Robert Edward Lee was born to be a military leader. His father was leader of George Washington's light cavalry in the War of Independence, and Robert himself was a prize pupil at West Point military academy. After successes in the Mexican war he became commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and then led it to both success and ultimate failure during the testing campaigns of the Civil War. If Chancellorsville was his finest achievement then Gettysburg was his downfall. His masterful tactical mind and strength of will may have sometimes been hampered by his occasional lack of firmness with middle-ranking officers but he contributed magnificently to the Confederate cause. This study describes the military career of the man who came to epitomise the spirit of the Southern states' rebellion.
Captain Lee, of the Engineers, a hero to his child-The family pets- Home from the Mexican War-Three years in Baltimore-Superintendent of the West Point Military Academy-Lieutenant-Colonel of Second Cavalry- Supresses "John Brown Raid" at Harper's Ferry-Commands the Department of TaxesThe first vivid recollection I have of my father is his arrival at Arlington, after his return from the Mexican War. I can remember some events of which he seemed a part, when we lived at Fort Hamilton, New York, about 1846, but they are more like dreams, very indistinct and disconnected-naturally so, for I was at that time about three years old. But the day of his return to Arlington, after an absence of more than two years, I have always remembered. I had a frock or blouse of some light wash material, probably cotton, a blue ground dotted over with white diamond figures...
This monumental contribution to the literature of the Civil War brings together Lee’s official correspondence—letters, orders, dispatches, battle reports—with his touching letters to his family, thus providing a previously unavailable view of Lee’s life during the war. From the more than 6,000 items, the editors have chosen to reprint many letters in full for the first time, so that Lee is seen complete, self-revealed, in all his dignity and purpose. Short narratives connect each section—on the mobilization of Virginia, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and the siege of Petersburg and Appomattox. Sponsored by the Virginia Civil War Commission to commemorate the Civil War Centennial, this expert work of scholarship dramatizes Lee’s life as only his own correspondence could. As Lee himself said: ”Letters are good representatives of our minds. They certainly present a good criterion for judging of the character of the individual.”
"The best and most balanced of the Lee biographies."—New York Review of Books The life of Robert E. Lee is a story not of defeat but of triumph—triumph in clearing his family name, triumph in marrying properly, triumph over the mighty Mississippi in his work as an engineer, and triumph over all other military men to become the towering figure who commanded the Confederate army in the American Civil War. But late in life Lee confessed that he "was always wanting something." In this probing and personal biography, Emory Thomas reveals more than the man himself did. Robert E. Lee has been, and continues to be, a symbol and hero in the American story. But in life, Thomas writes, Lee was both more and less than his legend. Here is the man behind the legend.
Though at times he was known to have a ï¿½fierce and violent temper,ï¿½ Lee nonetheless had a heart that editor Thomas Forehand contests was ï¿½as soft as velvet.ï¿½ Through letters, diary excerpts, and touching stories, Forehand demonstrates that in his personal life Lee was indeed a peacemaker, full of a surprisingly sensitive and gentle nature that his family and others recorded. Chapters on chivalry, family, peace, slaves, and enemies show Leeï¿½s conscientious and compassionate side in various situations.