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[365] the regiment and the protection of the frontier of Texas against Indian marauders devolved upon Colonel Lee. There, as in every position he had occupied, diligence, sound judgment, and soldierly endowment made his service successful. In 1839, being on leave of absence in Virginia, he was made available for the suppression of the John Brown raid. As soon as relieved from that special assignment he returned to his command in Texas, and on April 25, 1861, resigned from the United States army.

Then was his devotion to principle subjected to a crucial test, the severity of which can only be fully realized by a ‘West-Pointer’ whose life has been spent in the army. That it was to sever the friendships of youth, to break up the habits of intercourse, of manners, and of thought, others may comprehend and estimate; but the sentiment most profound in the heart of the war-worn cadet, and which made the change most painful to Lee, he has partially expressed in the letters he wrote at the time to his beloved sister and and to his venerated friend and commander, General Winfield Scott.

Partizan malignants have not failed to misrepresent the conduct of Lee, even to the extent of charging him with treason and desertion; and unable to appreciate his sacrifice to the allegiance due to Virginia, they have blindly ascribed his action to selfish ambition. It has been erroneously asserted that he was educated at the expense of the General Government, and an attempt has been made then to deduce a special obligation to adhere to it.

The cadets of the United States Military Academy are apportioned among the States in proportion to the number of representatives they severally have in the Congress; that is, one for each congressional district, with ten additional for the country at large. The annual appropriations for the support of the army and navy include the commissioned, warrant, and non-commissioned officers, privates, seamen, etc., etc. The cadets and midshipmen are warrant officers, and while at the academies are receiving elementary instruction in and for the public service. At whose expense are they taught and supported? Surely at that of the people, they who pay the taxes and imposts to supply the Treasury with means to meet appropriations as well to pay generals and admirals as cadets and midshipmen. The cadet's obligation for his place and support was to the State, by virtue of whose distributive share he was appointed, and whose contributions supplied the United States Treasury; through the State, as a member of the Union, allegiance was due to it, and most usefully and nobly did Lee pay the debt both at home and abroad.


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