When Virginia seceded in April 1861, Lee had to make the most important and difficult decision in his life, should he stay with the army of the United States or should he resign and go with his state? He didn't believe in secession or in slavery. He was a soldier and a son of a soldier and was sworn allegiance to the United States; but he was a Virginian too. Confederate President Jefferson Davis made him his military adviser. Lee was in Richmond, Virginia when 100,000 troops who were under McCellan came into the city. On May 31, 1862, the Confederate and Union started the Battle of Seven Pines. When Confederate Commander, Joseph Johnston, got wounded, President Davis made Lee the new commander. Lee's first task was to save Richmond. This task meant to make the Union lose so badly that they would surrender and it would end the war. It worked and the Union strategy began to fall. this raised the confidence for the Confederate side.
Lee led the troops north and caught a second Union army that was led by General John Pope. After the Second Bull Run, the Union troops farther North. In September 1862, they came across the Potomac River. McClellan met him there with 70,000 men. Lee’s forces were smaller than McClellan’s was because he sent Jackson to capture Harpers Ferry. The two armies met at Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Federals charged toward the soldiers. As dawn fell, Jackson’s troops came from Harpers Ferry to save the day for Lee. The Confederate’s win was not clear so Lee Fled to Virginia.
three months later the Union commander Ambrose Burnside invaded Virginia. Lee
met up with him near Fedricksburg and he received victory. The next spring the
Federals tried again with a new commander “Fighting Joe” Hooker. In one of
the actions of the war Lee met Hooker in the woods called Wilderness and brought
him to many heavy losses.
was Lee’s best victory but also the worst because he lost his general,
All month long, the fighting went on. Lee kept outguessing Grant and stopping
his advance. At the end, Grant lost 60,000 men and it left Lee with 30,000 men,
The Wilderness was a Union victory. Grant could easily replace his men any time
but Lee could not. Grant moved his troops south to Richmond. Lee rushed to meet
him there and halted him. There in Petersburg the two armies stayed through fall
and winter. In February 1865, Lee became commander-in-chief of all the
Confederate armies. Nevertheless, this late he could not do much effect. At the
end of March, Lee decided to give up on Richmond and go back west. There he
wished that all the Confederate armies should join and make a last stand. On
April 9,1865 Lee met up with General Grant at Appomattox Court House and
surrendered what was left of his army. This was the end of the Confederacy.
The New Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia. Grolier Inc, 1968, 1998.
On April 8, 1865, at Appomattox, Virginia, Robert E. Lee, General for the Confederate army, surrendered. The southerners were outnumbered and were defeated. The Civil War finally ended. Congress appointed Ulyssess Grant a full general. No man has held this rank since George Washington. Grant died at Mount McGregor, New York on July 23, 1885.
* www.civil war photosThe New Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia. Grolier Inc, 1968