On This Day

Robert E. Lee

Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Profession: Confederate General

United States of America

Biography: 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.

Born: January 19, 1807
Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Virginia, USA
Star Sign: Capricorn

Died: October 12, 1870 (aged 63)
Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1831-06-30 Soldier and future Confederate General Robert E. Lee (24) marries Mary Custis (22) at Arlington House, Arlington Virginia

Historical Events

  • 1861-04-18 Colonel Robert E. Lee turns down offer to command Union armies (US Civil War)
  • 1861-04-23 Robert E. Lee named commander of Virginia Confederate forces (US Civil War)
  • 1862-06-01 General Robert E. Lee assumes command after Joe Johnston is injured at Seven Pines
  • 1862-06-02 Robert E. Lee takes command of Confederate armies of North Virginia during the American Civil War
  • 1862-08-18 General Lee's adjutant Major Stuart captured
  • 1862-09-04 General Lee begins the Maryland Campaign invading the North with 50,000 Confederate troops (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
  • 1863-04-30 Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia: In a major victory General Robert E. Lee's troops defeat larger Army of the Potomac under Major General Joseph Hooker, Stonewall Jackson is fatally wounded
  • 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 the US Civil War at the 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
  • 1865-01-31 General Robert E. Lee named Commander-in-Chief of Confederate Armies during US Civil War
  • 1865-02-04 Robert E. Lee is named general-in-chief of Confederate forces
  • 1865-04-01 Battle of 5 Forks Virginia: Union forces defeat Confederates and capture important railway supply line for General Robert E. Lee's army
  • 1865-04-04 General Robert E. Lee's Confederate army arrives at Amelia Courthouse, Amelia County, Virginia
  • 1865-04-06 Battle of Sayler's Creek, fought near Farmville, Virginia (Appomattox Campaign), 1/4 of General Robert E. Lee's army cut off, Union victory (US Civil War)
  • 1865-04-09 Confederate General Robert E. Lee and 26,765 troops surrender at Appomattox Court House to US Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant ending the Civil War in North Virginia
  • 1865-04-10 At Appomattox, Confederate General Robert E. Lee issues General Order #9, his last
  • 1972-03-03 Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are completed at Stone Mountain Georgia
  • 1975-07-22 US House of Representatives votes to restore citizenship to General Robert E. Lee
  • 2021-09-08 Large statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee removed from plinth on Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia