After the war Lee (now a colonel) served in several military positions, including commandant of the Military Academy, and would have probably finished out his military career as a model soldier had the Civil War not erupted in 1860. Looking for a man with combat and command experience who showed promise in administration, Abraham Lincoln called upon Robert E. Lee to serve as commander of the major Union force of the war, the Army of the Potomac. But faced with the choice of fulfilling his army oath by waging war on his home state, Lee resigned his commission and accepted a role in the fledgling Army of the Confederacy.
Within two years Lee had assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and would participate in the most significant action of the war. Lee’s remarkable success in battle while consistently outnumbered and outgunned made him a legend. He was a bold and innovative commander who led his army by audacious generalship and force of sheer personal charisma. But as the war began to drag out Lee’s dwindling army found itself facing inevitable defeat. In April 1865, surrounded on all sides by superior Union forces, Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
|Appomattox Courthouse at the place where Robert E. Lee and U. S. Grant met to agree on surrender. The actual surrender document would be signed in a farm house nearby. The blogger with two of his intrepid kids circa 2006.|
In 1975 Robert E. Lee’s United States citizenship was restored by act of Congress.
|The Robert E. Lee Statue on Gettysburg Battlefield looking out toward the open field of Pickett's Charge. A great scene in the movie 'Gettysburg' where Lee rebukes Jeb Stuart expresses the leadership style ascribed to General Lee|
Despite his deficient understanding of the sin of slavery, by all accounts Robert E. Lee was a man of sincere, Biblical faith; as distinguished from the culturally accepted religious piety of his era. In his own words, ‘My chief concern is to try to be an humble, earnest Christian.’ Though one of the greatest warriors in military history, Robert E. Lee may be most remembered for the personal character and humanity that radiated from a heart living consciously and consistently before the face of God. A letter to his wife late in the war provides a telling glimpse into the soul of Robert E. Lee.
|Grant (circa 2006) next to Lee's horse Traveller, who is buried just outside the Lee Chapel|