Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

Overview
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

The son of Revolutionary War
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 officer Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III and a top graduate of the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

, Robert E. Lee distinguished himself as an exceptional officer and combat engineer in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican-American War, served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, and married Mary Custis
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his personal desire for the Union to stay intact and despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 had offered Lee command of the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Robert E. Lee'
Start a new discussion about 'Robert E. Lee'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Timeline

1861   American Civil War: Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia.

1862   Civil War Maryland Campaign: General Robert E. Lee takes the Army of Northern Virginia, and the war, into the North.

1862   American Civil War: Union soldiers find a copy of Robert E. Lee's battle plans in a field outside Frederick, Maryland. It is the prelude to the Battle of Antietam.

1862   American Civil War: George B. McClellan halts the northward drive of Robert E. Lee's Confederate army in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history.

1862   American Civil War: At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats the Union Major General Ambrose E. Burnside.

1863   American Civil War: following his defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis (which is refused upon receipt).

1864   Arlington National Cemetery is established when {{convert|200|acre|km²}} around Arlington Mansion (formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee) are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

1865   American Civil War: The Siege of Petersburg is broken – Union troops capture the trenches around Petersburg, Virginia, forcing Confederate General Robert E. Lee to retreat.

1865   American Civil War: Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia (26,765 troops) to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, effectively ending the war.

1865   American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addresses his troops for the last time.

 
Quotations

Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.

Letter to his son, G. W. Custis Lee (5 April 1852); published in The New York Sun (26 November 1864); also inscribed beneath his bust in the Hall of Fame on the former New York University campus, New York City.

It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.

Comment to James Longstreet, on seeing a Federal charge repulsed in the Battle of Fredericksburg|Battle of Fredericksburg (1862-12-13)

I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving.

Remark, March 1865, to his son, G. W. Custis Lee, as quoted in South Atlantic Quarterly [Durham, North Carolina] (July 1927)

True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them — the desire to do right — is precisely the same.

Letter to General P. G. T. Beauregard|P. G. T. Beauregard (3 October 1865)
Encyclopedia
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

The son of Revolutionary War
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 officer Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III and a top graduate of the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

, Robert E. Lee distinguished himself as an exceptional officer and combat engineer in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican-American War, served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, and married Mary Custis
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his personal desire for the Union to stay intact and despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 had offered Lee command of the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

. During the Civil War, Lee originally served as a senior military adviser to President
President of the Confederate States of America
The President of the Confederate States of America was the Head of State and Head of Government of the Confederate States of America, which was formed from the states which declared their secession from the United States, thus precipitating the American Civil War. The only person to hold the...

 Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

. He soon emerged as a shrewd tactician and battlefield commander, winning numerous battles against larger Union armies. His abilities as a tactician have been praised by many military historians. His strategic vision was more doubtful, and both of his invasions of the North ended in defeat. Union General Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

's campaigns bore down on Lee in 1864 and 1865, and despite inflicting heavy casualties, Lee was unable to force back Grant. Lee would ultimately surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By this time, Lee had been promoted to the commanding officer of all Confederate forces; the remaining armies soon capitulated after Lee's surrender. Lee rejected the starting of a guerrilla campaign against the North and called for reconciliation between the North and South.

After the war, as President of what is now Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

, Lee supported President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

's program of Reconstruction and intersectional friendship, while opposing the Radical Republican proposals to give freed slaves the vote and take the vote away from ex-Confederates. He urged them to rethink their position between the North and the South, and the reintegration of former Confederates into the nation's political life. Lee became the great Southern hero of the War, a postwar icon of the "Lost Cause of the Confederacy
Lost Cause of the Confederacy
The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to an American literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional white society of the U.S. South to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War of 1861–1865...

" to some. But his popularity grew even in the North, especially after his death in 1870. He remains an iconic figure of American military leadership.

Early life and career


Lee was born at Stratford Hall Plantation
Stratford Hall Plantation
Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia, was the home of four generations of the Lee family of Virginia, including two signers of the Declaration of Independence, and it was the birthplace of Robert Edward Lee , who became the Confederate General-in-chief during the American...

 in Westmoreland County, Virginia
Westmoreland County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,718 people, 6,846 households, and 4,689 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 9,286 housing units at an average density of...

, the son of Major General
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Henry Lee III (Light Horse Harry) (1756–1818), Governor of Virginia
Governor of Virginia
The governor of Virginia serves as the chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a four-year term. The position is currently held by Republican Bob McDonnell, who was inaugurated on January 16, 2010, as the 71st governor of Virginia....

, and his second wife, Anne Hill Carter (1773–1829). His birth date has traditionally been recorded as January 19, 1807, but according to the historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor
Elizabeth Brown Pryor
Elizabeth Brown Pryor is an American diplomat and historian. In 2008, Pryor was awarded the Lincoln Prize for Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through his Private Letters. She shared the honor with James Oakes, who won for The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham...

, "Lee's writings indicate he may have been born the previous year."

One of Lee's great-great grandparents, Henry Lee I
Henry Lee I
Capt. Henry Lee I was a prominent Virginian colonist, brother of Governor Thomas Lee, and grandfather of Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee....

, was a prominent Virginian colonist of English descent. Lee's family is one of Virginia's first families, originally arriving in Virginia from England in the early 1600s with the arrival of Richard Lee I
Richard Lee I
Col. Richard Lee I, “the Immigrant” arrived in Jamestown in 1639 at the age of 22 with very little to his name other than the patronage of an influential man, Sir Francis Wyatt, the 1st Governor of Virginia. Once there he became Attorney General of the Colony of Virginia, Colonial Secretary of...

, Esq., "the Immigrant" (1618–64). His mother grew up at Shirley Plantation
Shirley Plantation
Shirley Plantation is an estate located on the north bank of the James River in Charles City County, Virginia. It is located on State Route 5, a scenic byway which runs between the independent cities of Richmond and Williamsburg...

, one of the most elegant homes in Virginia. Lee's father, a tobacco planter, suffered severe financial reverses from failed investments.

Little is known of Lee as a child; he rarely spoke of his boyhood as an adult. Nothing is known of his relationship with his father, who, after leaving his family, only mentioned Robert once in a letter. When given the opportunity to visit his father's Georgia grave, he remained there only briefly, yet while as president of Washington College, he defended his father in a biographical sketch while editing Light Horse Harry's memoirs. In 1809, Harry Lee was put in debtors prison; soon after his release the following year, Harry and Anne Lee and their five children moved to a small house on Cameron Street in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

, both because there were then terrific local schools there and because several members of her extended family lived nearby. In 1811, the family, including the newly born sixth child, Mildred, moved to a house on Oronoco Street, still close to the center of town and with the houses of a number of Lee relatives close by. In 1812, Harry Lee was badly injured in a political riot in Baltimore, and Secretary of State James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 arranged for Lee to travel to the West Indies. He would never return, dying when his son Robert was 11. Left to raise six children alone in straitened circumstances, Anne Lee and her family often paid extended visits to relatives and family friends. Robert Lee attended school at Eastern View, a school for young gentlemen, in Fauquier County
Fauquier County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 55,139 people, 19,842 households, and 15,139 families residing in the county. The population density was 85 people per square mile . There were 21,046 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile...

, and then at the Alexandria Academy, free for local boys, where he showed an aptitude for mathematics. Although brought up to be a practicing Christian, he was not confirmed in the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 until age 46.
Anne Lee's family was often succored by a relative, William Henry Fitzhugh
William Henry Fitzhugh
William Henry Fitzhugh was a prominent member of the Virginia constitutional convention of 1829–1830 and an officer of the American Colonization Society....

, who owned the Oronoco Street house and allowed the Lees to stay at his home in Fairfax County
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County is a county in Virginia, in the United States. Per the 2010 Census, the population of the county is 1,081,726, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.5% of Virginia's population...

, Ravensworth
Ravensworth
Ravensworth is a small village and civil parish in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England. It is approximately north-west of Richmond and from Darlington. It is situated in the Holmedale valley and is in the ward of Gilling West...

. When Robert was 17 in 1824, Fitzhugh wrote to the Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

, John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, urging that Robert be given an appointment to the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point. Fitzhugh wrote little of Robert's academic prowess, dwelling much on the prominence of his family, and erroneously stated the boy was 18. Instead of mailing the letter, Fitzhugh had young Robert deliver it. In March 1824, Robert Lee received his appointment to West Point, but due to the large number of cadets admitted, Lee would have to wait a year to begin his studies there.

Lee entered West Point in the summer of 1825. At the time, the focus of the curriculum was engineering; the head of the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the school and the superintendent was an engineering officer. Cadets were not permitted leave until they had finished two years of study, and were rarely permitted to leave the grounds of the Academy. Lee graduated second in his class behind Charles Mason
Charles Mason (attorney)
Charles Mason was born in New York and became a patent attorney, taught engineering, and was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa...

, who resigned from the Army a year after graduation, and Lee did not incur any demerits during his four-year course of study—five of his 45 classmates earned a similar distinction. In June 1829, Lee was commissioned a brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. After graduation, he returned to Virginia while awaiting assignment to find his mother on her deathbed; she died at Ravensworth on July 26, 1829.


Combat engineer career



On August 11, 1829, Brigadier General Charles Gratiot
Charles Gratiot
Charles Gratiot, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the son of Charles Gratiot, Sr., a fur trader in the Illinois country during the American Revolution, and Victoire Chouteau, who was from an important mercantile family. His father became a wealthy merchant during the early years of St....

 ordered Lee to Cockspur Island
Cockspur Island
Cockspur Island is an island in the south channel of the Savannah River near Lazaretto Creek, northwest of Tybee Island, Georgia, USA. Most of the island is within the boundaries of Fort Pulaski National Monument....

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

; plans were to build a fort on the marshy island which would command the outlet of the Savannah River
Savannah River
The Savannah River is a major river in the southeastern United States, forming most of the border between the states of South Carolina and Georgia. Two tributaries of the Savannah, the Tugaloo River and the Chattooga River, form the northernmost part of the border...

. Lee was involved in the early stages of construction, as the island was being drained and built up. In 1831, it became apparent the existing plan to build what became known as Fort Pulaski would have to be revamped, and Lee was transferred to Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula...

 at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula
Virginia Peninsula
The Virginia Peninsula is a peninsula in southeast Virginia, USA, bounded by the York River, James River, Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay.Hampton Roads is the common name for the metropolitan area that surrounds the body of water of the same name...

 (today in Hampton, Virginia
Hampton, Virginia
Hampton is an independent city that is not part of any county in Southeast Virginia. Its population is 137,436. As one of the seven major cities that compose the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, it is on the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula. Located on the Hampton Roads Beltway, it hosts...

).

While home in the summer of 1829, Lee had apparently courted Mary Custis
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

, great granddaughter of Martha Washington
Martha Washington
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States...

 whom he had known as a child. Lee obtained permission to write to her before leaving for Georgia, though Mary Custis warned Lee to be "discreet" in his writing, as her mother read her letters, especially from men. Custis refused Lee the first time he asked to marry her; her father, George Washington Custis did not believe the son of the disgraced Light Horse Harry Lee was a suitable man for his daughter. She accepted him, with her father's consent, in September 1830, while he was on summer leave, and the two were wed on June 30, 1831, at the Custis home at Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

 in the southern portion of the District of Columbia (today in Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of...

).

Lee's duties at Fort Monroe were varied, typical for a junior officer, and ranged from budgeting to designing buildings. Although Mary Lee accompanied her husband to Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads is the name for both a body of water and the Norfolk–Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia, United States...

, she spent about a third of her time at Arlington, though the couple's first son, Custis Lee
George Washington Custis Lee
George Washington Custis Lee , also known as Custis Lee, was the eldest son of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Custis Lee...

 was born at Fort Monroe. Although the two were by all accounts devoted to each other, they were different in character: Robert Lee was tidy and punctual, qualities his wife lacked. Mary Lee also had trouble transitioning from being a rich man's daughter to having to manage a household with only one or two slaves. Beginning in 1832, Robert Lee began a platonic, but close relationship with Harriett Talcott, wife of his fellow officer Andrew Talcott
Andrew Talcott
Andrew Talcott was an American civil engineer and close friend of Civil War General Robert E. Lee. While serving as a Confederate States of America Colonel and the State Engineer of Virginia, he was arrested and made prisoner of war during that conflict.-Early life:Talcott was born on April 20,...

.

Life at Fort Monroe was marked by conflicts between artillery and engineering officers; eventually the War Department transferred all engineering officers away from Fort Monroe, except Lee, who was ordered to take up residence on the artificial island of Rip Raps
Rip Raps
Rip Raps is a small 15 acre artificial island at the mouth of the harbor area known as Hampton Roads in the independent city of Hampton in southeastern Virginia in the United States.-History:...

 across the river from Fort Monroe, where Fort Wool
Fort Wool
Fort Wool was the companion to Fort Monroe in protecting Hampton Roads from seafaring threats. This site was once the dumping place for ships’ ballast....

 would eventually rise, and continue work to improve the island. Lee duly moved there, then discharged all workers and informed the War Department he could not maintain laborers without the facilities of the fort.

In 1834, Lee was transferred to Washington as General Gratiot's assistant. Lee had hoped to rent a house in Washington for his family, but was not able to find one; the family lived at Arlington, though Lieutenant Lee rented a room at a Washington boarding house for when the roads were impassable. In mid-1835, Lee was assigned to assist Andrew Talcott in surveying the southern border of Michigan. While on that expedition, he responded to a letter from an ill Mary Lee, which had requested he come to Arlington, "But why do you urge my immediate return, & tempt one in the strongest manner[?] ... I rather require to be strengthened & encouraged to the full performance of what I am called on to execute." Lee completed the assignment and returned to his post in Washington, finding his wife ill at Ravensworth. Mary Lee, who had recently given birth to their second child, remained bedridden for several months. In October 1836, Lee was promoted to first lieutenant.

Lee served as an assistant in the chief engineer's office in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 from 1834 to 1837, but spent the summer of 1835 helping to lay out the state line between Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 and Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. As a first lieutenant of engineers in 1837, he supervised the engineering work for St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 harbor and for the upper Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and Missouri
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

 rivers. Among his projects was blasting a channel through the Des Moines Rapids
Des Moines Rapids
The Des Moines Rapids between Nauvoo, Illinois and Keokuk, Iowa-Hamilton, Illinois is one of two major rapids on the Mississippi River that limited Steamboat traffic on the river through the early 19th century....

 on the Mississippi by Keokuk, Iowa
Keokuk, Iowa
Keokuk is a city in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Iowa and one of the county seats of Lee County. The other county seat is Fort Madison. The population was 11,427 at the 2000 census. The city is named after the Sauk Chief Keokuk, who is thought to be buried in Rand Park...

, where the Mississippi's mean depth of 2.4 foot (0.73152 m) was the upper limit of steamboat traffic on the river. His work there earned him a promotion to captain. Around 1842, Captain Robert E. Lee arrived as Fort Hamilton
Fort Hamilton
Historic Fort Hamilton is located in the southwestern corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn surrounded by the communities of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst, and is one of several posts that are part of the region which is headquartered by the Military District of Washington...

's post engineer.

Marriage and family



While he was stationed at Fort Monroe, he married Mary Anna Randolph Custis
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

 (1808–73), great-granddaughter of Martha Washington
Martha Washington
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States...

 by her first husband Daniel Parke Custis
Daniel Parke Custis
Daniel Parke Custis was a wealthy Virginia planter whose widow, Martha, married George Washington.He was the son of John Custis , a powerful member of Virginia's Governor's Council, and Frances Parke Custis...

, and step-great-granddaughter of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, the first president of the United States. Mary was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis , the step-grandson of United States President George Washington, was a nineteenth-century American writer, orator, and agricultural reformer.-Family:...

, George Washington's stepgrandson, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis
Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis
Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis was an Episcopal lay leader in Alexandria County...

, daughter of William Fitzhugh
William Fitzhugh
William Fitzhugh was an American planter and statesman who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress for Virginia in 1779. -Life:...

 and Ann Bolling Randolph. They were married on June 30, 1831, at Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

, 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:
  1. George Washington Custis Lee
    George Washington Custis Lee
    George Washington Custis Lee , also known as Custis Lee, was the eldest son of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Custis Lee...

     (Custis, "Boo"); 1832–1913; served as Major General in the Confederate Army and aide-de-camp to President Jefferson Davis; unmarried
  2. Mary Custis Lee (Mary, "Daughter"); 1835–1918; unmarried
  3. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee
    William Henry Fitzhugh Lee
    William Henry Fitzhugh Lee , known as Rooney Lee or W.H.F. Lee, was the second son of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Randolph Custis. He was a planter, a Confederate cavalry General in the American Civil War, and later a member of the U.S. Congress.-Early life:Lee was born at Arlington House in...

     ("Rooney"); 1837–91; served as Major General in the Confederate Army (cavalry); married twice; surviving children by second marriage
  4. Anne Carter Lee (Annie); June 18, 1839 – October 20, 1862; died of typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

    , unmarried
  5. Eleanor Agnes Lee (Agnes); 1841 – October 15, 1873; died of tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis
    Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

    , unmarried
  6. Robert Edward Lee, Jr. (Rob); 1843–1914; served as Captain in the Confederate Army (Rockbridge Artillery); married twice; surviving children by second marriage
  7. 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
Lee Chapel
Lee Chapel is a National Historic Landmark in Lexington, Virginia, on the campus of Washington and Lee University. It was constructed during 1867-68 at the request of Robert E. Lee, who was President of the University at the time, and after whom the building is named...

 at Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

 in Lexington, Virginia.

Lee was a great-great-great grandson of William Randolph
William Randolph
William Randolph was a colonist and land owner who played an important role in the history and government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham a few years later...

 and a great-great grandson of Richard Bland
Richard Bland (burgess)
Richard Bland , sometimes known as Richard Bland of Jordan's Point, was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the father of Richard Bland, the son of Theodorick Bland of Westover, and the grandson of Richard Bennett, an English Governor of the Colony of Virginia...

. He was also related to Helen Keller
Helen Keller
Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree....

 through Helen's mother, Kate, and was a distant relative of Admiral Willis Augustus Lee.

On May 1, 1864, General Lee was at the baptism of General A.P. Hill's daughter, Lucy Lee Hill, to serve as her godfather. This is referenced in the painting Tender is the Heart by Mort Künstler
Mort Künstler
Mort Künstler is a historical artist in the United States of America whose work now focuses mainly on the American Civil War. Before he turned to the Civil War in the early 1980s, he had built a body of work that dealt with America's national story: from portraits of prehistoric American life to...

.

Mexican-American War



Lee distinguished himself in the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

 (1846–48). He was one of Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

's chief aides in the march from Veracruz to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. He was instrumental in several American victories through his personal reconnaissance as a staff officer; he found routes of attack that the Mexicans
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 had not defended because they thought the terrain was impassable.

He was promoted to brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 major after the Battle of Cerro Gordo
Battle of Cerro Gordo
The Battle of Cerro Gordo, or Battle of Sierra Gordo, in the Mexican-American War saw Winfield Scott's United States troops flank and drive Santa Anna's larger Mexican army from a strong defensive position.-Battle:...

 on April 18, 1847. He also fought at Contreras
Battle of Contreras
The Battle of Contreras, also known as the Battle of Padierna, took place during August 19–20, 1847, in the final encounters of the Mexican-American War. In the Battle of Churubusco, fighting continued the following day.-Background:...

, Churubusco
Battle of Churubusco
The Battle of Churubusco took place on August 20, 1847, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Contreras during the Mexican-American War. After defeating the Mexican army at Churubusco, the U.S. Army was only 5 miles away from Mexico City, the capital of the nation...

