Robert E. Lee
Name: Robert E. Lee
Occupation: Politician
Gender: Male
Birth Day: January 19, 1807
Death Date: Oct 12, 1870 (age 63)
Age: Aged 63
Birth Place: Stratford Hall, United States
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

Social Accounts

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford Hall, United States (63 years old). Robert E. Lee is a Politician, zodiac sign: Capricorn. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: $1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.).

Brief Info

American career military officer who commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. He surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

Trivia

President Abraham Lincoln offered him a position in the Union Army, but he decided to follow his home state into secession despite his belief that the Union should remain intact.

Net Worth 2020

$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)
Find out more about Robert E. Lee net worth here.

Family Members

# Name Relationship Net Worth Salary Age Occupation
#1 Sydney Smith Lee Brother N/A N/A N/A
#2 Henry Lee IV Brother N/A N/A N/A
#3 Mildred Childe Lee Daughter N/A N/A N/A
#4 Eleanor Agnes Lee Daughter N/A N/A N/A
#5 Henry Lee III Father N/A N/A N/A
#6 Henry Lee II Grandfather N/A N/A N/A
#7 George Bolling Lee Grandson N/A N/A N/A
#8 Anne Hill Carter Lee Mother N/A N/A N/A
#9 George Washington Custis Lee Son N/A N/A N/A
#10 William Henry Fitzhugh Lee Son N/A N/A N/A
#11 Robert E. Lee Jr. Son N/A N/A N/A
#12 Mary Anna Custis Lee Mary Anna Custis Lee Spouse $1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.) N/A 65 Politician
#13 Charles Carter Lee N/A N/A N/A

Does Robert E. Lee Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Robert E. Lee died on Oct 12, 1870 (age 63).

Physique

Height Weight Hair Colour Eye Colour Blood Type Tattoo(s)
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Before Fame

He attended West Point and graduated as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.

Biography

Biography Timeline

1807

Lee was born at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Henry Lee III and Anne Hill Carter Lee on January 19, 1807. His ancestor, Richard Lee I, emigrated from Shropshire, England to Virginia in 1639.

1811

Lee's father suffered severe financial reverses from failed investments and was put in debtors' prison. Soon after his release the following year, the family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, both because there were then high quality local schools there, and because several members of Anne's extended family lived nearby. In 1811, the family, including the newly born sixth child, Mildred, moved to a house on Oronoco Street.

1812

In 1812 Lee's father moved permanently to the West Indies. Lee attended Eastern View, a school for young gentlemen, in Fauquier County, Virginia, and then at the Alexandria Academy, free for local boys, where he showed an aptitude for mathematics. Although brought up to be a practicing Christian, he was not confirmed in the Episcopal Church until age 46.

1829

Anne Lee's family was often supported by a relative, William Henry Fitzhugh, who owned the Oronoco Street house and allowed the Lees to stay at his country home Ravensworth. Fitzhugh wrote to United States Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, urging that Robert be given an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Fitzhugh had young Robert deliver the letter. Lee entered West Point in the summer of 1825. At the time, the focus of the curriculum was engineering; the head of the United States Army Corps of Engineers supervised the school and the superintendent was an engineering officer. Cadets were not permitted leave until they had finished two years of study, and were rarely allowed off the Academy grounds. Lee graduated second in his class, behind only Charles Mason (who resigned from the Army a year after graduation). Lee did not incur any demerits during his four-year course of study, a distinction shared by five of his 45 classmates. In June 1829, Lee was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. After graduation, while awaiting assignment, he returned to Virginia to find his mother on her deathbed; she died at Ravensworth on July 26, 1829.

On August 11, 1829, Brigadier General Charles Gratiot ordered Lee to Cockspur Island, Georgia. The plan was to build a fort on the marshy island which would command the outlet of the Savannah River. Lee was involved in the early stages of construction as the island was being drained and built up. In 1831, it became apparent that the existing plan to build what became known as Fort Pulaski would have to be revamped, and Lee was transferred to Fort Monroe at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula (today in Hampton, Virginia).

1830

While home in the summer of 1829, Lee had apparently courted Mary Custis whom he had known as a child. Lee obtained permission to write to her before leaving for Georgia, though Mary Custis warned Lee to be "discreet" in his writing, as her mother read her letters, especially from men. Custis refused Lee the first time he asked to marry her; her father did not believe the son of the disgraced Light Horse Harry Lee was a suitable man for his daughter. She accepted him with her father's consent in September 1830, while he was on summer leave, and the two were wed on June 30, 1831.

1831

While Lee was stationed at Fort Monroe, he married Mary Anna Randolph Custis (1808–1873), great-granddaughter of Martha Washington by her first husband Daniel Parke Custis, and step-great-granddaughter of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Mary was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's stepgrandson, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter of William Fitzhugh and Ann Bolling Randolph. Robert and Mary married on June 30, 1831, at Arlington House, her parents' house just across the Potomac from Washington. The 3rd U.S. Artillery served as honor guard at the marriage. They eventually had seven children, three boys and four girls:

1832

Lee's duties at Fort Monroe were varied, typical for a junior officer, and ranged from budgeting to designing buildings. Although Mary Lee accompanied her husband to Hampton Roads, she spent about a third of her time at Arlington, though the couple's first son, Custis Lee was born at Fort Monroe. Although the two were by all accounts devoted to each other, they were different in character: Robert Lee was tidy and punctual, qualities his wife lacked. Mary Lee also had trouble transitioning from being a rich man's daughter to having to manage a household with only one or two slaves. Beginning in 1832, Robert Lee had a close but platonic relationship with Harriett Talcott, wife of his fellow officer Andrew Talcott.

1834

In 1834, Lee was transferred to Washington as General Gratiot's assistant. Lee had hoped to rent a house in Washington for his family, but was not able to find one; the family lived at Arlington, though Lieutenant Lee rented a room at a Washington boarding house for when the roads were impassable. In mid-1835, Lee was assigned to assist Andrew Talcott in surveying the southern border of Michigan. While on that expedition, he responded to a letter from an ill Mary Lee, which had requested he come to Arlington, "But why do you urge my immediate return, & tempt one in the strongest manner[?] ... I rather require to be strengthened & encouraged to the full performance of what I am called on to execute." Lee completed the assignment and returned to his post in Washington, finding his wife ill at Ravensworth. Mary Lee, who had recently given birth to their second child, remained bedridden for several months. In October 1836, Lee was promoted to first lieutenant.

1837

Lee served as an assistant in the chief engineer's office in Washington, D.C. from 1834 to 1837, but spent the summer of 1835 helping to lay out the state line between Ohio and Michigan. As a first lieutenant of engineers in 1837, he supervised the engineering work for St. Louis harbor and for the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Among his projects was the mapping of the Des Moines Rapids on the Mississippi above Keokuk, Iowa, where the Mississippi's mean depth of 2.4 feet (0.7 m) was the upper limit of steamboat traffic on the river. His work there earned him a promotion to captain. Around 1842, Captain Robert E. Lee arrived as Fort Hamilton's post engineer.

1847

He was promoted to brevet major after the Battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847. He also fought at Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec and was wounded at the last. By the end of the war, he had received additional brevet promotions to lieutenant colonel and colonel, but his permanent rank was still captain of engineers, and he would remain a captain until his transfer to the cavalry in 1855.

1848

For the first time, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met and worked with each other during the Mexican–American War. Close observations of their commanders constituted a learning process for both Lee and Grant. The Mexican–American War concluded on February 2, 1848.

1849

After the Mexican War, Lee spent three years at Fort Carroll in Baltimore harbor. During this time, his service was interrupted by other duties, among them surveying and updating maps in Florida. Cuban revolutionary Narciso López intended to forcibly liberate Cuba from Spanish rule. In 1849, searching for a leader for his filibuster expedition, he approached Jefferson Davis, then a United States senator. Davis declined and suggested Lee, who also declined. Both decided it was inconsistent with their duties.

1852

In 1852, Lee was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point. He was reluctant to enter what he called a "snake pit", but the War Department insisted and he obeyed. His wife occasionally came to visit. During his three years at West Point, Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee improved the buildings and courses and spent much time with the cadets. Lee's oldest son, George Washington Custis Lee, attended West Point during his tenure. Custis Lee graduated in 1854, first in his class.

1855

Lee was enormously relieved to receive a long-awaited promotion as second-in-command of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Texas in 1855. It meant leaving the Engineering Corps and its sequence of staff jobs for the combat command he truly wanted. He served under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston at Camp Cooper, Texas; their mission was to protect settlers from attacks by the Apache and the Comanche.

1856

Lee argued that slavery was bad for white people but good for black people, claiming that he found slavery bothersome and time-consuming as an everyday institution to run. In an 1856 letter to his wife, he maintained that slavery was a great evil, but primarily due to adverse impact that it had on white people:

1857

In 1857, his father-in-law George Washington Parke Custis died, creating a serious crisis when Lee took on the burden of executing the will. Custis's will encompassed vast landholdings and hundreds of slaves balanced against massive debts, and required Custis's former slaves "to be emancipated by my executors in such manner as to my executors may seem most expedient and proper, the said emancipation to be accomplished in not exceeding five years from the time of my decease." The estate was in disarray, and the plantations had been poorly managed and were losing money. Lee tried to hire an overseer to handle the plantation in his absence, writing to his cousin, "I wish to get an energetic honest farmer, who while he will be considerate & kind to the negroes, will be firm & make them do their duty." But Lee failed to find a man for the job, and had to take a two-year leave of absence from the army in order to run the plantation himself.

