In 1861 when his home state of Virginia seceded Robert E...

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In 1861, when his home state of Virginia seceded, Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union army. He chose instead to stay with his “native state” and thus with the Confederacy. Lee became commander of the Confederate army in 1862 and made a number of daring and successful raids northward. After the Battle of Gettysburg, however, he gradually fell back. In 1865, he was forced to surrender to the Union commander, Ulysses S. Grant, at Appomattox. The following letter to his son was written in January 1861, before the Civil War had begun. It reveals Lee’s views on secession—the Southern states’ attempt to withdraw from the Union and form their own country—at a time when he still hoped war could be prevented. Letter to His Son: January 23, 1861 Robert E. Lee I received Everett’s Life of Washington which you sent me, and enjoyed its perusal. How his spirit would be grieved could he see the wreck of his mighty labors! I will not, however, permit
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  • Fall '17
  • Eric Williams
  • Robert E. Lee, American Civil War, Confederate States of America

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