|Birthplace:||Stratford Hall, Westmoreland, Virginia, United States|
|Death:||Died in Lexington, Virginia, United States|
|Occupation:||General of all Confederate Armies, General in the US Army, College President, Confederate General|
|Managed by:||John Waggoner, IV|
About Robert Edward Lee, I
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.
"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.
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:
- 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
- Mary Custis Lee (Mary, “Daughter”); 1835–1918; unmarried
- William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (“Rooney”); 1837–1891; served as Major General in the Confederate Army (cavalry); married twice; surviving children by second marriage
- Anne Carter Lee (Annie); 1839–1862; unmarried
- Eleanor Agnes Lee (Agnes); 1841–1873; unmarried
- Robert Edward Lee, Jr. (Rob); 1843–1914; served as Captain in the Confederate Army (Rockbridge Artillery); married twice; surviving children by second marriage
- 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.
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. 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."
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
- 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.
- Freeman's biography of Lee
- Biographical article in Appleton's Encyclopedia
- Obituary of Robert E. Lee, from a Northern point of view. The New York Times; October 13, 1870
- Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, by Captain Robert E. Lee, His Son
- Find A Grave
General Robert E. Lee (CSA)'s Timeline
January 19, 1807
Westmoreland, Virginia, United States
United States of America
United States Army
June 30, 1831
September 16, 1832
Arlington Plant., Alexandria, Fairfax, VA.
July 12, 1834
Alexandria, VA, USA
May 31, 1837
Arlington Plant, Alexandria, Fairfax, VA
June 18, 1839
Arlington Plant., Alexandria, Fairfax, VA.
February 27, 1841
Arlington Plant., Alexandria, Fairfax, VA.