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  This webpage reproduces a section of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.

 
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

[image ALT: A painted portrait of Robert E. Lee as a young man.]
ROBERT EDWARD LEE IN THE DRESS UNIFORM
OF A LIEUTENANT OF ENGINEERS
After a painting made about 1831
and credited to Benjamin West, Jr.

VOLUME I

ILLUSTRATIONS

Robert Edward Lee, about 1831, in the dress uniform of a lieutenant of engineers Frontispiece
Entry of the birth of Robert Edward Lee in the family Bible 12
Major General Henry ("Light Horse Harry") Lee 20
Stratford Hall, birthplace of Robert Edward Lee 28
Facsimile of letter of acceptance by R. E. Lee of appointment to the United States Military Academy 44
Facsimile of the first orders issued Lee after he returned home in 1829 from the United States Military Academy 76
Sydney Smith Lee, brother of Robert Edward Lee 92
George Washington Parke Custis 100
Mary Custis, wife of R. E. Lee 108
"The Beautiful Talcott," Harriet Randolph Talcott 132
R. E. Lee about the time of the Mexican War 204
Facsimile from Lee's letterbook as superintendent of the United States Military Academy concerning the "Whistler Affair" 332
Arlington, the Custis mansion 380
Facsimile of Lee's resignation from the Army of the United States 444
Facsimile of the entry in the Executive Journal of Virginia, concerning the appointment of R. E. Lee as commanding general of the military forces of Virginia 464
Photograph of General Lee issued in Baltimore in 1861 and representing him with a hat bearing the letters "VA" 474
Brigadier Generals John B. Floyd, Henry A. Wise and W. W. Loring 602
The envelope of one of Lee's letters to his wife from Texas
[added in this Web transcription]
Ch. 21

MAPS

Plans showing work in the Mississippi channel, at St. Louis 146, 153
Two lines of advance into Mexico 207
Terrain near Cerro Gordo, as assumed 239
Sketch of turning movement, American right wing, battle of Cerro Gordo 246
Plans showing possible approaches to Mexico City 254
Plans showing difficulties of advance on Mexico City from San Augustin 257
Position of American and Mexican forces adjacent to San Angel road, at nightfall, August 19, 1847 262
General situation at beginning of American pursuit of Mexican army to Churubusco, about 7 A.M., August 20, 1847 268
Disposition of American forces for final attack at Churubusco and Partales Ranch, August 20, 1847 270
Alternative lines of American attack on Mexico City, as presented to General Scott, September 7, 1847 274
Position of American troops for attack on Chapultepec, September 13, 1847 281
Virginia's exposed northern frontier 506
Sketch illustrating how Norfolk could be masked 512
The roads toward the Ohio River from Staunton 547
Situation on the Allegheny front, about August 1, 1861 549
The plan of attack on Cheat Mountain and down Tygart's Valley 563

[image ALT: A photographic portrait of General Robert E. Lee.]
GENERAL LEE IN 1863 AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS MILITARY SUCCESS
He rarely wore his sword and scarcely ever his sash. Both Lee's sword and his sash, however, are preserved in the Confederate Museum, Richmond.

VOLUME II

ILLUSTRATIONS

General Lee in 1863 at the height of his military success Frontispiece
"Stonewall" Jackson — the "Winchester photograph" 36
Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America 66
Mechanicsville, Virginia, scene of Lee's first battle 130
Crude map of the vicinity of Richmond, used by the Confederate high command during the Seven Days's battles of 1862 138
The wreck of Gaines's Mill after the operations of 1862 and 1864 154
Grapevine Bridge over the Chickahominy River, as it appeared in 1862 194
Lieutenant General James Longstreet 226
Two sons of R. E. Lee who became major generals in the Confederate Army 274
Ruins of the "Stone Bridge" across Bull Run 322
The Dunker Church facing the Hagerstown road, scene of the battle of Sharpsburg, 1862 394
Burnside's Bridge across the Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland 402
Federal pontoon bridges below Fredericksburg, seen from the right bank of the river 450
Three of the daughters of General Lee 498
The cottage on the Chandler Farm, near Guiney's Station, Virginia, where "Stonewall" Jackson died 554
Death mask of "Stonewall" Jackson 562

