ROBERT E. LEE

Background Information

  • Robert Lee was born January 19th, 1807.
  • Was the youngest son of Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee. Harry Lee was a hero of the Revolutionary War.
  • Attended West Point in 1825. Graduated after four years, majoring in Engineering. Lee finished second overall in his class.
  • In 1831, Lee was married to wife Marry Lee.
  • Lee worked on many engineering projects after college, most of them in Georgia, Virginia, and New York.
  • Was made First lieutenant in 1836, and Captain in 1838. Lee increased in rank rapidly due to his success in the Mexican War.
  • After the war, Lee was employed on engineer work in the Washington and Baltimore areas.
  • In 1852, Lee was appointed Superintendent of West Point. During his three years there, Lee founded many fundamental changes.
  • In 1855, Lee was made Lieut.-Colonel to the second cavalry
  • In 1859, Lee was sent to stop John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.
  • Lee was made Colonel of the First U.S. Cavalry in March of 1861, but his military career in the old army ended with the secession of Virginia to the Union a month later.
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Lee's Role in the Civil War

  • Lee was against secession to begin with, but felt obligated to conform the action of his own state.
  • Was made Brigadier-General of the confederate service.
  • Military Operations were directed by President Jefferson Davis and General Robert Lee.
  • Lee personally directed the Northern Virginian forces during the Civil War.
  • Lee's First success was the "Seven days battle", where Lee crushed McClellan's advance.
  • Led the Confederates at the Battle of Antietam. Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the war, mainly due to indecisive leadership on both sides.
  • The year of 1863 ended with Confederate victories in Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and the three days' battle at Gettysburg. Gettysburg was the major turning point of the war, and the weakening of Confederate forces.
  • In 1864, Lee's main opponent was Union General Grant, who Lee fought in battle on various occasions.
  • Grant and Lee fought in the Battle of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.
  • Grant's army trapped Lee in 1865, forcing Lee to surrender.
  • After His farewell order and the end to the Virginian Army, the Confederacy collapsed. Lee urged the people of Virginia to give into federal orders.
  • Lee was offer presidency of Washington College (Now called Washington and Lee University)
  • Lee died on October 12th, 1870. He was burried on the college grounds.
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