Robert E Lee1

This essay has a total of 981 words and 5 pages.

Robert E Lee1



For some the man Robert E. Lee is an almost god like figure. For others he is a paradox.
Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 at Stratford, Virginia. Robert was the fourth
child of a Revolutionary War hero Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Ann Hill Carter Lee.
Young Robert, the son, was raised mostly by his mother. From her he learned patience,
control, and discipline. As a young man he was exposed to Christianity and accepted its
faith. In contrast to the strong example of his mother Robert saw his father go from
failed enterprise to failed enterprise. In part the young Robert was led to try harder and
succeed.

Robert was accepted to the United States Military Academy and graduated 2nd in his class.
But perhaps greater than his academic success was his record of no demerits while being a
cadet which today has still not been equaled. Following his graduation Lee, like most top
classmen, was given a commission as an engineer. Lt. Lee helped build the St. Louis
waterfront and worked on coastal forts in Brunswick and Savannah. It was during this time
he married Mary Custis the granddaughter of George Washington and Martha Custis
Washington.

In 1845 the War between U.S. and Mexico erupted. General Winfield Scott, overall U.S. Army
commander, attached Captain Robert E. Lee to his staff. Lee was intrusted with the vital
duties of mapping out the terrain ahead, dividing the line of advance for the U.S. troops,
and in one case leading troops into battle. Lee was learning skills he would need 16 years
later. There in Mexico Lee also met, 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.

Following the Mexican War Lee returned to service as an army engineer. He spent most of
this time near Washington D.C. and moved into Custis mansion (now overlooking the
Arlington Cemetery). Thus was Colonel Lee was available for duty to put down a believed
rebellion at Harper Ferry, Virginia the site of a United States Arsenal. Colonel Lee, and
a young aide Lt. JEB Stuart, and a detachment of U.S. marines, were rushed by train to
Harper's Ferry where they were able to capture radical abolitionist John Brown and his
followers.

Brown's attempt seemed to confirm all the worst fears of the deep south and when Abraham
Lincoln was elected President South Carolina seceded and was quickly followed by 6 more
deep southern states: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana,
and Texas. The old warrior General Winfield Scott asked Colonel Robert E. Lee to take
command of the United States Army to put down the rebellion.

Lee, however, offered his services to the newly elected President of the Confederate
States of America, Jefferson Davis. Mr. Davis accepted them and Lee was made a general in
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