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[418] he might pay the tribute of admiring friendship to his loved General.

After writing in a charming manner about various family and and social matters, Captain Lee says:

Your commendations upon the conduct of the army in this war has filled me with pleasure; they justly deserve it. There was no danger too great for them to seek and no labor too severe for them to undertake. The fall of a comrade did not retard a single step, but all pressed forward to their work. Better soldiers never died on any field. Nor has the navy been behind them in their duties. They have risked every exposure and every disease, have served on land with as much alacrity as on shipboard, have captured every port they could reach, and now hold the whole coast closely blockaded. They have only lacked the opportunities afforded to the army. I think our country may well be proud of the conduct of both arms of the service. As to myself, your brotherly feelings have made you estimate too highly my small services, and though praise from one I love so dearly is very sweet, truth compels me to disclaim it. I did nothing more than what others in my place would have done much better. The great cause of our success was in our leader. It was his stout heart that cast us on the shore of Vera Cruz; his bold self-reliance that forced us through the pass of Cerro Gordo; his indomitable courage that, amid all the doubts and difficulties that surrounded us at Puebla, pressed us forward to this Capitol, and finally brought us within its gates, while others, who croaked all the way from Brazos, advised delay at Puebla, finding themselves at last, contrary to their expectations, comfortably quartered within the city, find fault with the way they came there. With all their knowledge I will defy them to have done better. I agree with you in your opinion of these dissensions in camp; they have clouded a bright campaign. It is a contest in which neither party has anything to gain and the army much to lose, and ought to have been avoided. The whole matter will soon be before the Court, and if it be seen that there has been harshness and intemperance of language on one side, it will be evident that there has been insubordination on the other.

It is difficult for a General to maintain discipline in an army composed as this is in a foreign country, where the temptations to disorders are so great and the chance of detection so slight. He requires every support and confidence from his government at home. If he abuses his trust or authority it is then time to hold him to

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Sidney Smith Lee (1)
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