<br /> Lee Letter: v058

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Earl Van Dorn

My dear Major

We have rec – d reports here in various ways, that our Colonel, Genl A. S. Johnston, is to be made Q – r Mr [Quarter Master] Genl. Although this is not fixed, I think it very probable, provided the Genl desires the appointment, which I should think he would do, as it gives him a high position, & makes him a full Brigadier. The principal candidates for the office are said to be Genl Johnston, Col Ripley & Col. Thomas. I think you will agree with me, that the first in every respect would make the best Q – r Mr Genl, & my opinion is not based I think on interested motives. I therefore hope that the report is true. If true, & the promoting are allowed to follow the usual course, it will help the 2nd Cav – y, though it does take from us our Colonel.

I am of opinion however that he would not be with us a great deal in any event, as it is by no means certain that he would have returned to us at the expiration of his leave of absence, but more probable that he would go to Oregon & be finally promoted out of the Regt. I cannot refrain even in the uncertainity of the case from congratulating you in my heart upon your promotion, & I congratulate myself & the Regiment more, upon your retention in the Regiment. For I confess I have suffered great apprehension, lest when your promotion did come, it would take you away from us. If however the report is true, it will secure you & Col Hardee too, & move every body, down to our Brevet, one round up the long ladder of promotion. You must therefore my dear Major allow me to congratulate the Regiment, prospectively, upon such an event, & I really feel more pleasure at yours & Col Hardees promotion than at my own, for you both deserve it more, & will do the Regt more service.

I said that the Genl’s promotion would help the 2nd Cav – y if the promotions were allowed to follow the usual course. I alluded to the notice that my friend Col May gave me at Jefferson Bks: on the first organization of the Regt: that in the event of vacancies among the Field officers of the Cav – y, he should contest the promotions if confined to the Cav – y, contending that they should be opened to the – service. I see no claim to this in law, promotions have been made in the mounted rifles, but still much may be effected by influence. I do not however apprehend any trouble. I enclose you a slip from a newspaper sent me, the same has come in other ways – We have no news – All quiet on the Rio Grande, so says Capt Stoneman & Major Hunt, the papers & letter-writers to the contrary notwithstanding – Major Chilton has gone – Major Mackey has reached Indianola, where he has been detained sick since the 20th

The Sec – y has ordered the H – dqrs: of the 8th Inf – y to be established here, & Comp – y D of that Regt to replace Capt Kings

Please present me to all friends & believe me

Very truly yours

R E Lee

Major Earl Van Dorn 2nd Cav – y

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives