Robert E. Lee was born at Stratford Hall which is in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1807. But after age 3 the family was forced to move due to his father losing the estate to debt collectors. His father was Major General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee who commanded cavalry under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. His name is on the Declaration of Independence. But his later years were marked by poor investment ventures and debt and he died alone in poverty and disgrace. Robert E. Lee did not see his father after about age six when his father left the family.
The War aged Lee tremendously as he was a clean shaven (excepting a mustache) man with brown full hair prior to the conflict. He served in the Mexican War in the U.S. Army and was superintendent of West Point at the age of 52. His hair greyed and he grew his well known full beard during the War. George Washington Custis left his Arlington estate to his daughter Mary and thru marriage, Robert E. Lee became executor of the Custis estate including 250 slaves raising his family there. Lee and Mary were determined to educate and emancipate their slaves and they eventually did by the start of the War. Arlington was an impressive antebellum mansion with an impressive exterior and portico but the interior had large gloomy rooms. It was here in 1859 where Robert E. Lee resided at the time of John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry.
|Dr. Brandon Beck with Dragoons Commander Waldo|