Lee and the U.S. Marine Corps have shared the battlefield and honor on two historical occasions. One was during the Mexican War in 1847.
Lee rose to fame for discovering a mountain trail around the Mexican Army and then guiding Americans over it to a surprising, stunning victory at Cerro Gordo.
The Marines inspired the first line of the Marine Corp Hymn, “From the Halls of Montezuma,” for their courageous charge at Chapultepec, culminating in a U.S. Marine hoisting the American Flag over Mexico’s National Palace.
The other occasion was in 1859.
Lee was given command of the U.S. Marines to oust the notorious terrorist John Brown, who had attacked Harpers Ferry, seized the U.S. armory full of weapons and kidnapped 40 people.
The first person Brown’s gang killed was Heyward Shepherd, a free black Virginian. A memorial now stands where Shepherd was shot in the back.
Within just a few moments and using only bayonets, Lee and his Marines had stormed the armory, rescued the hostages unharmed and killed or captured all of the terrorists, losing one Marine, shot by Brown himself.
Roger K. Broxton
Confederate Heritage Fund