1858

Lee's more strict expectations and harsher punishments of the slaves on Arlington plantation nearly led to a slave revolt, since many of the slaves had been given to understand that they were to be made free as soon as Custis died, and protested angrily at the delay. In May 1858, Lee wrote to his son Rooney, "I have had some trouble with some of the people. Reuben, Parks & Edward, in the beginning of the previous week, rebelled against my authority—refused to obey my orders, & said they were as free as I was, etc., etc.—I succeeded in capturing them & lodging them in jail. They resisted till overpowered & called upon the other people to rescue them." Less than two months after they were sent to the Alexandria jail, Lee decided to remove these three men and three female house slaves from Arlington, and sent them under lock and key to the slave-trader William Overton Winston in Richmond, who was instructed to keep them in jail until he could find "good & responsible" slaveholders to work them until the end of the five-year period.

1859

In 1859, three of the Arlington slaves—Wesley Norris, his sister Mary, and a cousin of theirs—fled for the North, but were captured a few miles from the Pennsylvania border and forced to return to Arlington. On June 24, 1859, the anti-slavery newspaper New York Daily Tribune published two anonymous letters (dated June 19, 1859 and June 21, 1859), each claiming to have heard that Lee had the Norrises whipped, and each going so far as to claim that the overseer refused to whip the woman but that Lee took the whip and flogged her personally. Lee privately wrote to his son Custis that "The N. Y. Tribune has attacked me for my treatment of your grandfather's slaves, but I shall not reply. He has left me an unpleasant legacy."

John Brown led a band of 21 abolitionists who seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in October 1859, hoping to incite a slave rebellion. President James Buchanan gave Lee command of detachments of militia, soldiers, and United States Marines, to suppress the uprising and arrest its leaders. By the time Lee arrived that night, the militia on the site had surrounded Brown and his hostages. At dawn, Brown refused the demand for surrender. Lee attacked, and Brown and his followers were captured after three minutes of fighting. Lee's summary report of the episode shows Lee believed it "was the attempt of a fanatic or madman". Lee said Brown achieved "temporary success" by creating panic and confusion and by "magnifying" the number of participants involved in the raid.

1860

By 1860 only one slave family was left intact on the estate. Some of the families had been together since their time at Mount Vernon.

By the time of Lee's career in the U.S. Army, the officers of West Point stood aloof from political-party and sectional strife on such issues as slavery, as a matter of principle, and Lee adhered to the principle. He considered it his patriotic duty to be apolitical while in active Army service, and Lee did not speak out publicly on the subject of slavery prior to the Civil War. Before the outbreak of the War, in 1860, Lee voted for John C. Breckinridge, who was the extreme pro-slavery candidate in the 1860 presidential election, not John Bell, the more moderate Southerner who won Virginia.

In 1860, Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee relieved Major Heintzelman at Fort Brown, and the Mexican authorities offered to restrain "their citizens from making predatory descents upon the territory and people of Texas ... this was the last active operation of the Cortina War". Rip Ford, a Texas Ranger at the time, described Lee as "dignified without hauteur, grand without pride ... he evinced an imperturbable self-possession, and a complete control of his passions ... possessing the capacity to accomplish great ends and the gift of controlling and leading men."

1861

When Texas seceded from the Union in February 1861, General David E. Twiggs surrendered all the American forces (about 4,000 men, including Lee, and commander of the Department of Texas) to the Texans. Twiggs immediately resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a Confederate general. Lee went back to Washington and was appointed Colonel of the First Regiment of Cavalry in March 1861. Lee's colonelcy was signed by the new president, Abraham Lincoln. Three weeks after his promotion, Colonel Lee was offered a senior command (with the rank of Major General) in the expanding Army to fight the Southern States that had left the Union. Fort Mason, Texas was Lee's last command with the United States Army.

