Presentation on theme: "By Savannah Rae Devore Lee, Robert E. (1807-1870), was a great general who commanded the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. He is one of the."— Presentation transcript:
Lee, Robert E. (1807-1870), was a great general who commanded the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. He is one of the most important figures in the history of the American South. Lee’s fame rests both on his military achievements and on his character. He won the admiration and respect of Northerners as well as Southerners.
Lee chose to fight for the Confederacy out of loyalty to his native state, Virginia. He also opposed all efforts to limit slavery. Union General Ulysses S. Grant, to whom Lee finally surrendered, said about Lee: “There was not a man in the Confederacy whose influence with the whole people was as great as his.”
. Lee's family was a leading family of Virginia. The Lees were one of the most distinguished families in the United States. A kinsman, Thomas Lee, had served as royal governor of the colony. Lee was also related to Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee. Both had been statesmen and soldiers during the American Revolution (1775- 1783). His father, Henry Lee, was known as "Light-Horse Harry." Light-Horse Harry Lee had been a brilliant cavalry commander in the Revolutionary War. The Lee mansion,, burned in the early 1700's. Queen Caroline of England gave Thomas Lee money to help rebuild it. Lee called the new building Stratford Hall.
Robert E. Lee was a handsome man. He stood 5 feet 10 1 /2 inches (179 centimeters) tall and weighed about 170 pounds (77 kilograms). He had a commanding appearance—straight, alert, and intelligent. He was never known to smoke or drink alcoholic beverages. He did not use profane language.
Robert Edward Lee was born in Stratford Hall, near Montrose, Virginia, on Jan. 19, 1807. He grew up with a deep devotion to his native state. His love of Virginia continued throughout his life. He was a serious boy. He spent many hours in his father's library. In 1825 he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. His classmates admired him for his brilliance, leadership, and devotion to duty. He graduated from the academy with high honors in 1829. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.
While stationed there, he married Mary Anna Randolph Cutis (1808-1873). Mary Anna was Martha Washington's great-granddaughter. The couple lived in her family home, Arlington. It still stands on a Virginia hill overlooking Washington, D.C. They had seven children—George Washington Cutis, Mary, William H. Fitzhugh, Agnes, Annie, Robert Edward, and Mildred. The children grew up chiefly at Arlington. All three sons served as Confederate officers under Lee during the Civil War.
Lee now became a private citizen for the first time in 40 years. The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction of 1865 barred him from taking public office. But he applied for a complete individual pardon as provided by the proclamation, hoping to set an example for other Southern leaders to follow. However, the application lacked a required oath of allegiance to the United States. Lee then signed an oath and sent it to Washington, but the oath became lost. As a result, Lee was not pardoned. A general amnesty of 1868 restored his right to vote. He still lacked the right to hold public office, however. In 1970, an employee of the National Archives (now the National Archives and Records Administration) found Lee's oath. In 1975, Congress restored Lee's full citizenship.
Lee could have had many positions of wealth and prestige. Instead, he chose to spend his last years as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. He soon raised the small college to high levels of scholarship. He established schools of commerce and journalism. Young men from all parts of the South flocked to "General Lee's school." It was named Washington and Lee University after his death. Lee urged his students and his friends to keep the peace and accept the outcome of the Civil War. His attitude was important at a time when bitterness and hatred swept both North and South. Lee opposed these feelings. He did everything in his power to restore the political, economic, and social life of the South. "Make your sons Americans," he urged.