MAPS

Distribution of the Confederate forces in Virginia, as of the morning of March 24, 1862, and the assumed positions of the opposing United States forces 9
The defensive lines of the Virginia peninsula and the location of the earthworks on adjacent waters, March 27, 1862 14
Distribution of Confederate forces and assumed position of the Union armies in Virginia, April 21, 1862 33
The Shenandoah Valley and the field of manoeuvre directly east of the valley 39
Southside Virginia and the eastern approaches to Richmond 44
Approximate situation in front of Richmond, about May 22, 1862, showing defensive disposition of Johnston's army and the approach of McClellan 59
Situation of the opposing forces at Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), afternoon of May 31, 1862, as understood by Lee upon his arrival on the field of battle 70
Area between Chickahominy and Pamunkey Rivers, showing watershed (unprotected according to Stuart's report) down which Jackson was to advance 100
Plan of battle north of the Chickahominy River, as announced by General Lee at the council of war, June 23, 1862 113
The approaches of Mechanicsville 124
Branch's proposed line of march from Half Sink to Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862. Branch's route is indicated by the broken line 126
Full extension of Confederate front of attack, Battle of Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862 131
Lines of advance of the Army of Northern Virginia in pursuit of the Federals, morning of June 27, 1862 137
Lee's first, mistaken assumption of the situation as he approached Gaines's Mill, about noon, June 27, 1862 143
Situation discovered by A. P. Hill, on approaching Boatswain's Swamp, about noon, June 27, 1862 145
Assumed situation in early afternoon, June 27, 1862, that gave Lee hope of cutting off McClellan's retreat 147
Sketch showing proximity of McClellan's line of rail communication to battlefield of June 27, 1862 160
Lee's alternative lines of advance down the Chickahominy, June 28‑29, 1862 164
Lee's plan of attack on Federal rearguard at White Oak Swamp, June 29, 1862 168
General plan for reconcentration of the Army of Northern Virginia in pursuit of McClellan, as formulated on the morning of June 29, 1862 170
Situation at 10 P.M., June 29, 1862 175
Lines of advance as ordered by Lee on the night of June 29, 1862, for reconcentration and attack on June 30 177
Situation around Malvern Hill, about 3:30 P.M., June 30, 1862, as developed by Lee's personal reconnaissance 183
General situation in vicinity of Willis Church road as known to Lee about 5 P.M., June 30, 1862 185
General distribution of opposing forces at the climax of the Battle of Frayser's Farm (Glendale), June 30, 1862 189
Vicinity of White Oak Swamp, showing the fords and the position of Jackson's artillery, June 30, 1862 197
Lines of advance by the Army of Northern Virginia, morning of July 1, 1862 203
Scheme of artillery concentration for the bombardment of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862 206
Vicinity of Harrison's Landing, showing the strength of McClellan's position 228
Railroad communication between Richmond and the area of Pope's invasion 262
The "V" formed by the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers, within the angle of which Lee hoped to trap Pope 280
Situation on the evening of August 20, 1862 290
Situation on the evening of August 22, 1862 295
Situation on the evening of August 24, 1862 302
Situation on the evening of August 25, 1862 305
Situation about midnight, August 26‑27, 1862 307
Situation on the evening of August 27, 1862 311
Situation about 10 P.M., August 28, 1862 315
Situation at the close of action, August 29, 1862 327
Advance of the Confederate right at Second Manassas, August 30, 1862 336
Sketch showing relation of Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg to Lee's line of communications through the Shenandoah Valley, September, 1862 360
Convergence for the capture of Harpers Ferry, as undertaken September 10, 1862 364
Disposition of the Army of Northern Virginia on the evening of September 13, 1862 368
Crossings of South Mountain in the vicinity of Turner's Gap 371
Sketch to illustrate Lee's operations, September 14‑15, 1862 374
Position of that part of the Army of Northern Virginia in the immediate vicinity of Sharpsburg at daylight, September 17, 1862 385
Situation on the Confederate left in the battle of Sharpsburg, 7:20 A.M., September 17, 1862 388
Situation on the Confederate centre in the battle of Sharpsburg, about 12:15 P.M., September 17, 1862 394
Situation on the Confederate right in the battle of Sharpsburg,
about 1 P.M., September 17, 1862
396
General situation on the Confederate front in the battle of Sharpsburg, about 4 P.M., September 17, 1862 399
McClellan's alternative lines of advance, October 26, 1862 426
Artillery ranges from the Confederate positions in the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862 445
Distribution of the Second corps, Army of Northern Virginia, December 11, 1862 449
Position of the major units of the Army of Northern Virginia at the opening of the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862 453
Field of Federal advance in attack on Marye's Heights, December, 1862 459
Sketches of the approaches to Gordonsville and to Chancellorsville from the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers 510
Situation around Chancellorsville, about 8 A.M., May 2, 1863, the exact position of the various Federal units being unknown to General Lee 527
Position of Army of Northern Virginia and assumed position of the Army of the Potomac, about 5 A.M., May 3, 1863 536
Position of the Army of Northern Virginia and that of the Army of the Potomac, as far as known at Lee's headquarters, about 4 P.M., May 3, 1863 547
Position of the Confederate forces preparing to attack the Federals under Major General John Sedgwick, about 6 P.M., May 4, 1863, between Salem Church and Fredericksburg 553
Headwaters of Beaver Dam Creek correctly and incorrectly drawn 571

