Robert E. Lee

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For Virginia! Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 at the Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Lee is the son of Revolutionary War hero Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee. In 1825, Robert entered the United States Military Academy. In 1829 he graduated second in his class of forty-six. Lee had the top academic record and had no demerits on his record too. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. In 1831 while he was stationed at Fort Monroe, he married Mary Anna Randolph Curtis. Mary was the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. Together they had seven children, George Washington Curtis, William H. Fitzhugh, Edward, Mary, Annie, Agnes, and Mildred. During the Mexican War, Lee was one of Winfield Scott's chief aides in the march from Veracruz to Mexico City. After the Battle of Cerro Gordo in April, 1847, Lee was promoted to major. By the end of the war, he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel. After the Mexican War, he spent three years at Fort Carroll in Baltimore harbor, where he became the superintendent of West Point in 1852. In 1855, Lee became Lieutenant Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry. He was then sent to the Texas frontier to help protect settlers from attacks by the Apache and the Comanche. In October 1859, John Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Lee was summoned by the Secretary of War on October 17, was given detachments of the Maryland and Virginia militia, soldiers from Fort Monroe, and United States Marines, and was told to suppress the slave uprising. When Lee arrived Brown and his men had been held up in the fire-engine house at the armory. In the early morning of October 18, Lee sent marines in to storm the house. After about three minutes, the raid was over, two marines had been shot and four of Brown's men were dead. Lee had successfully suppressed the uprising. On April 18, 1861, on the eve of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee command of the United States Army (Union Army). However, Lee's loyalty to his native Virginia led him to join the Confederacy. He was first appointed to command all of Virginia's forces; he was one of five full generals of the Confederate forces.

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