(2.) The Year 1860.
It was in 1860, as has been stated, that General Lee returned for the second time to join his regiment in Texas. On February 10, 1860, his Memorandum Book records: "At 6 A. M. left Arlington and its dear inhabitants for Texas." On February 20, 1860, he records that he assumed command of the Department of Texas.
That the year 1860 cannot satisfy the conditions necessary in order to retain the first two sentences of The Duty Letter is manifest. What has been said as to the year 1856 is applicable a fortiori, to the year 1860. At that time Lieutenant-Colonel Lee's "fine old regiment" had been in Texas more than four years. He would hardly say in 1860 that the regiment "has been ordered to New Mexico (Texas), and I must hasten to see that they are properly taken care of."
In 1860, Custis Lee had been assigned to the "Engineer Bureau" in Washington. W. H. F. Lee had resigned from the Army, was married, and was living, a farmer, at the "White House," New Rent County, Virginia. Neither of them had "classmates." Both of them had reached such maturity of life and character as to render the admonitions of The Duty Letter hardly necessary or appropriate.But there was still another son, Robert E. Lee. Jr., (now
- On February 9, 1860, General Lee records in his Memorandum Book: "Received general orders, assigning me to duty according to my Brevet rank, and directing me to assume command of the Department of Texas." General Lee received the brevet rank of Colonel, September 13, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct, in the battle of Chapultepec, Mexico. (Letter to the writer from the Adjutant-General, July 27, 1914). But he was still Lieut-Colonel in the Second Cavalry, when, in 1860 he returned to Texas.
In his letter of resignation from the United States Army, April 20, 1861, General Lee wrote to the Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War: "I have the honor to tender the resignation of my command as Colonel of the First Regiment of Cavalry." The explanation is that shortly before Virginia seceded General Lee was commissioned Colonel of the First Cavalry, succeeding Colonel E. V. Sumner, who was made Brigadier-General. But events moved so rapidly that General Lee never assumed command of the First Cavalry. (Letter to the writer from the Adjutant-General).