[image ALT: A photographic portrait of General Robert E. Lee.]
GENERAL LEE ON TRAVELLER AT THE TIME THE WAR WAS GOING AGAINST HIM
This photograph, taken at Petersburg in 1864, is the only known one of the war period
that shows Lee on his most famous horse,
though a picture of master and mount, made in 1866, has been widely circulated.
After the original at Washington and Lee University.

VOLUME III

ILLUSTRATIONS

General Lee on Traveller Frontispiece
Lieutenant General Richard Stoddard Ewell 34
Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill 58
Little Round Top after the Confederate attack of July 3, 1863 98
What Lee left behind at Gettysburg 130
The manner of men that Lee commanded 146
What the war did to Mrs. Lee 210
General Lee with certain officers of his personal staff and of the general staff of the Army of Northern Virginia 226
Title-page and inscription in General Lee's prayer-book 242
"The Mess," used by Mrs. R. E. Lee as her Richmond home from approximately January 1, 1864, until late in June, 1865 262
The mess-kit and the field-glasses used throughout the war by General Lee º 290
The pontoon-bridge and ford at Jericho Mills 358
The toll of Cold Harbor 386
The type of railway on which Lee had to rely for supplies 454
Lieutenant Colonel Walter H. Taylor 498
Part of the interior of Fort Stedman º 514