Unlike many Southerners who expected a glorious war, Lee correctly predicted it as protracted and devastating. He privately opposed the new Confederate States of America in letters in early 1861, denouncing secession as "nothing but revolution" and an unconstitutional betrayal of the efforts of the Founding Fathers. Writing to George Washington Custis in January, Lee stated:

Although Virginia had the most slaves of any state, it was more similar to Maryland, which stayed in the Union, than to the Deep South; a convention voted against secession in early 1861. Scott, commanding general of the Union Army and Lee's mentor, told Lincoln he wanted him for a top command, telling Secretary of War Simon Cameron that he had "entire confidence" in Lee. He accepted a promotion to colonel of the 1st Cavalry Regiment on March 28, again swearing an oath to the United States. Meanwhile, Lee ignored an offer of command from the Confederacy. After Lincoln's call for troops to put down the rebellion, a second Virginia convention in Richmond voted to secede on April 17, and a May 23 referendum would likely ratify the decision. That night Lee dined with brother Smith and cousin Phillips, naval officers. Because of Lee's indecision, Phillips went to the War Department the next morning to warn that the Union might lose his cousin if the government did not act quickly.

Lee's first field assignment was commanding Confederate forces in western Virginia, where he was defeated at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and was widely blamed for Confederate setbacks. He was then sent to organize the coastal defenses along the Carolina and Georgia seaboard, appointed commander, "Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida" on November 5, 1861. Between then and the fall of Fort Pulaski, April 11, 1862, he put in place a defense of Savannah that proved successful in blocking Federal advance on Savannah. Confederate fort and naval gunnery dictated night time movement and construction by the besiegers. Federal preparations required four months. In those four months, Lee developed a defense in depth. Behind Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River, Fort Jackson was improved, and two additional batteries covered river approaches. In the face of the Union superiority in naval, artillery and infantry deployment, Lee was able to block any Federal advance on Savannah, and at the same time, well-trained Georgia troops were released in time to meet McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. The city of Savannah would not fall until Sherman's approach from the interior at the end of 1864.

1862

All the children survived him except for Annie, who died in 1862. They are all buried with their parents in the crypt of the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Lee himself owned a small number of slaves in his lifetime and considered himself a paternalistic master. There are various historical and newspaper hearsay accounts of Lee personally whipping a slave, but they are not direct eyewitness accounts. He was definitely involved in administering the day-to-day operations of a plantation and was involved in the recapture of runaway slaves. One historian noted that Lee separated slave families, something that prominent slave-holding families in Virginia such as Washington and Custis did not do. In 1862, Lee freed the slaves that his wife inherited, but that was in accordance with his father-in-law's will.

Then Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines, on June 1, 1862. Lee now got his first opportunity to lead an army in the field – the force he renamed the Army of Northern Virginia, signalling his confidence that the Union army would be driven away from Richmond. Early in the war, Lee had been called "Granny Lee" for his allegedly timid style of command. Confederate newspaper editorials objected to him replacing Johnston, opining that Lee would be passive, waiting for Union attack. And for the first three weeks of June, he did not attack, instead strengthening Richmond's defenses.

Disappointed by McClellan's failure to destroy Lee's army, Lincoln named Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside ordered an attack across the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Delays in bridging the river allowed Lee's army ample time to organize strong defenses, and the Union frontal assault on December 13, 1862, was a disaster. There were 12,600 Union casualties to 5,000 Confederate; one of the most one-sided battles in the Civil War. After this victory, Lee reportedly said "It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it." At Fredericksburg, according to historian Michael Fellman, Lee had completely entered into the "spirit of war, where destructiveness took on its own beauty."

In 1862, the newly formed Confederate Navy purchased a 642-ton iron-hulled side-wheel gunboat, built in at Glasgow, Scotland, and gave her the name of CSS Robert E. Lee in honor of this Confederate General. During the next year, she became one of the South's most famous Confederate blockade runners, successfully making more than twenty runs through the Union blockade.

1863

The Norris men were then sent by Lee's agent to work on the railroads in Virginia and Alabama. According to the interview, Norris was sent to Richmond in January 1863 "from which place I finally made my escape through the rebel lines to freedom." But Federal authorities reported that Norris came within their lines on September 5, 1863, and that he "left Richmond ... with a pass from General Custis Lee." Lee freed the Custis slaves, including Wesley Norris, after the end of the five-year period in the winter of 1862, filing the deed of manumission on December 29, 1862.

After the bitter Union defeat at Fredericksburg, President Lincoln named Joseph Hooker commander of the Army of the Potomac. In May 1863, Hooker maneuvered to attack Lee's army via Chancellorsville, Virginia. But Hooker was defeated by Lee's daring maneuver: dividing his army and sending Stonewall Jackson's corps to attack Hooker's flank. Lee won a decisive victory over a larger force, but with heavy casualties, including Jackson, his finest corps commander, who was accidentally killed by his own troops.

The critical decisions came in May–June 1863, after Lee's smashing victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville. The western front was crumbling, as multiple uncoordinated Confederate armies were unable to handle General Ulysses S. Grant's campaign against Vicksburg. The top military advisers wanted to save Vicksburg, but Lee persuaded Davis to overrule them and authorize yet another invasion of the North. The immediate goal was to acquire urgently needed supplies from the rich farming districts of Pennsylvania; a long-term goal was to stimulate peace activity in the North by demonstrating the power of the South to invade. Lee's decision proved a significant strategic blunder and cost the Confederacy control of its western regions, and nearly cost Lee his own army as Union forces cut him off from the South.

In the summer of 1863, Lee invaded the North again, marching through western Maryland and into south central Pennsylvania. He encountered Union forces under George G. Meade at the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania in July; the battle would produce the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War. With some of his subordinates being new and inexperienced in their commands, J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry being out of the area, and Lee being slightly ill, he was less than comfortable with how events were unfolding. While the first day of battle was controlled by the Confederates, key terrain that should have been taken by General Ewell was not. The second day ended with the Confederates unable to break the Union position, and the Union being more solidified. Lee's decision on the third day, against the judgment of his best corps commander General Longstreet, to launch a massive frontal assault on the center of the Union line turned out to be disastrous. The assault known as Pickett's Charge was repulsed and resulted in heavy Confederate losses. The general rode out to meet his retreating army and proclaimed, "All this has been my fault." Lee was compelled to retreat. Despite flooded rivers that blocked his retreat, he escaped Meade's ineffective pursuit. Following his defeat at Gettysburg, Lee sent a letter of resignation to President Davis on August 8, 1863, but Davis refused Lee's request. That fall, Lee and Meade met again in two minor campaigns that did little to change the strategic standoff. The Confederate Army never fully recovered from the substantial losses incurred during the three-day battle in southern Pennsylvania. The historian Shelby Foote stated, "Gettysburg was the price the South paid for having Robert E. Lee as commander."

1864

On May 1, 1864, General Lee was present at the baptism of General A.P. Hill's daughter, Lucy Lee Hill, to serve as her godfather. This is referenced in the painting Tender is the Heart by Mort Künstler. He was also the godfather of actress and writer Odette Tyler, the daughter of brigadier general William Whedbee Kirkland.

In 1864 the new Union general-in-chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, sought to use his large advantages in manpower and material resources to destroy Lee's army by attrition, pinning Lee against his capital of Richmond. Lee successfully stopped each attack, but Grant with his superior numbers kept pushing each time a bit farther to the southeast. These battles in the Overland Campaign included the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor.

1865

On February 6, 1865, Lee was appointed General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States.

As the South ran out of manpower the issue of arming the slaves became paramount. Lee explained, "We should employ them without delay ... [along with] gradual and general emancipation". The first units were in training as the war ended. As the Confederate army was devastated by casualties, disease and desertion, the Union attack on Petersburg succeeded on April 2, 1865. Lee abandoned Richmond and retreated west. Lee then made an attempt to escape to the southwest and join up with Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee in North Carolina. However, his forces were soon surrounded and he surrendered them to Grant on April 9, 1865, at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. Other Confederate armies followed suit and the war ended. The day after his surrender, Lee issued his Farewell Address to his army.

On May 29, 1865, President Andrew Johnson issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon to persons who had participated in the rebellion against the United States. There were fourteen excepted classes, though, and members of those classes had to make special application to the President. Lee sent an application to Grant and wrote to President Johnson on June 13, 1865:

On October 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, he signed his Amnesty Oath, thereby complying fully with the provision of Johnson's proclamation. Lee was not pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored.

In his public statements and private correspondence, Lee argued that a tone of reconciliation and patience would further the interests of white Southerners better than hotheaded antagonism to federal authority or the use of violence. Lee repeatedly expelled white students from Washington College for violent attacks on local black men, and publicly urged obedience to the authorities and respect for law and order. He privately chastised fellow ex-Confederates such as Jefferson Davis and Jubal Early for their frequent, angry responses to perceived Northern insults, writing in private to them as he had written to a magazine editor in 1865, that "It should be the object of all to avoid controversy, to allay passion, give full scope to reason and to every kindly feeling. By doing this and encouraging our citizens to engage in the duties of life with all their heart and mind, with a determination not to be turned aside by thoughts of the past and fears of the future, our country will not only be restored in material prosperity, but will be advanced in science, in virtue and in religion."

In 1865, after the war, Lee was paroled and signed an oath of allegiance, asking to have his citizenship of the United States restored. However, his application was misplaced and as a result he did not receive a pardon and his citizenship was not restored. On January 30, 1975, Senate Joint Resolution 23, A joint resolution to restore posthumously full rights of citizenship to General R. E. Lee was introduced into the Senate by Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr. (I-VA), the result of a five-year campaign to accomplish this. The resolution, which enacted Public Law 94–67, was passed, and the bill was signed by President Gerald Ford on September 5.

1866

Wesley Norris himself spoke out about the incident after the war, in an 1866 interview printed in an abolitionist newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Norris stated that after they had been captured, and forced to return to Arlington, Lee told them that "he would teach us a lesson we would not soon forget." According to Norris, Lee then had the three of them firmly tied to posts by the overseer, and ordered them whipped with fifty lashes for the men and twenty for Mary Norris. Norris claimed that Lee encouraged the whipping, and that when the overseer refused to do it, called in the county constable to do it instead. Unlike the anonymous letter writers, he does not state that Lee himself whipped any of the slaves. According to Norris, Lee "frequently enjoined [Constable] Williams to 'lay it on well,' an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done."

In 1866 Lee counseled southerners not to resume fighting, of which Grant said Lee was "setting an example of forced acquiescence so grudging and pernicious in its effects as to be hardly realized". Lee joined with Democrats in opposing the Radical Republicans who demanded punitive measures against the South, distrusted its commitment to the abolition of slavery and, indeed, distrusted the region's loyalty to the United States. Lee supported a system of free public schools for blacks, but forthrightly opposed allowing blacks to vote. "My own opinion is that, at this time, they [black Southerners] cannot vote intelligently, and that giving them the [vote] would lead to a great deal of demagogism, and lead to embarrassments in various ways," Lee stated. Emory Thomas says Lee had become a suffering Christ-like icon for ex-Confederates. President Grant invited him to the White House in 1869, and he went. Nationally he became an icon of reconciliation between the North and South, and the reintegration of former Confederates into the national fabric.

In an interview in May 1866, Lee said: "The Radical party are likely to do a great deal of harm, for we wish now for good feeling to grow up between North and South, and the President, Mr. Johnson, has been doing much to strengthen the feeling in favor of the Union among us. The relations between the Negroes and the whites were friendly formerly, and would remain so if legislation be not passed in favor of the blacks, in a way that will only do them harm."

1867

Lee, who had opposed secession and remained mostly indifferent to politics before the Civil War, supported President Andrew Johnson's plan of Presidential Reconstruction that took effect in 1865–66. However, he opposed the Congressional Republican program that took effect in 1867. In February 1866, he was called to testify before the Joint Congressional Committee on Reconstruction in Washington, where he expressed support for Johnson's plans for quick restoration of the former Confederate states, and argued that restoration should return, as far as possible, to the status quo ante in the Southern states' governments (with the exception of slavery).

Lee is an obvious subject for American Civil War alternate histories. Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee (1953), MacKinlay Kantor's If the South Had Won the Civil War (1960), and Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South (1992), all have Lee ending up as President of a victorious Confederacy and freeing the slaves (or laying the groundwork for the slaves to be freed in a later decade). Although Moore and Kantor's novels relegate him to a set of passing references, Lee is more of a main character in Turtledove's Guns. He is also the prime character of Turtledove's "Lee at the Alamo", which can be read online, and sees the opening of the Civil War drastically altered so as to affect Lee's personal priorities considerably. Turtledove's "War Between the Provinces" series is an allegory of the Civil War told in the language of fairy tales, with Lee appearing as a knight named "Duke Edward of Arlington". Lee is also a knight in "The Charge of Lee's Brigade" in Alternate Generals volume 1, written by Turtledove's friend S. M. Stirling and featuring Lee, whose Virginia is still a loyal British colony, fighting for the Crown against the Russians in Crimea. In Lee Allred's "East of Appomattox" in Alternate Generals volume 3, Lee is the Confederate Minister to London circa 1868, desperately seeking help for a CSA which has turned out poorly suited to independence. Robert Skimin's Grey Victory features Lee as a supporting character preparing to run for the presidency in 1867.

1868

Three years later, on December 25, 1868, Johnson proclaimed a second amnesty which removed previous exceptions, such as the one that affected Lee.

In 1868, Lee's ally Alexander H. H. Stuart drafted a public letter of endorsement for the Democratic Party's presidential campaign, in which Horatio Seymour ran against Lee's old foe Republican Ulysses S. Grant. Lee signed it along with thirty-one other ex-Confederates. The Democratic campaign, eager to publicize the endorsement, published the statement widely in newspapers. Their letter claimed paternalistic concern for the welfare of freed Southern blacks, stating that "The idea that the Southern people are hostile to the negroes and would oppress them, if it were in their power to do so, is entirely unfounded. They have grown up in our midst, and we have been accustomed from childhood to look upon them with kindness." However, it also called for the restoration of white political rule, arguing that "It is true that the people of the South, in common with a large majority of the people of the North and West, are, for obvious reasons, inflexibly opposed to any system of laws that would place the political power of the country in the hands of the negro race. But this opposition springs from no feeling of enmity, but from a deep-seated conviction that, at present, the negroes have neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power."

1870

On September 28, 1870, Lee suffered a stroke. He died two weeks later, shortly after 9 a.m. on October 12, 1870, in Lexington, Virginia, from the effects of pneumonia. According to one account, his last words on the day of his death, were "Tell Hill he must come up! Strike the tent", but this is debatable because of conflicting accounts and because Lee's stroke had resulted in aphasia, possibly rendering him unable to speak.

The Mississippi River steamboat Robert E. Lee was named for Lee after the Civil War. It was the participant in an 1870 St. Louis – New Orleans race with the Natchez VI, which was featured in a Currier and Ives lithograph. The Robert E. Lee won the race. The steamboat inspired the 1912 song Waiting for the Robert E. Lee by Lewis F. Muir and L. Wolfe Gilbert. In more modern times, the USS Robert E. Lee, a George Washington-class submarine built in 1958, was named for Lee, as was the M3 Lee tank, produced in 1941 and 1942.

1874

Among the supporters of the Confederacy, Lee came to be even more revered after his surrender than he had been during the war, when Stonewall Jackson had been the great Confederate hero. In an address before the Southern Historical Society in Atlanta, Georgia in 1874, Benjamin Harvey Hill described Lee in this way:

1884

From its installation in 1884 until its removal in 2017, the most prominent monument in New Orleans was a 60-foot (18 m)-tall monument to General Lee. A 16.5-foot (5.0 m) statue of Lee stood tall upon a towering column of white marble in the middle of Lee Circle. The statue of Lee, which weighs more than 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg) faced the north. Lee Circle is situated along New Orleans's famous St. Charles Avenue. The New Orleans streetcars roll past Lee Circle and New Orleans's best Mardi Gras parades go around Lee Circle (the spot is so popular that bleachers are set up annually around the perimeter for Mardi Gras). Around the corner from Lee Circle is New Orleans's Confederate museum, which contains the second-largest collection of Confederate memorabilia in the world. The statue of General Lee was removed on May 19, 2017, the last of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans to be taken down.

1890

In Richmond, Virginia, a large equestrian statue of Lee by French sculptor Jean Antonin Mercié is the centerpiece of Monument Avenue, which has four other statues of Confederates. This monument to Lee was unveiled on May 29, 1890; over 100,000 people attended this dedication. That has been described as "the day white Virginia stopped admiring Gen. Robert E. Lee and started worshiping him". Lee is also shown mounted on Traveller in Gettysburg National Military Park on top of the Virginia Monument; he is facing roughly in the direction of Pickett's Charge. Lee's portrayal on a mural on Richmond's Flood Wall on the James River, considered offensive by some, was removed in the late 1990s, but currently is back on the flood wall.

1900

In 1900, Lee was one of the first 29 individuals selected for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (the first Hall of Fame in the United States), designed by Stanford White, on the Bronx, New York, campus of New York University, now a part of Bronx Community College. However, his bust was removed in August 2017 by order of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

1925

Lee is featured on the 1925 Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar.

1934

Biographers of Lee have differed over the credibility of the account of the punishment as described in the letters in the Tribune and in Norris's personal account. They broadly agree that Lee had a group of escaped slaves recaptured, and that after recapturing them he hired them out off of the Arlington plantation as a punishment; but they disagree over the likelihood that Lee flogged them, and over the charge that he personally whipped Mary Norris. In 1934, Douglas S. Freeman described them as "Lee's first experience with the extravagance of irresponsible antislavery agitators" and asserted that "There is no evidence, direct or indirect, that Lee ever had them or any other Negroes flogged. The usage at Arlington and elsewhere in Virginia among people of Lee's station forbade such a thing."

1936

Robert E. Lee has been commemorated on U.S. postage stamps at least five times, the first one being a commemorative stamp that also honored Stonewall Jackson, issued in 1936. A second "regular-issue" stamp was issued in 1955. He was commemorated with a 32-cent stamp issued in the American Civil War Issue of June 29, 1995. His horse Traveller is pictured in the background.

1948

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia was commemorated on its 200th anniversary on November 23, 1948, with a 3-cent postage stamp. The central design is a view of the university, flanked by portraits of generals George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Lee was again commemorated on a commemorative stamp in 1970, along with Jefferson Davis and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, depicted on horseback on the 6-cent Stone Mountain Memorial commemorative issue, modeled after the actual Stone Mountain Memorial carving in Georgia. The stamp was issued on September 19, 1970, in conjunction with the dedication of the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial in Georgia on May 9, 1970. The design of the stamp replicates the memorial, the largest high relief sculpture in the world. It is carved on the side of Stone Mountain 400 feet above the ground.

In Baltimore's Wyman Park, a large double equestrian statue of Lee and Jackson is located directly across from the Baltimore Museum of Art. Designed by Laura Gardin Fraser and dedicated in 1948, Lee is depicted astride his horse Traveller next to Stonewall Jackson who is mounted on "Little Sorrel." Architect John Russell Pope created the base, which was dedicated on the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Chancellorsville. The Baltimore area of Maryland is also home to a large nature park called Robert E. Lee Memorial Park.

1953

In 1953, two stained-glass windows – one honoring Lee, the other Stonewall Jackson – were installed in the Washington National Cathedral. The stained glass of Lee shows him on horseback at Chancellorsville; it was sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 2017, these windows were removed by a vote of the cathedral's governing board. The cathedral plans to keep the windows and eventually display them in historical context.

1955

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, also known as the Custis–Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival mansion in Arlington, Virginia, that was once Lee's home. It overlooks the Potomac River and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. During the Civil War, the grounds of the mansion were selected as the site of Arlington National Cemetery, in part to ensure that Lee would never again be able to return to his home. The United States designated the mansion as a National Memorial to Lee in 1955, a mark of widespread respect for him in both the North and South.

1997

Also in Virginia, the Robert Edward Lee (sculpture) at Charlottesville was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Since there is no historical link between Lee and the city of Charlottesville, the City Council of Charlottesville voted in February 2017 to remove it, along with a statue of Stonewall Jackson, but this was temporarily stayed by court action. They did rename Lee Park, Emancipation Park. The prospect of the statues being removed and the parks being renamed brought many out-of-towners, described as white supremacist and alt-right, to Charlottesville in the Unite the Right rally of August 2017, in which 3 people died. For several months the monuments were shrouded in black. As of October 2018, the fate of the statue of Lee is unresolved. The name of the park it is located in was changed again by the City Council, to Market Street Park, in July 2018.

2000

In 2000, Michael Fellman, in The Making of Robert E. Lee, found the claims that Lee had personally whipped Mary Norris "extremely unlikely," but found it not at all unlikely that Lee had ordered the runaways whipped: "corporal punishment (for which Lee substituted the euphemism 'firmness') was (believed to be) an intrinsic and necessary part of slave discipline. Although it was supposed to be applied only in a calm and rational manner, overtly physical domination of slaves, unchecked by law, was always brutal and potentially savage."

2003

In 2003, Bernice-Marie Yates's The Perfect Gentleman, cited Freeman's denial and followed his account in holding that, because of Lee's family connections to George Washington, he "was a prime target for abolitionists who lacked all the facts of the situation."

2005

The Dodge Charger featured in the CBS television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985) was named The General Lee. In the 2005 film based on this series, the car is driven past a statue of Lee, while the car's occupants salute him.

2007

On September 29, 2007, General Lee's three Civil War-era letters were sold for $61,000 at auction by Thomas Willcox, much less than the record of $630,000 for a Lee item in 2002. The auction included more than 400 documents of Lee's from the estate of the parents of Willcox that had been in the family for generations. South Carolina sued to stop the sale on the grounds that the letters were official documents and therefore property of the state, but the court ruled in favor of Willcox.

2008

Lee biographer Elizabeth Brown Pryor concluded in 2008 that "the facts are verifiable," based on "the consistency of the five extant descriptions of the episode (the only element that is not repeatedly corroborated is the allegation that Lee gave the beatings himself), as well as the existence of an account book that indicates the constable received compensation from Lee on the date that this event occurred."

2014

In 2014, Michael Korda wrote that "Although these letters are dismissed by most of Lee's biographers as exaggerated, or simply as unfounded abolitionist propaganda, it is hard to ignore them. ... It seems incongruously out of character for Lee to have whipped a slave woman himself, particularly one stripped to the waist, and that charge may have been a flourish added by the two correspondents; it was not repeated by Wesley Norris when his account of the incident was published in 1866. ... [A]lthough it seems unlikely that he would have done any of the whipping himself, he may not have flinched from observing it to make sure his orders were carried out exactly."

The Commonwealth of Virginia issues an optional license plate honoring Lee, making reference to him as 'The Virginia Gentleman'. In February 2014, a road on Fort Bliss previously named for Lee was renamed to honor Buffalo Soldiers.

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