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GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE General Robert Edward Lee was one of the most brilliant leaders in United States history, and possibly the greatest general. He was one of the sole reasons the Confederate States of America survived for four years in the American Civil War. Lee came from an honored family. His father was the Revolutionary War hero, Light Horse Harry Lee, who was a friend of George Washington. Several other people in Lee's family had also played important roles in Virginia's history. Lee was born on Jan 19, 1807 in Stratford, Virginia. He was the fourth child of five. Lee entered West Point and graduated second in his class in 1829. He became a second lieutenant in military engineers. The next couple of years he supervised several construction projects for the army. On July 5, 1831 Robert married Mary Custis. Mary was a great granddaughter of George Washington's wife. They eventually had seven children. Lee was promoted to captain in 1838. In the Mexican War he was under the command of General Winfield Scott. Lee was the best of the engineer officers and served well under General Scott. After the Mexican War he received his third promotion in rank and became superintendent of West Point. Later he was promoted to colonel of the Second Calvary Regiment. He guarded the border states against Indians for several years. In 1859 he was home on leave when the John Brown raid on Harper's Ferry occurred. Lee led a group of Marines that captured John Brown and his followers. In 1860 he served a short term in command of the Department of Texas. He returned to Washington in 1861, but the secession had started. Some states had already left the Union, and more would leave the Union soon after. Lee was offered the field command of the Union troops, but he refused. He couldn't imagine an army storming into Virginia to force it back into the Union, with himself being commander. Three days after Virginia left the Union; Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army. Three days later he became commander in chief of the military and naval forces of Virginia. Also, for a year he was the military advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was placed in charge of the army of Northern Virginia in June 1862. In the Seven Days Battle Lee drove the Union's General McClellan 25 miles back down the peninsula he had landed on. Later he won at the Second Battle of Manassas against General Pope and McClellan. Then he tried an invasion on Maryland. Realizing he was in a tight spot in Maryland without supplies, he retreated to northern Virginia. Here Lee won against General Burnside at Fredricksburg. After these victories he was admired and was a hero in the south. In 1863 in the battle of Chancellorsville, General Lee tried a daring plan. He tried to cut the Union in two and destroy it. He hit the Union hard but they retreated across the river. In this battle, Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own men and suffered a fatal wound. His most notable battle after that was the battle of Gettysburg, the greatest battle ever fought in North America. He couldn't break through the Union l

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