullest and most important statement of his conception of his duty in the crisis. He said:

". . . I received from Major Nicholls Everett's life of Washington, you sent me and enjoyed its perusal very much. How his spirit would be grieved could he see the wreck of his mighty labors! I will not, however, permit myself to believe till all ground of hope is gone that the work of his noble deeds will be destroyed, and that his precious advice and virtuous example will so soon be forgotten by his countrymen. As far as I can judge by the papers, we are between a state of anarchy and civil war. May God avert from us both. It has been evident for years that the country was doomed to run the full length of democracy. To what a fearful pass it has brought us. I fear that mankind will not for years be sufficiently Christianized to bear the absence of restraint and force. I see that four states have declared themselves out of the Union; four more will apparently follow through their example. Then, if the Border States are brought into the gulf of revolution, one-half of the country will be arrayed against the other. I must try and be patient and await the end, for I can do nothing to hasten or retard it."48

In another letter of the same date, written probably to Custis, he said:

"The South, in my opinion, has been aggrieved by the acts of the North, as you say. I feel the aggression, and am willing to take every proper step for redress. It is the principle I contend for, not individual or private gain. As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate p421 no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a recourse to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for 'perpetual union' so expressed in the preamble,49 and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness,50 has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and save in defence will draw my sword on none."51

In a similar spirit, he wrote Markie Williams:

"God alone can save us from our folly, selfishness and short sightedness. The last accounts seem to show that we have barely escaped anarchy to be plunged into civil war. What will be the result I cannot conjecture. I only see that a fearful calamity is upon us, and fear that the country will have to pass through for its sins a fiery ordeal. I am unable to realize that our people will destroy a government inaugeratedº by the blood and wisdom of our patriot fathers, that has given us peace and prosperity at home, p422 power and security abroad, and under which we have acquired a colossal strength unequalled in the history of mankind. I wish to live under no other government, and there is no sacrifice I am not ready to make for the preservation of the Union save that of honour. If a disruption takes place, I shall go back in sorrow to my people and share the misery of my native state, and save in her defence there will be one soldier less in the world than now. I wish for no other flag than the 'Star spangled banner' and no other air than 'Hail Columbia.' I still hope that the wisdom and patriotism of the nation will yet save it.

"I am so remote from the scene of events and receive such excited and exaggerated accounts of the opinions and acts of our statesmen, that I am at a loss what to think. I believe that the South justly complains of the aggressions of the North, and I believed that the North would cheerfully redress the grievances complained of. I see no cause of disunion, strife and civil war and pray it may be averted.

"My own troubles, anxieties and sorrows sink into insignificance when I contemplate the sufferings past and prospective of the nation. Yet I am very desirous to be near those who claim my protection, and who may need my assistance. Nothing prevents my endeavouring to do so but the necessity of my presence with the Regiment. There is no other field officer with it."52

On the convictions expressed in his talk with Anderson, and on those set forth in these letters, which were written nearly three months before he resigned from the army, the whole of Lee's subsequent course was based. He refused to despair until the very last hour, but he believed that the country stood between anarchy, through the dissolution of the Union, and war, through secession. Like Buchanan, he regarded secession as nothing but revolution. Prior to the war, he never believed in secession as a right. In January, 1861, it was not justified in his opinion, even as revolution, but if it came, he would not serve a Union that had to be maintained by force.

The plain inference from the concluding sentence of the second letter quoted above is that if secession destroyed the Union, Lee p423 intended to resign from the army and to fight neither for the South nor for the North, unless he had to act one way or the other in defense of Virginia. In this, he showed that he was no constitutional lawyer. Apparently he did not stop to reason that Virginia could not be neutral in a war between the states, but must either fight with the North against the South or with the South against the North. Perhaps his optimism and his devotion to the Union led him to close his mind to this hard logic of action. But Mrs. Lee correctly stated his position when she said, "From the first commencement of our troubles he had decided that in the event of Virginia's secession, duty . . . would compel him to follow."53 In the light of his own words and hers, it is hard to understand why it has been so widely believed that he waited until the secession of Virginia to determine what he would do.54 There is not the slightest doubt that before he left Texas he had decided, without any mental struggle, or thought of personal gain or loss, to stand with Virginia, though he hoped with all his heart that the Union would be preserved.

