Biography Of Robert E. Lee Essay

  • Biography Of Robert E. Lee

    Biography of Robert E. Lee

    Robert E. Lee was born in Stratford Hall, near Montross,
    Virginia, on January 19, 1807. He grew up with a great love of all
    country life and his state. This stayed with him for the rest of his
    life. He was a very serious boy and spent many hours in his father's
    library. He loved to play with some his friends, swim, and he loved
    to hunt. Lee looked up to his father and always wanted to know what
    he was doing. George Washington and his father, "Light-Horse Harry
    Lee," were his heroes. He wanted to be just like his father when he
    grew up.
    In the 1820's, the entrance requirements for West Point were
    not close to as strict as they are now. It still was not that easy to
    become a cadet. Robert Lee entered the United States Military Academy
    at West Point where his classmates admired him for his brilliance,
    leadership, and his love for his work. He graduated from the academy
    with high honors in 1829, and he was ranked as a second lieutenant in
    the Corps of Engineers at the age of 21.
    Lee served for seventeen months at Fort Pulaski on Cockspur
    Island, Georgia. In 1831, the army transferred him to Fort Monroe,
    Virginia, as assiezt engineer. While he was stationed there, he
  • married Mary Anna Randolph Custis who was Martha Washington's
    great-granddaughter. They lived in her family home in Arlington on a
    hill overlooking Washington D.C. They had seven children which were
    three sons and four daughters. Lee served as an assiezt in the
    chief engineer's office in Washington from 1834 to 1837, but then he
    spent the summer of 1835 helping to lay out the boundary line between
    Ohio and Michigan. In 1837, he got his first independent important
    job. As a first lieutenant of engineers, he supervised the
    engineering work for St. Louis harbor and for the upper Mississippi
    and Missouri rivers. His work there earned him a promotion to
    captain. In 1841, he was transferred to Fort Hamilton in New York
    harbor, where he took charge of building fortifications.
    When war broke out between the United States and Mexico in
    1846, the army sent Lee to Texas to serve as assiezt engineer under
    General John E. Wool. All his superior officers, especially General
    Winfield Scott, were impressed with Lee. Early in the war, Lee
    supervised the construction of bridges for Wool's march toward the
    Mexican border. He then did excellent work on scouting trips. Lee
    later was helping General Winfield Scott plan a great battle. The
    Army was about to attack Vera Cruz, a large Mexican town on the sea.
    The attack began. Soldiers fired huge guns at the walls of Vera Cruz.
    One of the men at the guns happened to be Robert's brother, Smith
  • Lee. When he could, Lee went to ezd by his brother's gun. "I could
    see his white teeth through all the smoke of the fire"1 Lee said, in
    a letter to Mary. The Mexicans soon gave up Vera Cruz. General Scott
    thanked Lee for his work. Now the Army could move on to the Mexican
    capital. The march to Mexico City would be hard. General Scott asked
    Lee to find the best way to go. And he asked him to see what Santa
    Anna, the Mexican general, was doing. To get news for Scott, Lee went
    behind the lines of enemy soldiers. This was dangerous work. Once
    when Lee was behind enemy lines he heard voices. Mexican soldiers
    were coming to drink at a spring. Lee jumped under a log. More
    Mexicans came. They sat on the log and talked. Lee had to hide there
    until dark. Lee found out many things for Scott. Once he even found
    a secret road for the army. He was extremely brave. At Cerro Gordo
    he led the first line of men into battle. The Americans won. Lee
    then wrote to his son, Custis, "You have no idea what a horrible sight
    a field of battle is."2 Then came the biggest battle of the war. The
    Americans attacked a fort outside Mexico City. Lee planned the
    attack. For days he worked without sleep. He found out where the
    Mexican soldiers were. He knew where to put the big guns. It was
    easy for the Army to take the fort. The American Army marched right
    into Mexico City. The war was now officially over. Lee's engineering
    skill made it possible for American troops to cross the difficult
  • mountain passes on the way to the capital. During the march to Mexico
    City, Lee was promoted to brevet lieutenant colonel. He was promoted
    to brevet colonel before the war ended. All of the official reports
    praised Lee highly. Scott said that his "success in Mexico was
    largely due to skill, valor, and undaunted courage of Robert E.
    Lee...the greatest military genius in America."3
    After three years at Fort Carrol in Baltimore harbor, Lee
    became the superintendent of West Point in 1852. He would have
    preferred duty in the field, instead of at a desk, but worked at his
    post without complaint. During his three years at West Point, he
    improved the buildings, the courses, and spent a lot of time with the
    cadets. There was one cadet, Jeb Stuart, later served as one of Lee's
    best cavalry officers. Lee earned a very good reputation during his
    service there as a fair and kind superintendent.
    In 1855, Lee became a lieutenant colonel of cavalry and was
    assigned to duty on the Texas frontier. There he helped protect
    settlers from attacks by the Apache and Comanche Indians. Once again
    he proved to be an excellent soldier and organizer. But these were
    not happy years for Lee. He did not like to be away from his family
    for long periods of time, mostly because of his wife who was becoming
    weaker and weaker every minute. Lee came home to see her as often as
    possible. He happened to be in Washington at the time of John Brown's

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