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Sketch of General Lee's Career

Virginia Free Press


Sketch of General Lee's Career






John S. Gallaher & Co. Charlestown, VA October 29, 1870

Topics Deaths,Biography

Robert Edward Lee was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, January, 1807 . He was a son of General Henry Lee, who was Governor of Virginia from 1792 to 1795 , and a distinguished officer of the patriot army in the Revolutionary War. His mother was Anne Carter, daughter of Charles Carter of Shirley. He entered the military academy at West Point in 1825 , graduated second in his class in 1829 , and was commissioned second lieutenant of engineers. He was soon after married to Miss Custis of Arlington, the daughter of George W. Parke Custis, and thus became proprietor of the celebrated Arlington estate. By this marriage he had four sons and three daughters. In 1835 he served as assistant astronomer for the demarcation of the boundary lines of Ohio and Michigan. In 1836 he was promoted to be first lieutenant, and, in 1838 to the rank of captain. When the Mexican war began, he was placed on the staff of Brigadier General Wool, and during the campaign of 1846 he was chief engineer of Wool's army. At the battle of Cerro Gordo, April 18th, 1847 , he was brevetted major for gallantry. In the August following he again won a brevet rank by his meritorious conduct at Contreras and Cherubusco. In the assault on Chapultepec, September 13th, 1847 , he was severely wounded, and received the brevet promotion to lieutenant. On the 21st of July, 1848 , he was appointed a member of the board of engineers, and held the position until 1850 . In 1852 , he was appointed superintendent of the military academy at West Point, but proceeded under orders to Europe with captain (afterwards General) George B. McClellan, as commissioner to observe the operations of the allied armies before Sebastopol. In 1855 he was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel of the Second cavalry. On the 16th March 1861 , he was made colonel of the First cavalry.

On the 25th of April he resigned his commission, and repaired to Richmond to unite his fortunes with those of his native State. The convention, then in session, had elected him commander of the military and naval forces of Virginia. When the formalities of connecting Virginia with the government of the Confederate States (already organized at Montgomery) were concluded, General Lee received on the 10th May the commission of Major General in the army of the Confederate States, and was assigned to the command of all the forces in Virginia. He was soon after appointed a general in the regular army. His first active operations were in the western part of the State. He was subsequently assigned to the command of the department of the South Atlantic coast. From that position he was recalled to Richmond by President Davis and made General in Chief, with his headquarters in this city. After General Johnson was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, General Lee again entered the field as commander of the army in Virginia, and continued in that position to the close of the war. His services during that eventful period are too fresh in the memories of our readers to need recapitulation. In 1865 he was elected President of Washington College, and was occupying that position when death closed his career. -- Rich. Whig.

Lee and Jackson.

There is an affecting similarity which we observe between the last words which issued from the lips of Stonewall Jackson before he "passed over the river and rested under the shade of the trees" and the words reported to have been the last uttered by Gen. Lee before he laid aside the weary crosses of life and joined his late comrades-in-arms in the peace and blessing of the better country. "Tell A. P. Hill to prepare for action!" were among the words last syllabled by Stonewall Jackson; he, too, once ordered his tent to be struck, and at another time desired A. P. Hill to be sent for; and this is the report that comes to us from the death bed of Robert E. Lee. Thus did these two great and immortal Virginia chieftains show, by the expressions which escaped them in the hour of delirium which preceded dissolution, that their thoughts and memories recurred to the duties devolved upon them, and the cause of Confederate independence, confided, in so large a measure, to their efforts. Each sacrificed his splendid life in the defense of the liberties and rights of Virginia and the South -- Gen. Lee not less than Gen. Jackson; because, as we are assured by one who knew the latter most intimately, it was the defeat and distress Of his people which weighed with such force on his mind and heart as to break down his health and finally destroy his life. -- Lynchburg Virginian.

Monument to Gen. R.E. Lee.

A Lee Monument Association has been formed by ex-Confederates at Lexington, Virginia, of which any ex-Confederate soldier may become a member by the payment of any sum from a dollar and upwards. The following officers and executive committee were appointed: President, Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early; vice-President, colonel Walter Taylor, of Norfolk, formerly of Gen. Lee's war staff; Gen. J. Breckinridge, of Ky.; Gen. Wade Hampton, Gen. B.G. Gordon, Gen. J. B. Hood, of La.; Lt. Gen. R. S. Ewell, of Tenn.; Col. Robert Ball and others. The executive committee are: Col. Wm. Preston Johnson, Col. Wm. Allen, Capt. J. J. White, of Washington College; Col. J. W. Massie, of the Virginia Military Institute; Col. Wm. McLaughlin, Judge of the Circuit Court; Col. J. K. Edmondson, Maj. J. B. Dorman, Capt. A. Graham, Jr., Capt. J. C. Boude, Capt. C. A. Davidson, of Lexington; Gen. John Echols, of Staunton, Col. F. W. M. Holliday, of Frederick Co., Va.; Col. Mosby, of Fauquier, Capt. Robert Styles, of Richmond, and Col. T. S. Flournoy, of Danville.

ERRORS RESPECTING THE DEAD. -- The press has generally fallen into an egregious error as to the name of General Lee, and also as to the date of his birth. His name was Robert Edward Lee, and not Edmund, as everywhere published (except in The Baltimore Sun) and he was born on the 6th day of January, 1808 , and not on the 19th of January, 1809 , as papers have it. This information comes from a nepnew of the general who bears his name, and it was bequeathed to him by his godmother, who entered it on the fly-leaf of his Bible. The mistake as to the name originated with Mr. W. Cabe, author of General Lee's biography. -- Lexington, Va., Cor. N. Y. Herald.