, and Chapultepec
Battle of Chapultepec
The Battle of Chapultepec, in September 1847, was a United States victory over Mexican forces holding Chapultepec Castle west of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War.-Background:On September 13, 1847, in the costly Battle of Molino del Rey, U.S...

 and was wounded at the last. By the end of the war, he had received additional brevet promotions to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, but his permanent rank was still Captain of Engineers and he would remain a Captain until his transfer to the cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 in 1855.

For the first time, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 met and worked with each other during the Mexican-American War. Both Lee and Grant participated in Scott's march from the coastal town of Vera Cruz to Mexico City. Grant gained wartime experience as a quartermaster
Quartermaster
Quartermaster refers to two different military occupations depending on if the assigned unit is land based or naval.In land armies, especially US units, it is a term referring to either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior...

, Lee as an engineer who positioned troops and artillery. Both did their share of actual fighting. At Vera Cruz, Lee earned a commendation for "greatly distinguished" service. Grant was among the leaders at the bloody assault at Molino del Rey, and both soldiers were among the forces that entered Mexico City. Close observations of their commanders constituted a learning process for both Lee and Grant. The Mexican-American War concluded on February 2, 1848.

After the Mexican War, Lee spent three years at Fort Carroll
Fort Carroll
Fort Carroll is a 3.4 acre artificial island and abandoned fort in the middle of the Patapsco River, just south of Baltimore, Maryland...

 in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 harbor. During this time, his service was interrupted by other duties, among them surveying and updating maps in Florida. Lee declined an offer from Cuban rebels to lead their fight against Spain.

The 1850s


The 1850s were a difficult time for Lee, with his long absences from home, the increasing disability of his wife, and his often morbid concern with his personal failures.

In 1852, Lee was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

; he was reluctant to enter what he called a "snake pit", but the War Department insisted and he obeyed. His wife occasionally came to visit. During his three years at West Point, Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee improved the buildings and courses and spent much time with the cadets. Lee's oldest son, George Washington Custis Lee
George Washington Custis Lee
George Washington Custis Lee , also known as Custis Lee, was the eldest son of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Custis Lee...

, attended West Point during his tenure. Custis Lee graduated in 1854, first in his class.

Lee was enormously relieved to receive a long-awaited promotion as second-in-command of the Second Cavalry regiment in Texas in 1855. It meant leaving the Engineering Corps and its sequence of staff jobs for the combat command he truly wanted. He served under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston served as a general in three different armies: the Texas Army, the United States Army, and the Confederate States Army...

 at Camp Cooper, Texas; their mission was to protect settlers from attacks by the Apache and the Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

.

The death in 1857 of his father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis , the step-grandson of United States President George Washington, was a nineteenth-century American writer, orator, and agricultural reformer.-Family:...

, created a serious crisis, as Lee had to assume the main burden of executing the will. The Custis estate was in disarray, with vast landholdings and hundreds of slaves balanced against massive debts. The plantations had been poorly managed and were losing money. Lee took several leaves of absence from the army and became a planter and eventually straightened out the estate. On June 24, 1859, Lee was accused by the New York Tribune
New York Tribune
The New York Tribune was an American newspaper, first established by Horace Greeley in 1841, which was long considered one of the leading newspapers in the United States...

 of having three runaway slaves whipped and of personally whipping a female slave, Mary Norris. One of the captured slaves, Wesley Norris, confirmed the account in an 1866 interview printed in the National Anti-Slavery Standard
National Anti-Slavery Standard
The National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, established in 1840 under the editorship of Lydia Maria Child and David Lee Child. The paper published continuously until the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States...

, though he denied Lee personally whipped Mary Norris. Lee did not respond to the attack until 1866, claiming in a letter the accusation was not true. The Custis will called for emancipating the slaves within five years, but state law required they be funded in a livelihood outside Virginia, and that was impossible until the debts were paid off. They were all emancipated by 1862, within the five years specified.

Lee's views on slavery


Since the end of the Civil War, it has often been suggested Lee was in some sense opposed to slavery. In the period following the Civil War and Reconstruction, and after his death, Lee became a central figure in the Lost Cause
Lost Cause of the Confederacy
The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to an American literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional white society of the U.S. South to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War of 1861–1865...

 interpretation of the war, and as succeeding generations came to look on slavery as a terrible immorality, the idea that Lee had always somehow opposed it helped maintain his stature as a symbol of Southern honor and national reconciliation.

The evidence cited in favor of the claim that Lee opposed slavery included his direct statements and his actions before and during the war, including Lee's support of the work by his wife and her mother to liberate slaves and fund their move to Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

, the success of his wife and daughter in setting up an illegal school for slaves on the Arlington plantation, the freeing of Custis' slaves in 1862, and his insistence in 1864–65 that the Confederacy enroll slaves in Lee's Army, with manumission offered as an eventual reward for outstanding service.

In December 1864, Lee was shown a letter by Louisiana Senator Edward Sparrow
Edward Sparrow
Edward Sparrow was a prominent Confederate States of America politician.Sparrow was born in Dublin, Ireland. He represented Louisiana in the Provisional Confederate Congress from 1861 to 1862. Sparrow was a deputy in the Provisional Confederate Congress...

, written by General St. John R. Liddell, which noted Lee would be hard-pressed in the interior of Virginia by spring, and the need to consider Patrick Cleburne
Patrick Cleburne
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was an Irish American soldier, best known for his service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of major general....

's plan to emancipate the slaves and put all men in the army who were willing to join. Lee was said to have agreed on all points and desired to get black soldiers, saying "he could make soldiers out of any human being that had arms and legs."

A key source for Lee's views is his 1856 letter to his wife:
Freeman's analysis puts Lee's attitude toward slavery and abolition in historical context:

Harpers Ferry and Texas, 1859–61


Both Harpers Ferry and the secession of Texas were monumental events leading up to the Civil War. Robert E. Lee was at both events. Lee initially remained loyal to the Union after Texas seceded.

Harpers Ferry


John Brown
John Brown (abolitionist)
John Brown was an American revolutionary abolitionist, who in the 1850s advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery in the United States. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre during which five men were killed, in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas, and made his name in the...

 led a band of 21 abolitionists who seized the federal arsenal
Harpers Ferry Armory
Harpers Ferry Armory, more formally known as the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, was the second federal armory commissioned by the United States government located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia , the first federal armory being the Springfield Armory located in Springfield,...

 at Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. In many books the town is called "Harper's Ferry" with an apostrophe....

, Virginia in October 1859, hoping to incite a slave rebellion. President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th President of the United States . He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century....

 gave Lee command of detachments of militia, soldiers, and United States Marines, to suppress the uprising and arrest its leaders. By the time Lee arrived that night, the militia on the site had surrounded Brown and his hostages. At dawn, Brown refused the demand for surrender. Lee attacked, and Brown and his followers were captured after three minutes of fighting. Lee's summary report of the episode shows Lee believed it "was the attempt of a fanatic or mad­man". Lee said Brown achieved "temporary success" by creating panic and confusion and by "magnifying" the number of participants involved in the raid.

Texas


When Texas seceded from the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 in February 1861, General David E. Twiggs
David E. Twiggs
David Emanuel Twiggs was a United States soldier during the War of 1812 and Mexican-American War and a general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

 surrendered all the American forces (about 4,000 men, including Lee, and commander of the Department of Texas) to the Texans. Twiggs immediately resigned from the U. S. Army and was made a Confederate general. Lee went back to Washington and was appointed Colonel of the First Regiment of Cavalry in March 1861. Lee's colonelcy was signed by the new President, Abraham Lincoln. Three weeks after his promotion, Colonel Lee was offered a senior command (with the rank of Major General) in the expanding Army to fight the Southern States that had left the Union. Fort Mason, Texas
Fort Mason (Texas)
Fort Mason was established July 6, 1851 in what later became Mason County. It was named in honor of Lieut. George Thomson Mason, United States Army Second Lieutenant killed in the Thornton Affair during the Mexican–American War near Brownsville, April 25, 1846. At various times from 1856 to 1861...

 was Lee's last command with the United States Army.

Civil War


Lee privately ridiculed the Confederacy in letters in early 1861, denouncing secession as "revolution" and a betrayal of the efforts of the founders. Writing to his son William Fitzhugh, Lee stated, "I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union." While he was not opposed in principle to secession, Lee wanted all peaceful ways of resolving the differences between North and South—such as the Crittenden Compromise
Crittenden Compromise
The Crittenden Compromise was an unsuccessful proposal introduced by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden on December 18, 1860. It aimed to resolve the U.S...

—to be tried first, and was one of the few to foresee a long and difficult war.

The commanding general of the Union Army, Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

, told Lincoln he wanted Lee for a top command. Lee accepted a promotion to colonel on March 28. He had earlier been asked by one of his lieutenants if he intended to fight for the Confederacy or the Union, to which Lee replied, "I shall never bear arms against the Union, but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in the defense of my native state, Virginia, in which case I shall not prove recreant to my duty." Meanwhile, Lee ignored an offer of command from the CSA. After Lincoln's call for troops to put down the rebellion, it was obvious that Virginia would quickly secede. Lee turned down an April 18 offer by presidential aide Francis P. Blair to command the defense of Washington D.C. as a major general, as he feared that the job might require him to invade the South. When Lee asked Scott if he could stay home and not participate in the war, the general replied "I have no place in my army for equivocal men."

Lee resigned from the Army on April 20 and took up command of the Virginia state forces on April 23. While historians have usually called his decision inevitable ("the answer he was born to make", wrote one; another called it a "no-brainer") given the ties to family and state, recent research shows that the choice was a difficult one that Lee made alone, without pressure from friends or family. His daughter Mary Custis was the only one among those close to Lee who favored secession, and wife Mary Anna especially favored the Union, so his decision astounded them. While Lee's immediate family followed him to the Confederacy others, such as cousins and fellow officers Samuel Phillips
Samuel Phillips Lee
Samuel Phillips Lee was a Rear Admiral of the United States Navy. He commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron from 4 September 1862 to 12 October 1864. His flagship was Philadelphia.-Life and career:...

 and John Fitzgerald, remained loyal to the Union, as did 40% of all Virginian officers.

