Robert E. Lee
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Robert E. Lee

Gettysburg

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About Him

Living… on the road. Such is the life of an army man. Though independently wealthy, the son of a former Governor of Virginia, he has eschewed a life of a comfort in favor of a life of service. Even since rising to the rank of general, he deals with many of the same rigors and limitations placed on infantrymen. 

Visiting… Pennsylvania. Lee has commanded the Confederate forces to invade the north, and in only a month they have made significant inroads and left the Union army scrambling. The Confederates have momentum and Lee wants to double down on the offensive. He confers with his second-in-command, James Longstreet, and decides to concentrate his forces where the “all the roads converge,” at a small town called Gettysburg.

Profession… General of the Confederate Army of North Virginia. After graduating from West Point, Lee served as a combat engineer and notably fought alongside future Union General Ulysses S. Grant in the Mexican-American War. Since the war broke out, he’s proved his worth as tactician, directing the Confederate forces to victory in several battles. Always one to reflect on the nature of war, Lee tells Longstreet, “To be a good soldier, you must love the army. To be a good commander you must be able to order the death of the thing you love… when you attack, you must hold nothing back. You must commit yourself totally.”

Interests… reading about history. He has been to known to invoke Napoleon during strategy sessions.

Relationship Status… married to Mary, a direct descendant of Martha Washington. They’ve had seven children together. She lives back in Virginia.

Challenge… marshaling and delegating the movements of over 70,000 Confederate troops. It is a complex military problem on a scale Lee has never before had to solve. “This war goes on and on and the men die and the price gets even higher,” Lee says. ”We are adrift here in a sea of blood and I want it to end. I want this to be the final battle.”

Personality… loyal. He is loyal first to God and second to the state of Virginia, and treats fighting in the military as nothing more than his solemn duty – especially now that he has aged and is in a position of great responsibility.

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