A character of high & zealous honour is essential to the efficiency of any military establishment. It is not a Cold performance of duty that Can raise it to a proper standard, but then must be a spirit of emulation, generous, but active & ceaseless whenever there are duties to be fulfilled a honor to be acquired. No Military establishment in the world exceeds the American Army in the great characteristics of honor, patriotism, discipline & valour, and the Army has always done its duty to the Country. The Campaigns in Mexico were futile in glorious results & he who planned & conducted one of those perilous inroads into the heart of the enemys Country, is the only living officer excluded from the distribution of rewards so gratifying to the just pride of a Soldier.
I certify that the above is the handwriting of the late Genl. R. E. Lee.
G. W. C. Lee, Exr.
4 May, 1888
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.441, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 November 30