Early role


At the outbreak of war, Lee was appointed to command all of Virginia's forces, but upon the formation of the Confederate States Army, he was named one of its first five full generals. Lee did not wear the insignia of a Confederate general, but only the three stars of a Confederate colonel, equivalent to his last U.S. Army rank. He did not intend to wear a general's insignia until the Civil War had been won and he could be promoted, in peacetime, to general in the Confederate Army.

Lee's first field assignment was commanding Confederate forces in western Virginia, where he was defeated at the Battle of Cheat Mountain
Battle of Cheat Mountain
The Battle of Cheat Mountain, also known as the Battle of Cheat Summit Fort, took place from September 12 to 15, 1861, in Pocahontas County and Randolph County, Virginia as part of the Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War. It was the first battle of the Civil War in which Robert...

 and was widely blamed for Confederate setbacks. He was then sent to organize the coastal defenses along the Carolina and Georgia seaboard, appointed commander, "Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida” on November 5, 1861. Between then and the fall of Fort Pulaski
Battle of Fort Pulaski
The Battle of Fort Pulaski was fought April 10–11, 1862, during the American Civil War. Union forces on Tybee Island and naval operations conducted a 112-day siege, then captured the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski after a 30-hour bombardment. The battle is important for innovative use of rifled guns...

, April 11, 1862, he put in place a defense of Savannah that proved successful in blocking Federal advance on Savannah.[1] Confederate fort and naval gunnery dictated night time movement and construction by the besiegers. Federal preparations required four months.[2] In those four months, Lee developed a defense in depth. Behind Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River, Fort Jackson
Fort James Jackson
Fort James Jackson is a restored nineteenth-century fort located one mile east of Savannah, Georgia, on the Savannah River. It hosts the Fort Jackson Maritime Museum....

 was improved, and two additional batteries covered river approaches. In the face of the Union superiority in naval, artillery and infantry deployment, Lee was able to block any Federal advance on Savannah, and at the same time, well-trained Georgia troops were released in time to meet McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. The City of Savannah would not fall until Sherman's approach from the interior at the end of 1864.[4]

At first, the press spoke to the disappointment of losing Fort Pulaski. Surprised by the effectiveness of large caliber Parrott Rifles in their first deployment, it was widely speculated that only betrayal could have brought overnight surrender to a Third System Fort.[5] Lee was said to have failed to get effective support in the Savannah River from the three sidewheeler gunboats of the Georgia Navy. Although again blamed by the press for Confederate reverses, he was appointed military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

, the former U.S. Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

. While in Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, Lee was ridiculed as the 'King of Spades' for his excessive digging of trenches around the capitol. These trenches would later play a pivotal role in battles near the end of the war.

Commander, Army of Northern Virginia


Following the wounding of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

 at the Battle of Seven Pines
Battle of Seven Pines
The Battle of Seven Pines, also known as the Battle of Fair Oaks or Fair Oaks Station, took place on May 31 and June 1, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of an offensive up the Virginia Peninsula by Union Maj. Gen....

, on June 1, 1862, Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

, his first opportunity to lead an army in the field. Early in the war, his men called him "Granny Lee" because of his allegedly timid style of command. Confederate newspaper editorials of the day objected to his appointment due to concerns that Lee would not be aggressive and would wait for the Union army to come to him. He oversaw substantial strengthening of Richmond's defenses during the first three weeks of June.
In the spring of 1862, as part of the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

, the Union Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 under General George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

 advanced upon Richmond from Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula...

, eventually reaching the eastern edges of the Confederate capital along the Chickahominy River
Chickahominy River
The Chickahominy is an river in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Virginia. The river rises about northwest of Richmond and flows southeast and south to the James River...

. Lee then launched a series of attacks, the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

, against McClellan's forces.
Lee's assaults resulted in heavy Confederate casualties. They were marred by clumsy tactical performances by his division commanders, but his aggressive actions unnerved McClellan, who retreated to a point on the James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

 and abandoned the Peninsula Campaign. These successes led to a rapid turnaround of Confederate public opinion, and the newspaper editorials quickly changed their tune on Lee's aggressiveness. After the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

 until the end of the war his men called him simply "Marse Robert", a term of respect and affection.
This stunning Unionist setback – followed by an alarming drop in Northern morale – impelled Lincoln to adopt a new policy of relentless, committed warfare. Three weeks after the Seven Days Battles, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he intended to issue an executive order to free slaves as a military necessity.
After McClellan's retreat, Lee defeated another Union army at the Second Battle of Bull Run
Second Battle of Bull Run
The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862, as part of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia against Union Maj. Gen...

. Within 90 days of taking command, Lee had run McClellan off the Peninsula, defeated Pope at Second Manassas, and the battle lines had moved from 6 miles outside Richmond, to 20 miles outside Washington. Instead of a quick end to the war that McClellen's Peninsula Campaign had promised, the war would go on for almost another 3 years and claim a half million more lives, and end with liberation of four million slaves and the devastation of the Southern slave-based society.
Lee then invaded Maryland, hoping to replenish his supplies and possibly influence the Northern elections to fall in favor of ending the war. McClellan's men recovered a lost order
Special Order 191
Special Order 191 was a general movement order issued by Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee in the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War...

 that revealed Lee's plans. McClellan always exaggerated Lee's numerical strength, but now he knew the Confederate army was divided and could be destroyed by an all-out attack at Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

. McClellan, however, was too slow in moving, not realizing Lee had been informed by a spy that McClellan had the plans. Lee urgently recalled Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

, concentrating his forces west of Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. In the bloodiest day of the war, with both sides suffering enormous losses, Lee withstood the Union assaults. He withdrew his battered army back to Virginia while President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 used the Confederate reversal as an opportunity to announce the Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

 which put the Confederacy on the diplomatic and moral defensive, and would ultimately devastate the Confederacy's slave-based economy.
Disappointed by McClellan's failure to destroy Lee's army, Lincoln named Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

 as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside ordered an attack across the Rappahannock River
Rappahannock River
The Rappahannock River is a river in eastern Virginia, in the United States, approximately in length. It traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, across the Piedmont, to the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Potomac River.An important river in American...

 at Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

. Delays in getting bridges built across the river allowed Lee's army ample time to organize strong defenses, and the attack on December 12, 1862, was a disaster for the Union. Lincoln then named Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

 commander of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker's advance to attack Lee in May, 1863, near Chancellorsville, Virginia
Chancellorsville, Virginia
Chancellorsville is a historic site and unincorporated community in Virginia, about ten miles west of Fredericksburg. It is located in Spotsylvania County. The name of the locale derives from the mid-19th century inn operated by the family of George Chancellor at the intersection of the Orange...

, was defeated by Lee and Stonewall Jackson's daring plan to divide the army and attack Hooker's flank. It was a victory over a larger force, but it also came with high casualties; It was particularly costly in one respect: Lee’s finest corps commander, Stonewall Jackson, was accidentally fired upon by his own troops. Weakened by his wounds, he succumbed to pneumonia.

Battle of Gettysburg


The critical decisions came in May–June 1863, after Lee's smashing victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle of the American Civil War, and the principal engagement of the Chancellorsville Campaign. It was fought from April 30 to May 6, 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near the village of Chancellorsville. Two related battles were fought nearby on...

. The western front was crumbling, as multiple uncoordinated Confederate armies were unable to handle General Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

's campaign against Vicksburg. The top military advisers wanted to save Vicksburg, but Lee persuaded Davis to overrule them and authorize yet another invasion of the North. The immediate goal was to acquire urgently needed supplies from the rich farming districts of Pennsylvania; a long-term goal was to stimulate peace activity in the North by demonstrating the power of the South to invade. Lee's decision proved a significant strategic blunder and cost the Confederacy control of its western regions, and nearly cost Lee his own army as Union forces cut him off from the South. Lee had to fight his way out at Gettysburg.
In the summer of 1863, Lee invaded the North again, marching through western Maryland and into south central Pennsylvania. He encountered Union forces under George G. Meade at the three-day Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

 in Pennsylvania in July; the battle would produce the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War. With some of his subordinates being new and inexperienced in their commands, J.E.B. Stuart
J.E.B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was a U.S. Army officer from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. He was known to his friends as "Jeb", from the initials of his given names. Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use...

's cavalry being out of the area, and Lee being slightly ill, he was less than comfortable with how events were unfolding. While the first day of battle was controlled by the Confederates, key terrain that should have been taken by General Ewell was not. The second day ended with the Confederates unable to break the Union position, and the Union being more solidified. Lee's decision on the third day, against the sound judgment of his best corps commander General Longstreet, to launch a massive frontal assault on the center of the Union line was disastrous. The assault known as Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander,...

 was repulsed and resulted in heavy Confederate losses. The general rode out to meet his retreating army and proclaimed, "All this has been my fault." Lee was compelled to retreat. Despite flooded rivers that blocked his retreat, he escaped Meade's ineffective pursuit. Following his defeat at Gettysburg, Lee sent a letter of resignation to President Davis on August 8, 1863, but Davis refused Lee's request. That fall, Lee and Meade met again in two minor campaigns that did little to change the strategic standoff. The Confederate Army never fully recovered from the substantial losses incurred during the 3-day battle in southern Pennsylvania. The historian Shelby Foote
Shelby Foote
Shelby Dade Foote, Jr. was an American historian and novelist who wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, a massive, three-volume history of the war. With geographic and cultural roots in the Mississippi Delta, Foote's life and writing paralleled the radical shift from the agrarian planter system of the...

 stated, "Gettysburg was the price the South paid for having Robert E. Lee as commander."

Ulysses S. Grant and the Union offensive


In 1864 the new Union general-in-chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, sought to use his large advantages in manpower and material resources to destroy Lee's army by attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

, pinning Lee against his capital of Richmond. Lee successfully stopped each attack, but Grant with his superior numbers kept pushing each time a bit farther to the southeast. These battles in the Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 included the Wilderness
Battle of the Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5–7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by...

, Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania , was the second major battle in Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Following the bloody but inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, Grant's army disengaged...

 and Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 . It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles...

.