Time and circumstance were not to shake him from this position. His political philosophy was born in him, a part of his very ego. Reaction to particular events was merely the steadfast response of a determined soul to developments he deplored but could not deflect. His one hope was inspired by a religion as simple as his instinctive allegiance to Virginia. After Louisiana seceded, on January 26, and the Texas convention met in belligerent p424 temper on the 28th, he wrote in deepest distress: "The country seems to be in a lamentable condition and may have been plunged into civil war. May God rescue us from the folly of our own acts, save us from selfishness and teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves."55

Demoralization had now come over the army commanders in Texas. General Twiggs believed that he would soon be compelled to surrender his forces. Pay had stopped and all allowances were reduced. Every one was waiting for a turn of events that each one shaped according to his own hopes or fears. Lee hoped that if Texas seceded the United States troops would be ordered away. "I certainly shall not want to stay," he told Mrs. Lee.56 An Indian raid in the country below Fort Mason called forth the usual pursuit, but the interest in it was dwarfed by greater events.57

On February 1 the Texas convention, which the legislature had voted to recognize, passed an ordinance of secession by a vote of 166 to 7.58 This ordinance provided for a referendum, but the convention proceeded to act as if ratification by the people were certain, as indeed it was. Secession was now a reality in seven states, and plans for the establishment of a separate Southern government were under way. Offsetting, to some extent, these grim omens of internecine strife, was the news that a peace conference, called at the instance of Virginia, had met in earnest mood on February 4 in Washington. On the same day the people of Lee's mother state elected a convention but chose to it a two-to‑one majority of delegates opposed to secession. Virginia voters overwhelmingly decided, further, that no ordinance of secession should be valid unless and until it was approved by the voters at the polls.59

For these reasons, hope was not dead when Lee received a p425 wholly unexpected message from Twiggs's headquarters in San Antonio, under date of February 4: by direct order of the War Department Lieutenant Colonel Lee was relieved of duty with his regiment and was directed to report in person to the general in chief in Washington by April 1.60

What did this mean? Was it the preliminary of promotion? Was it simply a new assignment to duty? If so, why the reference to reporting to the general in chief? Why not simply to the War Department? Did General Scott want Lee close to him in a crisis, a crisis that might involve Virginia? Lee did not know, but he feared Scott wished to consult him regarding plans for hostilities. He suspected, moreover, that he was being transferred permanently from Texas and he accordingly prepared to move all his belongings, which were bulky and somewhat valuable. On February 13, relinquishing command of his regiment, he climbed into an ambulance at Fort Mason for the journey to San Antonio, whence he was to proceed to the coast.61

As the vehicle was about to start, one of Lee's young officers asked: "Colonel, do you intend to go South or remain North? I am very anxious to know what you propose doing."

"I shall never bear arms against the Union," Lee answered simply, "but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in the defense of my native state, Virginia, in which case I shall not prove recreant to my duty."

The driver cracked the whip, the ambulance started, and Lee called back, "Good-bye; God bless you!"62 It was the last time Lee ever saw any of his troopers except as prisoners of war or as visitors after Appomattox.

On the long road to San Antonio,63 Lee stopped at a familiar spring for lunch, and found one of his officers, Captain George B. Cosby, already there. As they ate together and chatted, Cosby expressed the opinion that Lee was being called to Washington p426 to confer on a campaign against the South in case of war. Lee replied that he feared Cosby's surmise was correct, and if it were, he would resign. Cosby subsequently wrote of Lee: "He further said that he had confidence that Virginia would not act on impulse, but would act as she had in the past, and would exhaust every means consistent with honor to avert civil war. That, if she failed and determined to secede, he would offer her his services. That he had ever been taught that his first allegiance was due his mother State; that he fervently hoped that some agreement would be reached to avert such a terrible war; and there was no personal sacrifice he would not make to save his beloved country from such a dreadful calamity; but under no circumstance could he ever bare his sword against Virginia's sons. As he spoke his emotion brought tears to his eyes, and he turned away to avoid showing this emotion which was greater than he afterwards showed when he lost or won some great battle."64

