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Robert E. Lee

"They say you had to see him to believe that a man so fine could exist. He

was handsome. He was clever. He was brave. He was gentle. He was generous

and charming, noble and modest, admired and beloved. He had never failed at

anything in his upright soldier's life. He was born a winner, this Robert

E. Lee. Except for once. In the greatest contest of his life, in a war

between the South and the North, Robert E. Lee lost" (Redmond). Through his

life, Robert E. Lee would prove to be always noble, always a gentleman, and

always capable of overcoming the challenge lying before him.

Robert Edward Lee was born on January 19, 1807 (Compton's). He was born

into one of Virginia's most respected families. The Lee family had moved to

America during the mid 1600's. Some genealogist can trace the Lee's roots

back to William the Conqueror. Two members of the Lee family had signed the

Declaration of Independence, Richard Lee and Francis Lightfoot. Charles Lee

had served as attorney General under the Washington administration while

Richard Bland Lee, had become one of Virginia's leading Federalists.

Needless to say, the Lees were an American Political dynasty (Nash 242).

Lee's father was General Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee. He had been a

heroic cavalry leader in the American Revolution. He married his cousin

Matilda. They had four children, but Matilda died in 1790. On her death bed

she added insult to injury upon Henry Lee by leaving her estate to her

children. She feared Henry would squander the family fortune. He was well

known for poor investments and schemes that had depleted his own family's

fortune (Connelly 5).

Henry Lee solved his financial problems by marrying Robert's mother Anne

Carter, daughter of one of Virginia's wealthiest men (Nash 242). Henry Lee

eventually spent his family into debt. Their stately mansion, Stratford

Hall, was turned over to Robert's half brother. Anne Lee moved with her

children to a simple brick house in Alexandria. Light Horse Harry was

seldom around. Finally, in 1813 he moved to the West Indies. His self-exile

became permanent, and he was never seen again by his family (Thomas).

Young Robert had other family problems. His mother became very ill. At the

age of twelve he had to shoulder the ...

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Works Citied

Brasington, Larry, The American Revolution-an HTML project.

Http://odur.let.rug.nl~usa/B/relee/htm, 11/23/97.

Brinkley, Alan, American History. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995.

Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. Computer Software. Compton's NewMedia,


Connelly, Thomas L. The Marble Man. New York: Knopf, 1977.

Davis, Jefffers, The Papers.http://www.ruf ..edu/~pjdavis/lee/htm, 11/6/97.

Grimsley, Wayne. "The Differences Deepen." Starkville, MS, 11 Nov. 1997.

(Class lecture delivered at Mississippi State University.)

Kelly, Brian. Best Little Stories From The Civil War. Charlottesville, VA:

Montpelier Publishing, 1996.

Nash, Roderick, and Graves, Gregory. From These Beginnings. New York:

HarperCollins, 1995.

National Park Service. Http://www.nps.gov/gwmp/arl_hse.html., 11/6/97.

Redmond, Louis. He Lost a War and Won Immortality.

Http://www-scf.usc.edu/~herron nva.html, 11/6/97.

Thomas, Emory. Robert E. Lee.

Http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/LEE.lifle.html, 11/17/97.

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