Grant eventually was able to stealthily move his army across the James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

. After stopping a Union attempt to capture Petersburg, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Petersburg is an independent city in Virginia, United States located on the Appomattox River and south of the state capital city of Richmond. The city's population was 32,420 as of 2010, predominantly of African-American ethnicity...

, a vital railroad link supplying Richmond, Lee's men built elaborate trenches and were besieged in Petersburg, a development which presaged the trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He attempted to break the stalemate by sending Jubal A. Early on a raid through the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, but was defeated early on by the superior forces of Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S...

. The Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

 lasted from June 1864 until March 1865, with Lee's outnumbered and poorly supplied army shrinking daily because of desertions by disheartened Confederates.

General-in-chief



On January 31, 1865, Lee was promoted to general-in-chief of Confederate forces.

As the South ran out of manpower the issue of arming the slaves became paramount. By late 1864, the army so dominated the Confederacy that civilian leaders were unable to block the military's proposal, strongly endorsed by Lee, to arm and train slaves in Confederate uniform for combat. In return for this service, slave soldiers and their families would be emancipated. Lee explained, "We should employ them without delay ... [along with] gradual and general emancipation." The first units were in training as the war ended. As the Confederate army was devastated by casualties, disease and desertion, the Union attack on Petersburg
Petersburg, Virginia
Petersburg is an independent city in Virginia, United States located on the Appomattox River and south of the state capital city of Richmond. The city's population was 32,420 as of 2010, predominantly of African-American ethnicity...

 succeeded on April 2, 1865. Lee abandoned Richmond and retreated west. Lee then made an attempt to escape to the southwest and join up with Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee in North Carolina. However, his forces were soon surrounded and he surrendered them to Grant on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is a National Historical Park of original and reconstructed nineteenth century buildings. It was signed into law August 3, 1935. The village was made a national monument in 1940 and a national historical park in 1954...

, Virginia. Other Confederate armies followed suit and the war ended. The day after his surrender, Lee issued his Farewell Address
Lee's Farewell Address
Confederate General Robert E. Lee issued his Farewell Address to his Army of Northern Virginia on April 10, 1865, the day after he surrendered the army to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Lee's surrender was instrumental in bringing about the end of the American Civil War...

 to his army.

Lee resisted calls by some officers to reject surrender and allow small units to melt away into the mountains, setting up a lengthy guerrilla war. He insisted the war was over and energetically campaigned for inter-sectional reconciliation. "So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South."

Lee's Civil War battle summaries


The following are summaries of Civil War battles where Robert E. Lee was the commanding officer:
Battle Date Result Opponent Confederate troop strength Union troop strength Confederate casualties Union casualties Notes
Cheat Mountain September 11–13, 1861 Union victory Reynolds 15,000 2,000 100 21 Lee's first battle of the Civil War. Lee was severely criticized for the defeat and named "Granny Lee". Lee was sent to South Carolina to supervise fortifications.
Seven Days June 25 – July 1, 1862 Decisive Strategic Confederate Victory
  • Oak Grove: Draw (Union withdrawal)
  • Beaver Dam Creek: Union victory
  • Gaine's Mill: Confederate victory
  • Savage's Station: Draw
  • Glendale: Draw (Union withdrawal)
  • Malvern Hill: Union victory
McClellan 95,000 91,000 20,614 15,849
Second Manassas August 28–30, 1862 Confederate victory Pope 49,000 76,000 9,197 16,054
South Mountain September 14, 1862 Union victory McClellan 18,000 28,000 2,685 1,813
Antietam September 16–18, 1862 Inconclusive (strategic Union victory) McClellan 52,000 75,000 13,724 12,410
Fredericksburg December 11, 1862 Confederate victory (Lee's troops and supplies depleted) Burnside 72,000 114,000 5,309 12,653
Chancellorsville May 1, 1863 Confederate victory Hooker 57,000 105,000 12,764 16,792
Gettysburg July 1, 1863 Union victory Meade 75,000 83,000 23,231–28,063 23,049 The Confederate army that returned from the fight at Gettysburg was physically and spiritually exhausted. Lee would never again attempt an offensive operation of such monumental proportions. Meade, who had forced Lee to retreat, was criticized for not immediately pursuing Lee's army. This battle become known as the High Water Mark of the Confederacy. Lee would never personally invade the North again after this battle. Rather he was determined to defend Richmond and eventually Petersburg at all costs.
Wilderness May 5, 1864 Inconclusive (Lee's tactical victory, yet Grant continued his offensive) Grant 61,000 102,000 11,400 18,400
Spotsylvania May 12, 1864 Inconclusive (although beaten and unable to take Lee's staunch line defenses, Grant continued the Union offensive) Grant 52,000 100,000 12,000 18,000
Cold Harbor June 1, 1864 Inconclusive (tactically, Lee was the victor, but Grant continue the strategic offensive) Grant 62,000 108,000 2,500 12,000
Deep Bottom August 14, 1864 Confederate victory Hancock 20,000 28,000 1,700 2,901 Union attempt to attack Richmond, the Confederate capital
Appomattox (campaign) March 29, 1865 Union victory, Confederate surrender Grant 50,000 113,000 no record available 10,780 General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant. Casualties on Confederate side are enormous. After the surrender Grant gave Lee's army much-needed food rations, made them lay down their arms and return to their homes, never to take up arms against the Union again.




After the war


After the war, Lee was not arrested or punished, but he did lose the right to vote as well as some property. Lee supported President Johnson's plan of Reconstruction, but joined with Democrats in opposing the Radical Republicans who demanded punitive measures against the South, distrusted its commitment to the abolition of slavery and, indeed, distrusted the region's loyalty to the United States. Lee supported civil rights for all, as well as a system of free public schools for blacks, but dissented regarding black suffrage. Most of all he became an icon of reconciliation between the North and South, and the reintegration of former Confederates into the national fabric.
Lee's prewar family home, the Custis-Lee Mansion
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

, was seized by Union forces during the war and turned into Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

. The family was compensated in 1883.

Lee hoped to retire to a farm of his own, but he was too much a regional symbol to live in obscurity. He accepted an offer to serve as the president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

) in Lexington, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Lexington is an independent city within the confines of Rockbridge County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 7,042 in 2010. Lexington is about 55 minutes east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.It is home to...

, and served from October 1865 until his death. The Trustees used his famous name in large-scale fund-raising appeals and Lee transformed Washington College into a leading Southern college. Lee was well liked by the students, which enabled him to announce an "honor system
Honor system
An honor system or honesty system is a philosophical way of running a variety of endeavors based on trust, honor, and honesty. Something that operates under the rule of the "honor system" is usually something that does not have strictly enforced rules governing its principles...

" like West Point's, explaining "We have but one rule here, and it is that every student be a gentleman." To speed up national reconciliation Lee recruited students from the North and made certain they were well treated on campus and in town.

Several glowing appraisals of Lee's tenure as college president have survived, depicting the dignity and respect he commanded among all. Previously, most students had been obliged to occupy the campus dormitories, while only the most mature were allowed to live off-campus. Lee quickly reversed this rule, requiring most students to board off-campus, and allowing only the most mature to live in the dorms as a mark of privilege; the results of this policy were considered a success. A typical account by a professor there states that "the students fairly worshipped him, and deeply dreaded his displeasure; yet so kind, affable, and gentle was he toward them that all loved to approach him... No student would have dared to violate General Lee's expressed wish or appeal; if he had done so, the students themselves would have driven him from the college." Elsewhere, the same professor recalls the following:
While at Washington College, Lee told a colleague that the greatest mistake of his life was taking a military education.

President Johnson's first amnesty pardon


On May 29, 1865, President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 issued a Proclamation of Amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 and Pardon
Pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

 to persons who had participated in the rebellion
Rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 against the United States. There were fourteen excepted classes, though, and members of those classes had to make special application to the President. Lee sent an application to Grant and wrote to President Johnson on June 13, 1865:

On October 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Lexington is an independent city within the confines of Rockbridge County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 7,042 in 2010. Lexington is about 55 minutes east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.It is home to...

, he signed his Amnesty Oath, thereby complying fully with the provision of Johnson's proclamation. Lee was not pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored. The fact that he had submitted an amnesty oath at all was soon lost to history.

Apparently Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 William H. Seward
William H. Seward
William Henry Seward, Sr. was the 12th Governor of New York, United States Senator and the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson...

 had given Lee's application to a friend as a souvenir, and the State Department had pigeonholed the oath. More than a hundred years later, in 1970, an archivist
Archivist
An archivist is a professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to information determined to have long-term value. The information maintained by an archivist can be any form of media...

 at the National Archives discovered Lee's Amnesty Oath among State Department records (reported in Prologue, Winter 1970). For 110 years Lee remained without a country
Statelessness
Statelessness is a legal concept describing the lack of any nationality. It is the absence of a recognized link between an individual and any state....

, as the Confederacy had dissolved and Lee's United States application and oath were lost and disregarded. It is probable that someone at the State Department did not want Robert E. Lee to regain citizenship while Lee was alive.

President Johnson's second amnesty pardon


President Andrew Johnson, in a proclamation dated December 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 711), gave an unconditional pardon to those who "directly or indirectly" rebelled against the United States.
Lee, with this full amnesty pardon by President Johnson, could not be held liable for treason or insurrection against the United States. Lee was posthumously officially reinstated as a United States citizen by President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 in 1975.

Postwar politics


Lee, who had opposed secession and remained mostly indifferent to politics before the Civil War, supported President 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
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

'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 told the Committee, "...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." Lee also recommended the deportation of African Americans from Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and even mentioned that Virginians would give aid in the deportation. "I think it would be better for Virginia if she could get rid of them [African Americans]. ... I think that everyone there would be willing to aid it."

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."

In 1868, Lee's ally Alexander H. H. Stuart drafted a public letter of endorsement for the Democratic Party's presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1868
The United States presidential election of 1868 was the first presidential election to take place after the American Civil War, during the period referred to as Reconstruction...

