The Life Of Robert E Lee Essay

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The Life Of Robert E. Lee Essay, Research Paper General Robert E. Lee was a brilliant military leader. He was one of the greatest factors that kept the confederacy alive through the four years of our Civil War. Through a rough childhood and many struggles, he rose to become one of the most respected leaders in history. He is revered as a hero, in his love for his men and for fighting for what he thought was right. He fought for his country and his heart, not for what awards or praise he might get out of victory. For this virtue he was adored by millions, and feared by his enemies. Never before in history had a general had such an unbreakable bond with an army. Even when death was certain, his men begged him to let them charge again. They loved Lee because he protected and

loved all his men. His devotion to his country and to his army came before everything but God. Robert E. Lee is an icon of what a real leader should be. One of the main reasons Lee grew to be so devoted and responsible was because of his father s influence. Light Horse Harry Lee, a great military leader in the Revolutionary War and close friend of Washington, was Lee s father. Light Horse Harry Lee lacked every trait of responsibility and self-control. He married his cousin Matilda, and invested much of her abundant tobacco fortune. This money along with money from his friends was used in rash real estate schemes. Henry Lee squandered so much money in irrational investments that Matilda chose to pass on her inheritance to her children. Her sudden death in 1790 left most of her

belongings to her children. Lee then married Robert s mother, Ann Carter. He lost a lot of her money as well, so by the time Robert Edward was born, January 19, 1807, the once magnificent Stratford Hall was in shambles. While Robert was young, his father was always avoiding his past. In one last attempt to gain back the lost money, Henry Lee bet everything that he had in a real estate scheme. He lost $40,000 and was sent to debtors prison. Robert was only six when his dad left, this forced him to grow up in a hurry. While his brothers were busy with careers, Lee took care of his unhealthy mother and his sick sister Ann. When he was only thirteen he was doing all the shopping, housekeeping, keeping up the grounds, rationing out his mothers medicine, and helping her get around.

Although he loved swimming and sports, these responsibilities left him little time to do so. His mother often drilled him on the importance of self-denial, patience, and responsibility, the qualities his father lacked so much. Robert was adored and respected by friends and neighbors, but especially his mother. He was rewarded with love and appreciation from all that knew him. Despite the harsh strains put on him, Robert remained cheerful. Although the Lees had little money and no land, they were still Lees, and still considered to be very influential. Robert s mother s side, the Carters, had set up a boys and girls school for their children s instruction. Robert went to school there for two years. He then enrolled at Alexandria Academy in 1820. He went to school there for three

years, but when he was seventeen, lee decided to look to his future career. Although Lee had excellent grades at school, he had very few options to turn to. He had no land to farm, and his family didn t have enough money to put him through college. Therefore, Lee decided to follow in his father s footsteps and pursue a military career. He competed for one of the 250 openings at the prestigious United States Military Academy, West Point. The government would pay for his tuition, and Lee could count on his family name, as well as he outstanding academic record, to get him in. Lee was accepted to West Point and entered the Academy in 1825. At West Point, Lee continued to uphold a nearly perfect record. He was very devoted to his studies and was ranked near the top of his class