The Army of Northern Virginia

Robert E. Lee






General Robert E. Lee, who was born on January 19, 1807 at Stratford, Virginia, was one of the greatest solders in American history. After he graduated second from his class from West Point he was commissioned to the Army Corp of Engineers. Here he did some great work on the defenses of New York Harbor and worked to reroute the Mississippi River in St. Louis. In January of 1847 he was put under the command of General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War. Here he helped out with reconnaissance that helped in the victories at Veracruz, Cerro Gordo, and Contreras. After the Mexican War he served under various commands in St. Louis and in the west. He returned home to Virginia for his father-in-laws death and while home led the force to put down John Brown’s rebellion at Harpers Ferry. After this he was given command of the Department of Texas and was initially offered command of the Union Army before the Civil War. Lee though, could not turn his back on Virginia.

When Virginia seceded from the Union he resigned from the U.S. Army and became military advisor to C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis. During the battle of Seven Pines General Joseph E. Johnston was wounded and Lee was sent to replace him. Lee named his army the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee had many successful campaigns, which are mentioned on the other pages of this Web Site. Lee helped give hope and victories to the outnumbered Confederacy. During the war Lee established himself as a great military tactician and leader. It is said that his strong suite was his ability to "analyze a situation swiftly and accurately, his knack for anticipating an enemies’ movements, and his abilities at improvisation and extemporization; these skills were matched by great strength of character, a high sense of duty, and genuine humility, and selflessness.(Dupay, pg. 432.)" Though lee helped prolong the war he could not give the Confederacy victory and finally was forced to surrender to General Grant at Appomatox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. After the war Lee took over the position of President at Washington College (today Washington and Lee) and served in this position until his death in 1870. Lee’s citizenship was not restored until 1975 when an act of Congress granted it back. Lee’s character traits and his military abilities have made him one of the most revered people and one of the greatest Generals in American history.


Lee’s Farewell Address










This Web Page by Dan Woolley

This page was last updated 3-5-00.