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ARLINGTON, VA., April 20, 1861.


Since my interview with you, on the 18th inst., I have felt that I ought not longer to retain my commission in the army. I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the struggle it bas cost me to separate myself from the service to which I have devoted all the best years of my life and all the ability I possessed.

During the whole of that time—more than a quarter of a century-I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors and the most cordial friendship from my comrades. To no one, General, have I been so much indebted as to yourself for uniform kindness and consideration, and it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration, and your name and fame will always be dear to me.

Save in defense of my State, I never desire to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and believe me, most truly yours,


Commanding United States Army.


HEADQUARTERS RICHMOND, April 23, 1861. General Orders No. 1:

In obedience to orders from His Excellency, John LETCHER Governor of the State, MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE assumes command of the Military and Naval Forces of Virginia. [Signed]

R. E. LEE,

Major General.



ARLINGTON, VA., April 20, 1861.


I am grieved at my inability to see you. I have been waiting for a “more convenient season," which has brought to many before me deep and lasting regret. Now we are in a state of war which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been drawn; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet the question whether I would take part against my native State. With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and, save in defense of my native State, with the hope that my poor services will never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.

I know you will blame me, but you must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe that I have endeavored to do what I thought right. To show you the feeling and struggle it cost me, I send a copy of my letter to GENERAL Scott, which accompanied my letter of resignation. I have no time for more.

R. E. LEE,


WASHINGTON, April 7, 1870.


House of Representatives.


In compliance with your request, I am directed by the Secretary of War to send you the inclosed sketch of GENERAL Thomas' services, and the General Orders announcing his decease. I am, sir, very respectfully, Your obedient servant, E. D. TOWNSEND,

Adjutant General.





Cadet at the United States Military Academy from July 1, 1836, to July 1, 1840, when he was graduated, and promoted in the Army to

Second Lieutenant, Third Artillery, July 1, 1840. Served in garrison at Fort Columbus, N. Y., 1840; in the Florida War, 1840-42, being engaged in MAJOR WADE's capture of seventy Seminole Indians, November 6, 1841; in garrison at New Orleans (Brevet First Lieutenant, November 6, 1841, for gallantry and good

conduct in the war against the Florida Indians) Barracks, La., 1842; Fort Moultrie, S. C., 1842-43; and Fort McHenry, Md., 1843-45; on recruiting service, 1845; in garrison

(First Lieutenant, Third Artillery, April 30, 1844) at Fort Moultrie, S. C., 1845; in military occupation of Texas, 1845–46; in the war with Mexico, 1846–48, being engaged in the

defense of Fort Brown, Texas, May 3-9, 1846; battlo of Monterey, September 21-23, 1846 ; and battle of Buena Vista, (Brevet Captain, September 23, 1846, for gallant conduct in the several

conflicts at Monterey, Mexico) February 22, 23, 1847; in garrison at the mouth of the Rio Grande, (Brevet Major, February 23, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct

in the battle of Buena Vista, Mexico) Texas, 1848-49; in Florida hostilities against the Seminole Indians, 1849–50; in garrison at Fort Independence, Mass., 1850; at the Military Academy, as Instructor of Artillery and Cavalry, April 2, 1851, to May 1, 1854; on frontier duty, on

(Captain, Third Artillery, December 24, 1853) march to Benicia, Cal., in command of a battalion of the Third Artillery, 1854; Fort Yuma, Cal., 1854–55; in garrison at

(Major, Second Cavalry, May 12, 1855) Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1855; on recruiting service, 1856; on frontier duty at Fort Mason, Texas, 1857–58; Fort Belknap, Texas, 1858–59; Camp Cooper, Texas, and expedition to Red River country, 1859–60; Kiowa expedition, 1860, being engaged in a skirmish near the head of Clear Fork of the Brazos river, August 26, 1860, where he was wounded; on leave of absence, 1860-61. Served during the rebellion of seceding States, 1861–66,

(Lieutenant Colonel, Second Cavalry, April 25, 1861) in reorganizing and equipping his regiment at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., April 14 to May 27, 1861; in operations in Shenandoah Valley, June 1 to August 26, 1861, being engaged in command (Colonel Second Cavalry, May 3, 1861; Fifth Cavalry, August 3, 1861) of a brigade in the action of Falling Waters, July 2, 1861; skirmish at Martinsburg, July 3, 1861, and skirmish at Bunker Hill, July 15, 1861; in the Department of the

(Brigadier General, U. S. Volunteers, August 17, 1861) Cumberland, September 6 to November 30, 1861; in organizing Kentucky and Tennessee volunteers, at Camp Dick Robinson,

Ky., September 18 to October 28, 1861; in the advance on Crab Orchard and Lebanon, Ky., October 28 to November 30, 1861; in command of division (Army of the Ohio), November 30, 1861, to March 19, 1862, being in command and engaged at the combat of Mill Spring, Ky., January 19, 20, 1862, and movement on Nashville, via Somerset, Lebanon, and Louisville, February 15 to March 4, 1862; in the Tennessee and Mississippi campaign, March 19 to June 26, 1862, being engaged in the march on Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., with his division as the reserve of the Army of the Ohio, March 19 to April 9, 1862; in command of the right wing of the Army of the Tennessee, in the advance upon and siege of Corinth, April 9 to May 30, (Major General U. S. Volunteers, April 25, 1862, to December 15, 1864) 1862, and in command of Corinth, Miss., June 5-22, 1862; in MAJOR GENERAL BUELL’s operations (Army of the Ohio) in North Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky, June 26 to November 7, 1863; at Tuscumbia, Ala., guarding the Memphis and Charleston railroad, June 26 to July 25, 1862; in command of Dechard, August 5-15, of McMinnville, August 19 to September 3, and of Nashville, Tenn., September 7-14, 1862 ; in pursuit of enemy from Prewitt's Knob to Louisville, Ky., September 20-26, 1862; and as second in command of the Army of the Ohio, on the advance into Kentucky, September 30 to November 7, 1862, being engaged in command of the right wing of the army during the battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862, and pursuit of the enemy to Barboursville; in MAJOR GENERAL ROSECRANS' Tennessee campaign, in command of the Fourteenth Army Corps (Army of the Cumberland), Nov mber 7, 1862, to October 19, 1863, being engaged in the battle of Stone river, December 31, 1862, to January 3, 1863; advance of Tallahoma, June 24 to July 4, 1863; action at Hoover's Gap, June 26, 1863; passage of Elk river, July 3, and of the Tennessee, September 2, 1863; battle of Chickamauga, September 19, 20, 1863, and checking the enemy's advance September 21, 1863, upon Chattanooga, to which he retired and commenced fortifying;

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