, in which Horatio Seymour
Horatio Seymour
Horatio Seymour was an American politician. He was the 18th Governor of New York from 1853 to 1854 and from 1863 to 1864. He was the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States in the presidential election of 1868, but lost the election to Republican and former Union General of...

 ran against Lee's old foe Republican Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

. Lee signed it along with thirty-one other ex-Confederates. The Democratic campaign, eager to publicize the endorsement, published the statement widely in newspapers. Their letter claimed paternalistic concern for the welfare of freed Southern blacks, stating that "The idea that the Southern people are hostile to the negroes and would oppress them, if it were in their power to do so, is entirely unfounded. They have grown up in our midst, and we have been accustomed from childhood to look upon them with kindness." However, it also called for the restoration of white political rule, arguing that "It is true that the people of the South, in common with a large majority of the people of the North and West, are, for obvious reasons, inflexibly opposed to any system of laws that would place the political power of the country in the hands of the negro race. But this opposition springs from no feeling of enmity, but from a deep-seated conviction that, at present, the negroes have neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power."

In his public statements and private correspondence, Lee argued that a tone of reconciliation and patience would further the interests of white Southerners better than hotheaded antagonism to federal authority or the use of violence. Lee repeatedly expelled white students from Washington College for violent attacks on local black men, and publicly urged obedience to the authorities and respect for law and order. In 1869–70 he was a leader in successful efforts to establish state-funded schools for blacks. He privately chastised fellow ex-Confederates such as Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

 and Jubal Early for their frequent, angry responses to perceived Northern insults, writing in private to them as he had written to a magazine editor in 1865, that "It should be the object of all to avoid controversy, to allay passion, give full scope to reason and to every kindly feeling. By doing this and encouraging our citizens to engage in the duties of life with all their heart and mind, with a determination not to be turned aside by thoughts of the past and fears of the future, our country will not only be restored in material prosperity, but will be advanced in science, in virtue and in religion."

Illness and death




On September 28, 1870, Lee suffered a stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

. He died two weeks later, shortly after 9 a.m. on October 12, 1870, in Lexington
Lexington, Virginia
Lexington is an independent city within the confines of Rockbridge County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 7,042 in 2010. Lexington is about 55 minutes east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.It is home to...

, Virginia from the effects of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. According to one account, his last words on the day of his death, were "Tell Hill
A. P. Hill
Ambrose Powell Hill, Jr. , was a career U.S. Army officer in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars and a Confederate general in the American Civil War...

 he must come up. Strike the tent", but this is debatable because of conflicting accounts and because Lee's stroke had resulted in aphasia
Aphasia
Aphasia is an impairment of language ability. This class of language disorder ranges from having difficulty remembering words to being completely unable to speak, read, or write....

, possibly rendering him unable to speak.

He was buried underneath Lee Chapel
Lee Chapel
Lee Chapel is a National Historic Landmark in Lexington, Virginia, on the campus of Washington and Lee University. It was constructed during 1867-68 at the request of Robert E. Lee, who was President of the University at the time, and after whom the building is named...

 at Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

, where his body remains.

Legacy



Among Southerners, Lee came to be even more revered after his surrender than he had been during the war, when Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

 had been the great Confederate hero. In an address before the Southern Historical Society in Atlanta, Georgia in 1874, Benjamin Harvey Hill described Lee as:

... a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbour without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward.


His reputation continued to build, and by 1900 his followers had spread into the North, signaling a national apotheosis
Apotheosis
Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature...

.
Today among the devotees of the Lost Cause
Lost Cause of the Confederacy
The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to an American literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional white society of the U.S. South to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War of 1861–1865...

, General Lee is referred to as "The Marble Man."

Lee's admirers have pointed to his character and devotion to duty, and 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 late in the conflict.

Civil War–era letters


On September 29, 2007, General Lee's three Civil War–era letters were sold for $61,000 at auction by Thomas Willcox, much less than the record of $630,000 for a Lee item in 2002. The auction included more than 400 documents of Lee's from the estate of the parents of Willcox that had been in the family for generations. South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 sued to stop the sale on the grounds that the letters were official documents and therefore property of the state, but the court ruled in favor of Willcox.

Citizenship restored


On January 30, 1975, Senate Joint Resolution 23, A joint resolution to restore posthumously full rights of citizenship to General R. E. Lee was introduced into the Senate by Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr.
Harry F. Byrd, Jr.
Harry Flood Byrd, Jr. is a retired American politician. He represented Virginia in the United States Senate from 1965 to 1983. He is most notable for leaving the Democratic Party in 1970 and becoming an Independent, although he continued to caucus with the Democrats. He is the son of Harry F....

 (I-VA). The resolution was to restore the U.S. citizenship to Robert E. Lee effective June 13, 1865. This resolution was the result of a five year campaign to posthumously restore Robert E. Lee's U.S. citizenship.

Congressional summary

  • January 30, 1975 S. J. Res. 23 introduced.
  • March 19, 1975 Reported to Senate from the Committee on the Judiciary, S. Rept. 94-44.
  • April 10, 1975 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Measure passed Senate.
  • June 24, 1975 Reported to House from the Committee on the Judiciary, H. Rept. 94–324.
  • July 22, 1975 Passed/agreed to in House: Measure passed House, roll call #415 Vote: 407 Yea 10 Nay
  • July 22, 1975 Cleared for White House


On July 24, 1975, after passing the Senate and House of Representatives, the resolution was presented to President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

. The resolution, S.J. Res. 23, was signed on August 5, 1975 by the President and became Public Law 94-67 (89 Stat. 380). The signing took place at a ceremony at Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

, Arlington, Virginia. The house was formerly known as the Custis-Lee Mansion, and was the home of General Lee. The ceremony was attended by a dozen of Lee's descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, the general's great-great-grandson. Also attending were: Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr.
Harry F. Byrd, Jr.
Harry Flood Byrd, Jr. is a retired American politician. He represented Virginia in the United States Senate from 1965 to 1983. He is most notable for leaving the Democratic Party in 1970 and becoming an Independent, although he continued to caucus with the Democrats. He is the son of Harry F....

, and congressmen M. Caldwell Butler
M. Caldwell Butler
Manley Caldwell Butler is a U.S. Representative from Virginia, great grandson of James A. Walker.Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Butler graduated from Jefferson Senior High School, Roanoke, Virginia, 1942....

, Herbert E. Harris II
Herbert Harris
Herbert Eugene Harris, II was a Democratic member of the U.S. Representative from Virginia. His district included part of Fairfax County.-Early life:Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Harris attended St...

, David E. Satterfield III
David E. Satterfield III
David Edward Satterfield III was a U.S. Representative from Virginia's 3rd congressional district. He served eight consecutive terms from 1965 until 1981. His father, Dave E...

, Thomas N. Downing
Thomas N. Downing
Thomas Nelms Downing was a lawyer, politician, and Democratic Congressman from for nine terms.Downing was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. He attended Newport News High School, and graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1940...

, and Robert W. Daniel, Jr.
Robert Daniel
Robert Williams Daniel, Jr. is a Virginia farmer, businessman, teacher, and politician who served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. He was first elected in 1972 and served until 1983. He is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School, Woodberry Forest, Virginia...


President Ford signing and speech

  • July 24, 1975 Measure presented to President.
  • August 5, 1975 Signed by President.
  • August 5, 1975 Public law 94-67


Before signing President Ford spoke at 2:12 p.m. at the signing ceremony:

Monuments



  • Since it was built in 1884, the most prominent monument in New Orleans has been a 60 feet (18 m)-tall monument to General Lee. A sixteen and a half foot statue of Lee stands tall upon a towering column of white marble in the middle of Lee Circle
    Lee Circle
    Lee Circle is a traffic circle with a monument to Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is located on St. Charles Avenue, where it intersects Howard Avenue. The bronze statue that tops the Doric column was sculpted by Alexander Doyle. Prior to the erection of the...

    . The statue of Lee, which weighs more than 7,000 pounds, faces the North. Lee Circle is situated along New Orleans' famous St. Charles Avenue
    St. Charles Avenue
    St. Charles Avenue is a thoroughfare in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. and the home of the St. Charles Streetcar Line. It is also famous for the hundreds of mansions that adorn the tree-lined boulevard for much of the Uptown section of the route. The southern live oak trees, particularly found in...

    . The New Orleans streetcars
    Streetcars in New Orleans
    Streetcars in New Orleans have been an integral part of the city's public transportation network since the first half of the 19th century. The longest of New Orleans' streetcar lines, the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar, is the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world,...

     roll past Lee Circle and New Orleans' best Mardi Gras
    New Orleans Mardi Gras
    Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a Carnival celebration well-known throughout the world.The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany . It is a season of parades, balls , and king cake parties...

     parades go around Lee Circle (the spot is so popular that bleachers are set up annually around the perimeter for Mardi Gras). Around the corner from Lee Circle is New Orleans' Confederate Museum, which contains the second largest collection of Confederate memorabilia in the world. In a tribute to Lee Circle (which had formerly been known as Tivoli Circle), former Confederate soldier George Washington Cable
    George Washington Cable
    George Washington Cable was an American novelist notable for the realism of his portrayals of Creole life in his native Louisiana. His fiction has been thought to anticipate that of William Faulkner.- Biography:...

     wrote:
"In Tivoli Circle, New Orleans, from the centre and apex of its green flowery mound, an immense column of pure white marble rises in the ... majesty of Grecian proportions high up above the city's house-tops into the dazzling sunshine ... On its dizzy top stands the bronze figure of one of the worlds greatest captains. He is alone. Not one of his mighty lieutenants stand behind, beside or below him. His arms are folded on that breast that never knew fear, and his calm, dauntless gaze meets the morning sun as it rises, like the new prosperity of the land he loved and serve so masterly, above the far distant battle fields where so many thousands of his gray veterans lie in the sleep of fallen heroes." (Silent South, 1885, The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine)
  • A large equestrian statue of Lee by French sculptor Jean Antonin Mercié is the centerpiece of Richmond, Virginia's famous Monument Avenue
    Monument Avenue
    Monument Avenue, in Richmond, Virginia, is a premier example of the Grand American Avenue city planning style. The first monument, a statue of Robert E. Lee was erected in 1890. Between 1900 and 1925, Monument Avenue exploded with architecturally significant houses, churches and apartment buildings...

