Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Robert E. Lee: Remembering An American Legend
January 19, 2011
America has always loved her heroes like: Baseball Legend-Babe Ruth, Golf
Great-Ben Hogan, Movie Actor-John Wayne and…..
Wednesday, January 19, 2011, is the 204th birthday of General Robert E. Lee.
Young people will get a school holiday in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King
whose birthday is January 15th. But, will anyone tell them that January 19th is
also the birthday of Robert E. Lee?
Booker T. Washington, America's great Black-American Educator wrote in 1910,
"The first white people in America, certainly the first in the South to exhibit
their interest in the reaching of the Negro and saving his soul through the
medium of the Sunday-school were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson."
During Robert E. Lee's 100th birthday in 1907, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., a
former Union Army Commander and grandson of United States President John Quincy
Adams, spoke in tribute to Robert E. Lee at Washington and Lee College's Lee
Chapel in Lexington, Virginia. His speech was printed in both Northern and
Southern newspapers and is said to had lifted Lee to a renewed respect among the
Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson Day events are planned for Saturday, January 15,
2011, in Lexington, Virginia that includes a Memorial at Lee Chapel featuring
Guest Speaker Kenny J. Rowlette with topic: Opposites In Command—The Legendary
Partnership of Lee and Jackson. For additional information
And the Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans will sponsor their 24th
Annual Robert E. Lee birthday celebration on Saturday, January 22, 2011, in the
Legislative Chambers of Georgia's Old Capitol in Milledgeville, Georgia that
will begin with a parade to the Old Capitol at 10:45 AM.
Many more events are planned for Robert E. Lee….
who was born at "Stratford" in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on January 19,
1807. The winter was cold and fireplaces were little help for Robert's mother,
Ann Hill (Carter) Lee.
Ann Lee named her son "Robert Edward" after her two brothers.
Robert E. Lee undoubtedly acquired his love of country from those who had lived
during the American Revolution. His father, "Light Horse" Harry, was a hero of
the revolution and served as Governor of Virginia and as a member of the U.S.
House of Representatives. Members of his family also signed the Declaration of
Lee was educated in the schools of Alexandria, Virginia. In 1825, he received an
appointment to West Point Military Academy. He graduated in 1829, second in his
class and without a single demerit.
Robert E. Lee wed Mary Anna Randolph Curtis in June 1831, two years after his
graduation from West Point. Robert and Mary had grown up together. Mary was the
daughter of George Washington Parke Curtis, the grandson of Martha Washington
and the adopted son of George Washington.
Mary was an only child; therefore, she inherited Arlington House, across the
Potomac from Washington, where she and Robert raised seven children.
In 1836, Lee was appointed to first lieutenant. In 1838, with the rank of
captain, Lee fought valiantly in the War with Mexico and was wounded at the
Battle of Chapultepec.
He was appointed superintendent of West Point in 1852 and is considered one of
the best superintendents in that institution's history.
General Winfield Scott offered Robert E. Lee command of the Union Army in 1861,
but he refused. He said, "I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home,
Lee served as adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and then
commanded the legendary Army of Northern Virginia.
After four terrible years of death and destruction, General Robert E. Lee met
General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, and ended their battles.
In the fall of 1865, Lee was offered and accepted the presidency of troubled
Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. The school was renamed Washington and
Lee in his honor.
Robert E. Lee died at 9:30 on the morning of October 12, 1870, at Washington-Lee
He is buried in a chapel on the school grounds with his family and near his
favorite horse, Traveler.
President Theodore Roosevelt described General Robert E. Lee as "the very
greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have