If you’re interested in American history, you may have wondered who was the leader of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, the main Confederate force.
Keep reading to learn more about General Robert E. Lee and his role in the Confederate Army!
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General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee was the Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. He is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history, and his strategies and tactics are still studied by military academies around the world. General Lee was born in Virginia to a wealthy family with strong ties to the American Colonies, and he served with distinction in the Mexican-American War. When the Civil War broke out, Lee initially opposed secession but ultimately decided to lead the Confederate Army when his home state of Virginia seceded from the Union.
Under Lee’s command, the Confederate Army enjoyed a string of victories against vastly outnumbered Union forces, but ultimately succumbed to defeat after four years of brutal warfare. Following the war, Lee was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and returned to his beloved Virginia. He spent his final years advocating for reconciliation between North and South, and is today remembered as one of America’s most revered figures.
General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was the second and most famous leader of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Jackson got his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in 1861. Legend has it that as he was leading his troops into battle, someone asked General Barnard Bee who that “stonewall” of a man was. Bee replied, “That is General Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer.” From that day on, Thomas Jackson was known as “Stonewall.”
Under Jackson’s leadership, the Confederates won several important battles, including Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg. Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men at Chancellorsville and died a few days later.
General James Longstreet
At the outbreak of the Civil War, James Longstreet was a colonel in the United States Army. He resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Army, where he was quickly promoted to brigadier general. He fought in a number of battles in the Eastern Theater, including the First Battle of Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. In 1864, he was transferred to the Western Theater, where he fought in Atlanta and Nashville. He was also one of the Confederate generals who surrendered at Appomattox Court House in 1865. After the war, he worked as an insurance agent and railroad executive. He also served as the U.S. Minister to Turkey from 1889 to 1897.