Sick and sad at heart, Lee continued on his journey, pondering many things, and not least the new developments in Texas, especially as they concerned General Twiggs. That veteran officer, who had taken over from Lee the command of the department on December 13, 1860,65 was a native Georgian, seventy years old, and a strong "states' rights man." He had been slow to resume his duties in Texas after the election of Lincoln because he believed the Union was certain to be dissolved, and he had been frank to say in his official correspondence that he would not fire on American citizens.66 Repeatedly he asked Washington for instructions, stating that he did not assume the government desired him to carry on civil war in Texas and that he consequently would turn over the army property in his department to the government of the state after Texas seceded.67 He had asked on January 13 that he be relieved of command, but orders had not been issued until January 28, and then the necessary papers had been p427 sent by mail.68 While the orders were on their way, with Twiggs wholly in the dark concerning the policy of the Government, Texas had seceded and her representatives had opened negotiations with General Twiggs for the transfer of army property in Texas. Twiggs followed the course he had notified the government he would pursue. On the days Lee was being driven from Fort Mason to San Antonio, General Twigg's commissioners were arguing with the Texas committee of safety in regard to what the United States troops should carry with them as they marched out of Texas. The question was close to settlement when, on February 15, the order of January 28, relieving Twiggs of command, was received by him. Colonel C. A. Waite, of the 1st Infantry, next senior officer in the department, was named his successor.69 Waite was from New York and was a strong Unionist. The Texans reasoned that he would not surrender the Federal property, so before daylight on February 16 they abandoned diplomacy for force, marched into San Antonio and seized the government stores.70

The first intimation that Lee had of any of this was when his ambulance drew up in front of the Read House in San Antonio about 2 o'clock that afternoon. Immediately the vehicle was surrounded by a crowd of curious men, on whose coats or shirts Lee observed crude red insignia. Soon he saw Mrs. Caroline Darrow, the wife of a friend, coming across the square to meet him.

"Who are these men?" he asked as soon as he had greeted her.

"They are McCulloch's," she answered. "General Twiggs surrendered everything to the state this morning, and we are all prisoners of war."

The shock of her announcement upset Lee's poise for a moment. Tears came into his eyes. His lips trembled in spite of him. "Has it come so soon as this?" he said.71

Prisoners of war! Was he one of them? Had he driven into a trap? Was he included in a formal surrender? He must have asked himself these questions as he walked over to the hotel and registered. What should he do? Technically, he was no longer p428 an officer on duty in the Department of Texas. If he insisted on that fact, he might be able to leave the state and report to the War Department, according to orders. To determine the precise state of affairs, he took off his uniform, put on civilian clothes, and went across to headquarters.72 There he found the secessionists in complete control. The authority of the United States was at an end.

Either then or a day or two later, while he was trying to make arrangements to travel to the coast, the Texas commissioners bluntly told Lee that if he would forthwith resign his commission and join the Confederacy, he should have every facility, but that if he refused he would not be allowed transportation for his effects. Holding that his allegiance was to Virginia and to the Union, not to any revolutionary government in Texas, Lee was indignant at such a proposal.

He left the commissioners and sought out his friend Charles Anderson, to whom he told the story of the Texans' offer with a wrath that Anderson was surprised to see him exhibit. Nothing had been said by the commissioners, apparently, about detaining Lee personally; consequently he determined to entrust his belongings to Anderson, there in San Antonio, and, regardless of threats, to set out for home by way of Indianola. It was better, far, to risk his property than his honor. Would Anderson care for his boxes and his equipment until they could be forwarded? His friend promised quickly enough, and started with him to the storage merchant's.

On their way thither, or as they prepared to separate, Lee thought he should make his position still plainer to the man who was helping him. He asked if Anderson remembered their conversation in the presence of Doctor Edwards some time previously? Anderson recalled it distinctly. Lee then said: "I think it but due to myself to say that I cannot be moved by the conduct of those people from my sense of duty. I still think, as I then told you and Doctor Edwards, that my loyalty to Virginia ought to take precedence over that which is due the Federal Government. And I shall so report myself at Washington. If any stands by the old Union, so will I. But if she secedes (though I p429do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution), then I will still follow my native state with my sword, and if need be with my life. I know you think and feel very differently, but I can't help it. These are my principles, and I must follow them."73

In sad reflection on the political tragedy he was witnessing, Lee slept little that first night in San Antonio, and it must have been with some difficulty that he met curious inquiries with the statement that he was neutral in the controversy between Texas and the Union.74 By discretion and silence he avoided a commitment that might have had a momentous effect on his own career and on the whole course of the war. For what might not have happened if he had been in command of the department instead of Twiggs when the Texans demanded surrender? His own state had not seceded; he would have had no hesitancy in obeying the orders of the War Department; he certainly would have refused to surrender government property. Would he then have clashed with the Texans? Would he have been the first to face secession fire? The experience of Colonel Waite indicates that it might have been so. Waite was soon at odds with the Texans. They refused him transportation, and, on April 23, arrested him and several of his officers as prisoners of war,75 though they promptly paroled them.76

