Essay title: Robert E. Lee
"They say you had to see him to believe that a man so fine could exist. Hewas handsome.
He was clever. He was brave. He was gentle. He was generousand charming, noble and modest, admired and beloved. He had never failed atanything in his upright soldier's life. He was born a winner, this RobertE. Lee.
Except for once. In the greatest contest of his life, in a warbetween the South and the North, Robert E. Lee lost" (Redmond).
Through hislife, Robert E. Lee would prove to be always noble, always a gentleman, andalways capable of overcoming the challenge lying before him. Robert Edward Lee was born on January 19, 1807 (Compton's). He was borninto one of Virginia's most respected families.
The Lee family had moved toAmerica during the mid 1600's. Some genealogist can trace the Lee's rootsback to William the Conqueror. Two members of the Lee family had signed theDeclaration of Independence, Richard Lee and Francis Lightfoot. Charles Leehad served as attorney General under the Washington administration whileRichard Bland Lee, had become one of Virginia's leading Federalists.Needless to say, the Lees were an American Political dynasty (Nash 242).
Lee's father was General Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee. He had been aheroic cavalry leader in the American Revolution. He married his cousinMatilda. They had four children, but Matilda died in 1790.
On her death bedshe added insult to injury upon Henry Lee by leaving her estate to herchildren. She feared Henry would squander the family fortune. He was wellknown for poor investments and schemes that had depleted his own family'sfortune (Connelly 5).Henry Lee solved his financial problems by marrying Robert's mother AnneCarter, daughter of one of Virginia's wealthiest men (Nash 242). Henry Leeeventually spent his family into debt. Their stately mansion, StratfordHall, was turned over to Robert's half brother. Anne Lee moved with herchildren to a simple brick house in Alexandria.
Light Horse Harry wasseldom around. Finally, in 1813 he moved to the West Indies. His self-exilebecame permanent, and he was never seen again by his family (Thomas).
Young Robert had other family problems. His mother became very ill. At theage of twelve he had to shoulder the load of not only being the family'sprovider, but also his mother's nurse. When time came for Robert to attendcollege, it was obvious his mother could not support him financially. Shewas already supporting his older brother at Harvard and three otherchildren in school.
In 1824 he accepted an appointment to the United StatesMilitary Academy. During his time at West Point Lee distinguished himselfas a soldier and a student. Lee graduated with honors in 1829 (Nash 245). His graduation was dampened by a call to the bedside of his ailing mother.When.