    , which boasts four other statues to famous Confederates. This monument to Lee was unveiled on May 29, 1890. Over 100,000 people attended this dedication.
  • Robert E. Lee is also featured in the carving on Stone Mountain
    Stone Mountain
    Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock in Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States. At its summit, the elevation is 1,686 feet amsl and 825 feet above the surrounding area. Stone Mountain granite extends underground at its longest point into Gwinnett County...

    .
  • Robert E. Lee is shown mounted on Traveller in Gettysburg National Military Park
    Gettysburg National Military Park
    The Gettysburg National Military Park is an administrative unit of the National Park Service's northeast region and a subunit of federal properties of Adams County, Pennsylvania, with the same name, including the Gettysburg National Cemetery...

     on top of the Virginia Monument
  • A large double equestrian statue of Lee and Jackson in Baltimore's Wyman Park, directly across from the Baltimore Museum of Art, was dedicated in 1948. Designed by Laura Gardin Fraser, Robert E. Lee is depicted astride his horse Traveller next to Stonewall Jackson who is mounted on "Little Sorrel." Architect John Russell Pope created the base, which was dedicated on the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Holidays


The birthday of Robert E. Lee is celebrated or commemorated:
  • In Virginia as part of Lee-Jackson Day
    Lee-Jackson Day
    Lee–Jackson Day is a holiday celebrated in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the USA, for the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The original holiday, created in 1889, celebrated Lee's birthday. Jackson's name was added to the holiday in 1904. In 1983, the holiday was...

    , which is celebrated on the Friday preceding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day which is the third Monday in January.
  • In Texas as part of Confederate Heroes Day
    Confederate Memorial Day
    Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day and Confederate Heroes Day , is an official holiday and/or observance day in parts of the U.S. South as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War...

     on January 19, Lee's actual birthday.
  • In Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi on the same day as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • In Georgia on the day after Thanksgiving.
  • In Florida, as a legal and public holiday, on January 19.

Geographic features

  • Robert Lee, Texas
    Robert Lee, Texas
    Robert Lee is a city in and the county seat of Coke County, Texas, United States. The founders named the city after Robert E. Lee, who is thought to have set up camp for a time near the current townsite on the Colorado River. Lee served in Texas from 1856 to 1861 as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S...

  • The Leesville half of Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Batesburg-Leesville is a town in Lexington and Saluda counties in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 5,517 at the 2000 census...

    .
  • Fort Lee in Prince George County, Virginia
    Prince George County, Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 33,047 people, 10,159 households, and 8,096 families residing in the county. The population density was 124 people per square mile . There were 10,726 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile...

    .
  • Lee County, Alabama
    Lee County, Alabama
    Lee County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is named in honor of Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Confederate Army. As of 2010 the population was 140,247. It is part of the Auburn, Alabama Metropolitan Area. The county seat is Opelika, and the largest city is Auburn...

    ; Lee County, Arkansas; Lee County, Florida
    Lee County, Florida
    Lee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. Located in southwest Florida, the principal cities in the county are Fort Myers and Cape Coral...

    ; Lee County, Kentucky
    Lee County, Kentucky
    Lee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2000, the population was 7,916. Its county seat is Beattyville. It is a prohibition or dry county.-History:...

    ; Lee County, Mississippi
    Lee County, Mississippi
    -National protected areas:* Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site* Natchez Trace Parkway * Tupelo National Battlefield-History:On September 20, 1816, General Andrew Jackson, David Meriwether, and the Chickasaw Nation signed the Treaty of Chickasaw Council House in Lee County.Lee County was...

    ; Lee County, North Carolina
    Lee County, North Carolina
    -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 49,040 people, 18,466 households, and 13,369 families residing in the county. The population density was 191 people per square mile . There were 19,909 housing units at an average density of 77 per square mile...

    ; Lee County, South Carolina; Lee County, Texas.
  • Lee Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, and research center of the American South...

    —one of the city's major streets, it is located near the Louisiana State University
    Louisiana State University
    Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, most often referred to as Louisiana State University, or LSU, is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name...

    . Robert E. Lee High School is located on the street.
  • Lee Highway
    Lee Highway
    The Lee Highway was a National Auto Trail in the United States connecting New York City and San Francisco, California via the South and Southwest. It was named after Robert E...

    , a National Auto Trail
    National auto trail
    The system of auto trails was an informal network of marked routes that existed in the United States and Canada in the early part of the 20th century. Marked with colored bands on telephone poles, the trails were intended to help travellers in the early days of the automobile.Auto trails were...

     in the United States connecting New York City and San Francisco, California
    San Francisco, California
    San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

     via the South and Southwest.
  • Lee Avenue, in Manassas, Virginia
    Manassas, Virginia
    The City of Manassas is an independent city surrounded by Prince William County and the independent city of Manassas Park in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Its population was 37,821 as of 2010. Manassas also surrounds the county seat for Prince William County but that county...

    , was named after Robert E. Lee and intersects with Grant Avenue in front of the old Prince William County Courthouse. Grant Avenue was named after General Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

    .
  • Robert E. Lee Memorial Park
    Robert E. Lee Memorial Park
    Robert E. Lee Memorial Park is a park in Baltimore County, Maryland, located near the intersection of Falls Road and Lake Avenue, adjacent to the Falls Road Light Rail Stop. Though the park is located outside the limits of Baltimore city, it is owned by the city...

    , Baltimore County, Maryland
    Baltimore County, Maryland
    Baltimore County is a county located in the northern part of the US state of Maryland. In 2010, its population was 805,029. It is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Towson. The name of the county was derived from the barony of the Proprietor of the Maryland...

  • Robert E. Lee is on the carving on Stone Mountain
    Stone Mountain
    Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock in Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States. At its summit, the elevation is 1,686 feet amsl and 825 feet above the surrounding area. Stone Mountain granite extends underground at its longest point into Gwinnett County...

     in Georgia
  • Robert E. Lee Blvd. in New Orleans
  • Lee Circle, New Orleans, with doric column surmounted by a statue of Lee

Schools and universities

  • Robert E. Lee Academy, Bishopville, South Carolina
  • Washington and Lee University
    Washington and Lee University
    Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts college in Lexington, Virginia, United States.The classical school from which Washington and Lee descended was established in 1749 as Augusta Academy, about north of its present location. In 1776 it was renamed Liberty Hall in a burst of...

    , Lexington, Virginia
  • Lee College, Baytown, Texas
  • Several high schools and middle schools. See Robert E. Lee High School (disambiguation).

    • Lee High School, Houston, Texas
    • Lee-Davis High School, Mechanicsville, Virginia
    • Southern Lee High School, Sanford, North Carolina
    • Lee County High School, Sanford, North Carolina
    • Robert E. Lee High School, Baytown, Texas
    • Upson-Lee High School, Thomaston, Georgia
    • Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, Virginia
    • Robert E. Lee Junior High School, Monroe, Louisiana
    • Robert E. Lee Junior High School, San Angelo, Texas
    • Robert E. Lee High School, Jacksonville, Florida
    • Robert E. Lee Middle School, Orlando, Florida
    • Robert E. Lee High School, Springfield, Virginia
  • Several elementary schools. See Robert E. Lee Elementary School (disambiguation).

Memorials

  • Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
    Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
    Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

    , also known as the Custis-Lee Mansion and located in present-day Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

    , is maintained by the National Park Service
    National Park Service
    The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

     as a memorial to Lee.
  • The Virginia State Memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield
    Gettysburg Battlefield
    The Gettysburg Battlefield is the area of the July 1–3, 1863, military engagements of the Battle of Gettysburg within and around the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Locations of military engagements extend from the 4 acre site of the first shot & at on the west of the borough, to East...

     is topped by an equestrian statue of Lee by Frederick William Sievers, facing roughly in the direction of Pickett's Charge
    Pickett's Charge
    Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander,...

    .
  • Lee is one of the figures depicted in bas-relief carved into Stone Mountain
    Stone Mountain
    Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock in Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States. At its summit, the elevation is 1,686 feet amsl and 825 feet above the surrounding area. Stone Mountain granite extends underground at its longest point into Gwinnett County...

     near Atlanta, Georgia
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

    . Accompanying him on horseback in the relief are Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

    .
  • An equestrian statue of Lee is located in Robert E. Lee Park, in Dallas
    Dallas, Texas
    Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

    , Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

    .
  • Despite his presidential pardon by Gerald Ford
    Gerald Ford
    Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

     and his continuing to being held in high regard by many Americans, Lee's portrayal on a mural on Richmond's Flood Wall on the James River
    James River (Virginia)
    The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

     was considered offensive by some, was removed in the late 1990s, but currently is back on the flood wall.
  • In 1900, Lee was one of the first 29 individuals selected for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans
    Hall of Fame for Great Americans
    The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is the original hall of fame in the United States. "Fame" here means "renown"...

     (the first Hall of Fame in the United States), designed by Stanford White
    Stanford White
    Stanford White was an American architect and partner in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the frontrunner among Beaux-Arts firms. He designed a long series of houses for the rich and the very rich, and various public, institutional, and religious buildings, some of which can be found...

    , on the Bronx, New York
    The Bronx
    The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

    , campus of New York University
    New York University
    New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

    , now a part of Bronx Community College
    Bronx Community College
    The Bronx Community College of The City University of New York is a community college in the City University of New York system located in the University Heights neighborhood of The Bronx.- History :...

    .
  • On September 21, 1955, the United States Postal Service
    United States Postal Service
    The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

     released a 30¢ Liberty Issue
    Liberty Issue
    The Liberty issue was a definitive series of postage stamps issued by the United States between 1954 and 1965. It offered twenty-four denominations, ranging from a half-cent issue showing Benjamin Franklin to a five dollar issue depicting Alexander Hamilton...

     postage stamp
    Postage stamp
    A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

     honoring Lee.
  • A statue of Lee is on display at the main mall of The University of Texas at Austin.

Vehicles

  • The , a George Washington class
    George Washington class submarine
    The George Washington class was a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines deployed by the United States Navy. The Navy ordered a class of nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles on 31 December 1957, and tasked Electric Boat with converting two existing...

     ballistic missile submarine
    Ballistic missile submarine
    A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

     built in 1958, was named for Lee.
  • The Mississippi River
    Mississippi River
    The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

     steamboat
    Steamboat
    A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels...

    , Robert E. Lee
    Robert E. Lee (steamboat)
    The Robert E. Lee, nicknamed the "Monarch of the Mississippi," was a steamboat built in New Albany, Indiana in 1866. The hull was designed by DeWitt Hill, and the riverboat cost more than $200,000 to build. It was named for Robert E...

    , was named for Lee after the Civil War. It was the participant in an 1870 St. Louis – New Orleans race with the Natchez VI, which was featured in a Currier and Ives
    Currier and Ives
    Currier and Ives was a successful American printmaking firm headed by Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives . Based in New York City from 1834–1907, the prolific firm produced prints from paintings by fine artists as black and white lithographs that were hand colored...

     lithograph. The Robert E. Lee won the race. The steamboat also inspired a song Waiting for the Robert E. Lee (Lewis Muir-L. Wolfe Gilbert).
  • The Commonwealth of Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

     issues an optional license plate honoring Lee, making reference to him as 'The Virginia Gentleman'.
  • The M3 Lee
    M3 Lee
    The Medium Tank M3 was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called "General Lee", named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and the modified version built with a new turret was called the "General Grant", named after U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant.Design commenced...

     tank.

In other media


Robert E. Lee serves as a main character in the Shaara novels The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War: June 30, 1863, as the troops of both the Union and the Confederacy move into battle around...

, Gods and Generals, and The Last Full Measure, as well as the film adaptations of The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals
Gods and Generals (film)
Gods and Generals is a 2003 American film based on the novel Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara. It depicts events that take place prior to those shown in the 1993 film Gettysburg, which was based on The Killer Angels, a novel by Shaara's father, Michael...

. He is played by Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

 in the former and his descendent Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

 in the latter. Lee is portrayed as a hero in the historical children's novel Lee and Grant at Appomattox
Lee and Grant at Appomattox
Lee and Grant at Appomattox is an historical fiction children’s novel by MacKinlay Kantor. It was originally published in 1950 by Random House, and later published in paperback by Sterling Point Books.-Plot summary:...

by MacKinlay Kantor
MacKinlay Kantor
MacKinlay Kantor , born Benjamin McKinlay Kantor, was an American journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He wrote more than 30 novels, several based on the American Civil War, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1956 for his 1955 novel Andersonville, about the Confederate prisoner of war camp...

. He is a major character in Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's alternate history novel, The Guns of the South
The Guns of the South
The Guns of the South is an alternate history novel set during the American Civil War by Harry Turtledove.The story deals with a group of time-travelling Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging members who supply Robert E...

, in which he ends up as President of a victorious Confederacy.

On September 18, 1960, the American actor George Macready
George Macready
George Peabody Macready, Jr. , was an American stage, film, and television actor often cast in roles as polished villains.-Background:...

 portrayed Lee in the episode "Johnny Yuma at Appomattox" of the ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 television series The Rebel
The Rebel (TV series)
The Rebel is an American Western television series that ran originally on the ABC network from 1959 to 1961. The program was produced by Goodson-Todman Productions, marking one of their few non-game show ventures...

, starring Nick Adams in the title role.

Biographical

  • Blount, Roy, Jr. Robert E. Lee Penguin Putnam, 2003. 210 pp., short popular biography, ISBN 0670032204.
  • Carmichael, Peter S., ed. Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee Louisiana State University Press, 2004, ISBN 0807129291.
  • Connelly, Thomas L., "Robert E. Lee and the Western Confederacy: A Criticism of Lee's Strategic Ability." Civil War History 15 (June 1969): 116–32
  • Cooke, John E., "A Life of General Robert E. Lee" Kessinger Publishing
    Kessinger Publishing
    Kessinger Publishing is a publisher that offers for reprint rare, out of print and out of copyright books originally issued by other publishers. They are located in Whitefish, Montana.The original dates of publication of the titles are usually prior to ca...

    , 2004.
  • Dowdey, Clifford. Lee 1965.
  • Fellman, Michael (2000), The Making of Robert E. Lee. New York: Random House (ISBN 0-679-45650-3).
  • Fishwick, Marshall W. Lee after the War 1963.
  • Flood, Charles Bracelen. Lee — The Last Years 1981.
  • Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee, (4 vol. 1935); abridged one-volume edition, edited by Richard Harwell (1961); the standard biography
  • Gallagher, Gary W. Lee the Soldier. (University of Nebraska Press, 1996)
  • Nolan, Alan T. Lee Considered, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC (1991)
  • Pryor, Elizabeth Brown; Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters. New York: Viking, 2007.
  • Smith, Eugene O. Lee and Grant: a Dual Biography, McGraw-Hill, New York (1991)
  • Thomas, Emory Robert E. Lee W.W. Norton & Co., 1995 (ISBN 0-393-03730-4) full-scale scholarly biography

Military campaigns

  • Bonekemper, III, Edward H. How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War. Sergeant Kirkland's Press, Fredericksburg, Virginia. 1997. ISBN 1-887901-15-9
  • Bowden, Scott and Ward, Bill. Last Chance For Victory: Robert E. Lee And The Gettysburg Campaign. DaCapo Press, 2003.
  • Brown, Kent Masterson. Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign. University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
  • Cagney, James. "Animations of the Campaigns of Robert E. Lee" Click Here for the Animations (2008)
  • Cavanaugh, Michael A., and William Marvel, The Petersburg Campaign: The Battle of the Crater: "The Horrid Pit", June 25 – August 6, 1864 (1989)
  • Davis, William C. Death in the Trenches: Grant at Petersburg (1986).
  • Dowdey, Clifford. The Seven Days 1964.
  • Dugard, Martin. The Training Ground: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846–1848 (2009) and text search
  • Freeman, Douglas S.
    Douglas S. Freeman
    Douglas Southall Freeman was an American historian, biographer, newspaper editor, and author. He is best known for his multi-volume biographies of Robert E...

    , Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command (3 volumes), Scribners, 1946, ISBN 0-684-85979-3.
  • Fuller, Maj. Gen. J. F. C., Grant and Lee, A Study in Personality and Generalship, Indiana University Press, 1957, ISBN 0-253-13400-5.
  • Glatthaar, Joseph T. General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Grimsley, Mark, And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864 University of Nebraska Press, 2002.
  • Harmon, Troy D. Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg Stackpole Books, 2001
  • Harsh, Joseph L. Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 (Kent State University Press, 1999)
  • Johnson, R. U., and Buel, C. C., eds., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. 4 vols. New York, 1887–88; essays by leading generals of both sides; online edition
  • McWhiney, Grady, Battle in the Wilderness: Grant Meets Lee (1995)
  • Maney, R. Wayne, Marching to Cold Harbor. Victory and Failure, 1864 (1994).
  • Marvel, William. Lee's Last Retreat: The Flight to Appomattox. University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
  • Matter, William D. If It Takes All Summer: The Battle of Spotsylvania (1988)
  • Miller, J. Michael. The North Anna Campaign: "Even to Hell Itself", May 21–26, 1864 (1989).
  • Rafuse, Ethan S. Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865 (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Rhea, Gordon C. and Chris E. Heisey. In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: The Wilderness Through Cold Harbor (2007)
  • Rhea, Gordon C. The Battle of the Wilderness May 5–6, 1864, Louisiana State University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-8071-1873-7.
  • Rhea, Gordon C. The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern May 7–12, 1864, Louisiana State University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-8071-2136-3.
  • Rhea, Gordon C. To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13–25, 1864, Louisiana State University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8071-2535-0.
  • Rhea, Gordon C. Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26 – June 3, 1864, Louisiana State University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8071-2803-1.

Historiography and legacy

  • Adams, Michael C. C. "Robert E. Lee and Perspective over Time," Civil War History v. 49#1 (2003) pp 64–70
  • Connelly, Thomas L., "The Image and the General: Robert E. Lee in American Historiography." Civil War History 19 (March 1973): 50–64.
  • Connelly, Thomas L., The Marble Man. Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.
  • Fulmer, Hal W. "Southern Clerics and the Passing of Lee: Mythic Rhetoric and the Construction of a Sacred Symbol," Southern Communication Journa l55 (1990): 355-71
  • Gallagher, Gary W. Lee and His Army in Confederate History. University of North Carolina Press, 2001
  • Gallagher, Gary W. Lee and His Generals in War and Memory (1998).
  • McCaslin, Richard B. Lee in the Shadow of Washington. Louisiana State University Press, 2001.
  • McPherson, James M., and William J. Cooper, Jr., eds. Writing the Civil War: The Quest to Understand (University of South Carolina Press, 1998)
  • Reid, Brian Holden. Robert E. Lee: Icon for a Nation, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd is a British publisher of fiction and reference books. It is a division of the Orion Publishing Group.-History:...

    , 2005.
  • Ross, Michael A. "The Commemoration of Robert E. Lee's Death and the Obstruction of Reconstruction in New Orleans," Civil War History, Volume 51#2 June 2005, pp. 135–150 DOI: 10.1353/cwh.2005.0032

Primary sources

  • Dowdey, Clifford. and Louis H. Manarin, eds. The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee. (1961).
  • Freeman, Douglas Southall. ed. Unpublished Letters of General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A. to Jefferson Davis and the War Department of the Confederate States of America, 1862–65. Rev. ed. with foreword by Grady McWhiney. (1957).
  • Lee, Robert E. Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee (2008 edition) excerpt and text search
  • Johnson, R. U. and Buel, C. C. eds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (4 vols. 1887–88; essays by leading generals of both sides; online edition
  • Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters ed. by Elizabeth Brown Pryor (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Taylor, Walter H. Four Years with General Lee (1877). full text online
  • Taylor, Walter H. General Lee — His Campaigns in Virginia, 1861–1865. (1906) online complete edition

External links



Primary sources


Monuments and memorials