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Profile of General Robert E. Lee
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In his early life, his family fell on hard financial times, the result of
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Profile of General Robert E. Lee
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Hi, I'm Christian Bryant and today we're profiling the life and political career of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee.Lee was born on Stratford Hall Plantation in Virginia, January 19, 1807.  The son of a Revolutionary War hero, Harry "Light Horse" Lee III, Robert was born into one of Virginia's oldest families.  In his early life, his family fell on hard financial times, the result of a series of failed investments.  His father died when Robert was just 11, and the family was forced to find shelter with other family members.Lee was admitted into the U.S. Military Academy at Westpoint in 1824, and matriculated there a year later in the summer of 1825, eventually graduating second in his class.
In 1831, Lee married Mary Custis, great grandaughter of Martha Washington, whom he had known as a child. Together, they had seven children, three boys and four girls.  All three of his sons would eventually serve under his command in the Confederate Army, two as major generals.After his graduation from West Point, Lee began his military career as an engineer.  In the 1840s, Lee distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War, serving as one of General Winfield Scott's chief aides.  It was during this war, and the advance on Mexico City, that Lee worked alongside future adversary, and 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, Lee was a key player in both the John Brown rebellion and Harper's Ferry, Virginia and he was briefly placed in command of U.S. federal forces by President Abraham Lincoln when the state of Texas seceded from the Union in 1861. Lee privately opposed the secession of the Southern states which led up to the U.S. Civil War.  General Scott recommended to President Lincoln that Lee be appointed head of the Union forces.  He took that appointment, but only briefly.  Lee eventually chose to side with Virginia when it seceded from the Union in April of 1861.  He was originally chosen as a military advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and eventually took command of the entire Confederate army.  Despite being outmanned and under-armed, Lee won many decisive battles.  He is widely hailed as a brilliant military leader, though historians also note his failures in twice trying to invade the north during the U.S. Civil War, both of which failed.
He ultimately surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  Ultimately, despite his surrender, Lee played an integral role in putting the United States back together emotionally in the period known as Reconstruction.
And that's a look at the profile of Civil War General Robert E. Lee.  Thanks for watching, I'm Christian Bryant.  For more information, be sure to check out About.com.
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