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Friday, October 11, 2013

DEATH | Oct. 12– Robert E. Lee

"The education of a man is never completed until he dies," Robert E. Lee reportedly said. In which case his education was completed this day in 1870. 

Lee was born on January 19, 1807, at his family's Stratford Hall plantation in Westmoreland County, Va. After West Point, where as a second-year student in 1827, Cadet Robert E. Lee appears on a list of assistant professors at the academy (Letters received by the Adjutant General, 1822-1860O).

He distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War and years latercommanded the Confederate army. In the last years of his life, he served as president of Washington College, now Washington and Lee University. 
When Virginia voted to secede from the Union on April 17, 1861, Lee felt obligated to fight for his home state and signed a resignation letter three days later. In his new position, he wrote a letter to General McClellan regarding an exchange of prisoners on July 24, 1862. Confederate Amnesty Papers contain applications of former Confederates for presidential pardons and, while there are many post-war oaths of allegiance to the USA by former Confederate officers like General George E. Pickett and Lee's nephew Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee's request and pardon are not among them.

General Lee died in Lexington, Virginia, at the age of 63, five years after the end of the U.S. Civil War; when he headed the Army of the Confederate States. He is buried near Arlington House, residence of the Lee and Custis families for decades, and now part of the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.

After his death, Robert E. Lee's legacy strengthened in both the South and the North. He is remembered as a brilliant military leader, a devoted family man, and a great American.