I attended West Point (graduating second in my class) and became an engineer in the United States Army, serving with success in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.
As the Civil War broke out in 1861, I resigned from my commission and joined the forces of the South. In 1862 I was made commander of the Confederate Army of Northern
Virginia, and over the next three years became famous as I led the army to a series of victories over the larger and better-equipped Union forces. I was defeated at the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and finally surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the war.
I always hoped to make a name for myself-a great name.
I was the fifth child born to Ann Carter Lee and Harry Lee, Revolutionary War hero "Light Horse" Harry. I was born January 19, 1807 in a lovely mansion called Stratford.
It was on a grand plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia. When I was three years old, our family moved to the town of Alexandria, Virginia. Though, the mansion was lovely,
I was happy to leave the bad memories of my fathers bad debts that haunted our family. My father eventually left to live in the West Indies.
As much as I loved Alexandria, I liked another place even more. I loved the estate called Shirley, situated on the James River. Shirley belonged to my mothers family.