Robert E. Lee

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Lee, Robert E. (Edward)

(1807–70) soldier; born in Westmoreland County, Va. (son of Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee). His father, a Revolutionary War hero, had fallen into debt and Robert grew up in modest circumstances in Alexandria, Va. Graduating second in his West Point class of 1829 (and without a single demerit), he married a great-granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington and seems to have consciously emulated George Washington in several respects. He held assignments with the Army Corps of Engineers and then distinguished himself in combat during the Mexican War (1846–47) where he fought alongside many of the officers he would later fight against in the Civil War. He returned to duty as an engineer, served as superintendent of West Point (1852–55), transferred to the cavalry and served on the Texas frontier, and commanded the troops that put down John Brown's raid in Harpers Ferry, Va., in 1859. Lee opposed secession in 1861, but resigned from the U.S. Army in order to fight with his state of Virginia, having turned down Lincoln's offer to command U.S. forces in the field. He held a variety of posts with Confederate forces until July 1, 1862, when he succeeded Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in command of the troops soon known as the Army of Northern Virginia. He then proceeded on a series of campaigns and battles that—because of their sheer boldness, dynamism, flexibility—continue to be admired by all students of military history: the Seven Days' battles that forced the federals to retreat down the Virginia peninsula; the victory at the Second Bull Run (August 1862); the invasion of Maryland that ended in the standoff Battle of Antietam (September 1862); the great defensive victory of Fredericksburg (December 1862); and the battle known as his masterpiece, Chancellorsville (May 1863). After the latter victory he resolved upon a bold gamble, a second invasion of the North that he hoped would end the war; after three days of savage fighting at Gettysburg (July 1863), he conceded the gamble had failed and led his badly damaged army back to Virginia. With diminishing resources, Lee fought Ulysses S. Grant's forces in a series of brilliant but costly defensive struggles; these continued through the winter of 1864–65, and by the beginning of Grant's spring offensive, Lee commanded an army doomed by the overwhelming numbers and resources of the Union; finally trapped at Appomattox Courthouse, Va., Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the Confederacy's fight. Although indicted for treason, he was never tried, and he urged all Southerners to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and get on with the rebuilding of one nation. Decisive and willing to run large risks to get at "those people," as Lee called his opponents, he ranks among the greatest of battlefield commanders, although he has been faulted for a strategic short-sightedness that placed his native Virginia at the center of importance. After Appomattox he became president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee) in Lexington, Va. He died there of a heart ailment, already an object, as he would remain, of his countrymen's veneration; because of the way he conducted himself in defeat as well as in victory, he became many Americans' ideal of the gentleman Christian soldier. Among his many notable words were those as he looked over the forces at Fredericksburg before the carnage: "It is well that war is so terrible—we would grow too fond of it."
References in periodicals archive ?
One day in the autumn of 1869, I saw General Lee standing at his gate, talking to a humbly clad man, who turned off, evidently delighted with his interview, just as I came up.
The identity of the Loyalist guide who had led Harcourt's Dragoons to capture General Lee was never proven although the person deemed most likely at the time had been Major Richard Witham Stockton of the New Jersey Volunteers.
General Lee had her sights set on the overall win from the outset, as super maxi Super Sled was always going to be a tough to beat in the line honours drag race to Bali.
Not from the brand that gave the world the infamous General Lee in the Dukes of Hazard; the dual-striped Viper and Challenger; the countless pick-up trucks that formed the backbone of rural America for the last three decades.
General Lee: Above, Catherine Bach and The General Lee at the Motorhome And Caravan Show, and (inset) in The Dukes Of Hazzard.
A loose hunt horse almost caused havoc when racing head-on into the paths of The General Lee and Network Oscar.
Moved by the passing of this giant among men, Columbus native Emmet Rodwell Calhoun wrote a poem in honor of General Lee and "those rank in gray.
It has Civil War links to general Lee and his army and ties to American commerce that spiked throughout the area in the 1920s.
To continue the theme, I embarked on the ambitious plan to come up with a cake shaped like the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard for my boyfriend's birthday tomorrow.
General Imboden served under General Lee but did not participate in the climactic battle of Gettysburg, which spanned the first three days of July 1863.
Aided by their sexy cousin Daisy (Jessica Simpson) and moonshine-running Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson), the boys run rings around Hogg and co in The General Lee.
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