Robert E. Lee
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Robert E. Lee

Gods and Generals

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About Him

Grew Up… in Virginia, a state for which he developed more loyalty than any other political affiliation. His formative youth in Virginia is the basis of his personality and character – a fact he is not about to forget any time soon.

Living… through the American Civil War, eventually becoming the commander of the entire Confederate Army. With the lives of tens of thousands of Americans under his care and strategy, Lee does not take his position lightly and devotes all of himself to the war at hand. As he says, “It’s well that war is so terrible… or we should grow too fond of it.” While Lee understands that war is hell, he’s a professional soldier who feels he must answer his duty.

Profession… commander, Army of Northern Virginia. Thought by some to be a timid general, he proves his merits through his intricate understanding of warfare and leadership. Lee essentially believes that “we must show the enemy that they cannot win.” There is no one else who can lead the Confederate Army with his depth of strategy and vision.

Interests… he takes particular interest in his close friend Stonewall Jackson, a fellow general whose knack for strategy almost competes with Lee’s. Fondly, he calls Jackson his “right arm.”

Relationship Status… married. For Lee, part of the pain of war includes leaving his wife at home; being separated from his family leaves a large mark on his soul. Lee, however, knows that he must soldier on, and can only hope to be reunited with his family once the war ends.

Challenge… defeating the North. Initially Lee was uncertain about joining the Confederacy, but made his decision once his beloved Virginia seceded. Once committed, he quickly became a devoted commander, who would die before giving up the fight.

Personality… quiet and contemplative. Lee spends most of his time strategizing, imagining the war on a large-scale map in his head – that is how he is able to command such a huge army of troops. As an older general, he is able to intricately understand the unique challenges of the young men who are fighting and dying for their ideology. He is essentially in a position of wisdom, and benefits from years of military cunning.

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