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Robert E. Lee was the leading Confederate General during the U.S. Civil War and has been venerated as a heroic figure in the South.
Stonewall Jackson - Full Episode (43:50)
At the beginning of April 1865, Grant's relentless pressure finally forced Gen. Robert E. Lee to evacuate Richmond, and after a nine-day retreat, Lee surrendered his army at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
Stonewall Jackson pressed his army to travel 646 miles in 48 days of marching and won five significant victories with a force of about 17,000 against a combined force of 60,000.
A full Biography episode on the life of confederate general, Stonewall Jackson.
Stonewall Jackson rose to prominence and earned his most famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (known by Southerners as First Manassas) in July, 1861.
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Born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford, Virginia, Robert E. Lee came to military prominence during the U.S. Civil War, commanding his home state's armed forces and becoming general-in-chief of the Confederate forces towards the end of the conflict. Though the Union won the war, Lee has been revered by many while others debate his tactics. He went on to become president of Washington College.
"Everybody kind of perceives me as being angry. It's not anger, it's motivation."
“It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it."
Confederate General who led southern forces against the Union Army in the American Civil War, Robert Edward Lee was born January 19, 1807, in Stratford Hall, Virginia.
Lee was cut from Virginia aristocracy. His extended family members included a president, a chief justice of the United States, and signers of the Declaration of Independence. His father, Colonel Henry Lee, also known as "Light-Horse Harry," had served as a cavalry leader during the Revolutionary War and gone on to become one of the war's heroes, winning praise from General George Washington.
Lee saw himself as an extension of his family's greatness. At 18, he enrolled at West Point Military Academy, where he put his drive and serious mind to work. He was one of just six cadets in his graduating class who finished without a single demerit, and wrapped up his studies with perfect scores in artillery, infantry and cavalry.
After graduating from West Point, Lee met and married Mary Custis, the great-granddaughter of George and Martha Washington. Together, they had seven children: three sons (Custis, Rooney and Rob) and four daughters (Mary, Annie, Agnes and Mildred).
But while Mary and the children spent their lives on Mary's father's plantation, Lee stayed committed to his military obligations. His Army loyalties moved him around the country, from Savannah to Baltimore, St. Louis to New York.
In 1846, Lee got the chance he'd been waiting his whole military career for when the United States went to war with Mexico. Serving under General Winfield Scott, Lee distinguished himself as a brave battle commander and brilliant tactician. In the aftermath of the U.S. victory over its neighbor, Lee was held up as a hero. Scott showered Lee with particular praise, saying that in the event the U.S. went into another war, the government should consider taking out a life insurance policy on the commander.
But life away from the battlefield proved difficult for Lee to handle. He struggled with the mundane tasks associated with his work and life. For a time, he returned to his wife's family's plantation to manage the estate, following the death of his father-in-law. The property had fallen under hard times, and for two long years, he tried to make it profitable again.
In 1859 Lee returned to the Army, accepting a thankless position at a lonely cavalry outpost in Texas. In October of that year, Lee got a break when he was summoned to put an end to a slave insurrection led by John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Lee's orchestrated attack took just a single hour to end the revolt, and his success put him on a short list of names to lead the Union Army should the nation go to war.
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