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R. E. Lee

R. E. Lee

Confederate (CSA)


Robert Edward Lee

(1807 - 1870)

Home State: Virginia

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1829;Class Rank: 2

Command Billet: Commanding General, ANV

Branch of Service: Cavalry

Unit: Army of Northern Virginia


see his Battle Report

Before Sharpsburg

He graduated second in his class from the USMA in 1829. He served on engineering duty in the Mexican War and as superintendent of the USMA. He moved to the Cavalry branch from the Engineers in 1855, was LCol. in the US 2nd Cavalry, and led the forces that captured John Brown's body of men at Harper's Ferry. He refused the offer of command of US forces at the outbreak of the War, and resigned his US commission in April 1861.
Earlier War Service: Initially appointed Commander in chief of Virginia state forces. In May 1861 Brig. Gen. in Confederate army, commanded forces in West Virginia, examined coastal defences; August 1861 full General, military adviser to President Davis, took over command of ANV after J E Johnston was wounded during Seven Days.

On the Campaign

In command of the Confederate Army of Northern VA (ANV), General Lee was the on-scene leader. Also you may want to read Lee's Letter to President Davis describing some of his reasons for moving into Maryland and his (in)famous Special Orders No. 191 detailing his plans for the Campaign.

The rest of the War

Gen Lee commanded the ANV through all of its campaigns until the surrender at Appomattox. In 1865 he was made General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States.

After the War

He was President of Washington (later Washington and Lee) College (VA).

References & notes

Considered by many to have been the greatest general of the Civil War.

More on the Web

For two more details see also a biographical sketch from Stewart Sifakis at Shotgun's Civil War page, with links to others. An interesting site which discusses the post-war 'deification' of Lee is the Apotheosis of Robert E. Lee from some folks at the University of VA. ( - gone 2/2006)


1/19/1807; Stratford (Stratford Hall), Virginia


10/12/1870; Lexington, Virginia; burial in Lee Chapel Museum, Lexington, Virginia