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The early life of robert e lee

See Article History Alternative Title: Robert Edward Lee Robert E. In February 1865 he was given command of all the Southern armies. Heritage and youth Robert Edward Lee was the fourth child of Col. On both sides, his family had produced many of the dominant figures in the ruling class of Virginia. Henry had been a cavalry leader during the American Revolutiona post-Revolution governor of Virginia, and the author of the famous congressional memorial eulogy to his friend, George Washington.

With all his aristocratic connections, Robert lacked the advantages of wealth. His father had no aptitude for finance and, dying when Robert was a child, left in straitened circumstances an ailing widow with seven children.

Stratford Hall

Robert, the youngest boy, was the closest of the children to his mother and was deeply influenced by her strength of character and high moral principles. All reports of his childhood and youth stress that the pinched gentility of his formative years, in such marked contrast to the life on the great plantations of his kinspeople, was a strong influence goading him to excel at whatever task he was assigned.

Unable to afford a university education, Lee obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Pointwhere his high aspirations and native gifts produced what a fellow cadet and future Confederate general, Joseph Johnstoncalled his natural superiority.

Always near the top of his class, he won the appointment to corps adjutant, the highest rank a cadet could attain, and was graduated second in his class in 1829.

  1. President Gerald Ford restored his citizenship in 1975 after documents were found that showed Lee had taken an oath to remain loyal to the United States. Unable to afford a university education, Lee obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point , where his high aspirations and native gifts produced what a fellow cadet and future Confederate general, Joseph Johnston , called his natural superiority.
  2. It was a realm of endless marvels for a boy of ten.
  3. When Johnston went down with wounds it was easy for Davis to replace him with General R.
  4. Lee decided to become a soldier. Some historians began to compare the popular perception of Lee and his legend with more nuanced considerations of his life and actions.

Not until the Mexican-American War 1846—48when he was a captain on the staff of Gen. Although Lee put down the insurgency in less than an hour, the very fact that it was led by a white man made him aware of the gathering crisis between the North and the South.

Lee was back at his command in Texas when, on February 1, 1861, Texas became the seventh Southern state to secede, and, with the rest of the U. Army forces, he was ordered out of the state. Without a command, he returned to Arlington to wait to see what Virginia would do. On April 18 he was called to Washington and was offered command of a new army being formed to force the seceded states back into the Union.

Abraham Lincoln called on Virginia to furnish troops for the invasion. A Virginia convention, which had previously voted 2 to 1 against secession, now voted 2 to 1 against furnishing troops for an invasion and to secede, and Lee resigned from the army in which he had served for 36 years.

He explained his decision in a letter to his sister Anne Marshall: Now we are in a state of war, which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of revolution…and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed…I had to meet the question whether I should take part against my native state.

With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to the early life of robert e lee my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the Army, and, save in defense of my native state, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.

The attempt at a quick suppression of the Southern states was over and, as Lee was one of the first to realize, a long all-out war began. Between July 1861 and June 1862, Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis appointed Lee to several unrewarding positions, the last of which was the trying post of military adviser to the president. During May 1862, General Johnston was leading a heterogeneous collection of Confederate troops back toward RichmondVirginia, from the east, before the methodical advance of Union Gen.

The battle became a turning point for Lee: Johnston was seriously wounded, and Lee was at last given field command. In three weeks he organized Confederate troops into what became the famed Army of Northern Virginia ; he tightened command and disciplineimproved morale, and convinced the soldiers that headquarters was in full command.

McClellan, waiting vainly for McDowell to join the wing of his army on the north side of the Chickahominy River, was moving heavy siege artillery from the east for the subjugation of Richmond when Lee struck.

Robert E. Lee

Combining with Jackson, who moved in from the valley, Lee defeated Gen. Until the spring of 1864, he was successful in keeping the enemy away from Richmond and from the northern part of the state, twice expelling the enemy out of Virginia altogether. He inflicted several severe defeats on the enemy, most strikingly at the Second Battle of Bull Run Second ManassasAugust 29—30, 1862.

To shift the fighting out of Virginia, Lee crossed into Marylandwhere he hoped for support from Southern sympathizers. But his plans fell into Northern hands, and his forces were nearly destroyed at Antietam Sharpsburg on September 17, 1862. He was, however, able to withdraw the remnants across the Potomacto reorganize his army, and to resume his series of victories at Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December of that year.

At Chancellorsville May 1—4, 1863 he achieved another notable victory, although outnumbered two to one, by splitting up his army and encircling the enemy in one of the most audacious moves in military history.

Early military career

Antietam, Battle ofLearn about the Battle of Antietam, a Civil War engagement fought on September 17, 1862, the single bloodiest day in American military history. Lee meeting for the last time at the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1863. Library of Congress, Washington, D. Grantthe newly appointed commanding general of all Union forces, drove at Lee with enormous superiority in numbers, armaments, and cavalry.

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

The horses of the troopers of Confederate Gen. Jeb Stuart were in poor condition, and Stuart was killed early in the campaign. Grant could neither defeat nor outmaneuver Lee, however, and the superb army Grant had inherited sustained losses of 50,000 men in the May and early June battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna, and Cold Harbor. Grant, however, his losses replaced by fresh recruits, had advanced within seven miles of Richmond, while Lee, his soldiers too weakened physically and his officers too inexperienced to attempt countering maneuvers, had lost the initiative.

  1. His specialty was finishing up. September 21, 1836 Throughout the 1830s, Lee earns a reputation as a gifted civil engineer on assignments in Virginia, Michigan, Missouri and New York.
  2. Buried cannon, placed there before the Revolution, marked other crossings.
  3. Similarly, he enjoined his executors not to foreclose a mortgage he held on the farm of friends at Malvern Hills — a name destined to suggest something not akin to kindness in the life of his grandson.

Lee himself was, moreover, physically declining and frequently incapacitated by illness. Lee centre on the porch of his home in Richmond, Virginia, with Maj.

George Washington Custis Lee and Col. Walter Taylor, April 1865, photograph by Mathew Brady. At Petersburg, Lee extended the field fortifications into permanent lines that presaged trench warfare.

When the survivors of his army pulled out of the trenches, an agonizing week of a forlorn retreat began for him; his men fell out from hunger, animals dropped in the traces, and units dissolved under demoralized officers. Lee's surrender to GrantConfederate Gen.

Lee surrendering to Union Gen. Both to earn subsistence for his family and to set an example for his unemployed fellow officers, he accepted the post of president of Washington College later Washington and Lee University in LexingtonVirginia.

The chapel contains the crypt of Robert E. Lee and his family. Highsmith Archive digital file no. LC-DIG-pplot-13600-01102 Lee was a surprisingly progressive educator; by employing his lifelong practices in economy, he placed the institution on a sound basis and awakened in his students—many of whom were veterans of the recent war—the desire to rebuild their state with the goal of good citizenship in a nation the early life of robert e lee in time would become reunited.

He died in 1870 at his home at Washington College. He was, moreover, very advanced in his rejection of war as a resolution of political conflicts—a fact that has been almost entirely ignored by posterity. In those years, he became an enduring symbol to the Southern people of what was best in their heritage.

  • November 1829 Lee is appointed second lieutenant in the U;
  • October 15, 1870 Lee's coffin is paraded through the small town of Lexington, Virginia;
  • He also had two relatives who signed the Declaration of Independence;
  • Lee had been thrown from his horse weeks earlier, resulting in two broken wrists, but he insists on moving among his troops, often in the line of fire.

Some historians began to compare the popular perception of Lee and his legend with more nuanced considerations of his life and actions.