Saturday, January 19, 2013

General Robert E. Lee (1807 - 1870)

Today is his birthday. He would have been 206.

Did you know that he was the son of Revolutionary War officer Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee III?

Did you know that he married the great-granddaughter of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, which made him the step-great-grandson-in-law of George Washington?

Did you know that he once served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York?

Did you know that he was offered command of both the Union and Confederate armies?

Did you know that after the war he became president of what is now called Washington and Lee University in Virginia?

Did you know that he and his wife, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee, had three sons and four daughters (George Washington Custis Lee, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, Robert Edward Lee Jr., Mary Lee, Eleanor Agnes Lee, Anne Carter Lee, and Mildred Childe Lee)?

I didn’t think so.

(Mary Custis Lee with Robert E. Lee Jr., 1845)


  1. Actually ~ would you believe? ~ I knew all of that, having grown up in Virginia, and spending my college years majoring in American Studies with an emphasis on the Civil War. I also know that his horse was named Traveller. What I did *not* know, and I'm embarrassed to say, that today is the anniversary of his birth. Thank you for filling the void in my knowledge! :)

    Blessings for your New Year, RWP!

  2. Yes. Or at keast all but the names of his children.

    He was a great man and brilliant soldier.
    Hope this finds you well, RWP

  3. Light, I knew it because I am a member of KA (Kappa Alpha Order) and Robert E. Lee is practically our patron saint.

    Reamus/Michael, you and LightExpectations are real smarties!

  4. should we also talk about ulyssese grant??????hes was a great man, and had a brillant horse<>><thank you for filling in the vast voids of my head

  5. Putz, I suppose we could talk about Ulysses S. Grant, but I have no great desire to, and since this is my blog I'll be very surprised if we talk about Ulysses S. Grant.

    By the way, do you know the correct answer to the old question that Groucho Marx used to ask, "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" (Helpful hint: "Grant" is not the answer.)

  6. Everyone, if brilliant horses whose names you know are what you want to talk about, it's hard to beat Trigger.

  7. Yes my dear I knew all this and more since I have read several biographies on him. I knew that for a while he did work with Ulysses Grant (on the American-Mexican War) and that the Cuban rebels asked him to lead their fight against Spain. I read bios about his youth. He was a very intelligent and caring man.

  8. I have a vacuum where American History might be.
    I do know the name though, from the song 'The Night They Drove old Dixie Down' by The Band.

  9. Vagabonde, I'm impressed! I truly am.

    Katherine, if you ever watched the television program The Dukes of Hazzard (I don't know if that particular series made it all the way to New Zealand), you would also have heard of him because the boys' car that almost constantly went flying through the air was named General Lee!

    All, is it just me or does that 1845 photograph or daguerrotype or whatever it is of little Rob Jr. look like a little girl? I don't think today's mothers could get away with doing that to their sons.

  10. Being a Brit, I knew none of these things, although I at least knew who he was and which side he fought on.

    But what is the answer to "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?"

  11. Ian and others, the correct answer to "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" is General and Mrs. Grant.

  12. so you ended up talking about general and mrs. Grant afterall, so were you surprised?????

  13. ...And did you know that if he had lived to be 206 he'd be a wizened skeleton-like man without memory or teeth just sitting by a window wishing his eyes could still see. Personally I wouldn't want to be 206. If I make seventy six I will be more than happy.

  14. Putz, why would I be surprised when I was the one who asked the question?

    Yorkshire P., I read recently that human lifespan may be increased to 120 or even 150 before too many years go by due to advances in medicine. At the beginning of the last century it was about 45, so there you go.