"There is a terrible war coming, and these young men who have never seen war cannot wait for it to happen, but I tell you, I wish that I owned every slave in the South, for I would free them all to avoid this war."
"It is history that teaches us to hope."
"Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one."
"We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters."
"There is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back."
"I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it."
~ All from Robert Edward Lee, 1807 - 1870
Robert Edward Lee was born at Stratford, Virginia on this day~ January 19th~ in 1807. He was the son of Revolutionary War hero Henry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee and Mary Curtis Lee. He graduated second in his class from West Point in 1829. He was the only cadet ever to graduate without a single demerit. Lee entered the Army Corps of Engineers after graduation and served in peacetime on various civil projects including building fortifications in St. Louis and New York harbors. He served with distinction in the Mexican American war, and his commander noted that "success in Mexico was largely due to the skill, valor, and undaunted courage of Robert E. Lee."
It was when he was, by chance, at Washington City he was sent to arrest John Brown at Harper's Ferry, W.Va., after Brown had taken over the U.S. arsenal there.
Lee was anything but eager to see the United States split. He believed in a unified country and didn't want to counteract the work of George Washington, a personal hero. Furthermore, he didn't believe in slavery. Noting that it had a detrimental effect on masters as well as slaves, he freed all the slaves he inherited.
When Lincoln offered him command of the Union Army, Lee resigned rather than lead troops against his home state of Virginia. Early in the Civil War, Lee commanded Virginia's army and naval forces, then served as a military aide to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In July 1862, Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia. During the next three years Lee's leadership of this army made him famous as a general. Despite being greatly outnumbered, his army was able to win some battles, fight to stalemates in others and attack into Northern territory several times.
His men respected him as a stern taskmaster and disciplinarian. Lee was never known to smoke, drink alcohol or curse.
On April 9, 1865, General Lee Surrendered at Appomattox Court House, leading to the end of the Civil War
Lee became president of Washington College in Lexington, Va. (now Washington & Lee University). He urged Southerners to work to restore the peace and unite the country. Lee died Oct. 12, 1870, five-and-a-half years after the war ended. His courage, honor, and character made him respected even in the north. His request for amnesty was however rejected and his citizenship was not restored until 1975, when it was restored posthumously by an act of the U.S. Congress.