December 3, 2012
US History to 1877
General Robert E. Lee is one of the greatest military minds in United States history. He is also one of the most misunderstood. Lee was a brilliant young man, graduate second in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, Lee served seventeen years in the United States military before seeing any combat action. His first action was during the Mexican war in 1846. After the Mexican War he spent time as the superintendent of his alma mater, West Point. Lee His reputation as one of the finest officers in the United States Army prompted President Lincoln to offer him the commanding position of the United States Army; Lee turned down the position when Virginia ceded from the Union and also resigned his commission with army. His role as commanding officer of the Confederate Army is rather misleading. General Lee joined the Confederate Army despite his objections to the breakup of the Union and his views on slavery.
The early years of Lee’s life shaped him into the man he became. His father was a Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee. Despite his father’s poor business acumen and his stint in debtors’ prison, Robert E. Lee grew into a true southern gentleman. His mother’s relatives secured his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Lee excelled at West Point where his studies focused on engineering. He graduated second in his class and graduated having never received a single demerit. Lee was highly regarded by his classmates for his brilliance and kind demeanor. After graduating with honors Lee went on to serve in the Army Corps of Engineers building forts, laying out state boundaries, and supervising work on Mississippi River harbors. Lee spent seventeen years with the Corps of Engineers before he saw combat service during the 1846 war with Mexico.
Lee was initially transferred to Texas at the start of the Mexican-American War, but...