Today a career United States military officer accepts U.S. Secretary of War Simon Cameron’s offer of a commission as colonel of the First Cavalry. The officer’s name is Robert E. Lee. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had submitted the commission to the Senate on March 21, and the offer was formalized four days later.
Even as he accepts the post with the U.S. Calvary, Lee is conflicted about the sectional crisis. His home state of Virginia is torn between South and North. Lee soon changes his mind. Siding with his home state, which opted for the Confederacy, Lee resigns from his U.S. military appointment on April 20.
General Robert E. Lee, by the end of the Civil War, is a southern legend. Revered for his military acumen in defending the South, Lee is forever stamped in the conscience of the American South. Many decades later, Fort Lee Baptist Church is established in Richmond, Virginia, named after the general.
A roadside plaque near the church reads as follows:
HERE WHERE THE OUTER LINE OF THE CONFEDERATE DEFENSES OF RICHMOND CROSSED THE CHARLES CITY ROAD, STOOD FORT LEE, NAMED AFTER GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE AND CONSTRUCTED TO PROTECT A VITAL LINE OF APPROACH TO THE CAPITAL CITY FROM STRONG OR SUDDEN ATTACK.