About Robert E. Lee

Essay by kazmoJunior High, 8th grade May 2002

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Robert Edward Lee, son of Henry and Ann Hill Carter Lee, was born on January 19,1807. Lee lived his youth in Alexandria, Virginia. Martha Washington's great granddaughter, Mary Ann Randolph Custis married Lee in 1831. As a young man he was exposed to Christianity and accepted its faith. He was appointed to West Point in 1825 where he exceeded in his scholastics and graduated with honors in 1829. Lee, like most top classmen, was given a commision as an engineer. Lt. Lee helped build the St. Louis waterfront and worked on coastal forts in Brunswick and Savannah. Lee was finally promoted to Captain in 1838 during the Mexican War. In 1845, in Mexico Lee also meet, worked with, and got a chance to evaluate many of those he would later serve with and against; James Longstreet, Thomas J. Jackson, George Pickett, and U. S. Grant. In 1852 he was a superintendent at West Point, where he remained for three years until 1855, when he was made Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Calvalary.

In 1859 Colonel Lee was in charge of the force that suppressed John Brown at Harpers Ferry. He felt that his loyalty belonged more to the state than the Union. He offered his services to Virginia in the April of 1861. Jefferson Davis appointed Robert a General in the Confederate Army. May of 1862 Lee was thrust into the command of the Confederate's strongest army, which he renamed the Army of Northern Virginia. September 17, 1862, he won a costly battle on the Union at Anteitem. Also December 1862, he defeated the Union at Fredicksburg. May 1863, Lee staged a brilliant victory over the Union at Chancelorsville, where he lost one of his most useful and bold commanders, Lieutenant Stonewall Jackson. In July 1863, he...