Robert E. Lee Essay

3319 words - 13 pages

IntroductionFew episodes in history are more painful to Americans than the CivilWar, fought between the North and the South. This biography, GreatAmerican Generals - Robert E. Lee, by Ian Hogg, takes the reader throughthe life of one of the greatest heroes of that war, Robert E. Lee. It is athorough, in depth record of the life of Lee and begins with a detailed accountof his family history and his birth, through his college years, militaryexperience and his work in later life to his death on October 12, 1870. Thefirst few pages set the scene by listing a substantial amount of facts about thenames and backgrounds of his parents Harry and Ann and Lee's wife, MaryCustis, with some reference to his father's army career and political life.After Lee's early years, the reader will learn of his schooling at the MilitaryAcademy, West Point, followed by his life in the Army before and after theCivil War. The biography ends in the latter pages with an account of hiswork after his military career came to an end, and finally, with his death aftera prolonged period of ill-health, thought to be stress induced.Author Ian Hogg is a prolific writer in the field of defense and militarytechnology. He is a weapons expert, having written many books on all typesof rifles, shotguns and small arms, such as Modern Rifles, Shotguns andPistols, and Modern Small Arms. He is an acknowledged expert on infantryweapons and is thought to be the world's leading expert on this and artillerystrategies. He is a well known author of military history, and works as aweapons evaluator in addition to his writing.Robert E. Lee was born in Stratford, Virginia on January 19, 1807.His father, Henry Lee, had achieved fame with Washington's army as'Lighthorse Harry,'and it was a fame that rested not only on his cavalryexploits but upon sound strategic and tactical ability. A significant portion ofhis fame was credited to him for beating off a surprise British attack at SpreadEagle Tavern in January, 1778. Unfortunately Harry was egotisticaland had a high opinion of his own abilities. Although he achieved the rank oflieutenant-colonel, he felt that he deserved more. When the war ended and hehad not advanced in rank he resigned from the army to pursue a career inpolitics. Henry decided to run for the position of governor. He was electedGovernor of Virginia for three terms. Retiring, as was then customary inVirginia, on the expiration of his third term, Henry Lee was enough in thepublic eye to be considered as a possible successor to Washington. He was,however, a poor manager of his affairs, and was constantly dodging hiscreditors, providing very little of substance for his family. He was a waster,with no thought for their welfare. A man with no sense of responsibility tohis affairs, Henry Lee eventually ended up in jail for a year for non-paymentof his debts. Upon his release, he spent every waking moment writing hismemoirs, with no regard for his family at all.Lee's mother was Ann Carter Lee,...

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