ROBERT E. LEEBy: Chrysen Park, Owen Murphy and JoshHolbrook
Early Life1. Lee was born at Stratford Hall Plantation inWestmoreland County, Virginia on January 19,1807.2. Lee entered West Point in the summer of1825. At the time, the focus of his curriculumwas engineering.3. Robert Lee attended school at Eastern View.
Marriage and Family1. Robert was married to Mary AnneCurtis Lee on June 30, 18312. Robert had 7 children:George Washington Custis LeeMary Custis LeeWilliam Henry Fitzhugh LeeAnne Carter LeeEleanor Agnes LeeRobert Edward Lee, Jr.
View on Slavery1. Since the end of the Civil War, it has often beensuggested Lee was in some sense opposed toslavery. Lee supported civil rights for all, as well asa system of free public schools for blacks, butdissented regarding black suffrage.2. "In this enlightened age, there are few I believe,but what will acknowledge, that slavery as aninstitution, is a moral & political evil in anyCountry. It is useless to expatiate on itsdisadvantages. I think it however a greater evil tothe white man than to the black race, & while myfeelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter,my sympathies are more strong for the former. Theblacks are immeasurably better off here than inAfrica, morally, socially & physically. The painfuldiscipline they are undergoing, is necessary fortheir instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare &lead them to better things. How long theirsubjugation may be necessary is known & orderedby a wise Merciful Providence." - Robert E. Lee
Civil War1. Lee wanted all peaceful ways ofresolving the differences betweenNorth and South.2.The commanding general of theUnion Army, Winfield Scott, toldLincoln he wanted Lee for a topcommand. Lee accepted a promotion tocolonel on March 28, 18633.Lee turned down an April 18 offer bypresidential aide Francis P. Blair tocommand the defense of WashingtonD.C. as a major general, as he fearedthat the job might require him toinvade the South.
Civil War Continued1. Lee resigned from the Army on April 20 and tookup command of the Virginia state forces on April 232. At the outbreak of war, Lee was appointed tocommand all of Virginias forces3. Lees first field assignment was commandingConfederate forces in western Virginia, where he wasdefeated at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and waswidely blamed for Confederate setbacks.4. Early in the war, his men called him "Granny Lee"because of his allegedly timid style of command.
Civil War Continued... 1. Lee then launched a series of attacks, the Seven Days Battles, against McClellans forces. Lees assaults resulted in heavy Confederate casualties.2. Lee defeated another Union army at theSecond Battle of Bull Run. Within 90 daysof taking command, Lee had run McClellanoff the Peninsula, defeated Pope at SecondManassas.3. In the summer of 1863, Lee invaded theNorth again, marching through westernMaryland and into south centralPennsylvania. He encountered Union forcesunder George G. Meade at the three-dayBattle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania inJuly; the battle would produce the largestnumber of casualties in the American CivilWar.
After the War1. Lee supported President Johnsonsplan of Reconstruction, but joinedwith Democrats in opposing theRepublicans who demandedmeasures against the South,distrusted its commitment to theabolition of slavery.2. Lee hoped to retire to a farm of hisown, but he accepted an offer to serveas the president of WashingtonCollege (Washington and LeeUniversity) in Lexington, Virginia,and served from October 1865 untilhis death.
Illness and Death1. On September 28, 1870, Lee suffered astroke. He died two weeks later, shortlyafter 9 a.m. on October 12, 1870, inLexington.2. His last words on the day of his death,were "Tell Hill he must come up. Strike thetent".3. He was buried underneath Lee Chapel atWashington and Lee University, where hisbody remains.
Impact on the War1. His brilliant military leadershipbrought the Confederacy as close as itever came to battlefield victory.2. Lees armies won several decisivevictories early in the conflict, eventhough they were always outnumbered byopposing forces.3. However, the southern armies couldnot stand up to the North resources andpursuit later in the war. For many, hissurrender to Grant at Appomattox CourtHouse on April 9, 1865 signified the endof the war.