General Robert E. Lee (CSA)

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Robert Edward Lee, I

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Westmoreland, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Lexington, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Maj. Gen. Henry Lee, "Light Horse Harry"; general henry light horse lee; General Henry Lee; Ann Hill Carter; anne hill carter and 1 other
Husband of Mary Anna Randolph Lee and Mary Ann Randolph Lee (Custis)
Father of Major General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee; Major Gen. George Washington Custis Lee (CSA); John Isaac Lee; Mary Custis Lee; Maj. General W. H. F. "Rooney" Lee (CSA) and 5 others
Brother of Philip Ludwell Lee; Elizabeth Lee; Greene Lee; Algernon Sidney Lee; Richard Lee and 7 others
Half brother of Nathaniel Green Lee; Lucy Grymes Carter and Henry "Black Horse Harry" Lee IV

Occupation: General of all Confederate Armies, General in the US Army, College President, Confederate General, Comanding General, Army Of Virginia, Confedrate States Of Amercia
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About General Robert E. Lee (CSA)

Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career United States Army officer, an engineer, and among the most celebrated generals in American history. Lee was the son of Major General Henry Lee III "Light Horse Harry" (1756–1818), Governor of Virginia, and his second wife, Anne Hill Carter (1773–1829). He was also related to Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809).

Birth of Robert E. Lee

The only illness on record for Mrs Lee in this period is a severe cold she caught while riding in an open carriage a few days before the birth. Robert, in any event, was born in a room said to have been the birthplace of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

Robert E. Lee was married to Mary Anna Randolph Custis, step-great-granddaughter of George Washington, the first president of the United States.

Their home was what is in now Arlington Cemetery.

A top graduate of West Point (2nd in his class), Lee distinguished himself as an exceptional soldier in the U.S. Army for thirty-two years. He is best known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War.

It is important to remember the following if you respect General Lee and what kind man he was, you will not remove this:

"He possessed every virtue of the great commanders, without their vices. He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guilt. He was a Caesar without his ambition; a Frederick without his tyranny; a Napoleon without his selfishness; and a Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and loyal in authority as a true king. He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought; watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as Achilles."



From the Address of the Honorable B.H. Hill before the Georgia branch of the Southern Historical Society at Atlanta, February 18, 1874.

Thank you

     

"FATE DENIED THEM VICTORY BUT GAVE THEM A GLORIOUS IMMORTALITY"


What follows is an abridged version of his Wikipedia page.

Early Life & Career

Robert E. Lee was born January 19, 1807 at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the fifth child of Revolutionary War hero Henry Lee ("Light Horse Harry") and Anne Hill (née Carter) Lee. Lee's parents were members of the Virginia gentry class and true tuckahoes. Lee's paternal ancestors were among the earliest settlers in Virginia. His mother grew up at Shirley Plantation, one of the most elegant homes in Virginia. His maternal great-great-grandfather, Robert "King" Carter, was the wealthiest man in the colonies when he died in 1732. "Harry Lee" met severe financial reverses from failed investments.

Historian Gary W. Gallagher wrote, "Harry Lee had not been able to exercise self-control or take care of his family, and so he abandoned them." That was a stark lesson for young Robert E. Lee." However, in Lee of Virginia it is noted that Harry Lee "was very seriously injured by a mob in Baltimore while attempting to defend the house of a friend. Later he made a voyage to the West Indies seeking restoration for his shattered health. On his way home ... he died..." Lee of Virginia also notes "...in the West Indies, Henry Lee wrote a series of letters to his son, Carter..."During his young life,. later described by Robert E. Lee as "'Those letters of love and wisdom.'"

Lee's father died when Lee was eleven years old, leaving the family deeply in debt. When Lee was three years old, his older half-brother, the heir to the Stratford Hall Plantation, having reached his majority, established Stratford as his home. The rest of the family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where Lee grew up in a series of relatives' houses. Lee attended Alexandria Academy, where he obtained a classical education along the lines of quadrivium. Lee was considered a top student and excelled at mathematics. His mother, a devout Christian, oversaw his religious instruction at Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria.

He entered the United States Military Academy in 1825 and became the first cadet to achieve the rank of sergeant at the end of his first year. When he graduated in 1829 he was at the head of his class in artillery and tactics, and shared the distinction with five other cadets of having received no demerits during the four-year course of instruction. Overall, he ranked second in his class of 46. He was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.

Engineering Career


Lee served for just over seventeen months at Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island, Georgia. In 1831, he was transferred to Fort Monroe at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula and played a major role in the final construction of Fort Monroe and its opposite, Fort Calhoun. Fort Monroe was completely surrounded by a moat. Fort Calhoun, later renamed Fort Wool, was built on a man-made island across the navigational channel from Old Point Comfort in the middle of the mouth of Hampton Roads. When construction was completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was referred to as the "Gibraltar of Chesapeake Bay." While he was stationed at Fort Monroe, he married.

Lee served as an assistant in the chief engineer's office in Washington, D.C. from 1834 to 1837, but spent the summer of 1835 helping to lay out the state line between Ohio and Michigan. As a first lieutenant of engineers in 1837, he supervised the engineering work for St. Louis harbor and for the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Among his projects was blasting a channel through the Des Moines Rapids on the Mississippi by Keokuk, Iowa, where the Mississippi's mean depth of 2.4 feet (0.7 m) was the upper limit of steamboat traffic on the river. His work there earned him a promotion to captain. Circa 1842, Captain Robert E. Lee arrived as Fort Hamilton’s post engineer.

Marriage and Family

While he was stationed at Fort Monroe, he married Mary Anna Randolph Custis (1808–1873), great-granddaughter of Martha Washington by her first husband Daniel Parke Custis, and step-great-granddaughter of George Washington, the first president of the United States. They were married on June 30, 1831 at Arlington House, her parents' house just across from Washington, D.C. The 3rd U.S. Artillery served as honor guard at the marriage. They eventually had seven children, three boys and four girls:

  1. George Washington Custis Lee (Custis, “Boo”); 1832–1913; served as Major General in the Confederate Army and aide-de-camp to President Jefferson Davis; unmarried
  2. Mary Custis Lee (Mary, “Daughter”); 1835–1918; unmarried
  3. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (“Rooney”); 1837–1891; served as Major General in the Confederate Army (cavalry); married twice; surviving children by second marriage
  4. Anne Carter Lee (Annie); 1839–1862; unmarried
  5. Eleanor Agnes Lee (Agnes); 1841–1873; unmarried
  6. Robert Edward Lee, Jr. (Rob); 1843–1914; served as Captain in the Confederate Army (Rockbridge Artillery); married twice; surviving children by second marriage
  7. Mildred Childe Lee (Milly, “Precious Life”); 1846–1905; unmarried

All the children survived him except for Annie, who died in 1862. They are all buried with their parents in the crypt of the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Lee is also related to Helen Keller, through Helen's mother, Kate.

Military Service & Civil War

For full details on his extensive military career, please visit his Wikipedia page.


Before the Civil War, Lee and his wife had lived at his wife's family home, the Custis-Lee Mansion on Arlington Plantation. The plantation had been seized by Union forces during the war, and became part of Arlington National Cemetery; immediately following the war, Lee spent two months in a rented house in Richmond, and then escaped the unwelcome city life by moving into the overseer's house of a friend's plantation near Cartersville, Virginia. (In December 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, returned the property to Custis Lee, stating that it had been confiscated without due process of law.On March 3, 1883, the Congress purchased the property from Lee for $150,000.)

While living in the country, Lee wrote his son that he hoped to retire to a farm of his own, but a few weeks later he received an offer to serve as the president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. Lee accepted, and remained president of the College from October 2, 1865 until his death. Over five years, he transformed Washington College from a small, undistinguished school into one of the first American colleges to offer courses in business, journalism, and Spanish. He also imposed a simple concept of honor—"We have but one rule here, and it is that every student be a gentleman" — that endures today at Washington and Lee and at a few other schools that continue to maintain "honor systems." Importantly, Lee focused the college on attracting male students from the North as well as the South.

Post-War Politics


Lee, who had opposed secession and remained mostly indifferent to politics before the Civil War, supported President Andrew Johnson's plan of Presidential Reconstruction that took effect in 1865-66. However, he opposed the Congressional Republican program that took effect in 1867. In February 1866, he was called to testify before the Joint Congressional Committee on Reconstruction in Washington, where he expressed support for President Andrew Johnson's plans for quick restoration of the former Confederate states, and argued that restoration should return, as far as possible, the status quo ante in the Southern states' governments (with the exception of slavery). Lee said, "every one with whom I associate expresses kind feelings towards the freedmen. They wish to see them get on in the world, and particularly to take up some occupation for a living, and to turn their hands to some work." Lee also expressed his "willingness that blacks should be educated, and ... that it would be better for the blacks and for the whites." Lee forthrightly opposed allowing blacks to vote: "My own opinion is that, at this time, they [black Southerners] cannot vote intelligently, and that giving them the [vote] would lead to a great deal of demagogism, and lead to embarrassments in various ways."

In an interview in May, 1866, Lee said, "The Radical party are likely to do a great deal of harm, for we wish now for good feeling to grow up between North and South, and the President, Mr. Johnson, has been doing much to strengthen the feeling in favor of the Union among us. The relations between the Negroes and the whites were friendly formerly, and would remain so if legislation be not passed in favor of the blacks, in a way that will only do them harm."

Lee sent his request for a complete individual pardon, along with an oath of allegiance, to President Andrew Johnson in 1865, and his application for amnesty encouraged many other former members of the Confederacy's armed forces to accept restored U.S. citizenship.[citation needed] However, the application was delivered to the desk of Secretary of State William H. Seward, who, assuming that the matter had been dealt with by someone else and that this was just a personal copy, filed it away. Lee took the lack of response to mean that the government wished to retain the right to prosecute him in the future. (Lee's right to vote was restored in 1888.) Elmer Oris Parker, an employee of the National Archives, found the oath of allegiance in 1970 among old State Department records.

In 1975, after a five-year campaign by Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., a resolution to posthumously restore Lee's full rights of citizenship passed by a unanimous April U.S. Senate vote and a 407-10, U.S. House of Representatives vote, with the resolution effective June 13, 1975. President Gerald R. Ford signed the resolution on August 5, 1975 on the portico of the Lee mansion, with a dozen of Lee's descendants attending (including Robert E. Lee V, great-great-grandson).

Death & Legacy


On September 28, 1870, Lee suffered a stroke that left him without the ability to speak. Lee died from the effects of pneumonia shortly after 9 a.m. on October 12, 1870, in Lexington, Virginia. He was buried underneath Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University, where his body remains today. According to J. William Jones' Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee, his last words, on the day of his death, were "Tell Hill he must come up. Strike the tent," but this is debatable because of conflicting accounts. Since Lee's stroke resulted in aphasia, last words may have been impossible. Lee was treated homeopathically for this illness.

Among Southerners, Lee came to be even more revered after his surrender than he had been during the war (when Stonewall Jackson had been the great Confederate hero, particularly after Jackson's death at Chancellorsville). Admirers pointed to his character and devotion to duty, not to mention his brilliant tactical successes in battle after battle against a stronger foe. Military historians continue to pay attention to his battlefield tactics and maneuvering, though many think he should have designed better strategic plans for the Confederacy. However, it should be noted that he was not given full direction of the Southern war effort until very late in the conflict. His reputation continued to build and by 1900 his followers had spread into the North, signaling a national apotheosis. Today among the devotees of "The Lost Cause," General Lee is referred to as "The Marble Man."

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During the American Civil War, the grounds of the mansion were selected as the site of Arlington National Cemetery, in part to ensure that Lee would never again be able to return to his home. However, the United States has since designated the mansion as a National Memorial to Lee, a mark of widespread respect for him in both the North and South.

The birthday of Robert E. Lee is celebrated or commemorated in:

  • The state of Virginia as part of Lee-Jackson Day, which was separated from the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday there in 2001. The King holiday falls on the third Monday in January while the Lee-Jackson Day holiday is celebrated on the Friday preceding it.
  • The state of Texas celebrates, as part of Confederate Heroes Day on January 19, Lee's actual birthday.
  • The states of Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi on the third Monday in January, along with Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The state of Georgia on the day after Thanksgiving.
  • The state of Florida, as a legal holiday and public holiday, on January 19.

--------------------

  • 'General Robert Edward Lee1
  • 'M, #179919, b. 19 January 1807, d. 12 October 1870
  • Last Edited=14 Dec 2008
  • 'General Robert Edward Lee was born on 19 January 1807 at Stratford Hall, Virginia, U.S.A..1 He was the son of General Henry Lee III and Anne Hill Carter.1 He married Mary Anna Randolph Custis, daughter of George Washington Parke Custis and Mary Lee Fitzhugh, on 30 June 1831 at Arlington House, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A..2,1 He died on 12 October 1870 at age 63 at Lexington, Virginia, U.S.A..1
  • ' General Robert Edward Lee fought in the American Civil War. He gained the rank of General in the service of the Confederate Army.
  • 'Children of General Robert Edward Lee and Mary Anna Randolph Custis
    • 1.George Washington Custis Lee1 b. 1832, d. 1913
    • 2.Mary Custis Lee1 b. 1835, d. 1918
    • 3.William Henry Fitzhugh Lee1 b. 1837, d. 1891
    • 4.Anne Carter Lee1 b. 1839, d. 1862
    • 5.Eleanor Agnes Lee1 b. 1841, d. 1873
    • 6.Robert Edward Lee, Jr.1 b. 1843, d. 1914
    • 7.Mildred Childe Lee1 b. 1846, d. 1905
  • Citations
  • 1.[S130] Wikipedia, online http;//www.wikipedia.org. Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.
  • 2.[S60] Charles and Hugh Brogan Mosley, editor, American Presidential Families (London, U.K.: Alan Sutton and Morris Genealogical Books, 1994), page 23. Hereinafter cited as American Presidential Families.
  • http://www.thepeerage.com/p17992.htm#i179919
  • ________________

Additional Reading

-------------------- Civil War Confederate General. He is remembered for leading the Army of Northern Virginia to the brink of victory in the Civil War. Born to a Virginia family of nobility but little money, his father was Revolutionary War General, Virginia Governor, and Congressman Light Horse Harry Lee, his mother was Ann Hill Carter Lee of the distinguished Carter family, and his Lee collateral relatives included two signers of the Declaration of Independence. By the time young Robert arrived his father's financial irresponsibility had reduced the family to poverty and after Harry spent 1809 in debtor's prison the Lees moved to a small house in Alexandria where they were reduced to living on family charity. Harry was injured in an 1812 Baltimore political political riot and abandoned his family; Lee studied in Fauquier County and at Alexandria Academy and was to develop both studious habits and strong Christian faith, though he was not confirmed in the Episcopal Church until age 46. He also developed an abiding shame over the actions of his father's later years; indeed it is said that Lee lived his own life in an attempt to atone for Light Horse Harry, and whether that be true or not he never named any of his own sons Henry or Harry. In 1824 Lee received an appointment to West Point via the intervention of William Henry Fitzhugh, a relative who had often provided material aid. From the time he entered the Academy in 1825 he had an outstanding record, never being charged with a demerit and graduating second in the class of 1829 to Charles Mason, later a noted attorney but now remembered only as the answer to the trivia question "Who beat Robert E. Lee at West Point?". Following graduation he was assigned to the Corps of Engineers, the norm for students with good academic records, duty carrying prestige but little promotion opportunity. While he was on leave he experienced the trauma of having his mother die in his arms in August of 1829 but he was soon off to build forts on the the Georgia coast. In 1831 Lee was transferred to Fort Monroe, Virginia, and soon married Mary Custis, great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, whom he had been courting since 1829. The wedding took place only after the Custis family relaxed their opposition to Mary's romance with the disgraced Light Horse Harry's son; the Lees were devoted to each other and the union produded seven children though it was in some ways an unhappy match that Lee never objected to temporarily escaping when sent on assignment. Duty at Fort Monroe proved an unpleasant experience marked by staff conflicts and in 1834 Lee was posted to the Washington office of the Chief of Engineers. In 1837 he was sent west where he distinguished himself by vastly improving Mississippi River navigation especially at St. Louis and at the Des Moines Rapids near Keokuk, Iowa. Promoted to captain for his work along the Mississippi he was sent to Brooklyn in 1842 to become post engineer of Fort Hamilton where he worked on improving coastal defense. Lee made a number of structural improvements in the New York City area and earned praise but by 1846 he had 17 years in the Army and was still a captain with a family to support and little chance for advancement. Oportunity, however, was at hand and on August 19, 1846, Lee received his orders to report to General John Wool in preparation for service in Mexico. After traveling by ship to New Orleans he then moved on to Texas where he joined up with General Wool. Lee and a Captain Fraser were in charge of road building on the advance into Mexico and did their jobs well, though progress was made easier by the lack of enemy contact. On January 16, 1847, he was ordered to report to General Winfield Scott who was then preparing to assault Vera Cruz. When he arrived near Vera Cruz Lee was made a part of Scott's inner circle of officers; working for him were Lieutenants P.G.T. Beauregard and George McClellan, while other staff officers with whom he had dealings included Joe Johnston, U.S. Grant, George Meade, and Gustavus Woodson Smith, all names that would become well known years hence. Lee participated in the battles of Vera Cruz, Contreras, and Churubusco, then was wounded at Chapultepec, his reconnaissance missions along the way proving essential to ultimate success. Along with Beauregard and McClellan he assisted in preparing for General Scott's entry into Mexico City; at the end, though he had been acclaimed and had earned three brevet promotions for gallantry, he still held the permanent rank of captain. After the conflict he was sent to Baltimore as chief engineer then in 1852 returned to West Point as Superintendent with the rank of Brevet Colonel. Lee proved a popular and able executive while gaining experience that was to prove valuable in the post-Civil War years. He had a reputation for interacting well with the students and was to be a particular influence on Cadet and future General J.E.B. Stuart. In 1855 Lee was finally to achieve "real" promotion, a two-grade jump to Lieutenant Colonel, though at the price of leaving the Engineers, when he was posted to Texas as Executive Officer of the Second US Cavalry serving under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Though he was happy and successful he found himself recalled to Arlington upon the October 10, 1857, death of his father-in-law George Washington Parke Custis. As the health of Mary Lee had steadily declined Lee was stuck with sorting out the problems of the estate. Mr. Custis had large holdings but even larger debts and further had left a poorly drawn holographic will making financial bequests which there was no money to pay. Arlington Hall itself was left to Lee's eldest son George Washington Custis Lee, known as "Custis", who would one day serve as a Confederate Major General and who in 1882 would successfully sue the federal government and gain financial compensation for the taking of Arlington during the conflict. In the course of the settlement Lee was to make arrangements for the emancipation of Mr. Custis' slaves, though he was to also ensure that they would be able to support themselves once free. In October of 1859 Lee received a message via Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart calling him from Arlington to Washington to deal with the capture of the armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, by anti-slavery activists led by John Brown. Under orders from President Buchanan and taking with him J.E.B. and a detachment of US Marines commanded by Lieutenant Israel Green, Lee departed by train for Harper's Ferry. On the morning of October 18th J.E.B. delivered the final surrender demand then gave the signal for Green's men to take the engine house, which they accomplished rapidly. When Brown was hanged on December 2nd the event was carried out by Virginia Militia led by David Addison Weisiger, later a minor Confederate Brigadier General, while security was provided by V.M.I. Cadets under the command of Mexican War veteran Major Thomas Jackson, then called behind his back 'Tom Fool' but one day to be written down in history as 'Stonewall'. Lee returned to his duties in Texas but storm clouds were brewing and after Texas seceeded from the Union and U.S. Army facilities were turned over to the Confederacy he was recalled by General Scott to Washington in February 1861, there to be promoted to Colonel and offered general's stars along with command of the Union Army. A staunch Unionist and not a defender of slavery, Lee wanted to see the nation preserved but he was unwilling to invade the South to accomplish that end. Virginia seceeded on April 17, 1861; Lee resigned his commission on April 20th and was appointed Brigadier General in the Confederate Army on May 14th then the next month was named the third senior of the original five officers of four star rank. (The lineal list was Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, Lee, Joe Johnston, and Beauregard with Bragg, Kirby Smith, and Hood to follow later in the war). Initially tasked with training and arming Virginia troops, Lee conducted the essentially failed expedition into the western counties today called the West Virginia Campaign, then was sent to take charge of preparing coastal defenses in the lower southeast, doing a good enough job that his forts essentially held throughout the war. Returning to Richmond where he was already considered a failure after the western operation he supervised the digging of trenches around the capital, earning himself the derisive title "King of Spades". In February of 1862 he paid $200 for a gray gelding whom he named Traveller (using the British spelling) and rode for the rest of his life, though in periods of illness he sometimes used his smaller and tamer "other horse" Lucy Long, a gift from J.E.B. Stuart. Lee served as miliary advisor to President Davis until General Joe Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862. Command of the Army of Northern Virginia devolved upon General Gustavus Woodson Smith who suffered a nervous breakdown within 12 hours, leading Davis to place Lee in the top spot. He had his work cut out for him; the Confederacy had suffered multiple defeats, the public held no confidence in him, and McClellan was about four miles east of Richmond (at roughly the present location of Richmond International Airport) with an Army far larger and better equipped than anything Lee could muster. He organized the Seven Days Battle, a series of six late June engagements that only contained one clear cut victory, John Bell Hood's June 27th assault at Gaines' Mill, and cost numerous lives but ended with General McClellan bottled-up on the James River and no longer a danger to Richmond. Lee next turned his attention to Northern Virginia where from August 28th to 30th, with much help from Longstreet and Jackson, he routed General John Pope at Second Manassas; during this operation Lee fell and injured his hands, limiting his riding ability. The time of Second Manassas also marks the first recorded appearance of Lee's chest pains, then called "rheumatism", but in retrospect symptoms of the coronary artery disease that was to mark the rest of his life. Lee then moved into Maryland hoping to gather supplies, recruit new troops, and perhaps strike a blow into the northeast that would dampen the North's willingness to fight; his efforts were derailed by the famous Lost Order No. 191 which gave away his plans to McClellan; on September 17, 1862, the armies met at Sharpsburg in the Battle of Antietam which resulted in roughly 26,000 combined casualties, still the greatest one day loss of life in American history. Withdrawing to Virginia after the drawn battle he organized his troops at Fredericksburg to meet the new Army of the Potomac commander Ambrose Burnside; on December 13, 1862, Union troops were sent up the side of Mayre's Heights into a fortified position held by James Longstreet, thus ending thousands of lives and Burnside's brief tenure in command. Longstreet was soon sent to Southside Virginia on a foraging expedition and thus as spring came Lee was missing a third of his Army. In late April he moved toward Cancellorsville, just west of Fredericksburg; between April 30th and May 6th Lee stopped Joe Hooker in the series of conflicts known collectively as the Battle of Chancellorsville, though at the cost of the May 2nd mortal wounding of Stonewall Jackson in a friendly fire incident. Lee next marched into Pennsylvania to meet the Union Army under its new commander George Meade. The entire operation which culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg was controversial at the time and will likely remain so forever, with whole books written about each day and questions asked as to whether he should have replaced Jackson with Richard Ewell, whether he should have followed Longstreet's suggestions, whether he should have ordered Pickett's Charge, and indeed whether he should have gone north in the first place. In the aftermath Meade was unable to persue as the victorious army was in virtually as bad a condition as the defeated one. Once back in Virginia Lee's health was poor, and knowing he bore the onus of failure he offered to resign. The President, however, had nobody to replace him with. Interestingly, Gettysburg was not then seen as "final" in the way later generations viewed it thus Lee again reorganized and in the spring of 1864 staged the Wilderness Campaign, initially without Longstreet who after Gettysburg had been temporarily detached to General Braxton Bragg in Tennessee. Victories he won, albeit with the loss of men and supplies he could not replace; his main problem, however, was that the Union Army was now under the command of General U.S. Grant, thus denying to Lee the advantage of fighting the timid or incompetent. Forced into a nine month siege at Petersburg, he held out until finally compelled to retreat on April 2, 1865. During the stalemate Lee was named General-in-Chief of the Confederate States Army on January 31, 1865, and pushed for the integration of black soldiers into the Army. The Cause, however, was lost and Lee finally had to abandon the line at Petersburg. Over the next week as he moved west he attempted to obtain food and supplies and to link up with what little was left of the Army of Tennessee, now under Joe Johnston in North Carolina. Finally on April 9, 1865, Lee was out of alternatives and surrendered to General Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. He delivered the surrender himself rather than send a subordinate as he knew of the sense of insult his father had felt when the British made their capitulation at Yorktown via the most junior officer present, and that only after a sergeant had been rejected by George Washington. After the war the men had to get back to whatever life they could salvage, the South had to be rebuilt, and Lee had to feed his family. His respect in the South was undiminished and though he faced the threat of legal action job offers came in, some of which could have made him wealthy. Desiring, however, to help restore the country's prosperity in October 1865 he accepted the presidency of the then-small Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. Revered by students, faculty, and the local populace, he proved an effective administrator; in 1868 a move was made to have him run as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia. Lee knew he could win but he enjoyed his job and desired to remain where he was preparing a new generation. Further, he probably suspected that his heart was not up to the rigors of political office. He kept active when he could, walking and riding his horses, but as time went on it became obvious that Lee was aged beyond his years; he was able to travel some, going to Baltimore and visiting President Grant at the White House in the spring of 1869. In late March of 1870 Lee undertook a two month trip thru the South during which he visited the graves of his father and of his daughter Annie and bade farewell to old friends. Upon his return he consulted with doctors in Richmond and Baltimore who did for him what little they could; he also spent time with Edmund Valentine who was in the process of creating the statue that would cover his tomb. The sculptor had wanted to meet with Lee in the fall, but apparently sensing that his final deployment was at hand the General instructed him not to wait. When the fall school term began Lee was at his post; during his years in Lexington he had worshipped and served as a vestryman at Grace Episcopal Church which was pastored by his old Chief of Artillery General William Nelson Pendleton. On September 28th he was in his capacity as Senior Warden conducting a vestry meeting when he suffered a stroke. The General made it home on his own but was obviously quite ill; over the ensuing days he was cared for by physicians and seemed to rally at times, though at others he was unable to speak coherently. On October 12th Lee uttered the last words, "Strike the tent", and died. His wife Mary, in poor health for years, followed him to the grave in 1873, while at his death his son Custis became president of what would one day be Washington and Lee University. After the war Lee had taken the Oath of Allegiance and applied for his pardon, but for some reason his paperwork was lost and remained so until 1970; in 1975 his American Citizenship was posthumously restored by President Gerald Ford. Today Fort Lee, Virginia, carries his name, as does a multitude of counties, schools, towns, bridges, and city streets. Statues of him adorn his grave, Stone Mountain, Georgia, Monument Avenue in Richmond, and numerous other public places, while his image has been on a Virginia license plate, several US postage stamps, and continues to hang in thousands of homes. Lee has been the subject of countless biographies ranging from works for small children to those intended for academics, with the definitive being Douglas Southall Freeman's four volume "R.E. Lee" (1934-1935). For a quiet man General Lee left a large number of quotes and while no single one can define him perhaps this comes close: "Do your duty in all things...you cannot do more...you should never wish to do less". (bio by: Bob Hufford)


