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|It is an interesting question, but I think there are several reasons Lee was offered the job. First, of course, was Scott's impression of him. Second was Lee's impressive performance at West Point. As a military officer, I can tell you that Honor Graduates and those who distinquish themselves at a Military Academy get known. Lee had certainly done that. Further, Lee's standing at West Point got him a post in the Corps of Engineers, which was considered the pre-eminent posting for an officer.
Lee did the right service, before the right set of eyes, during the Mexican War. He performed acceptably at Harper's Ferry in the John Brown incident. Finally, he was from Virginia, which made him a good political choice. There was probably some hope that by picking the most prominent Virginian in the US Army to lead it, they might be able to split Virginia in the days following secession.