Robert E. Lee

Confederate States Army General
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee.jpg
Julian Vannerson's photograph of Robert E. Lee in March 1864
Birth nameRobert Edward Lee
Nickname(s)Bobby Lee, Uncle Robert, Marse Robert, Granny Lee, the King of Spades, the Old Man, the Marble Man
Born(1807-01-19)January 19, 1807
Stratford Hall, Virginia, U.S.
DiedOctober 12, 1870(1870-10-12) (aged 63)
Lexington, Virginia, U.S.
BuriedLee Chapel
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia
AllegianceUnited States of America
Confederate States of America
Commonwealth of Virginia
Service/branchUnited States Army
Confederate States Army
Years of service1829–1861 (USA)
1861–1865 (CSA)
RankColonel (U.S. Army)
General (C.S. Army)
Commands heldU.S. Military Academy
Army of Northern Virginia
General-in-Chief, CSA
Battles/warsMexican–American War
Harpers Ferry Raid
American Civil War
Spouse(s)Mary Anna Randolph Custis
ChildrenGeorge Washington Custis Lee
William Henry Fitzhugh Lee
Robert E. Lee Jr.
RelationsHenry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III (father)
Anne Hill Carter Lee (mother)
Other workPresident of Washington and Lee University
SignatureRobert E Lee Signature.svg

Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was an American and Confederate soldier, best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army. He commanded the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. A son of Revolutionary War officer Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his desire for the country to remain intact and an offer of a senior Union command.[1] During the first year of the Civil War, Lee served as a senior military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Once he took command of the main field army in 1862 he soon emerged as a shrewd tactician and battlefield commander, winning most of his battles, all against far superior Union armies.[2][3] Lee's strategic foresight was more questionable, and both of his major offensives into Union territory ended in defeat.[4][5][6] Lee's aggressive tactics, which resulted in high casualties at a time when the Confederacy had a shortage of manpower, have come under criticism in recent years.[7] Lee surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By this time, Lee had assumed supreme command of the remaining Southern armies; other Confederate forces swiftly capitulated after his surrender. Lee rejected the proposal of a sustained insurgency against the Union and called for reconciliation between the two sides.

In 1865, after the war, Lee was paroled and signed an oath of allegiance, asking to have his citizenship of the United States restored. Lee's application was misplaced; as a result, he did not receive a pardon and his citizenship was not restored.[8] In 1865, Lee became president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia; in that position, he supported reconciliation between North and South.[9] Lee accepted "the extinction of slavery" provided for by the Thirteenth Amendment, but publicly opposed racial equality and granting African Americans the right to vote and other political rights.[10][11][12] Lee died in 1870. In 1975, the U.S. Congress posthumously restored Lee's citizenship effective June 13, 1865.[8]

Lee opposed the construction of public memorials to Confederate rebellion on the grounds that they would prevent the healing of wounds inflicted during the war.[9] Nevertheless, after his death, Lee became an icon used by promoters of "Lost Cause" mythology, who sought to romanticize the Confederate cause and strengthen white supremacy in the South.[9] Later in the 20th century, particularly following the civil rights movement, historians reassessed Lee; his reputation fell based on his failure to support rights for freedmen after the war, and even his strategic choices as a military leader fell under scrutiny.[11][13]

Early life and career

Stratford Hall, Westmoreland County
the family seat, Lee's birthplace
Oronoco Street, Alexandria, Virginia
"Lee Corner" properties

Lee was born at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Major General Henry Lee III (Light Horse Harry) (1756–1818), Governor of Virginia, and his second wife, Anne Hill Carter (1773–1829). His birth date has traditionally been recorded as January 19, 1807, but according to the historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor, "Lee's writings indicate he may have been born the previous year."[14]

One of Lee's great grandparents, Henry Lee I, was a prominent Virginian colonist of English descent.[15] Lee's family is one of Virginia's first families, descended from Richard Lee I, Esq., "the Immigrant" (1618–64), from the county of Shropshire in England.[16]

Lee's mother grew up at Shirley Plantation, one of the most elegant homes in Virginia.[17] Lee's father, a tobacco planter, suffered severe financial reverses from failed investments.[18]

Little is known of Lee as a child; he rarely spoke of his boyhood as an adult.[19] Nothing is known of his relationship with his father who, after leaving his family, mentioned Robert only once in a letter. When given the opportunity to visit his father's Georgia grave, he remained there only briefly; yet, during his time as president of Washington College, he defended his father in a biographical sketch while editing Light Horse Harry's memoirs.[20]

Coat of Arms of Robert E. Lee

In 1809, Harry Lee was put in debtors prison; soon after his release the following year, Harry and Anne Lee and their five children moved to a small house on Cameron Street in Alexandria, Virginia, both because there were then high quality local schools there, and because several members of her extended family lived nearby.[21] In 1811, the family, including the newly born sixth child, Mildred, moved to a house on Oronoco Street, still close to the center of town and with the houses of a number of Lee relatives close by.[22]

In 1812, Harry Lee was badly injured in a political riot in Baltimore and traveled to the West Indies. He would never return, dying when his son Robert was eleven years old.[23] Left to raise six children alone in straitened circumstances, Anne Lee and her family often paid extended visits to relatives and family friends.[24] Robert Lee attended school at Eastern View, a school for young gentlemen, in Fauquier County, and then at the Alexandria Academy, free for local boys, where he showed an aptitude for mathematics. Although brought up to be a practicing Christian, he was not confirmed in the Episcopal Church until age 46.[25]

Anne Lee's family was often supported by a relative, William Henry Fitzhugh, who owned the Oronoco Street house and allowed the Lees to stay at his home in Fairfax County, Ravensworth. When Robert was 17 in 1824, Fitzhugh wrote to the Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, urging that Robert be given an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Fitzhugh wrote little of Robert's academic prowess, dwelling much on the prominence of his family, and erroneously stated the boy was 18. Instead of mailing the letter, Fitzhugh had young Robert deliver it.[26] In March 1824, Robert Lee received his appointment to West Point, but due to the large number of cadets admitted, Lee would have to wait a year to begin his studies there.[27][citation not found]

Lee entered West Point in the summer of 1825. At the time, the focus of the curriculum was engineering; the head of the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the school and the superintendent was an engineering officer. Cadets were not permitted leave until they had finished two years of study, and were rarely allowed off the Academy grounds. Lee graduated second in his class, behind only Charles Mason,[28] (who resigned from the Army a year after graduation). Lee did not incur any demerits during his four-year course of study, a distinction shared by five of his 45 classmates. In June 1829, Lee was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.[29] After graduation, while awaiting assignment, he returned to Virginia to find his mother on her deathbed; she died at Ravensworth on July 26, 1829.[30]

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文言: 李羅拔