-------------------- Civil War Confederate General. He is remembered for leading the Army of Northern Virginia to the brink of victory in the Civil War. Born to a Virginia family of nobility but little money, his father was Revolutionary War General, Virginia Governor, and Congressman Light Horse Harry Lee, his mother was Ann Hill Carter Lee of the distinguished Carter family, and his Lee collateral relatives included two signers of the Declaration of Independence. By the time young Robert arrived his father's financial irresponsibility had reduced the family to poverty and after Harry spent 1809 in debtor's prison the Lees moved to a small house in Alexandria where they were reduced to living on family charity. Harry was injured in an 1812 Baltimore political political riot and abandoned his family; Lee studied in Fauquier County and at Alexandria Academy and was to develop both studious habits and strong Christian faith, though he was not confirmed in the Episcopal Church until age 46. He also developed an abiding shame over the actions of his father's later years; indeed it is said that Lee lived his own life in an attempt to atone for Light Horse Harry, and whether that be true or not he never named any of his own sons Henry or Harry. In 1824 Lee received an appointment to West Point via the intervention of William Henry Fitzhugh, a relative who had often provided material aid. From the time he entered the Academy in 1825 he had an outstanding record, never being charged with a demerit and graduating second in the class of 1829 to Charles Mason, later a noted attorney but now remembered only as the answer to the trivia question "Who beat Robert E. Lee at West Point?". Following graduation he was assigned to the Corps of Engineers, the norm for students with good academic records, duty carrying prestige but little promotion opportunity. While he was on leave he experienced the trauma of having his mother die in his arms in August of 1829 but he was soon off to build forts on the the Georgia coast. In 1831 Lee was transferred to Fort Monroe, Virginia, and soon married Mary Custis, great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, whom he had been courting since 1829. The wedding took place only after the Custis family relaxed their opposition to Mary's romance with the disgraced Light Horse Harry's son; the Lees were devoted to each other and the union produded seven children though it was in some ways an unhappy match that Lee never objected to temporarily escaping when sent on assignment. Duty at Fort Monroe proved an unpleasant experience marked by staff conflicts and in 1834 Lee was posted to the Washington office of the Chief of Engineers. In 1837 he was sent west where he distinguished himself by vastly improving Mississippi River navigation especially at St. Louis and at the Des Moines Rapids near Keokuk, Iowa. Promoted to captain for his work along the Mississippi he was sent to Brooklyn in 1842 to become post engineer of Fort Hamilton where he worked on improving coastal defense. Lee made a number of structural improvements in the New York City area and earned praise but by 1846 he had 17 years in the Army and was still a captain with a family to support and little chance for advancement. Oportunity, however, was at hand and on August 19, 1846, Lee received his orders to report to General John Wool in preparation for service in Mexico. After traveling by ship to New Orleans he then moved on to Texas where he joined up with General Wool. Lee and a Captain Fraser were in charge of road building on the advance into Mexico and did their jobs well, though progress was made easier by the lack of enemy contact. On January 16, 1847, he was ordered to report to General Winfield Scott who was then preparing to assault Vera Cruz. When he arrived near Vera Cruz Lee was made a part of Scott's inner circle of officers; working for him were Lieutenants P.G.T. Beauregard and George McClellan, while other staff officers with whom he had dealings included Joe Johnston, U.S. Grant, George Meade, and Gustavus Woodson Smith, all names that would become well known years hence. Lee participated in the battles of Vera Cruz, Contreras, and Churubusco, then was wounded at Chapultepec, his reconnaissance missions along the way proving essential to ultimate success. Along with Beauregard and McClellan he assisted in preparing for General Scott's entry into Mexico City; at the end, though he had been acclaimed and had earned three brevet promotions for gallantry, he still held the permanent rank of captain. After the conflict he was sent to Baltimore as chief engineer then in 1852 returned to West Point as Superintendent with the rank of Brevet Colonel. Lee proved a popular and able executive while gaining experience that was to prove valuable in the post-Civil War years. He had a reputation for interacting well with the students and was to be a particular influence on Cadet and future General J.E.B. Stuart. In 1855 Lee was finally to achieve "real" promotion, a two-grade jump to Lieutenant Colonel, though at the price of leaving the Engineers, when he was posted to Texas as Executive Officer of the Second US Cavalry serving under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Though he was happy and successful he found himself recalled to Arlington upon the October 10, 1857, death of his father-in-law George Washington Parke Custis. As the health of Mary Lee had steadily declined Lee was stuck with sorting out the problems of the estate. Mr. Custis had large holdings but even larger debts and further had left a poorly drawn holographic will making financial bequests which there was no money to pay. Arlington Hall itself was left to Lee's eldest son George Washington Custis Lee, known as "Custis", who would one day serve as a Confederate Major General and who in 1882 would successfully sue the federal government and gain financial compensation for the taking of Arlington during the