Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/469

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Robert E. Lee.

Robert Edward Lee was born in Stratford, Westmoreland County, Virginia, January 19, 1807. His father was General Henry Lee, the "Light-Horse Harry" of the Revolutionary War. He attended school at Alexandria, Va., until 1825, when he entered the Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1829 without a demerit, second in a class of forty-six; was appointed second lieutenant of engineers and assigned to duty at Old Point and on the coasts; was assistant to the Chief of Engineers at Washington in 1834, and the next year was on the commission to mark the boundary line between Ohio and Michigan; was promoted first lieutenant in 1836 and captain of engineers in 1838. In 1837 was ordered to the Mississippi River to make special plans and surveys for its improved navigation; in 1840 was a military engineer; in 1842 was stationed at Fort Hamilton, N. Y., and in 1844 one of the Board of Visitors at West Point. At the beginning of the Mexican War, he was assigned to duty as Chief Engineer of the Army under General Wool, with the rank of captain, and at the request of General Scott was assigned to his personal staff. He rendered conspicuous service throughout that war, particularly at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec. He was three times brevetted for gallant conduct during the war. the last being colonel of engineers. General Scott, in his official report, said of him, "I am compelled to make special mention of Captain R. E. Lee;" again, of one of his acts, he said it was "the greatest feat of physical and moral courage performed by any individual in my knowledge pending the campaign;" and again referred to him as being "as distinguished for execution as for science and daring," adding that his "success in Mexico was largely due to the skill, valor, and undaunted energy of Robert E. Lee;" and with emphasis he pronounced him "the greatest military genius in America." After the Mexican War, up to 1852, he was with the engineers' corps, headquarters at Baltimore; then Superintendent of the Mil-

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