Robert E. Lee Facts

January 19, 1807–October 12, 1870

Important facts about Confederate General Robert E. Lee who commanded the Army of Northern Virginia for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Robert E Lee, 1864, Portrait

Robert E. Lee was a prominent officer in the U.S. Army prior to the Civil War. When Virginia seceded from the Union, he resigned his position and accepted leadership of the Army of Northern Virginia. Near the end of the Civil War, he was named General-in-Chief of Confederate forces. Image Source: Wikipedia.


Facts About the Birth Robert E. Lee

  • Full Name: Robert Edward Lee
  • Date of Birth: January 19, 1807
  • Place of Birth: Stratford, a family plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia
  • Parents: “Lighthorse” Harry Lee and Ann Hill Carter Lee

Facts About the Education and Career of Robert E. Lee

  • Education: United States Military Academy (1829)
  • Occupation: Military officer
  • Career Summary: Colonel (USA), General (CSA), General-in-Chief (CSA), Army of Northern Virginia commander
  • Nicknames: Granny Lee, Bobby Lee

Facts About the Family Tree of Robert E. Lee


  • Mary Custis (1831)

Facts About the Death and Burial of Robert E. Lee

  • Place of Death: Lexington Virginia
  • Date of Death: October 12, 1870
  • Place of Burial: Campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia

Important Facts About Robert E. Lee, His Life, and Accomplishments

Early Life, Education, and Family

  • Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807, at Stratford, a family plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
  • Lee was the son of Revolutionary War hero “Lighthorse” Harry Lee and Ann Hill Carter.
  • He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated number two in his class in 1829.
  • He married Mary Custis on June 30, 1831. She was the daughter of Martha Washington’s grandson.

Military Career Prior to the Civil War

  • Robert E. Lee served in the engineering corps during the Mexican War.
  • Lee served as superintendent at West Point from 1852-1855.
  • He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the United States 2d Cavalry in 1855.
  • He led U.S. forces against John Brown’s attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in 1859.
  • He was appointed colonel of the 1st U.S. Cavalry in March 1861.

Military Career During the Civil War

  • Due to his loyalty to his home state of Virginia, Robert E. Lee rejected an offer from General Winfield Scott to serve as field commander of the United States Army in 1861.
  • Lee became commander of Virginia’s forces in the Civil War when Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861.
  • He succeeded Joseph E. Johnston as commander of the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia in 1862.
  • In 1862, he was appointed as a military advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
  • He was appointed general‐in‐chief of Confederate forces in February 1865.
  • He commanded victorious Confederate forces at the battles of Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.
  • He commanded Confederate forces at the Battle of Gettysburg and ordered Pickett’s Charge, which ended in disaster for the Confederacy.
  • On April 9, 1865, he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

Interesting Facts About Robert E. Lee

  • Robert E. Lee was a slave-owner, reputed to have been complicit in instances of harsh treatment of slaves he deemed to be troublesome, despite his assertions that he found slavery to be “a moral & political evil.”
  • Lee served as president of Washington College, in Lexington, Virginia, from September 1865 until his death in 1870.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Robert E. Lee Facts
  • Coverage January 19, 1807–October 12, 1870
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date December 6, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 18, 2022

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