As speedily as he could, Lee prepared to leave San Antonio. When friends came to say good-bye, his views were freely expressed and fully understood. To one officer he said simply and in the deepest distress: "When I get to Virginia I think the world will have one soldier less. I shall resign and go to planting corn."77

Hurrying away from San Antonio, Lee went to Indianola, where he arrived on February 22. By steamer he reached New Orleans on February 25 and made his way homeward through a troubled p430 country.78 A separate government, the Confederate States of America, had been set up at Montgomery, Ala., and Lee's friend, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jefferson Davis, had been chosen its President before Lee had reached the Texas coast. The mails, however, were still passing freely between the North and South, the free navigation of the Mississippi had been pledged by the Confederate Congress,79 and, what was infinitely more important, not a blow had been struck. The Federal administration was perplexed about Fort Sumter, but was generally expected to withdraw its garrison and thereby to avert a clash. General Scott, though strongly for the maintenance of Federal authority, advised this course.80 Tense as was the situation, there was nothing to compromise Lee's status as an officer of the United States army when he reached Alexandria on March 1, took carriage, and soon joined his loved ones at Arlington.81


The Author's Notes:

1 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Feb. 14, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 109.

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2 Diary in Mason, 68.

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3 W. W. Lowe to G. H. Thomas, MS., Feb. 21, 1860; G. H. Thomas to Dept. Texas, MS., Feb. 22, 1860; Lee to A. G., MS., Feb. 20, 1860; Lee to Hdqrs. Army, MS., March 6, 1860; A. G. O.

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4 H. L. Scott to A. G., MS., March 10, 1860; A. G. O.

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5 Heintzelman's full report of March 1, 1860. House Ex. Doc. 81, 1st sess., 36th Cong., p2; conveniently reprinted in House Report No. 701, 2d sess., 45th Cong., Appendix, p75 ff.

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6 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, March 13, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 110.

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7 Diary in Mason, 68.

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8 Ex. Doc. 81, 1st sess., 81th Cong., p84; Jones, L. and L., 111.

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9 Diary in Mason, 68‑69.

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10 House Road, No. 701, 2d sess., 45th Cong., Appendix, p84.

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11 House Road, No. 701, loc. cit., 84; Jones, L. and L., 112.

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12 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, April 16, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 113‑14.

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13 Diary and fragment of a letter to Mrs. Lee, May 2, 1860; Mason, 69.

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14 Lee to A. G., MS., July 19, 1860; A. G. O.

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15 Lee to Hdqrs. Army, MS., Aug. 13, 1860; A. G. O.

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16 R. E. Lee to W. H. F. Lee, June 2, 1860; Jones, 381. Cf. same to same, April 2, 1860, Jan. 29, 1861; Jones, L. and L., 112‑13, 121‑22. An account of the christening appears in Lee to Mrs. Lee, MS., Jan. 23, 1861; Lee Papers.

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17 Lee to Mrs. Lee, June 24, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 115.

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18 R. E. Lee, Jr., 33.

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19 Lee to Mrs. Anna Fitzhugh, MS., June 6, 1860; Confederate Museum. Lee's reference, which evidences his belief in the doctrine of religious conversion, is as follows: "I know you will sympathize in the joy I feel at the impression made by a merciful God upon the youthful heart of dear little Rob. May He that has opened his eyes to the blessings of Salvation, taught him the way, and put in his heart the good resolution he has formed, enable him to do all things to secure and accomplish it. . . ."

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20 R. E. Lee to W. H. F. Lee, Aug. 22, 1860; Jones, 381.

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21 R. E. Lee to Mrs. Anna Fitzhugh, MS., June 6, 1860; loc. cit.

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22 Army Register, 1860; Ex. Doc. 54, H. of R., 2d sess., 36th Cong.

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23 Cf. "Joe Johnston is playing Adjt. Gen'l in Florida to his heart's content. His plan is good, he is working for promotion. I hope he will succeed" (Lee to John Mackay, MS., Feb. 3, 1846; Elliott MSS.).

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24 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, April 16, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 113.

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25 Robert M. Hughes: General Johnston, 33.

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26 Named as of June 28, 1860.

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27 Robert M. Hughes, op. cit., 34.

