Robert E. Lee

General of the Confederate Army

Do your duty in all things.
You cannot do more;
you should never wish to do less.
  • Name Robert E. Lee
  • Birth 19 January 1807
    Stratford Hall, Virginia, U.S.
  • Death: 12 October 1870
    Lexington, Virginia, U.S.

Life Sketch

Robert Edward Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. Lee had served 32 years in the Union Army before leaving to lead Confederate troops in his home state of Virginia. An excellent battlefield engineer and strategist, Lee held a defensive front against the Union Army for most of the war. Lee had several major victories, including the Battle of Bull Run; however, after multiple failed offensive strategies and defeat at Gettysburg, the tide of the war shifted.

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Ultimately, Lee's troops were driven westward and surrounded by more numerous forces led by Ulysses S. Grant. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

After the war, Lee advocated for reconciliation, reconstruction, and the reintegration of former confederates. He served as president of what is now known as Washington and Lee University before his death in 1870.


On the night of April 19, 1861, Colonel Robert E. Lee resolved to resign his commission in the U.S. Army. He wrote two letters. The first was a brief letter to the secretary of war resigning his commission in the U.S. Army. The second was to his commanding officer and mentor, General Winfield Scott.<br><cite>Source: <a href=National Park Service.">

1861 letter to
Gen. Winfield Scott

Robert E. Lee Amnesty Oath, 1865

1865 Amnesty Oath

R. E. Lee, 1860 census, Alexandria, Virginia, page 264.

1860 US Census.

1863 letter to Ulysses S. Grant concerning prisoners of war.

Letter to
Ulysses S. Grant.