Robert E. Lee

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Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee was the brilliant Confederate leader whose skill in military strategies allowed the South to continue to fight during the four gruesome years of the Civil War. This man, who is still honored as a hero in many Southern states, was born on January 19, 1807 to Ann Carter Lee and Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee. His father's reoccurring failures were motivation for Lee to strive to succeed. His mother primarily brought him up, where he learned patience, control, and discipline at a young age. He was also brought up as a Catholic and he willingly accepted is faith. Although unable to attend Harvard as his brother did because of the family's financial problems, Lee was educated at the United States Military Academy, where he was later employed as superintendent. After graduating second in his class and a model cadet, he progressed from second lieutenant to captain after serving for approximately 9 years.

Lt. Lee aided the construction of the St. Louis waterfront and worked on coastal forts I Brunswick and Savannah.

The Mexican War gave Lee a chance to attain recognition for his talents. He was initially sent to serve in Texas where worked as an assistant engineer under the command of General Winfield Scott. Lee was given many essential duties, including mapping the terrain, dividing the line of advance for the United States troops, and once leading the troops into battle. During the war, Lee attained much strength, gained skill in war strategies, and learned battlefield tactics. He also met many of his future opponents that he would face in the Civil War.

A rebellion, sparked by John Brown, occurred in the United States, which confirmed some of the deep fears of the South. This instance, as well as the election of Abraham Lincoln, led South Carolina to secede, which led to the secession of six other deep southern states. Lee was asked to take control of the United States Army and put down the rebellion, by General Winsfield Scott, but he declined the offer. Instead of assisting General Scott, he supported the new president of the Confederate states, Jefferson Davis. Initially, there were two commanding officers of the Eastern Army, Joe Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard. After Johnston was unable to continue his service due to injury, Lee was the unquestionable new leader to take his Johnston's place.
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