|Lee, although hindered by the loss of his most successful Lieutenant, Jackson, began his second invasion of the North in the summer of 1863. That summer, he led his forces to Gettysburg Pennsylvania, where he engaged the north in the largest Battle of the war, and the turning point of the war. After this battle, he was forced back into Virginia in a series of bloody skirmishes.|
|He was hindered by the
loss of a number of his leading officers, such as James Longstreet, and
J.E.B. Stuart. Although weakened, he brilliantly held off Grant, and
inflicted heavy losses on the Federal armies. Although brilliantly
maneuvering, he was unable to seize the initiative and take the
offensive. Lee was forced to retreat into Richmond and Petersburg. In
April of 1865, Grant broke through southern lines, and Lee attempted to
retreat to Confederate forces in North Carolina, but was trapped by
Grant at Appomatox Court House. On April 9, 1865 Robert E. Lee
surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant, and the Symbol of
the South and the General in Chief was no longer.
Following the war Lee was almost tried as a traitor, but was left only with his civil rights suspended. Lee was offered the post of President of Washington University where he served until his death in 1870. The school was later renamed Washington and Lee. As a foot note President Gerald Ford had Lee's citizenship restored.
Letters Written by Lee:
My letter of yesterday should have informed you of the position of this army. Though reduced in numbers by the hardships and battles through which it has passed since leaving the Rappahannock its condition is good and its confidence unimpaired. When crossing the Potomac into Maryland, I had calculated upon the river remaining fordable during the summer, so as to enable me to recross at my pleasure, but a series of storms commencing the day after our entrance into Maryland has placed the river beyond fording stage and the present storms will keep it so for at least a week. I shall therefore have to accept battle if the enemy offers it, whether I wish to or not, and as the result is in the hands of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe and known to him only, I deem it prudent to make every arrangement in our power to meet any emergency that may arrive.
From information gathered from the papers I believe that the troops from the North Carolina and the coast of Virginia, under Generals Foster and Day have been ordered to the Potomac and that recently additional reinforcements have been sent from the coast of South Carolina to General Banks. If I am correct in my opinion this will liberate most of the troops in those regions and should not your Excellency have already done so I earnestly recommend that all that can be spared be concentrated on the upper Rappahannock under General Beauregard with directions to cross the river and make demonstration upon Washington. This course will answer the double purpose of affording protection to the capital at Richmond and relieving the pressure upon this army. I hope your Excellency will understand that I am not in the least discouraged or that my faith in the protection of an All merciful Providence, or in the fortitude of this army is at all shaken. But though conscious that the enemy has been much shattered in the recent battle I am aware that he can be
easily reinforced while no addition can be made to our numbers. The measure therefore that I have recommended is altogether one of a prudential nature.
I am most respectfully your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee, General
written the day after the surrender to Grant.
by Robert E. Lee
After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.
You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.
With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.
News of the Great Generals Death
Intelligence was received last evening of the death at Lexington, Va., Of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the most famous of the officers whose celebrity was gained in the service of the Confederacy during the War Between the States. A report was received some days ago that he had been smitten with paralysis, but this was denied, and though it was admitted that he was seriously ill, hopes of his speedy recovery seem to have been entertained by his friends. Within the last two or three days his symptoms had taken an unfavorable turn, and he expired at 91/2 o'clock yesterday morning of congestion of the brain, at the age of sixty-three years, eight months and twenty-three days.
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