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28 His letters of 1860‑61 contain several references to his "errors." E.g., R. E. Lee to W. H. F. Lee, June 2, 1860, Jan. 29, 1861; Jones, L. and L., 113‑22.

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29 Lee to Major Earl Van Dorn, MS., July 3, 1860; Library of Congress.

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30 J. F. Rhodes: History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 (cited hereafter as Rhodes), vol. 3, p114.

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31 D. G. Wooten: Comprehensive History of Texas (cited hereafter as Wooten), vol. 2, p83.

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32 2 Wooten, 85‑86.

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33 Charles Anderson: Texas Before and on the Eve of the Rebellion. . . . (Cincinnati, 1884) (cited hereafter as C. Anderson), pp8, 17‑18.

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34 Jones (L. and L., 115‑16, and elsewhere) consistently misread "Twiggs" in the Lee mss. for "Scruggs." There was no "Scruggs" among the general officers of the army. If Twiggs had not returned, Lee would have been superseded on the arrival in Texas of Colonel C. A. Waite of the 1st Infantry, whose commission antedated Lee's (L. Thomas to A. G., MS., Oct. 24, 1860; A. G. O.).

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35 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Nov. 24, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 115‑17.

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36 C. Anderson, 24. The rest of the passage is worth quoting as the estimate of a man who was strongly Unionist in sympathy, a brother of Major Robert Anderson's, of Fort Sumter: "And of all the officers or men whom I ever knew he came (save one other alone) the nearest in likeness to that classical ideal Chevalier Bayard. . . . And if these, our modern, commercial, mechanical, utilitarian ages, ever did develop a few of these types of male chivalric virtues, which we attribute solely to those 'ages of faith,' Robert E. Lee was one of the highest and finest models."

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37 3 Rhodes, 141 ff.

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38 3 Rhodes, 144.

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39 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Dec. 5, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 118.

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40 Buchanan had urged an "explanatory amendment" on slavery containing (1) a recognition of "the right of property in slaves in the states where it now exists or may hereafter exist"; (2) the duty of protecting this right in the territories, "throughout their territorial existence, and until they shall be admitted as states into the Union, with or without slavery, as their constitutions may prescribe," (3) enforcement of the fugitive-slave laws, with a declaration of the unconstitutionality of state laws modifying them (5 Richardson: Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 5, 638).

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41 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Dec. 14, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 118‑19.

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42 This does not appear in Jones's version but is in the original which is among the Duke Univ. MSS.

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43 It was entitled: "Views Suggested by the Imminent Danger, Oct. 29, 1860, of a Disruption of the Union by the Secession of One or More of the Southern States."

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44 C. Anderson, 29‑31. Anderson fixed the date of this conversation as Dec. 15, 1860, or about that time. The Views were republished in The Washington National Intelligencer, Jan. 18, 1861.

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45 He arrived on Dec. 22; Diary in Mason, 70.

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46 The total strength of the Second Cavalry, as of Feb. 26, 1861, was 739 officers and men.

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47 Edward Everett, Life of George Washington, 94.

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48 MS. Lee Papers, copy of which was graciously supplied the writer by Mrs. Mary Custis Lee De Butts. Jones (op. cit., 137) gave a very incorrect version of this letter.

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49 Here, of course, as illustrating his lack of familiarity with constitutional law, Lee confused the preamble of the Articles of Confederation with that of the Constitution of 1787, which proposed a "more perfect union."

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50 This, it will be observed, was an echo of the Tribune editorial (supra, p415) that was the basis of the "Greeley policy."

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51 Jones, L. and L., 120‑21. In a letter to A. C. Brackett (n. d., n. p.), he is quoted as saying: "I fear the liberties of our country will be buried in the tomb of a great nation" (Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, cited hereafter as B. and L.), 1, 36 n.

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52 Jan. 22, 1861; Markie Letters, 58‑59.

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53 Quoted (second-hand, unfortunately) in Long, 91.

