After the work upon the army gun battery, the mortar battery and the trenches had been fairly commenced, I was transferred to the naval battery and took my regular turn, with Captain R.E. Lee, and Lieutenant Z.B. Tower, in superintending its construction. I was in charge of the work the day it opened its guns upon the fortifications of the city, having relieved Captain Lee that morning. Seeing him still at the battery, about the time the firing commenced, I asked him if he intended to continue in control adding, "If so, I report to you for instructions and orders." He replied, "No, I am not in charge. I have remained only to see my brother, Lieutenant Sydney Smith Lee of the Navy who is with one of the heavy guns. My tour of service is over. You are in control; and, if I can be of any service to you whilst I remain here, please let me know.
There had previously been a difference of opinion between Captain Lee and myself in regard to the dimensions that should be given to the embrasures. The Chief Engineer [Totten] decided in favor of Captain Lee and the embrasures were changed and made to conform to his views. In a very short time after the firing began one of the embrasures became so badly choked that it could not be used until the debris could be removed. [...] Just after that incident, I asked Captain Lee what he now thought in regard to the proper dimensions for the embrasures. He replied "They must be made greater when the battery is repaired tonight."
- From Company "A" Corps of Engineers, USA, 1846-1848, in the Mexican War by Gustavus W. Smith
Lee and Smith at Vera Cruz
In 1896, GW Smith recounted two anecdotes from the Mexican War involving interactions with RE Lee. Offered for "what they're worth," I personally find them rich, especially in light of Lee's "hanging around" behavior at Seven Pines and Smith's interpersonal "tone."