conflict. In the course of the settlement Lee was to make arrangements for the emancipation of Mr. Custis' slaves, though he was to also ensure that they would be able to support themselves once free. In October of 1859 Lee received a message via Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart calling him from Arlington to Washington to deal with the capture of the armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, by anti-slavery activists led by John Brown. Under orders from President Buchanan and taking with him J.E.B. and a detachment of US Marines commanded by Lieutenant Israel Green, Lee departed by train for Harper's Ferry. On the morning of October 18th J.E.B. delivered the final surrender demand then gave the signal for Green's men to take the engine house, which they accomplished rapidly. When Brown was hanged on December 2nd the event was carried out by Virginia Militia led by David Addison Weisiger, later a minor Confederate Brigadier General, while security was provided by V.M.I. Cadets under the command of Mexican War veteran Major Thomas Jackson, then called behind his back 'Tom Fool' but one day to be written down in history as 'Stonewall'. Lee returned to his duties in Texas but storm clouds were brewing and after Texas seceeded from the Union and U.S. Army facilities were turned over to the Confederacy he was recalled by General Scott to Washington in February 1861, there to be promoted to Colonel and offered general's stars along with command of the Union Army. A staunch Unionist and not a defender of slavery, Lee wanted to see the nation preserved but he was unwilling to invade the South to accomplish that end. Virginia seceeded on April 17, 1861; Lee resigned his commission on April 20th and was appointed Brigadier General in the Confederate Army on May 14th then the next month was named the third senior of the original five officers of four star rank. (The lineal list was Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, Lee, Joe Johnston, and Beauregard with Bragg, Kirby Smith, and Hood to follow later in the war). Initially tasked with training and arming Virginia troops, Lee conducted the essentially failed expedition into the western counties today called the West Virginia Campaign, then was sent to take charge of preparing coastal defenses in the lower southeast, doing a good enough job that his forts essentially held throughout the war. Returning to Richmond where he was already considered a failure after the western operation he supervised the digging of trenches around the capital, earning himself the derisive title "King of Spades". In February of 1862 he paid $200 for a gray gelding whom he named Traveller (using the British spelling) and rode for the rest of his life, though in periods of illness he sometimes used his smaller and tamer "other horse" Lucy Long, a gift from J.E.B. Stuart. Lee served as miliary advisor to President Davis until General Joe Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862. Command of the Army of Northern Virginia devolved upon General Gustavus Woodson Smith who suffered a nervous breakdown within 12 hours, leading Davis to place Lee in the top spot. He had his work cut out for him; the Confederacy had suffered multiple defeats, the public held no confidence in him, and McClellan was about four miles east of Richmond (at roughly the present location of Richmond International Airport) with an Army far larger and better equipped than anything Lee could muster. He organized the Seven Days Battle, a series of six late June engagements that only contained one clear cut victory, John Bell Hood's June 27th assault at Gaines' Mill, and cost numerous lives but ended with General McClellan bottled-up on the James River and no longer a danger to Richmond. Lee next turned his attention to Northern Virginia where from August 28th to 30th, with much help from Longstreet and Jackson, he routed General John Pope at Second Manassas; during this operation Lee fell and injured his hands, limiting his riding ability. The time of Second Manassas also marks the first recorded appearance of Lee's chest pains, then called "rheumatism", but in retrospect symptoms of the coronary artery disease that was to mark the rest of his life. Lee then moved into Maryland hoping to gather supplies, recruit new troops, and perhaps strike a blow into the northeast that would dampen the North's willingness to fight; his efforts were derailed by the famous Lost Order No. 191 which gave away his plans to McClellan; on September 17, 1862, the armies met at Sharpsburg in the Battle of Antietam which resulted in roughly 26,000 combined casualties, still the greatest one day loss of life in American history. Withdrawing to Virginia after the drawn battle he organized his troops at Fredericksburg to meet the new Army of the Potomac commander Ambrose Burnside; on December 13, 1862, Union troops were sent up the side of Mayre's Heights into a fortified position held by James Longstreet, thus ending thousands of lives and Burnside's brief tenure in command. Longstreet was soon sent to Southside Virginia on a foraging expedition and thus as spring came Lee was missing a third of his Army. In late April he moved toward Cancellorsville, just west of Fredericksburg; between April 30th and May 6th Lee stopped Joe Hooker in the series of conflicts known collectively as the Battle of Chancellorsville, though at the cost of the May 2nd mortal wounding of Stonewall Jackson in a friendly fire incident. Lee next marched into Pennsylvania to meet the Union Army under its new commander George Meade. The entire operation which culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg was controversial at the time and will likely remain so forever, with whole books written about each day and questions asked as to whether he should have replaced Jackson with Richard Ewell, whether he should have followed Longstreet's suggestions, whether he should have