Robert E. Lee: “I Would Rather Die a Thousand Deaths…”

Topics: Confederate States of America, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant Pages: 3 (1143 words) Published: May 5, 2005
In 1861, on the eve of civil war, President Abraham Lincoln tapped I, Robert E. Lee to take command of the United States Army. being The fifty-five year old silver-haired veteran that had graduated second in my class at West Point, served valiantly during the Mexican War under General Winfield Scott, and had, with his forces, put down the insurrection at Harper's Ferry, capturing abolitionist John Brown. By all accounts, i was the man to lead the Army, as renowned for his gentlemanly character as for his military skill and sense of duty. It came as no surprise however, that following the secession of his home state, Virginia, Lee declined the Appointment and resigned. He had written to his family, .With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen; I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home... Although opposed to secession, he would .return to [his] native state and shares the miseries of [his] people, and saves in defense. Draw [his] sword on none. His home, his relatives, and his children, all were rooted in a Virginia that had grown strong from the seeds planted by the American Revolution. Two of his ancestors had signed the Declaration of Independence. His father had eulogized George Washington as .first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen... (The actions of both men left indelible marks on Lee's character. His debtor Father embodied the traits he would shun; Washington. Duty bound, disciplined, and humble.he sought to imitate.) On April 9, 1865, Lee and his men faced certain defeat in the misty dawn at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. He had commanded the Army of Northern Virginia since the beginning of the war. He had been appointed General in Chief of the Confederate States Army in February. His ragtag veterans, depleted corps once 70,000 strong, had tenaciously held. And at points, advanced. The line for four years against...
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