During the twilight years of his life, Union Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain would say of Robert Edward Lee, "As to personal qualities, Lee's utter unselfishness, in fact his whole moral constitution, appeared to us singularly fine. In his high characteristics as a man he compelled admiration among those who knew him, - even as we did, - and he will command it for all the future."
Between the end of the Battle of Gettysburg and the end of the war, General Lee would write several reports concerning the Battle of Gettysburg which revealed his feelings towards the men of his army. In one, General Lee said, "...after a most determined and gallant struggle, were compelled to relinquish their advantage, and fall back to their original position with severe loss. The conduct of the troops was all that I could desire or expect, and they deserve success so far as it can be deserved by heroic valor and fortitude. More may have been required of them than they were able to perform, but my admiration of their noble qualities and confidence in their ability to cope successfully with the enemy has suffered no abatement from the issue of this protracted and sanguinary conflict."
On June 24, 1863, General Robert E. Lee led his Confederate Army across the Potomac River and headed towards Pennsylvania. In response to this threat President Lincoln replaced his army commander, General Joseph Hooker, with General George Mead. As Lee's troops poured into Pennsylvania, Mead led the Union Army north from Washington. Meade's effort was inadvertently helped by Lee's cavalry commander, Jeb Stuart, who, instead of reporting Union movements to Lee, had gone off on a raid deep in the Union rear. This action left Lee blind to the Union's position. When a scout reported the Union approach, Lee ordered his scattered troops to converge west of the small village of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
On June 30, 1831, he married Mary Ann Randolph Custis. They had seven children. All three of their sons served in the Confederate army. George Washington Custis and William Henry Fitzhugh ("Rooney") attained the rank of Major General and Robert E. Lee, Jr., that of Captain. The latter served as a private in the Rockbridge Artillery at the Battle of Antietam.
During the Mexican War, Robert E. Lee was promoted to Colonel due to his gallantry and distinguished conduct in performing vital scouting missions.
At Appomattox, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War. Forced to abandon the Confederate capital of Richmond, blocked from joining the surviving Confederate force in North Carolina, and harassed constantly by Union cavalry, Lee had no other option...On April 9, Lee sent a message to Grant announcing his willingness to surrender. The two generals met in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home at one o'clock in the afternoon.
"So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that Slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war, and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained."
Lee was only able to muster an army of 8,000 men. He probed the Union Army at Appomattox but faced by 110,000 men he decided the cause was hopeless. He contacted Ulysses S. Grant and after agreeing terms on 9th April, surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House. Grant issued a brief statement: "The war is over; the rebels are our countrymen again and the best sign of rejoicing after the victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations in the field."
After the war Lee became president of Washington College. Although President Andrew Johnson never granted him official amnesty he continued to work for reconciliation. Robert Edward Lee died on 12th October, 1870.
March of 1855 the congress created two new regiments of Cavalry. Lee was to be Lt. Colonel of the 2nd US Cavalry in Texas. This meant leaving his family behind in Virginia. Lee did not like the change from Engineering corps to line officer. But he was as far as he could go in the engineering corps, so off he went to Texas. Most of his time in the 2nd cavalry was spent being assigned to duty on court-martials. On October 10, 1857 Lee's father-in-law died. Lee returned home to direct the affairs of the estate since there was no male at home to do so. His eldest was assigned to a fort in California, his second son was now commissioned in the army and was out west somewhere, and the youngest boy was too young to deal with these matters.
Lee's greatest victory was the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1863. Lee was faced with a larger army led by fighting Joe Hooker. Lee and his most trusted lieutenant, Gen. Stonewall Jackson, divided their forces and through a forced march around General Hooker fell on his exposed flank, rolling it up, and defeating the union forces yet again.
This victory led Lee and Davis to consider a second invasion of the North.
Wolseley, the English general, regarded Robert E. Lee as the greatest of American generals. Lee was neither an enthusiast nor a fanatic: he believed when he took up the sword in hostility against the Federal Government that he was doing his duty and he was willing to abide by the consequences, be what they might. He was a kind-hearted, dignified, and Christian gentleman. His bravery was unquestioned. From the very outset of his military career, which began under General Scott in the Mexican War, he displayed that zeal and intrepidity which won for him praise and promotion.
No man proved a more worthy opponent to Ulysses S. Grant than Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lee was born the fourth child of Colonel Henry Lee and Ann Hill Carter on January 19, 1807. Lee's father, also known as "Light-Horse Harry," had been a cavalry leader during the Revolutionary War. Henry Lee had also served as governor of Virginia.
Despite their position in Virginia's ruling elite, the Lee family did not enjoy fantastic wealth. Without the money to attend a university, young Robert E. Lee instead entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. There, he quickly rose in the ranks and graduated second in the class of 1829.