Robert E. Lee is Born

Robert E. Lee was born January 19, 1807 at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the fifth child of Revolutionary War hero Henry Lee ("Light Horse Harry") and Anne Hill (née Carter) Lee.

Lee's parents were members of the Virginia gentry class and true tuckahoes. Lee's paternal ancestors were among the earliest settlers in Virginia. His mother grew up at Shirley Plantation, one of the most elegant homes in Virginia. His maternal great-great-grandfather, Robert "King" Carter, was the wealthiest man in the colonies when he died in 1732. "Harry Lee" met severe financial reverses from failed investments. Historian Gary W. Gallagher wrote, "Harry Lee had not been able to exercise self-control or take care of his family, and so he abandoned them." That was a stark lesson for young Robert E. Lee." However, in Lee of Virginia it is noted that Harry Lee "was very seriously injured by a mob in Baltimore while attempting to defend the house of a friend. Later he made a voyage to the West Indies seeking restoration for his shattered health. On his way home ... he died..." Lee of Virginia also notes " the West Indies, Henry Lee wrote a series of letters to his son, Carter..."During his young life,. later described by Robert E. Lee as "'Those letters of love and wisdom.'"

Robert Edward Lee, son of Henry lee was born on January 19, 1807. His father had been a Cavalry Officer during the American Revolution, and had been a close friend of George Washington. Most of the family's money had been gambled away by his father, who died in 1818. Lee lived his youth in Alexandria Virginia. He was appointed to West point in 1825 were he exceeded in his scholastics and graduated with honors in 1829. After graduation, he joined the Corps of Engineers, and assisted in a variety of projects and construction of military bases and ports. Martha Washington's great granddaughter, Mary Ann Randolph Curtis married Lee in 1831. In 1838, Lee was finally promoted to captain in 1838 during the Mexican War. Lee gained a reputation during the battles of Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, and Chapultepec during the Mexican War. in 1852 he was a superintendent at West point, where he remained for 3 years until 1855 ,when he was made lieutenant colonel of the Second Cavalry. Lee was in charge of the force that suppressed John Brown at Harpers Ferry.