Crossroads of FreedomRobert E. Lee Esthela Caito Professor M. Arguello History 141
Robert Edward Lee commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War. Lee was born in Stratford. Westmoreland County, Virginia and lived from 1807- 1870. The Confederate states were the 11 Southern slave states of In 1861, President Abraham the US that wanted to secede Lincoln asked Lee if he from the US. wanted to take command over the entire Union Army. Lee said no to the offer because his home state of Virginia decided to secede from the Union.
Even though Lee did not agree with Virginia’s secession nor did he agree with having slavery, he had to stay faithful to his state. He was respected by his enemies and was sometimes regarded as “the right man on the wrong side of a war.” Lee was recognized as having great awareness & good judgment when he planned & executed military tactics. Lee’s military strategies were so impressive that they are actually studied in military schools as models of strategy and tactics. Lee was good at knowing what the other side was going to do next. He was also good at understanding the other side’s weaknesses.
Lee liked to be offensive in strategy but defensive in tactics. Lee set up his front to bulge outward toward the enemy (convex front) so that reinforcements, transfers, & supplies could reach the destination over a direct route. Lee is greatly known for having his troops protected by trenches. He knew that when a small group of soldiers is protected well by entrenchments, it has a better chance of standing up to a larger enemy force. Lee’s victories included the Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of the Wilderness, Battle of Cold Harbor, Seven Days Battle, and the Second Battle of Bull Run.
When Lee’s army was defeated at Antietam (1862) and Gettysburg (1863), it was obvious that the South would be defeated. In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant became the new Commander of the Union army and his plan was to wear down Lee’s army. In early 1865, Lee wanted to have slaves fight for the Confederate Army in exchange for their freedom. This plan never came about. In 1865, Robert E. Lee wrote to a former Confederate soldier concerning Lee’s army experienced many his signing the Oath of Allegiance, and losses against Grant. I quote: "This war, being at an end, the Southern States having laid down their arms, and the questions at issue On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered between them and the Northern States to Grant at Appomattox Court having been decided, I believe it to be House. the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony."