Robert E. Lee

By: jcp7070


Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) was an American soldier best known as the general of the Confederate armies during the American Civil War (1861-1865). He was the Confederate general from 1862 to the end of the war in 1865.
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American Civil War

The American Civil War (1861-1865) was a civil war fought in the United States after seven Southern states declared their secession from the U.S., forming the Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy and the South. The states that did not secede were known as the Union, or the North.

The Civil War is said to have been caused by a wide variety of conflicts, though it is most commonly said to trace its origins back to disputes over slavery, sectionalism, and states rights.

The commander of the Union armies was President Abraham Lincoln, while Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, served as the commander of the Confederate forces. Notable military leaders included: (Union) Ulysses S. Grant, George B. McClellan, William T. Sherman, (Confederacy) Robert E. Lee, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

In April of 1865, the Confederate armies, lead by Robert E. Lee, surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, after being surrounded by the Union army, cutting off all means of retreat.

Mexican-American War

The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was a war between Mexico and the United States caused by the annexation of Texas into the U.S. and disputes over whether Texas ended at the Nueces River or the Rio Grande.

Military Career

Robert E. Lee entered the West Point Military Academy in 1825 to study engineering. He graduated four years later at the top of his class, second only to Charles Mason. Lee would later distinguish himself in the Mexican-American war (1846-1848).

At the start of the Civil War, Lee was scouted by President Abraham Lincoln to become the general of the Union armies. However, Lee turned down the offer after his home state, Virginia, seceded from the Union. Instead, Lee became a general within the Confederate army.

Towards the end of the Civil War, Lee was finally given full command of the Southern armies. However, his promotion was too late, preventing him from making any lasting changes, and he was forced to surrender to Union general Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, less than three months after Lee was promoted.

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After the War

Following the Civil War, Lee was not arrested or punished for fighting with the Confederacy, though he lost the right to vote as well as some of his property. Lee was a supporter of the Reconstruction plan proposed by the new president Andrew Johnson to reunite the Union and the Confederacy, and encouraged ex-Confederates to cooperate with the Union to rebuild the nation.
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In September of 1870, Lee suffered a stroke, and passed away two weeks later from the effects of pneumonia on October 12, 1870. He was buried under the Lee Chapel at Washington College, which was later renamed Washington and Lee University in his honor.
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In the years following the Civil War, Lee was regarded as a national symbol of the reconciliation between the Union and the Confederacy, and had been widely admired for his skills and honorable character by both the North and the South.

Today, Robert E. Lee is considered by many historians to be the greatest general of the Civil War, as well as one of the greatest military leaders in world history. Quite a few also argue that the Confederacy might've won the Civil War if Lee had been given full command of the Confederate armies sooner.

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