MAPS

Successive preliminary stages of the advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania by the Army of Northern Virginia, June, 1863. 39
Sketch illustrating the convergence of the Army of the Potomac on Edwards' Ferry, June 23‑24, 1863. 46
Lines of Confederate advance from Williamsport into Maryland and Pennsylvania, June-July, 1863. 63
Terrain of the battle of Gettysburg 73
Approximate positions of the infantry divisions of the Army of Northern Virginia, 8 A.M. and 9 P. M., July 2, 1863. 104
Objective of the Confederate assault of July 3, 1863, on the right centre at Gettysburg, showing the contours and the nature of the obstructions 113
Convergence of Confederate brigades on Ziegler's Grove in the advance of the right-centre, July 3, 1863 126
Routes of Ewell's (Second) and A. P. Hill's (Third) corps from Culpeper to Warrenton, Oct. 12‑13, 1863 175
Position of Stuart's cavalry, night of Oct. 13‑14, 1863, showing the lines of march of the Federal columns 178
Manoeuvres of three brigades of Heth's division, Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, in action of Oct. 14, 1863, at Bristoe Station 182
Terrain of the "Buckland Races", Oct. 19, 1863 186
Principal roads and streams on the south side of the Rapidan River between Orange Courthouse and Wilderness Church, showing the opposing positions along Mine Run, Nov. 29, 1863 199
Lee's lines of advance into the Wilderness, May 4‑5, 1864 271
The Wilderness of Spotsylvania in relation to the railroads running to Richmond 274
Approximate position of the Army of Northern Virginia at the close of action in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, May 5, 1864 282
Manoeuvre of parts of First and Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, designed to turn the left flank of the Army of the Potomac in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, May 6, 1864 292
Approximate position of the Confederate right and right centre, about noon, May 6, 1864, after Longstreet's advance 296
Alternative routes to Spotsylvania Courthouse from Grant's position in the Wilderness, May 7, 1864 299
The approaches to Hanover Junction from the Wilderness-Spotsylvania front 300
Routes of the opposing armies from the Wilderness to Spotsylvania Courthouse, May 7‑9, 1864 305
Situation along the Po River as reported to General Lee on the afternoon of May 9, 1864 310
Advance of Early, May 10, 1864, to meet the Federal manoeuvre south of the Po River 312
The Bloody Angle near Spotsylvania Courthouse, showing particularly the terrain and direction of the proposed flank attack on the Federals from Heth's Salient, May, 1864 323
Sketch illustrating how Butler's Army of the James was "bottled" in Bermuda Neck, May 16, 1864 336
Sketch showing how the Pamunkey River covered Grant's advance of May, 1864, toward Richmond 342
Lines of advance to the North Anna River by the opposing armies, May 21‑23, 1864 336
Order of battle and line of advance of Wilcox's division in the action against V Corps, Army of the Potomac, May 23, 1864, near the North Anna River 354
Lee's "inverted V" line on the North Anna River, May 24, 1864 357
Sketch showing how Grant's move from the North Anna River to Hanovertown on the Pamunkey shortened the distance between the front and Richmond 360
The terrain of Grant's advance from Hanovertown on the Pamunkey, May 28, 1864 363
Position of the infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia, forenoon of May 29, 1864 365
Grant's alternative routes from Hanovertown toward Richmond 367
The terrain of the Totopotomoy-Chickahominy watershed, to illustrate the action of May 30, 1864, at Bethesda Church 370
Positions of the opposing armies on Totopotomoy Creek, May 31, 1864 374
Approximate front of the Army of Northern Virginia, 1 A.M., June 1, 1864. 376
Position of the Confederate right, afternoon of June 1, 1864, to illustrate the strategic importance of Turkey Hill 380
Order of battle of the Army of Northern Virginia, June 3, 1864 387
Terrain between the Chickahominy and James Rivers, east of the line White Oak Swamp-Malvern Hill, showing how command of a few crossroads concealed Grant's position after leaving Cold Harbor, June 13, 1864. 404
Sketch of the lines in front of Petersburg, after June 18, 1864, showing how the extension of the Confederate right placed it at so great a distance from the Federal front that Lee could hold it lightly and use part of its defenders as a general reserve 450
The main railroad supply-lines of the Confederate army in front of Richmond 451
The open railroad supply-lines on the Richmond-Petersburg front, after June 18, 1864, showing how cars of the Richmond and Danville and of the Southside railroads could be switched at Burkeville 452
Sketch showing how, in the transfer of troops from one side of the James River to the other, Grant enjoyed the advantage of a short route and in effect had the "inner lines" 466
Sketch showing the relation of the Federal mine, exploded on July 30, 1864, to the Confederate defenses around Petersburg 468
Position of certain Confederate batteries employed in the counterattack of July 30, 1864, for the recovery of that part of the line occupied by the Federals after the mine explosion 473
Sketch of the Confederate defenses on the Drewry's Bluff-Howlett line sector, showing how the completion of the Dutch Gap canal might make it possible for the Federal fleet to turn the Howlett line 481
Field's line (approximate only) in the affair of August 16, 1864 483
Position of the opposing forces on the Charles City, Darbytown, and New Market roads in the affair of August 16, 1864 484
Terrain from Petersburg to Reams Station, to illustrate the operations against the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad 486
Disposition of Confederate forces in the action at Reams Station, August 24, 1864 489
Sketch of the Confederate defenses on the Chaffin's Bluff-Fort Harrison sector, as of September 29, 1864 500
Plan of counterattack on Fort Harrison, September 30, 1864 503
Sketch showing the extension of the Confederate and Federal lines southwest of Petersburg, October, 1864 506
Plan of operations against exterior Richmond line north of Fort Harrison, October 7, 1864 508
Retrenchment drawn, October 1864, after Lee abandoned hope of recapturing Fort Harrison 510

