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Robert Edward Lee, 1807 - 1870

portrait of Robert E. Lee
Photo by Julian Vannerson (1863)
Robert E. Lee signature

Born: 19 January 1807, Stratford Hall, Virginia
Died: 13 October 1870, Lexington, Virginia

Lee was the son of Revolutionary War hero Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee. He graduated second in his class from West Point in 1829, the only cadet ever to graduate without a single demerit, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the engineers. He supervised harbor construction, surveyed boundaries, built fortifications, and in the Mexican War found ways to move troops over "impassible" terrain. He was superintendent of West Point for three years, protected settlers on the Texas frontier from Indian raids, and when he was, by chance, at Washington City he was sent to arrest John Brown at Harper's Ferry. When Lincoln offered him command of the Union Army, Lee resigned rather than lead troops against his home state of Virginia. As a general in the Confederate Army, it was his leadership that allowed the outgunned and outmanned southrons to fare as well as they did. His courage, honor, and character made him respected even in the north, although his citizenship was not restored until 1975.

Biography from Wikipedia and National Park Service

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