Robert E. Lee: A Paradoxical Figure in American History

Robert E. Lee

(1807-1870)

WHO HE WAS:

Robert E. Lee was an American Confederate general best known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. A top graduate of West Point, Lee's military tactics are still studied, and he remains a controversial figure in American history.

WHAT HE SAID:

"It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."

WHY HE MATTERED:

Lee's leadership in the Confederate army made him an iconic figure of the American South. His strategic decisions during the Civil War, particularly in battles such as Antietam and Gettysburg, have been both praised and criticized. His eventual surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House marked a symbolic end to the conflict.