previous next

[561] States. General Lee was nominated and confirmed to the highest grade then existing in the Confederate army, and to the highest rank of the officers who were transferred by Virginia, as was due to the position he held in that army. The relative rank of officers who left the Army of the United States and joined that of the Confederacy was fixed by the law of March 14th, 1861; beyond this the Executive had authority to select General officers, with the limitation that, after the army was organized, the selection must be made from the officers thereof. Brigadier-General Twiggs was the highest in rank of the officers who left the United States army to serve the Confederacy, and under our law must have had the highest rank if he had been willing to enter for the general service; he declined to do so, and was commissioned in the provisional army. So much for the fictitious engagement with ‘Sidney Johnston for first command.’

But, yet further, it may be stated that when Lee left the United States army and took service with Virginia, and when he was commissioned in the Confederate service, Brevet-Brigadier-General Sidney Johnston was commanding the United States forces in California, and we had no information of an intention on his part to join the Confederacy. It is cruelly unjust, as it is utterly untrue, that Johnston came to the Confederacy under an engagement about his position in our army, and it is within my personal knowledge that he did not know, until after he arrived at Richmond, that our law secured his relative rank if he left the United States army to join that of the Confederacy.

A fair knowledge and appreciation of the character of Lee, would have excluded the supposition that he would have counted among obstacles, the expectation that he would be ranked in the new service by the Colonel of their former regiment, an officer of eminent ability and distinguished service. I have stated elsewhere, and more fully than it is convenient to do now, how little regardful about their rank either of these great and good men were. They offered their swords and their lives to the defence of their country's cause, without counting the cost or claiming a reward. I do not know what is meant by ‘Lee's Virginia soil conditions.’ So far as I know, he made no conditions on entering the Confederate army, and the proof that he did not consider himself on local duty, is found in his service in South Carolina and Georgia.

To those officers who were reared in the army, and had followed

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Robert E. Lee (4)
Sidney Johnston (2)
Twiggs (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 14th, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: