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Profile of Robert E. Lee
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Overall he is remembered as a decent and caring person and
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Hi I'm Donna with About.com and I'm going to profile Robert E. Lee. He was born in Virginia in January 1807.The Lee family arrived in Virginia in the early 1600's. The most significant episode of his childhood was seeing his father put in debtor's prison and subsequently badly injured in apolitical riot in Baltimore. At 17, Robert E. Lee was appointed to West Point. He graduated second in his class and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the corps of engineers. His early military career was spent designing and building forts. In the mid 1800's after the death of his father-in-law, Lee was forced to assume the execution of the will. It took until 1859 for the estate to be settled.Which brings us to Lee's view on slavery, since slaves were part of the estate; this issue would define his life. It is common knowledge that he was always opposed to slavery. In fact, after the Civil War, he became a crucial figure in the “lost cause of the Confederacy," a phrase that was used in an attempt to define the Civil War. Lee moved from engineering to combat during the Mexican-American War. His reconnaissance as a staff officer is credited with several victories. After the war he declined an offer to lead the Cuban rebels in their fight against Spain.Lee was present at both monumental events that led up to the Civil War; Harper's Ferry and the succession of Texas.  After turning down a commission from Lincoln himself to lead the entire Union army, he was forced to make a choice between his country and defending his home state of Virginia and chose the latter. Lee was put in command of the army of northern Virginia where his nickname "Granny Lee" due to his timid style. After he led a series of attacks that unnerved his opponent Gen. McClellan, it became obvious he could be the aggressor even though the Confederates suffered significant losses. His first big success occurred while defending Fredricksburg where the Union suffered tremendous losses: over double the Confederates'.At a pivotal point in the war, Lee's decision to attack the north proved to be a significant strategic blunder. It cost the Confederacy control of the west and Lee was cut off from the south by the Union army. Lee and his army had to fight hi sway back to the south. He attempted a second time to invade Pennsylvania, which ended in the battle of Gettysburg  On the third day, Lee's decision to attack the center of the Union army was disastrous. After this defeat he sent a letter of resignation which was refused by President Davis. The end came in 1864 when, plagued by desertions and poorly supplied, he surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox.Shortly after the war and until his death, he served as the President of what came to be known as Washington and Lee University. He believed he had found his true calling. Stating once, that having a military education was one of the worst decisions he ever made. He died from a stroke in 1870 and was buried with high honors in the school's chapel. Overall he is remembered as a decent and caring person and a champion of reconstruction. Lee deeply believed in keeping the United States of America as a whole and complete country.Thanks for watching! For more information about Robert E. Lee visit About.com.
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