The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 177
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a sufficient length of time for Texans to claim him partially as
When the fifty-one-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee
reached San Antonio on his way to Camp Cooper in March, 1856,
he was making his second visit to the Lone Star State. Ten years
before, as a captain in the engineering corps of the United
States Army, Lee first visited San Antonio, a town of approx-
imately two thousand inhabitants at the time. His visit was
terminated a few weeks later when he marched southward with
General John E. Woll to win fame and glory in the Mexican
Following the war with Mexico, Colonel Lee was rewarded
for his conspicuous heroism and skill by an appointment to the
superintendency of West Point. He served in this capacity for
two years (September 1, 1852, to April 12, 1855) before events
along the border caused him to be separated from his family
and friends and transferred to Camp Cooper. Here on the
Indian frontier in Texas, isolation, rawness, inconvenience,
deprivation, and death were commonplace. The next four years
were critical ones for Lee as well as for the nation. Camp
Cooper was a lonely outpost, eighteen hundred miles from home,
where the federal government was attempting to "humanize"
the wild Comanche. Lee's frequent letters to his ailing wife,
Mary, from which the author draws much material, reflect his
intense feeling for his family and Virginia.
He was placed in charge of the famous Second Cavalry,
which was later to furnish so many of the field commanders for
Confederate and Union armies, and according to Dr. Rister, it
was this experience that furnished him the strength, wisdom,
and maturity for the great role he was destined to play. The
dull monotony of life at the frontier outpost was occasionally
broken by a fruitless Indian chase, which could be exciting, or
by court-martial duty, which more often was dull and dreary
but no doubt afforded the Virginian an opportunity to view
firsthand the size and potential greatness of Texas.
In July, 1857, Lee left Fort Cooper to take command of the
Department of Texas at San Antonio. Shortly thereafter the
death of his father-in-law took him back to his family in Vir-
ginia, where he was to remain for almost two years. During
this visit Colonel Lee was called to command a detachment of
marines to apprehend the mad John Brown at Harper's Ferry.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/194/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.