from him and forwarded to Richmond
in December, 1861, or January, 1862.
Upon his arrival, General Scott
sent for him, wishing to talk with him about the National
condition and prospects, as well as about other matters and people in that department.
After extended and various conversation, in which General Scott
seemed with his usual delicacy to have avoided reference to any military comment or criticism of our campaigns or movements, Governor Anderson
said to him:
, what about Colonel Lee
replied, ‘Sir, Robert E. Lee
is, of his grade, the first soldier in Christendom.’
then said, ‘General Scott
, is it your habit at a distance of six or eight or ten years apart, in expressing the same thought, to use identically the same language?’
—‘If the same language should best express the same idea, why should I not?
But what do you mean?’
—‘I will swear, that when in 1854 I asked you about the qualifications of Major Robert E. Lee
of West Point
you used identically the same words that you have now used—viz., that of his grade, Lee
was the first soldier in Christendom.’
‘Well,’ said General Scott
, ‘I believed it then as I do now, and think it very likely that I did use the same language.’
He then proceeded to say that in the march from Vera Cruz
to the city of Mexico
there was not an encampment nor a battle-field which had not been previously selected by Lee
, then a Captain, and chief of engineers on the staff of General Scott
; that not a battle in that campaign, had been fought, the day and place of which had not been previously announced by despatches to the Government
, and that in every instance the announcement had been justified by the result in their due order; and this he attributed chiefly to the fact of having such a captain of Engineers.
then proceeded to detail an interview between Colonel Lee
and himself, held a short time before the secession of Virginia
, while the Convention
of that State was in session.
, having called upon General Scott
, opened the interview by saying:
, I have called upon you to say, what I deem it my duty to say to you as my superior officer and as my best friend’——
At this point, General Scott
divining his purpose, and not wishing him to commit himself, said: