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Robert E. Lee as a military commander

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Robert Edward Lee was born on the 19th day of January 1807 and lived up to the 12th day of October 1870. He went to school and graduated second in the West Point class of 1829. He was trained as a combat engineer and used to develop ports and harbors and performed extremely well in his initial assignments. Lee experienced his first combat during the outbreak of the war with Mexico and where he was able to differentiate himself under fire.

Lee decided to resign from the U.S Army at the age of 54years (1861) and was appointed as the commander of the state of Virginia’s forces (Paterson, 1987).  He is best known for commanding the Confederate which he renamed as the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War. He displayed his extraordinary gifts be the ability to recognize his enemy’s weaknesses and intentions and prudent decisions in manipulation of his forces.

Lee marked his initial success by turning back George McClellan and his numerically Superior Union army when they threatened Richmond (Maslowski, 1987). He strongly believed that the confederacy could only maintain its autonomy by attacking and defeating the Union army directly. His skills in fortifications produced defensive success in 1863 at Fredericksburg and with his brilliant counterattack he was able to emerge the conqueror in a series of his battles.

Lee’s success was marked by a series of events where he was employed as an engineer at Baltimore and Washington. He was later appointed superintendent of West Point during which period he carried out many important changes in the academy before his appointment as lieut in 1855. Lee’s success did not halt and continued to be promoted due to the positive results of his responsibilities and was later made colonel of the 1st U.S Calvary. Lee was promoted up to the rank of brigadier-general (the highest rank) in the army. It can be said that Lee was successful to the extent of ensuring that slavery was abolished by engaging in wars for the interest of the South. From his achievements he deserves the accolades afforded to him by generations of historians and won a high place amongst the historians.

Lee returned home in the fall of 1865 and assumed the presidency of Washington College (currently Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. Unfortunately Lee met his death while in this University (October 12, 1870) following a real struggle with a heart disease. His professionalism, dignity and military skills earned him the title ‘military hero’ in the U.S and left a legacy that makes him a symbol of Southern pride. In a nutshell Lee can be described as a charismatic, brilliant and a personable individual.

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