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A biography of robert edward lee the first military advisor to president jefferson davis

Marck Learn all about the man who was unquestionably the greatest general in the Confederacy, and the finest soldier in both the North and the South during the Civil War. A great man, he was respected in the North and adored in the South. General Robert Edward Lee Unquestionably the greatest general in the Confederacy, as well as the finest soldier in the field on both sides, Robert Edward Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on January 19, 1807.

Although he was personally opposed to slavery and succession, he remained loyal to his beloved Virginia. After Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln offered him a field command in the United States Army, but Lee resigned from the army and chose not to accept this position, joining the Confederacy instead. Years before the Civil War began, Lee's father was imprisoned for debt, and later died of wounds he received while attempting to stop a riot in Baltimore.

Robert E. Lee (1-19-1807 - 10-12-1870)

His death was devastating to the young Robert who was then raised solely by his widowed mother in Alexandria, Virginia. Lee attended private schools where he was noted for his extreme intelligence and high character, attributes that seemed to destine him for command later in life. In 1825 he accepted an appointment to West Point where he soon became the corps adjutant, a chief post of honor for a cadet. Upon graduation, he was ranked second in his class, having received no demerits during his four years there.

After graduation, he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the elite Corps of Engineers. During this time he had met the great granddaughter of George Washington, Mary Custis, whom Lee married two years later.

Mary Custis was the heiress of several estates in which they lived. Together their marriage produced seven children, and both Robert and Mary were very devoted parents. In 1836, Lee was promoted to 1st lieutenant, and in 1838, to captain. Before the Mexican War, Lee involved himself as a part of the Corps of Engineers with numerous civil and military related engineering projects.

He further distinguished himself in the battle at Chapultepec, where he was wounded. At the end of the Mexican War, Lee returned to the U. From 1852 to 1855, Lee served as the superintendent of West Point. With this, he bought to the academy a revitalized curriculum and formed lasting affiliations with his students. Over the next few years, his wife Mary had become ill, and consequently Robert was busy attending to her as well as her several estates. In 1856 he went to Texas where he served with the U.

When the Civil War began, Lee was again on cavalry assignment in Texas when that state seceded, so he returned home to Arlington, awaiting orders. It would be here that he declined the military offer from Abraham Lincoln.

On April 23, 1861, he resigned his commission in the U. Army and accepted a command of the Virginia defenses.

That August 31, he was promoted to full general and assigned as a special military advisor to President Jefferson Davis. Lee then took a a biography of robert edward lee the first military advisor to president jefferson davis time away from his position as an advisor to Davis to oversee the coastal defenses in South Carolina and Georgia, but was unable to prevent the Union from occupying some of the mountain regions of western Virginia.

  1. Johnston had been wounded, Lee stepped in and assumed command of his army, naming them the Army of Northern Virginia. Because Confederate General Joseph E.
  2. General Lee, who was a genius at strategy, then devised a plan for a second invasion of the North. Lee is an almost god like figure.
  3. On the 3rd day of battle General Lee hoping to end the war ordered the great frontal assault popularly known as Pickett's Charge.

By March 1862, Lee had returned to his advisor position with Davis. Because Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston had been wounded, Lee stepped in and assumed command of his army, naming them the Army of Northern Virginia.

From this point, this army would achieve an unequaled military record. Although Lee suffered significant casualties, he was able to push McClellan back to the Peninsula, where he gained protection from his gunboats. As a result, Lee then planned an all-out attack deep into Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Stonewall Jackson had captured Harpers Ferry and in the process took more than twelve-thousand Union prisoners. Because Lee's marching order was lost and had fallen into the hands of the Union, he took up a position on Antietam Creek, and the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day in history, took place on September 17, 1862.

Although the Battle of Antietam is viewed as a draw, Lee and the Confederacy actually won a tactical victory, while losing a strategic one. Unable to move forward, Lee and his army crossed back over the Potomac River into Virginia.

  • He was an expert at field fortifications, and seemed to also know, though uncanny, what his opponents were planning;
  • After Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln offered him a field command in the United States Army, but Lee resigned from the army and chose not to accept this position, joining the Confederacy instead;
  • Thus Joe Johnston was in command when George B;
  • He made precise decisions, and always seized the initiative;
  • He spent most of this time near Washington D;
  • Lee was faced with a larger army led by fighting Joe Hooker.

Although Lee won the battle at Chancellorsville, he lost his chief lieutenant, Stonewall Jackson, in an accidental shooting by Jackson's own men. General Lee, who was a genius at strategy, then devised a plan for a second invasion of the North. In June 1863, he had occupied the Cumberland Valley as well as other areas of Pennsylvania. Lee then learned that the Union had replaced General Hooker with General Meade, and that Meade was moving to threaten Lee's communication lines.

Beloved General of the South

Lee then moved his army near a little town in Pennsylvania known as Gettysburg. Now Lee, without his "right arm" of Jackson, suffered his first decisive defeat, causing him to retreat to Virginia. Although the losses on both sides were considerable, Lee, having fewer soldiers to begin with, was now returning to Virginia with his numbers greatly depleted. With fewer men than the Union, Lee did mount a fine offensive the following spring.

Using only 60,000 men, he took on the Union army under General Grant and his force of 120,000, when Grant attempted to move against Richmond. However, Lee now found himself backed into the defensive works at Petersburg and Richmond. This combined with Sherman's March to the Sea, and the overwhelming Union numbers, Lee and the South were starting to realize the beginning of the end. In an attempt to save the Confederacy, President Jefferson Davis appointed Lee general-in-chief of all the Confederate armies, but this appointment came too late.

Additionally, in an attempt to gain badly needed soldiers, the Confederate Congress authorized the recruitment of black slaves. But these attempts to revive the Confederacy came too little too late. Also, Lee's health was poor, having suffered from heart problems his entire life. However, en route, Lee met up with Grant at Appomattox Court House, and Lee realizing the cause was now over, surrendered his starving tattered army, now totaling only about 28,000.

Lee ranks in history as one of the excellent field commanders who, in battle was levelheaded, and who had the rare ability to command admiration and fondness from his troops. He was an expert at field fortifications, and seemed to also know, though uncanny, what his opponents were planning. He made precise decisions, and always seized the initiative. Although he had few faults, probably his worst was that he would explain his plan for battle, but then left the execution of his plan up to his subordinate generals.

Unfortunately, this custom was part of the blame for his defeat at Gettysburg. Throughout the war, Lee's knack led him to victories in the battles at Seven Days', Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Cold Harbor, whereby all were against greater numbered Union forces. Even at Antietam and Gettysburg, although outnumbered, Lee still managed to hold his ground until he felt retreating was necessary. Washington Collage had been closed during the war, because the majority of its students enlisted in the Confederate army in masses.

As president of the collage, Lee expanded and improved the curriculum, created the first departments of journalism and commerce in the country, enlarged its financial resources, as well as the building of the Lee Chapel. In Lee's personal notes, they indicate that the plans for the chapel were done by George Washington Custis Lee, his son, with assistance from him. Within the Lee Chapel are significant portraits of men who figured in the early history of the country, such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Lafayette, and George Washington.

Many of Lee's personal belongings are displayed there, including textbooks, campaign maps, his piano and his field glasses. The most famous and important item in the chapel is the recumbent statue of Lee. It is housed in an extension build after Lee's death, beneath which Lee himself is entombed along with other members of his family, including his famous father, "Light Horse Harry. Lee was deprived of his United States citizenship. President Andrew Johnson denied Lee his citizenship, in spite of the fact that he took the "Oath of Allegiance," as well as Johnson denied the restored citizenship of Jefferson Davis and James Longstreet.

Lee filed for the restoration of his citizenship, yet his application was apparently misplaced. On August 5, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed the bill that finally restored it. Robert Edward Lee died on October 12, 1870 at the age of 63, of a heart attack. He truly was a genuine American hero who was dearly respected in the North and adored in the South.

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