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54 Cf. Taylor's General Lee, 20: ". . . those who knew him best understood that there was no struggle of this kind, although it was a serious trial to him to separate himself from a service to which he had devoted the best years of his life and all the ability he possessed." This view of Taylor's, based on an intimate knowledge of Lee, is confirmed by a score of circumstances, among them those attending an interview Lee had in November, 1865, with a British visitor, Herbert C. Saunders. When Saunders, in July, 1866, sent him the manuscript of an article he proposed to publish, Lee declined to be quoted but, as explained in Volume IV of this work, he revised Saunders's manuscript. Saunders had written: "This right [of secession] he [i.e., Lee] told me he always held as a constitutional maxim. . . . As to the policy of secession on the part of the South he was at first distinctly opposed to it, and it was not until Lincoln issued a proclamation for 75,000 men to invade the South which he deemed clearly unconstitutional that he had then no longer any doubt what course his loyalty to the Constitution and to his State required him to take" (MS., July 31, 1866; Washington and Lee University, first cited and reproduced in Winston, 391 ff.). Lee made various changes in this statement, and struck out altogether the reference to the "doubt" in his mind. The last sentence, as finally revised by Lee read thus: "As to its exercise [i.e., of the right of secession] at the time on the part of the South, he was distinctly opposed, and it was not until Lincoln issued a proclamation for 75,000 men to invade the South which was deemed clearly unconstitutional that Union withdrew from the U. States."

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55 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Jan. 30, 1861; Jones, L. and L., 122. Jones's transcription of this letter makes a new sentence begin with the word "Save." Although Lee never hesitated as to his own duty, he was anxious that his children's interests should not suffer. In this letter to Custis, he spoke of the money that was being accumulated to pay off the legacies provided in the will of his father-in‑law. He had intended, he said, to buy Virginia bonds, but Virginia might secede, in which case the investment might be lost. Custis, however, was to act as the other executors advised (Duke Univ. MSS.).

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56 Lee to Mrs. Lee, Jan. 23, 1861; MS., Lee Papers.

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57 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Jan. 30, 1861; Jones, L. and L., 122.

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58 2 Wooten, 104.

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59 Provision for the election of a convention had been made on Jan. 12, 1861, at a special session of the general assembly of Virginia.

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60 For the date and channel of delivery of these orders, see Lee to L. Thomas, A. A. G., MS., April 1, 1861; A. G. O.

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61 Diary in Mason, 71.

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62 R. W. Johnson: A Soldier's Recollections in Peace and War, 132‑33.

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63 Lee sometimes spent the night, while on his travels around Fort Mason, at the little hotel in Fredericksburg, operated by a German named Nimitz. The proprietor always assigned Lee to the same quarters, which he later preserved and exhibited as "General Lee's room" (36 Confederate Veteran, 51; Decca Lamar West in Texas Monthly, April, 1930, p323).

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64 Geo. B. Cosby in 13 Confederate Veteran, 167‑68.

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65 R. E. Lee to Custis Lee, Dec. 14, 1860; Jones, L. and L., 119.

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66 D. E. Twiggs to A. G., Jan. 18, 1861; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, series I, vol. 1, p581. This work will be cited hereafter as O. R., and all citations, unless preceded by Roman numerals, will be to Series I. Numerals immediately preceding "O. R." refer throughout to volume numbers.

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67 O. R., 1, 582.

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68 O. R., 1, 581, 584.

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69 O. R., 1, 590.

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70 Twiggs's report, O. R., 1, 503.

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71 Mrs. Caroline B. Darrow in 1 B. and L., 33.

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72 Ibid.

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73 C. Anderson, op. cit., 32. An earlier, incomplete version of this episode will be found in 11 S. H. S. P., 443 ff. Anderson's article was written in 1884, twenty-three years after the incidents he described, but his statements fit in so perfectly with Lee's private letters, which Anderson probably had not read, that Anderson's testimony commends itself as valid. His credibility is increased by the fact that he was vehemently anti-Confederate.

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74 Mrs. Darrow, loc. cit.

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75 O. R., 1, 576.

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76 II O. R., 1, 86. The Roman numerals refer to the Second Series of the Official Records.

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77 R. M. Potter, quoted in 1 B. and L., 36 n.

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78 Diary in Mason, 71. Lee, it would seem, never recovered his baggage. It was shipped to Virginia by way of New York, where it was seized (Baltimore American, May 23, 1861, p1, col. 1).

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79 3 Rhodes, 296.

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80Rhodes, 332‑33.

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81 Diary in Mason, 71. A few days before his arrival his family had received a visit from two very interesting young men, Charles Francis Adams and Henry Adams (Autobiography of Charles Francis Adams, 90‑91).


Thayer's Note:

a One of these "routine duties" involved the extensive testing of camels and their suitability as pack animals, a project that had occupied some of Lee's time since 1859. The details are given in "Operation Camel: An Experiment in Animal Transportation in Texas, 1857‑1860", Southwestern Hist. Q., pp43‑48.


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