[image ALT: A photographic portrait of General Robert E. Lee.]
LEE — the last phase
One of the last photographs of General Lee,
taken in Lexington in 1870.

VOLUME IV

ILLUSTRATIONS

Lee — the last phase Frontispiece
Lee's first note on the surrender 110
The McLean house, where the Army of Northern Virginia was surrendered 134
General Lee's parole 150
The pen with which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia was signed, and the sword General Lee wore at the time 166
Lee before the fire of battle had faded from his eyes 182
Pampatike, the first home visited by General Lee, beyond the confines of Richmond, after his return from Appomattox 198
Derwent, the cottage lent to General Lee in June, 1865 206
Facsimile of the first page of a letter of August 24, 1865, in which General Lee conditionally accepted the presidency of Washington College 218
The "Old" President's house at Washington College 246
General Lee's office in the basement of the chapel at Washington College 358
The will of General Lee 392, 393
The "New" President's house at Washington College, occupied by General Lee during the last sixteen months of his life 406
View from the parlor into the dining-room where General Lee died 438
Death mask of General Lee 494
The recumbent statue of Lee in the chapel of Washington and Lee University 502
The chapel and campus of Washington College during the funeral of General Lee 526

MAPS

The opposing lines around Fort Stedman, March 25, 1865. 15
Terrain southwest of Petersburg to illustrate Grant's flanking operation against the Southside Railroad, March 27 ff., 1865. 23
Situation on Lee's right-centre after the Confederate line had been penetrated on the morning of April 2, 1865. 46
Proposed lines of retreat of the Army of Northern Virginia, April 2, 1865, for a reconcentration on the Richmond and Danville Railroad. 54
Sketch showing lines of advance of the opposing armies to Burkeville, April, 1865 60
Sketch showing the routes to the bridges across the Appomattox above Petersburg and the condition of those bridges, April 3, 1865. 62
Sketch of the railroads crossing at Burkeville. 75
Sketch to illustrate how Lee planned to avoid Burkeville and to strike for Danville, via Farmville. 76
Routes from Jetersville and Amelia Courthouse, as selected by Lee, April 5, 1865, for his retreat toward Farmville. 77
Sketch of Lee's proposed movements after the disaster of Sayler's Creek, April 6, 1865. 87
The terrain of the Sayler's Creek area, the routes of the Army of Northern Virginia through it, and the approximate line of Ewell's corps when attacked, April 6, 1865. 89
The river and roads north of Farmville showing, in particular, the location of the two bridges across the Appomattox 98
The watershed between the James and Appomattox Rivers east of Lynchburg, with special reference to the line of the Southside Railroad. 108


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Page updated: 13 Jan 04