Robert E. Lee

Essay by MacilroyHigh School, 11th grade October 2008

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Above all other Confederate generals, the most well known was Robert E. Lee. Lee was considered by most to be the most significant individual in the entire Confederate Army, and he was a military genius. His military prowess was well known throughout the Civil War and was proven time after time again during his battle against the Union. Even though Lee sometimes made mistakes, he was, even then, able to adjust to his environment and use the correct tactics in order to pull out a victory. However, despite his genius, Lee made serious tactical errors that would cost him entire battles. One of these most famous errors shows itself in the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1-3, 1863.

Until the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, Lee seemed to have entertained the belief that his men were invincible. This was due mainly to their success over past battles, including the great victory at Chancellorsville in early May and the route of the Union troops at Gettysburg during the first day of battle.

Their pride would return to haunt them in this battle; however, since it forced them to overcompensate for themselves, and make battle tasks that simply could not be done. One such error occurred on the third and last day of battle in which twelve-thousand and five-hundred Confederates were led by General George Picket and charged up the hill to take the Union's center line themselves. The Union's returning artillery fire caused great losses for the Confederates.

Perhaps one of the greatest downfalls that contributed to Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg was the recent death of Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson. As Jackson and his staff were returning to camp on May 2, they were mistaken for a Union cavalry force by a Confederate North...