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For some the man Robert E Lee is an almost god like figure For others he is a paradox Robert E Lee was born on January 19 1807 at Stratford Virginia Robert was the fourth child of a Revolutionary War hero Henry Light Horse Harry Lee and Ann Hill Carter Lee Young Robert the son was raised mostly by his mother From her he learned patience control and discipline As a young man he was exposed to Christianity and accepted its faith In contrast to the strong example of his mother Robert saw his father go from failed enterprise to failed enterprise In part the young Robert was led to try harder and succeed Robert was accepted to the United States Military Academy and graduated 2nd in his class But perhaps greater than his academic success was his record of no demerits while being a cadet which today has still not been equaled Following his graduation Lee like most top classmen was given a commission as an engineer Lt Lee helped build the St Louis waterfront and worked on coastal forts in Brunswick and Savannah It was during this time he married Mary Custis the granddaughter of George Washington and Martha Custis Washington In 1845 the War between US and Mexico erupted General Winfield Scott overall US Army commander attached Captain Robert E Lee to his staff Lee was intrusted with the vital duties of mapping out the terrain ahead dividing the line of advance for the US troops and in one case leading troops into battle Lee was learning skills he would need 16 years later There in Mexico Lee also met worked with and got a chance to evaluate many of those he would later serve with and against James Longstreet Thomas J Jackson George Pickett and US Grant Following the Mexican War Lee returned to service as an army engineer He spent most of this time near Washington DC and moved into
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