ordered Pickett's Charge, and indeed whether he should have gone north in the first place. In the aftermath Meade was unable to persue as the victorious army was in virtually as bad a condition as the defeated one. Once back in Virginia Lee's health was poor, and knowing he bore the onus of failure he offered to resign. The President, however, had nobody to replace him with. Interestingly, Gettysburg was not then seen as "final" in the way later generations viewed it thus Lee again reorganized and in the spring of 1864 staged the Wilderness Campaign, initially without Longstreet who after Gettysburg had been temporarily detached to General Braxton Bragg in Tennessee. Victories he won, albeit with the loss of men and supplies he could not replace; his main problem, however, was that the Union Army was now under the command of General U.S. Grant, thus denying to Lee the advantage of fighting the timid or incompetent. Forced into a nine month siege at Petersburg, he held out until finally compelled to retreat on April 2, 1865. During the stalemate Lee was named General-in-Chief of the Confederate States Army on January 31, 1865, and pushed for the integration of black soldiers into the Army. The Cause, however, was lost and Lee finally had to abandon the line at Petersburg. Over the next week as he moved west he attempted to obtain food and supplies and to link up with what little was left of the Army of Tennessee, now under Joe Johnston in North Carolina. Finally on April 9, 1865, Lee was out of alternatives and surrendered to General Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. He delivered the surrender himself rather than send a subordinate as he knew of the sense of insult his father had felt when the British made their capitulation at Yorktown via the most junior officer present, and that only after a sergeant had been rejected by George Washington. After the war the men had to get back to whatever life they could salvage, the South had to be rebuilt, and Lee had to feed his family. His respect in the South was undiminished and though he faced the threat of legal action job offers came in, some of which could have made him wealthy. Desiring, however, to help restore the country's prosperity in October 1865 he accepted the presidency of the then-small Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. Revered by students, faculty, and the local populace, he proved an effective administrator; in 1868 a move was made to have him run as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia. Lee knew he could win but he enjoyed his job and desired to remain where he was preparing a new generation. Further, he probably suspected that his heart was not up to the rigors of political office. He kept active when he could, walking and riding his horses, but as time went on it became obvious that Lee was aged beyond his years; he was able to travel some, going to Baltimore and visiting President Grant at the White House in the spring of 1869. In late March of 1870 Lee undertook a two month trip thru the South during which he visited the graves of his father and of his daughter Annie and bade farewell to old friends. Upon his return he consulted with doctors in Richmond and Baltimore who did for him what little they could; he also spent time with Edmund Valentine who was in the process of creating the statue that would cover his tomb. The sculptor had wanted to meet with Lee in the fall, but apparently sensing that his final deployment was at hand the General instructed him not to wait. When the fall school term began Lee was at his post; during his years in Lexington he had worshipped and served as a vestryman at Grace Episcopal Church which was pastored by his old Chief of Artillery General William Nelson Pendleton. On September 28th he was in his capacity as Senior Warden conducting a vestry meeting when he suffered a stroke. The General made it home on his own but was obviously quite ill; over the ensuing days he was cared for by physicians and seemed to rally at times, though at others he was unable to speak coherently. On October 12th Lee uttered the last words, "Strike the tent", and died. His wife Mary, in poor health for years, followed him to the grave in 1873, while at his death his son Custis became president of what would one day be Washington and Lee University. After the war Lee had taken the Oath of Allegiance and applied for his pardon, but for some reason his paperwork was lost and remained so until 1970; in 1975 his American Citizenship was posthumously restored by President Gerald Ford. Today Fort Lee, Virginia, carries his name, as does a multitude of counties, schools, towns, bridges, and city streets. Statues of him adorn his grave, Stone Mountain, Georgia, Monument Avenue in Richmond, and numerous other public places, while his image has been on a Virginia license plate, several US postage stamps, and continues to hang in thousands of homes. Lee has been the subject of countless biographies ranging from works for small children to those intended for academics, with the definitive being Douglas Southall Freeman's four volume "R.E. Lee" (1934-1935). For a quiet man General Lee left a large number of quotes and while no single one can define him perhaps this comes close: "Do your duty in all things...you cannot do more...you should never wish to do less". (bio by: Bob Hufford)



            
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General Robert E. Lee (CSA)'s Timeline

1767
July 26, 1767
1807
January 19, 1807
Westmoreland, Virginia, United States
1829
1829
- 1861
Age 21
United States Army
1829
- 1861
Age 21
United States of America
1831
June 30, 1831
Age 24
USA
1832
September 16, 1832
Age 25
Arlington Plant., Alexandria, Fairfax, VA.
1834
July 12, 1834
Age 27
Ravensworth, Virginia
1834
Age 26
Alexandria, VA, USA
1837
May 31, 1837
Age 30
Arlington Plant, Alexandria, Fairfax, VA
1839
June 18, 1839
Age 32
Arlington Plant., Alexandria, Fairfax, VA.