Essay, 4 pages (1000 words)

Robert e lee essay

Robert E Lee is amongst most praiseworthy soldiers of history. His devout triumphs over shadowed his military defeats. He comes contiguous to our conception of a true aristocrat of all Americans, (Marshall 1954, 73). He has exceptional position in US History through proving himself as competent of overcoming the challenge lying before him. The present paper focuses on biographical sketch of Robert E Lee and analysis of his major contribution in US History.

Biography of Robert E. Lee An eminent historian, Robert Lee was born on 19th January 1807 at Stratford in Westmoreland County Virginia. Lee was commander during the American War of Independence. He developed positive qualities like patience, control and discipline, from his mother Ann Hill Carter Lee who mainly nurtured him.

Young Robert observed his father having poor business intellect and strong-minded to do better. His father’s poor organization and failure in venture affect later to deprive the family and they moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where Robert spent his early life. At young age, Robert had to face many family problems. Due to his mother’s illness, he had to bear the load of the family just at the age of twelve. He even could not get financial ease when he had to attend the college. He accepted an offer for appointment in the United States Military Academy in 1824.

At this time, Lee distinguished himself as a soldier and a student (Nash 245). He served as army engineer, an officer in the Mexican war, and the superintendent of West Point in 1929 after completion of his graduation. His Federal troops censored John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. When offered the field command of the Union army, he resigned his post to lead Virginia’s troops in the Confederate army (Marshall, pg. 73).

He was married to Mary Custis the granddaughter of George Washington and Martha Custis Washington. In 1836, he was upgraded to 1st Lieutenant and became a Captain after two years. War between Americans and Mexico started in 1845. In 1846 Lee took charge of assistant engineer to the Army of General John E Wool San Antonio, Texas.

He was assigned critical mission of mapping the area ahead for the advance troops and even led some into encounter. As an Army engineer, Lee came back from the Mexican war and was selected a Brevet Colonel due to his actions in the inconsistency. He remained spent at Fort Caroll, Baltimore the next few years and in 1852, he quite unwillingly accepted the post of Superintendent at West Point. Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis gave him Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the 2nd Cavalry in Texas in March 1855. Between 1860 and 1861 he was given command of the Department of Texas.

In February 1861, when Winfield Scott recalled him to Washington, he repudiated his offer and justified that he could not put up with arms against the Southern States. Instantaneously after his resignation, Lee was appointed commander of the Virginia State forces. He got first real opportunity in the outburst of war with Mexico (Connelly 1997, 8). In 1865, he admitted defeat of his army at Appomattox just two months after being appointed commander-in-chief of all the Confederate forces. He became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. He could resume this academic post for years.

Robert E. Lee died of a heart attack on October 12, 1870 at Washington College at the age of 63 (Marshall 1954, 73). Analysis of the Historical Contributions of Robert E. Lee He had a great contribution as a historical figure. He structured the mobilization of the armed force and the strengthening of key positions with his normal immense energy and skill, through his engineering experience to pick up good strong points. In August 1861, General Lee dexterously directed huge strong army against General Pope by making the two Union armies separately and sending Jackson around the rear to attack the supply depots.

This was Lee’s great weak point. Lee also understood that he had to send army to battle in the most positive circumstances and strategic trend on the theatre of war should be left on to divisional commanders. It showed Lee’s immature approach in battlefield and considered as an awful error. In early September Lee, indicating military force, marched into the North in the hope to give confidence the European powers to recognize the Confederacy. The battle was a tactical victory as Lee had held the line but the attack of the North was stopped and the chance of a strategic victory was missed. As an experienced military strategist, he brought the most comprehensive, technologically sophisticated knowledge of combat to bear against his own former army (Nash 1995, 257).

Greatest historical success of Lee was the Battle of Chancelorsville in May 1863. Lee was faced with a larger army led by fighting Joe Hooker. Lee and his most trusted lieutenant, General Jackson, divided their forces and through a forced march around. General Hooker fell on his exposed side.

It was a great defeat to remember of the Union forces yet again (Brinkley 1995, 404). Lee was a man of respect, proud of his name and inheritance. When the war was over between the States, he got offer of $50, 000 for the use of his name. His responded, “ Sirs, my name is the heritage of my parents. It is all I have and it is not for sale. ” His denial came at the juncture when he had hardly anything.

Lee wrote his most prominent quote to son Custis in 1852. “ Duty is the sublime’s word in our language. “ It is difficult to assess Lee as a General, he was in many ways fighting a loosing battle from the very start of the war, but achieved a great deal while constantly outnumbered and under resourced. His victories were valuable. He was a motivating leader he often won only by pushing his forces to an all out effort which left them stretched too thin to exploit any victory.

His diplomatic and polite manners lead him to be a democratic, consultative leader in a situation that at times required a more autocratic, dictatorial style. Lee was a moderate, devout, decent man who made the best of a fated command.

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