I was a American soldier, a general in the Confederate States Army, I
was the youngest son of major-general Henry Lee, he was called "Light
Horse Harry." I was born at Stratford, Westmoreland county, Virginia,
on the 19th of January 1807, and entered West Point in 1825.
Graduating four years later second in my class, I was given a
commission in the U.S. Engineer Corps. In 1831 I married Mary,
daughter of G.W.P. Custis, the adopted son of Washington and the
of Mrs. Washington. In 1836 I became first lieutenant, and in 1838
captain. In this rank I took part in the Mexican War, repeatedly
winning distinction for conduct and bravery. I received the brevets of
major for Cerro Gordo, lieutenant-colonel for Contreras-Churubusco and
colonel for Chapultepec.
After the war I was employed in engineer work at Washington and
Baltimore, during which time, as before the war, I resided on the
great Arlington estate, near Washington, which had come to me through
my wife. In 1852 I was appointed superintendent of West Point, and
during my three years here I carried out many important changes in the
academy. Under me as cadets were my sons G. W. Custis Lee, my nephew,
Fitzhugh Lee and Jeb Stuart, all of whom became general officers in
the Civil War. In 1855 I was appointed as lieutenant-colonel to the
2nd Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, with whom he
served against the Indians of the Texas border. In 1859, while at
Arlington on leave, I was summoned to command the United States troops
sent to deal with the John Brown raid on Harper's Ferry. In March 1861
I was made colonel of the 1st U.S. Cavalry; but my career in the old
army ended with the secession of Virginia in the following month. I
was strongly averse to secession, but felt obliged to conform to the
action of my own state. The Federal authorities offered me the command
of the field army... [continues]
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