The Civil War, Day by Day

'The Enemy Is There!' (detail)


Gen. Robert E. Lee

Just as his brilliance kept the Southern nation alive in the last three years of that struggle, his vision at Appomattox shaped the future of the American nation forged by that conflict.

A product of “Old America” - of aristocracy in decline - Lee was born in January 1807 at Stratford estate in the Virginia Tidewater. The Lee family was a combination of some of the finest colonial stock. Robert Lee’s forebearers were prime actors in the movement toward American freedom in the eighteenth century, and two were signers of the Declaration of Independence. Lee’s mother was Ann Carter; his father, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero and Virginia governor.

At the time of Robert’s birth, the family fortunes had largely evaporated because of the father’s brash financial ways. Henry Lee died impoverished during Robert’s youth. The lad grew up in a modest Alexandria, Virginia townhouse. Still, the careful tutelage of his mother instilled in Lee the attributes of duty, obligation and respect.





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Monday March 1, 2021
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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.