Why Famous: Lee is largely regarded as the great military hero of the Confederate cause during the US Civil War.
He first came to prominence in the American-Mexican war (1846-48). In 1861, he refused an offer to command a US army, resigning days later and taking up a command of Virginian forces on the Confederate side.
By 1862, he was Commander of the Army of North Virginia driving back Union forces after the Seven Days Battles and later winning the Second Battle of Bull Run and battles at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Lee made a strategic error invading the North in 1863 and there were heavy Confederate losses at the Battle of Gettysburg.
During the Siege of Petersburg, Lee was appointed general-in-chief of Confederate forces but diminished manpower and resources led to Confederate surrender in April 1865 at Appomattox in Virginia.
After the war Lee supported the Plan of reconstruction and civil rights but not emancipation for blacks.
- 1831-06-30 Soldier and future Confederate General Robert E. Lee (24) marries Mary Custis (22) at Arlington House, Arlington Virginia
- 1862-06-01 General Robert E. Lee assumes command after Joe Johnston is injured at Seven Pines
- 1862-08-18 General Lee's adjutant Major Stuart captured
- 1862-09-04 General Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederate troops during Maryland Campaign (US Civil war)
- 1862-09-05 General Lee crosses Potomac & enters Maryland
- 1862-09-09 Robert E. Lee splits his army & sends Jackson to capture Harpers Ferry
- 1862-12-11 Battle of Fredricksburg in Virginia begins between Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside
- 1863-07-04 General Lee's army withdraws from Gettysburg
- 1864-05-04 General Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army at Potomac attacks Robert E. Lee's Confederates at Rappahannock River
- 1864-06-03 General Robert E. Lee wins his last victory of Civil War at Battle of Cold Harbor
- 1864-06-12 General Lee sends Jubal A. Early into Shenandoah Valley
- 1864-06-15 Robert E. Lee's home area (Arlington, Virginia) becomes a military cemetery
- 1865-02-04 Robert E. Lee is named general-in-chief of Confederate forces
- 1865-04-10 At Appomattox, General Robert E. Lee issues General Order #9, his last
- 1975-07-22 US House of Representives votes to restore citizenship to General Robert E. Lee