previous next

[364] but the highest praise belongs to Lee's inciting and sustaining motive—duty. To bear to the commanding general the needful information he dared and suffered for that which is the crowning glory of man—he offered himself for the welfare of others.

He went to Mexico with the rank of captain of engineers, and by gallantry and meritorious conduct rose to the rank of colonel in the army, commission by brevet. After his return he resumed his duties as an officer of the engineer corps. While employed in the construction of Fort Carroll, near Baltimore, an event occurred which illustrates his nice sentiment of honor. Some members of the Cuban Junta called upon him and offered him the command of an expedition to overthrow the Spanish control of the island. A very large sum of money was to be paid immediately upon his acceptance of their proposition, and a large sum thenceforward was to be paid monthly. Lee came to Washington to converse with me upon the subject. After a brief discussion of the military problem, he said it was not that he had come to consult me about—the question he was considering was whether while an officer in the United States army, and because of any reputation he might have acquired as such, he could accept a proposition for foreign service against a government with which the United States were at peace. The conclusion was his decision to decline any further correspondence with the Junta.

In 1852 Colonel Lee was made superintendent of the United States Military Academy—a position for which he seemed to be peculiarly fitted as well by his attainments as by his fondness for young people. his fine personal appearance, and impressive manners. When a year or two thereafter I visited the academy, and was surprised to see so many gray hairs on his head, he confessed that the cadets did exceedingly worry him, and then it was perceptible that his sympathy with young people was rather an impediment than a qualification for the superintendency.

In 1855 four new regiments were added to the army—two of cavalry and two of infantry. Captain Lee, of the engineers, brevetcolonel of the army, was offered the position of lieutenant-colonel of the Second regiment of cavalry, which he accepted. He was a bold, graceful horseman, and the son of Light-Horse Harry now seemed to be in his proper element; but the chief of engineers endeavored to persuade him that it was a descent to go from the engineer corps into the cavalry. Soon after the regiment was organized and assigned to duty in Texas, the colonel, Albert Sidney Johnston, was selected to command an expedition to Utah, and the command of

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
Utah (Utah, United States) (1)
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (1)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
R. E. Lee (4)
Albert Sidney Johnston (1)
Light-Horse Harry (1)
Military Academy (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.
1855 AD (1)
1852 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: