Robert E. Lee is very the quixotic character in American history, his should have being the brightest devote sunlight, but he was a Johnny Reb and so he dwells within the shadows of that great nation. He was considered one of it’s greatest stars but although still an idol to a lot of, he could be perceived still being a dark star, a nemesis, an enemy with the state; it’s harsh, for he what food was in a number of ways the essence from the old America, before he lost it all and was flung out in the hallowed halls. He was the son of an Revolutionary hero, ‘Light Horse’ Harry Lee, he attended West point, graduated with distinction, coming second in their class and was commissioned like a second lieutenant inside Engineers.
His father was Governor of Virginia, he was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington had being a familiar caller – Lee was as American as you can get, Virginian royalty, his future lay in America. He was a remarkable soldier, serving in the Mexican War, he was 3 x brevetted for bravery and was instrumental in lots of American victories through his reconnaissance abilities of locating routes that others had regarded as impassable. He became Superintendent at West Point in 1852 along with 1855 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the recently formed 2nd US Cavalry Regiment but upon the death of his father-in-law, he was expected to seek leave to the estate. He didn’t decide to use it, finding it tough to administer and control the plantation’s slave population. Indeed, some historians write that Lee had not been completely more comfortable with the thought of slavery and was ill confident when having to deal directly from it.
In a number of ways Lee, was the antithesis in the typical Southern plantation owner stereotype, he neither smoke nor drank, never swore, was faithful to his wife and prayed avidly. Also, he wasn’t completely pleased with the idea of secession, viewing it as being literally revolution and a betrayal with the founding fathers. However, when called to duty, he did so definitely, even though it could have gone against his beliefs. In 1859 he was dispatched to Harpers Ferry, Virginia to crush the John Smith led rebellion and when Civil War broke out he took command of Virginia’s forces. He did not have one of the most auspicious of starts, he was defeated with the Battle of Cheat Mountain and was presented with the derogatory moniker Granny Lee.
He was moved to the coast of South Carolina where he was tasked to organise coastal defences but once more he failed to complete the duty successfully, hampered as they was with the ineffective Confederate navy. He was recalled to Richmond, becoming something of a desk jockey, being made military adviser on the Confederate President Jefferson Davis. It appeared the glory with the field would by-pass Lee, but he ended up being receive another chance. With the wounding of General Johnston, he was appointed Commander with the Northern Virginia Army. The Union Army, under the command of McClellan were within striking distance of Richmond, Lee swore they will not take the Confederate capital. Lee didn’t settle back, he hit McClellan first, beginning what became referred to as Seven Days Battles. Lee suffered great losses but he remained steadfast in their resolve and was able to push the Union forces back, it absolutely was the very first emergence of what would become typical Lee. He then went looking for McClellan’s replacement, Pope, defeating him in the Second Battle of Bull Run.
In September 1862, he led forty thousand men through the Potomac River into Maryland, meeting McClellan’s army again at Antietam, it was on the bloodiest single day in the entire war. The Confederates withstood the pounding of the numerically superior Federal forces, and were able to withdraw back to Virginia. In December, Lee was to meet McClellan’s successor, Burnside, at the Battle of Fredericksburg, using the Union troops attacking the town, Lee’s men however repulsed the them. At the end of Spring 1863, Lee trounced the Union Army under Hooker at Chancellorsville, many think about the event among his finest hours because in the daring tactics that he utilized in beating a much more numerically superior force.
However, he lost his greatest general, Stonewall Jackson been mortally wounded, Lee compared it to been like losing his right arm. Buoyed with that victory, Lee again invaded the North, he met the Union Army under General Meade in the Battle of Gettysburg. However, Lee was defeated inside bloodiest battle with the war, it would have been a turning point, the South never looked a great bet after Gettysburg. The fault lay with Lee and the man accepted it, offering his resignation, that has been refused. Gettysburg marked the peak of Lee’s Southerners. The new commander of the Union Army, Ulysses S. Grant pinned the Confederate forces against Richmond, Lee fought courageously, holding Grant from increasing, but on a regular basis he was pushed further and further south-east. Finally he was forced right into a siege at Richmond and Petersburg, heroically he held out for ten months nevertheless the writing was around the wall, he along with the Confederates were beaten.
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