Robert E Lee Characteristics

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The American Civil War was a period led by glorious leaders and followed by bloodshed. Robert E. Lee was perhaps the greatest of such leaders. Being from the South, Lee chose to participate in the war as part of the Confederacy. For the first three years of war, Robert E. Lee acted as the commander of the Northern Virginia Army. The Northern Virginian Army was a tandem of warriors feared in the Union as an efficient war machine. He spent the last year of war as the head of the Confederate Army. Following up to the Civil War, Lee had grew a reputation as one of the best battle strategists of his generation. The Lincoln Administration offered Lee a spot as a general of the Union army in which Lee declined stating his loyalty to Virginia as the …show more content…
Lee enabled the North to stampede through the South and pin his army in the ten month fight and run battle that pursued. Robert E. Lee began his defense of the South in an indecisive Battle of the Wilderness (Korda 670). Although technically a Confederate victory Lee played right into Ulysses S. Grant’s hand allowing Grant to put his Virginia Plan into effect. Grant was now able to follow Lee’s army wherever he went and with his men outnumbered he could not avoid the Union Army (Korda 678). Lee should have waited to attack Grant in a battle where he knew he could win. The wilderness caused Lee to spread his line thin to protect all possible flanks. Lee engaged his army in another uncertain battle in Spotsylvania; a thirteen day affair with over 30,000 casualties. Lee relied on the foliage at Spotsylvania to provide cover for his men not realizing this would provide the Union with the element of surprise (Korda 692). Grant out thought Lee and cut off Lee’s retreat route to Richmond forcing Lee to fight on an undesired battlefield. Lee’s incorrect planning led to the Union cutting off his men’s route back to the capital (Korda 693). A good war general never loses sight of their exit. His final blunder came at the Battle of Appomattox Court House, which led to the surrender of his army. Lee was originally asked by General Johnston to conjoin units to take out their opponents one by one. Lee initially refused Johnston’s plea but regretted it immediately when Richmond …show more content…
Confederate defeat at the Battle of Antietam encouraged the publication of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation prevented the Confederacy from gaining British and French aid. Emancipation made a war that previously was for the preservation of the Union to a war on slavery (McPherson 140). The English and French who had just recently freed their slaves could not support a nation that endorsed slavery. The Battle of Gettysburg gave all momentum to the North by thwarting yet another Confederate attack and leaving Lee’s army in pieces (Shaara 331). Up until that point it was hard to say who was “winning the war” but Union victory tipped the scale in their favor and it stayed that way for the remainder of the war. Had Robert E. Lee not lost the Battle of Gettysburg it would have been very likely for the Confederacy to have completed their invasion of the North and won the war. The Battle of Appomattox set up a chain reaction of surrenders in the South and ultimately the defeat of the Confederacy. Lee’s army was one of the first to surrender themselves to Union forces. A lot of the other regiments had not lost to the Union yet but with the defeat of their leader all hope was lost for the

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