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Lee Robert Edward

Lee, Robert Edward (1807-70), a noted Confederate general in the American War of Secession, was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, his father having been a general in the War of Independence and afterwards Governor of Virginia. The son was at West Point 1825-29, and then joined the Engineers. He was captain under General Scott in the Mexican War, and the siege of Chapultepec brought him a brevet colonelcy. In 1852 he was president of West Point, and in 1855 was lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd Cavalry in Texas. .In 1861 he was colonel of the 1st Cavalry, but at the beginning of the troubles resigned his position in the U.S. army, and was appointed head of the Virginian forces, and was one of the five generals chosen by the Confederate Congress. In 1862 he commanded the army of North Virginia, and forced McLellan to abandon the siege of Richmond, crossed the Rapidan, defeated Pope, and invaded Maryland, but had to recross the Potomac, and in December he defeated the Federal forces near Fredericksburg. In the spring of 1863 he forced them again to retreat, but after the battle of Gettysburg was himself forced to retire into Virginia. The year 1864, when Grant crossed the Rapidan, saw the beginning of the end, and in April Lee, seeing there was no further hope of combating; the resources of the Northerners, surrendered his army. He was appointed in the same year president of the university at Lexington, Virginia, a post which he held for the rest of his life.