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ROBERT EDWARD LEE (1807–1870)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 363 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROBERT EDWARD LEE (1807–1870), American soldier, general in the Confederate States army, was the youngest son of major-general Henry Lee, called " Light Horse Harry." He was born at Stratford, Westmoreland county, Virginia, on the '9th of January 1807, and entered West Point in 1825. Graduating four years later second in his class, he was given a commission in the U.S. Engineer Corps. In 1831 he married Mary, daughter of G. W. P. Custis, the adopted son of Washington and the grand-son of Mrs Washington. In 1836 he became first lieutenant, and in 1838 captain. In this rank he took part in the Mexican War, repeatedly winning distinction for conduct and bravery. He received the brevets of major for Cerro Gordo, lieut.-colonel for Contreras-Churubusco and colonel for Chapultepec. After the war he was employed in engineer work at Washington and Baltimore, during which time, as before the war, he resided on the great Arlington estate, near Washington, which had come to him through his wife. In 1852 he was appointed superintendent of West Point, and during his three years here he carried out many important changes in the academy. Under him as cadets were his son G. W. Custis Lee, his nephew, Fitzhugh I whom he led was extraordinary. No student of the American Civil War can fail to notice how the influence of Lee dominated the course of the struggle, and his surpassing ability was never more conspicuously shown than in the last hopeless stages of the contest. The personal history of Lee is lost in the history of the great crisis of America's national life; friends and foes alike acknowledged the purity of his motives, the virtues of his private life, his earnest Christianity and the unrepining loyalty with which he accepted the ruin of his party. See A. L. Long, Memoirs of Robert E. Lee (New York, 1886) ; Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee (New York, 1894, " Great Commanders " series) ; R. A. Brock, General Robert E. Lee (Washington, 1904) ; R. E. Lee, Recollections and Letters of General R. E. Lee (London, 1904) ; H. A. White, Lee (" Heroes of the Nations") (1897) ; P. A. Bruce, Robert E. Lee (1907) ; T. N. Page, Lee (1909) ; W. H.Taylor, Four Years with General Lee; J. W. Jones, Personal Reminiscences of Robert E. Lee (1874).
End of Article: ROBERT EDWARD LEE (1807–1870)
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