Robert E. Lee

A largely accidental battle, pitting Robert E. Lee against George B. McClellan, became the single deadliest day in America's history and changed the course of the Civil War.

The day of Antietam—September 17, 1862 — was like no other day of the Civil War. “The roar of the infantry was beyond anything conceivable to the uninitiated,” wrote a Union officer who fought there. Read more >>

In one momentous decision, Robert E. Lee spared the United States years of divisive violence

As April 1865 neared, an exhausted Abraham Lincoln met with his two top generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, to discuss the end of the Civil War, which finally seemed to be within reach. Read more >>

In only minutes, Union guns at Gettysburg silenced the Confederacy's bold invasion of the North

Not until 2:30 p.m. on July 3, 1863, did the ear-splitting bombardment finally slacken on the rolling farmland of southern Pennsylvania. Nothing like it had ever been experienced before in America, or would be again. Read more >>

A southern writer analyzes the handicaps unwittingly laid on the general by President Davis

New research shows that Lee's momentous decision to fight for the South was far from inevitable

One April afternoon in 1861, a proud man in his early fifties strode nervously across the portico of his home, too distracted to appreciate its sweeping view of the Potomac. He had an elegant military bearing and dark looks of a stage star, but on this day his genial face was shadowed by worry. Read more >>

A Lee descendant finds two long-lost trunks full of family memorabilia in a Virginia bank vault

One of Lee’s greatest lieutenants is slowly winning his reputation back after losing it for daring to criticize his boss

No one has ever come up with a satisfactory count of the books dealing with the Civil War. Estimates range from 50,000 to more than 70,000, with new titles added every day. Read more >>

Two hundred years after his birth, Americans still revere him as a martyr and loathe him as a fanatical murderer. What was he?

The Union Army’s siege ended in 1865, but it still has a grip on Petersburg, Virginia

He told Lincoln he was better than any other officer on the field at Bull Run and got the Army’s top job. He built a beaten force into a proud one and stole a march on Robert E. Lee with it. He was twenty-four hours away from winning the Civil War. Then he fell apart.

How to know the unknowable man

In 1905, on a visit to Richmond, the noted man of letters Henry James was struck by the sight of the equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee high atop its pedestal overlooking Monument Avenue. Read more >>

During three days in May 1863, the Confederate leader took astonishing risks to win one of the most skillfully conducted battles in history. But the cost turned out to be too steep.

The ability of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson never showed itself more vividly than during three days of battle in May 1863 around a rustic crossroads called Chancellorsville. Read more >>

In the Republic’s direst hour, he took command. In the black days after Bull Run, he won West Virginia for the Union. He raised a magnificent army and led it forth to meet his “cautious & weak” opponent, Robert E. Lee. Why hasn’t history been kinder to George B. McClellan?

Gen. George B. McClellan possessed a particular talent for dramatic gesture, and on the afternoon of September 14, 1862, at South Mountain in western Maryland, he surpassed himself. Read more >>

Conjectural or speculative history can be a silly game, as in “What if the Roman legions had machine guns?” But this historian argues that to enlarge our knowledge and understanding it sometimes makes very good sense to ask …

What if any of the pre-Civil War Presidents had gone mad? What if Andrew Johnson had been successfully impeached? What if William McKinley had not been assassinated? Read more >>

A black chaplain in the Union Army reports on the struggle to take Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in the winter of 1864–65

Colonel William E. Peters stared at his commanding officer incredulously. Had he heard the order correctly? On whose authority was it given? he asked. Read more >>
About to die at the untimely age of forty-four in 1883, Dr. George Miller Beard, a Connecticut physician and pioneer in neurology, remarked: “I should like to record the thoughts of a dying man for the benefit of science, but it is impossible.” And with those words, Dr. Read more >>

Verdicts Of History: III -- Even his abolitionist friends thought his attack on Harpers Ferry insane, but the old Kansas raider sensed that his death would ignite the nation’s conscience.

“Judicial Circuit Court of Virginia, Jefferson County, to wit: The Jurors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in find for the body of the County of Jefferson, duly impaneled, and attending upon the Circuit Court of said county, upon their oaths do present that John Brown, Aar Read more >>

The Corps is supposed to be tough, and is. This often confounds its enemies and sometimes irritates the nation’s other services

Upon the clash of arms near a little Maryland creek hung the slave’s freedom and the survival of the Union