Skip to comments.Today marks what would have been Robert E. Lee's 198th birthday.
Posted on 01/19/2005 5:41:26 AM PST by meandog
Celebrate today the birth of a great American: Gen. Robert E. Lee
All the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our Forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth.
--Robert E. Lee
KENNESAW, Ga.--Why do Ameri- cans continue to remember their past?
Maybe, because, it was a time when truth was spoken. Men and women took their stand to give us the freedoms we now enjoy. God bless those, in military service, who do their duty around the world for freedom.
The Hall of Fame for great Americans opened in 1900, in New York City. One thousand names were submitted in 1900, but only 29 received a majority vote from the electors. Gen. Robert E. Lee, 30 years after his death, was among those honored. A bust of Lee was given to New York University by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Let America not forget today, Lee's 198th birthday.
Lee was born at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County on Jan. 19, 1807. The winter was cold and fireplaces were little help. Robert's mother, Ann Hill (Carter) Lee, was also suffering from a severe cold.
Ann Lee named her son "Robert Edward" after her two brothers.
Robert E. Lee undoubtedly acquired his love of country from those who had lived during the American Revolution. His father, "Lighthorse" Harry, was a hero of the revolution and served as governor of Virginia and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Members of his family also signed the Declaration of Independence.
Robert E. Lee was educated in Alexandria. In 1825, he received an appointment to West Point Military Academy. He graduated in 1829, second in his class and without a single demerit.
Lee wed Mary Anne Randolph Custis in June 1831, two years after his graduation from West Point. Robert and Mary had grown up together. Mary was the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington and the adopted son of George Washington.
Mary was an only child; therefore, she inherited Arlington House, across the Potomac from Washington, where she and Robert raised seven children.
Army promotions were slow. In 1836, Lee was appointed to first lieutenant. In 1838, with the rank of captain, Lee fought valiantly in the War with Mexico and was wounded at the Battle of Chapultepec.
He was appointed superintendent of West Point in 1852 and is considered one of the best superintendents in that institution's history.
President-to-be Abraham Lincoln offered command of the Union Army to Lee in 1861, but Lee refused. He would not raise arms against his native state.
War was in the air. The country was in turmoil of separation. Lee wrestled with his very soul. He had served in the Army for more than 30 years.
After an all-night battle, much of that time on his knees in prayer, Robert Edward Lee reached his decision. He reluctantly resigned his commission and headed home to Virginia.
Arlington House would be occupied by the Federals, who would turn the estate into a war cemetery. Today it is one of our country's most cherished memorials, Arlington National Cemetery.
President John F. Kennedy went to Arlington shortly before he was assassinated in 1963 and said he wanted to be buried there. And he is, in front of Lee's home.
Lee served as adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and then commanded the legendary Army of Northern Virginia. The exploits of Lee's army fill thousands of books.
After four terrible years of death and destruction, Lee met Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, and the two ended the Civil War. Lee told his disheartened comrades, "Go home and be good Americans."
Lee was called Marse Robert, Uncle Robert, and Marble Man. He was loved by the people of the South, and adopted by the folks from the North.
Lee was a man of honor, proud of his name and heritage. After the War Between the States, he was offered $50,000 for the use of his name. His reply was: "Sirs, my name is the heritage of my parents. It is all I have and it is not for sale."
In the fall of 1865, Lee was offered and accepted the presidency of troubled Washington College in Lexington. The school was later renamed Washington and Lee in his memory.
Lee died of a heart attack at 9:30 on the morning of Oct. 12, 1870, at Washington College. His last words were "Strike the tent." He was 63 years of age.
He is buried in a chapel on the school grounds with his family and near his favorite horse, Traveller.
A prolific letter-writer, Lee wrote his most famous quote to one of his sons in 1852: "Duty is the sublimest word in our language."
On this 198th anniversary, let us ponder the words he wrote to Annette Carter in 1868: "I grieve for posterity, for American principles and American liberty."
Winston Churchill called Lee "one of the noblest Americans who ever lived." Lee's life was one of service and self-sacrifice. His motto was "Duty, Honor, Country."
Interesting. I will have to read more when I have time. I know the history I have learned, but I am willing to learn "another side" of the story.
I remember hearing something about some people celebrating Robert E. Lee rather than Martin Luther King on the recent holiday, because the birthdays are so close together. No comment on that - it's too early in the morning to open that can of worms!
General Lee, I have no division!"
The battle may have been lost; the war goes on!
Regardless of your stand on the civil war, you have to admit that General Robert E. Lee was one of the greatest patriots this country ever produced. I am not necessarily a student of the civil war, but if there are any Freepers out there that have not seen the Ken Burns documentary, you must see it. That documentary will shed more light on our Federal Republic than any thing. That part about Appomattox will tear your heart apart. The whole thing will put into perspective why this nation is unique on the earth!!! I dare you to watch without shedding a few tears.
Remembering a good American. Rest easy, General and God Bless.
> one of the greatest patriots this country ever produced
Hmm. A man who fought *against* this country for a cause he knew to be wrong. "Patriot?"
A military genius who, in my opinion, only made one mistake in judgment.
And Dolly Parton! :o)
Put a sock in it.
What, I'm wrong? I was misinformed, and RE Lee actually fought *for* this country *against* those who would perpetuate slavery? Hmm.
And what a mistake that was. Never attack the center of the line if you have to cross a mile of open ground.
> only made one mistake in judgment
Picked the wrong side.
Read: Arlington House would be stolen by the United States Government.
Exactly. From everything I have read, General Lee was a very honorable man. He just put his loyalty with his state rather than with his country.
Boy, that was a mistake. That was such a bad decision that I often wonder if Lee had had a mild stroke or something.
If Stonewall Jackson had lived. You would be taking your hat off to Dixie before football games. God bless Robert E.Lee a great American.
Rest in peace, Sir.
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