Robert E. Lee's
By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Member, SCV Public and Media Relations Committee
Chattahoochee Guards Camp 1639
1064 West Mill Drive
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152
Phone: 770 428 0978
On August 5, 1975, 110 years after Gen. Lee's
application, President Gerald Ford signed Joint
Resolution 23, restoring the long overdue full rights of
citizenship to Gen. Robert E. Lee.
At that signing, President Ford said, quote, "General
Lee's character has been an example to succeeding
generations, making the restoration of his citizenship
an event in which every American
can take pride" unquote.
Some people are declaring 2007, "The Year of Lee."
Please share the following story with your children and
local school teachers. The story of Robert E. Lee should
be taught in our nation's schools as America prepares to
remember his 200th birthday on Friday, January 19, 2007.
A portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee, painted by well known
"Depression-Era" artist Ernest L. Ipsen, was presented
to to the United States Military Academy at West Point,
New York on General Lee's birthday---January 19, 1931.
Mrs. L.M. Bashinsky, President of the United Daughters
of the Confederacy, presented the painting and it was
unveiled by two great grandsons of Robert E. Lee, Edward
Ely, 111 and Robert Edward Lee De Butts.
What is your city, county or state planning for Robert
E. Lee's "Bicentennial" birthday?
The late Franklin D. Roosevelt, America's 32nd
president, spoke at the unveiling of the Robert E. Lee
Memorial Statue in Dallas, Texas, on June 12, 1936 and
said, quote," I am happy to take part in this unveiling
of the statue of Lee. All over the United States we
recognize him, as a great general. But also, all over
the United States, I believe we recognize him as
something much more than that. We recognize Robert E.
Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one
of our greatest American gentlemen." unquote.
Who was Robert E. Lee?
Robert E. Lee, a man whose military tactics have been
studied worldwide, was an American soldier, educator,
Christian gentlemen, husband and father.
Robert E. Lee said, "All the South has ever desired was
that the Union as established by our forefathers, should
be preserved, and that the government, as originally
organized, should be administered in purity and truth."
Tell your children that Robert E. Lee was born at
Stratford Hall, Westmoreland County, Virginia, on
January 19, 1807. The winter was cold and the fire
places were little help for his mother, Ann Hill
(Carter) Lee, who was also suffering from a severe cold.
Ann Lee named her son "Robert Edward" after her two
Robert E. Lee's love for his country undoubtedly came
from his close association with those who had lived
during the American Revolution. His father, "Light
Horse" Harry Lee, was a Revolutionary
War hero, Governor of Virginia and a member of the House
Lee was educated in the schools of Alexandria, Virginia.
In 1825, he received an appointment to the United States
Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated
in 1829, second in his class
and without a single demerit.
Lee was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant of the United
States Engineer Corps. His first assignment was at
Cockspur Island, Georgia to supervise the construction
of Fort Pulaski.
Robert E. Lee wed Mary Anna Randolph Custis on June 30,
1831. Robert and Mary grew up together. Mary was the
daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson
of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. George and Martha
Washington raised him as their own son.
Mary was the only child; therefore, she inherited
Arlington House, located across the Potomac River from
Washington, D.C. where she and Robert E. Lee raised
In 1836, Lee was appointed 1st Lieutenant. In 1838, with
the rank of Captain, Robert E. Lee fought in the War
with Mexico. His service in the war began under Gen.
Wool but he was later reassigned to the staff of Gen.
Winfield Scott. Gen. Scott wrote that Lee was "the best
soldier I ever saw in the field."
Robert E. Lee was appointed Superintendent of the United
States Military Academy at West Point in 1852.
Lee had served in the United States Army for nearly 32
years when he was offered command of the Federal Army at
the outset of the War Between the States.
In a letter to his sister on April 20, 1861, Robert E.
Lee said, quote: "With all my devotion to the Union and
the feeling of loyalty and duty as an American citizen,
I have not been able to make up my
mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children,
my home. I therefore, have resigned my commission in the
army and save in the defense of my native state, with
the sincere hope that my poor services may never be
Gen. Lee and his family left "Arlington House" at the
beginning of the War Between the States. Lee served as
advisor to President Jefferson Davis, and then commanded
the legendary Army of
Northern Virginia beginning on June 1, 1862.
After four years of death and destruction, Gen. Robert
E. Lee met Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox
Courthouse in Virginia on April 9, 1865, that ended
Robert E. Lee was called Marse Robert, Uncle Robert and
Lee was a man of honor, proud of his name and heritage,
After the War Between the States, he was offered $50,000
for the use of his name. His reply was: "Sirs, my name
is the heritage of my parents. It is all I have and it
is not for sale."
In the fall of 1865, Robert E. Lee was offered and
accepted the position of president of troubled
Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. The school
was later renamed Washington and Lee College in his
Gen. Robert E. Lee died of a heart attack at his
Washington College home at 9:30 on the morning of
October 12, 1870.
Lee is buried at the school's Chapel near his family and
favorite horse "Traveler."
A prolific writer, Lee wrote his most famous quote to
his son Custis in 1852: "Duty is the sublimest word in
Sir Winston Churchill once remarked, "Lee was the
noblest American who had ever lived and one of the
greatest commanders known to the annals of war."
SCV Camp #68, Spartanburg, SC - All Rights Reserved