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Born:January 19, 1807Virginia...(Show more)Died:October 12, 1870 (aged 63)LexingtonVirginia...(Show more)Awards and also Honors:Hall of call for great Americans (1900)...(Show more)Role In:Battle the ChancellorsvilleBattle of GettysburgBattle that Spotsylvania Court HouseSecond fight of Bull RunBattle of five Forks...(Show more)

On both sides, Robert E. Lee’s family members had produced numerous of the leading figures in the ruling class of Virginia. His father, Col. Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee, had actually been a mounties leader during the American Revolution, a post-Revolution branch of Virginia, and the writer of a popular congressional memorial eulogy come his friend George Washington.


Robert E. Lee’s father’s financial mismanagement left Lee, his mother, and his siblings in situations that calculation them much less wealthy than the plantation owners in his expanded family.


Robert E. Lee commanded the military of northern Virginia, the many successful the the Southern militaries during the American civil War, and ultimately commanded every the Confederate armies. Together the armed forces leader of the beat Confederacy, Lee came to be a symbol of the American South.


Robert E. Lee spent number of months recuperating indigenous the polite War and then, in 1865, ended up being the president of Washington university (later Washington and also Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. He died in 1870.


Robert E. Lee, in full Robert Edward Lee, (born January 19, 1807, Stratford Hall, Westmoreland county, Virginia, U.S.—died October 12, 1870, Lexington, Virginia), U.S. Army officer (1829–61), Confederate basic (1861–65), college president (1865–70), and central figure in competing memory legacies of the American polite War.

Early life and also U.S. Military service

Robert Edward Lee to be the son of Henry (“Light-horse Harry”) Lee and also Ann Hill Carter Lee. His father had been a hero of the American change and branch of Virginia, and uncles and other relatives had signed the explanation of Independence, offered in Congress, and also otherwise completed notable reputations. As soon as Lee was age six, his father relocated to the West Indies and never returned, leaving the family in financially straightened circumstances.

Lee gone into the united States armed forces Academy in 1825 and graduated 2nd in the class of 1829. Fellow cadets described him as the “Marble Model”—a nickname that reflected envy as well as admiration. Simply under 6 feet (1.8 metres) tall, v black hair and also brown eyes, Lee reduced a to mark figure. High class ranking licensed has been granted him to get in the engineer Corps together a second lieutenant top top July 1, 1829.

More than a decade and half passed prior to Lee saw a battlefield. Promotions to very first lieutenant (September 21, 1836) and also to captain (July 7, 1838) punctuated his peacetime engineering service. In June 1831 Lee married mar Anna Randolph Custis, the only daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the nephew of Martha Washington. The pair would re-superstructure a 39-year marriage that created four daughters and three sons. Lee took seriously the ties to George Washington, whom he sought come emulate transparent his life.


On may 13, 1846, the unified States declared war on Mexico. Between March and September 1847, Lee offered on the employee of Winfield Scott during a project that ended with the record of Mexico City. Lee impression superiors throughout these operations and also won brevet promotions come major, sublievenant colonel, and colonel.

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As sectional stresses concerned the school of slavery mounted in the 1850s, Lee organized the superintendency the the unified States army Academy (1852–55) and also later served as sublievenant colonel the the 2nd Cavalry in Texas. In 1859 he remained in Washington, D.C., when the abolitionist man Brown an installed his raid top top Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). Summoned to the war Department on October 17, Lee proceeded to Harpers Ferry with a losing of Marines and also the following morning orchestrated the record of Brown, whom he explained as one “enemy the the Country.”

Slavery and racial attitudes

Lee organized views about slavery and abolitionists typical for those of his class and also section. A member of the slaveholding aristocracy, he witnessed the peculiar institution as important to maintain order between the races and also resented northerners who attacked the motives and character that slaveholders and also seemed eager to disrupt white supremacy in the southerly states. In December 1856 that ruminated at significant length come his wife on the topic. “Slavery as an institution,” the wrote, “is a moral & political evil in any type of Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages.” yet he also believed enslavement “a greater evil to the white 보다 to the black race, & while mine feelings room strongly interested in behalf of the latter, mine sympathies are much more strong because that the former.” The fate that enslaved millions, he insisted, need to be left in god’s hands: “Their emancipation will certainly sooner an outcome from the mild & melting affect of Christianity, than the storms & tempests that fiery Controversy.” Lee unequivocally denounced abolitionists, alluding come what he termed “the systematic & progressive efforts of certain people of the North, come interfere through & adjust the residential institutions of the South.” such actions, the continued, “can just be achieved by them through the company of a civil & servile war.”

Lee’s many sustained experience in regulate of enslaved civilization came ~ his father-in-law’s fatality in 1857. Lee own 10–15 enslaved human being during his lifetime, but, together executor that Custis’s will, he was charged through freeing, in ~ a five-year period, virtually 200 enslaved people. The resented the time essential to carry out the Arlington estate and also other Custis properties in the so late 1850s, implemented a harsher job-related regime for the enslaved human being than had been in place under Custis, and also was accused of cruelty toward enslaved civilization who ran away and also others who were to be liberated by Custis’s will. Lee denied the accusations, yet he definitely condoned whipping because that infractions of his rules. He organized pronounced racial see of white superiority the remained consistent from the antebellum years, when applied to enslaved people, into the post-Civil war period, when the newly emancipated search to uncover an equal place in southerly society. “You will never prosper with the blacks,” that told his youngest son in 1868, “and that is abhorrent to a reflecting mind to it is in supporting and also cherishing those who space plotting and working for her injury, and every one of whose sympathies and associations space antagonistic come yours.”

Role in the polite War

By the moment of Lee’s promo to colonel that the 1st Cavalry on march 16, 1861, 7 southern states had actually seceded and established the Confederate states of America. Confederate pho bombarded ft Sumter top top April 12, and three days later on U.S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln authorize a call for 75,000 volunteer to suppress the rebellion. On April 18, the day after Virginia seceded, Lee was available command of the united States military being elevated to put down the rebellion. That declined, with the explanation that he protest secession however could no take the field against the southern states. “Save in the defense that my indigenous State,” Lee wrote to basic in cook Winfield Scott, “I never ever desire again to attract my sword.”

Lee submitted his letter that resignation indigenous the U.S. Military on April 20 (after five days of handling in the battle Department, it became official on April 25) and on April 22 welcomed appointment as major general that Virginia’s state forces. ~ Virginia join the Confederacy on might 7, Lee was commissioned a brigadier general in the Confederate military on may 14 and advocated to full general on august 31 together the rebellious slaveholding republic’s third-highest ranking officer.

during Lee’s very first year in Confederate command, stints in west Virginia and along the south Atlantic coast created the impression the he lacked aggressiveness. In early on March 1862 he ended up being the principal armed forces adviser to Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia. Cultivation Federal dangers in Virginia lived in much the Lee’s attention. The most serious to be George B. McClellan’s 100,000-man military of the Potomac, i beg your pardon by the end of May had pushed to within a couple of miles the the Rebel capital. On might 31 Joseph E. Johnston received a wound in the fight of 7 Pines and also was changed as chef of the military defending Richmond through Lee, whose meeting provoked a combined reaction. A member of Lee’s staff recalled that “some that the newspapers…pitched right into him through extraordinary virulence,” predicting the “henceforth our military would never be permitted to fight.”