Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 - October 12, 1870) was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War. The son of American Revolution commander Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, and a top graduate of West Point, Robert E. Lee distinguished himself as an exceptional officer and combat engineer in the United States Army, distinguishing himself during the Mexican-American War as one of Winfield Scott's chief aides. From 1852 to 1855, he served as the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (West Point).
In 1861, as the Civil War was erupting, President Abraham Lincoln asked Lee to take command of the entire U.S. Army. Lee declined after his home state of Virginia seceded. Initially an adviser to Jefferson Davis, the nominal President of the Confederate States, Lee took command of the main field army in 1862, and in short order, proved himself a shrewd tactician, achieving a series of victories over larger Union armies, but his victories frequently came at the cost of high casualty rates for the undermanned C.S. His two attempts to invade the North resulted in defeats (Antietam in 1862 and Gettysburg in 1863) both proved costly at multiple levels, and helped insure Confederate defeat. After a debilitating series of engagements with Union General Ulysses S. Grant throughout 1864, Lee surrendered in April 1865. The remainder of the Confederate Army soon followed suit. Lee himself spoke out against guerrilla warfare, and spent much of his remaining years pursuing reconciliation. He became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia during the post war years. While he accepted the legal end of slavery, he publicly opposed racial equality and granting African Americans the right to vote and other political rights until his death in 1870.
Robert E. Lee in "Must and Shall"
|"Must and Shall" |
POD: July 12, 1864
|Type of Appearance:||Contemporary reference|
|Date of Death:||c. 1865|
|Cause of Death:||Execution by hanging|
As a leading general in the Confederate States Army during the Great Rebellion, Robert E. Lee was targeted for retribution by United States President Hannibal Hamlin after a Confederate sharpshooter killed Hamlin's predecessor Abraham Lincoln on July 12, 1864. At his swearing-in on July 21, Hamlin announced his intention to hang Lee, along with other key Confederate politicians and military officials including Jefferson Davis and Joseph Johnston, "higher than Haman" on the gallows. This was carried out following the defeat of the Confederate States, which happened in 1865.
The wave of executions along with the 13th to 16th Amendments of the Constitution had a major role in embittering the defeated Southern states and preventing their full re-integration into the Union, leaving the South a sullen and rebellious occupied area even as late as the 1940s.
Robert E. Lee in The Guns of the South
|The Guns of the South|
POD: January 17, 1864
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Spouse:||Mary Anna Custis Lee (d. 1868)|
|Political Party:||Confederate Party|
|Military Branch:||Army of Northern Virginia (Second American Revolution)|
|Political Office(s):||President of the Confederate States|
Robert E. Lee was in poor spirits by 1864, having suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg the year before. However, hope for the Confederacy arrived with the mysterious stranger Andries Rhoodie, a man who represented a group called America Will Break and presented Lee with a new type of "repeating" rifle, called the AK-47. With this new weapon, Lee led the Confederacy to victory in the Second American Revolution.
The first conflict using AK-47s was C.S. General Jeb Stuart's cavalry stopping a raid by U.S. General Hugh Kilpatrick. Although the U.S. forces had maneuvered in an attempt to allow Kilpatrick to slip by, the AWB "Rivington Men" provided intelligence to prevent the Confederates from being deceived. This puzzled Lee, since neither he nor Stuart received any indication of this.
Lee decided to confront Rhoodie on the source of his intelligence. Rhoodie at first hesitated then shared the truth with Lee. He and his men were from South Africa in the year 2014, and had come back in time to secure victory for the South. Rhoodie told Lee that substantial racial strife had come from emancipation and the South's defeat. Lee had his doubts; although he was a slave-holder, he was no great lover of the institution.
Rhoodie also provided Lee with an appreciation of U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant's opening moves of the 1864 campaign. This proved helpful to Lee in blocking Grant in the battle of the Wilderness. Past this, the course of history diverged from that of the Rivington Men's past. Lee succeeded in defeating Grant again at the Battle of Bealeton which allowed him to capture Washington City and negotiate an armistice with President Abraham Lincoln.
Although the fighting had stopped, the war was by no means over. Confederate President Jefferson Davis and President Lincoln agreed to a peace conference, with each side naming three commissioners. Davis named Lee as one of his commissioners since he wanted at least one military man at the table. A peace treaty was negotiated whereby the Confederacy abandoned claims to West Virginia and Maryland, while the United States ceded the Indian Territory and any territory they had captured earlier in the war. Also, at Lee's suggestion, state-wide referenda were to be held to determine the status of Kentucky and Missouri.
The U.S. agreed to the referenda but required an Election Commissioner from each side to be responsible for the conduct of the vote. Davis, once again, appointed Lee while Lincoln appointed General Grant. While the vote was generally fair, there was one incidence of gun running involving the Rivington Men. This was resolved to each side's satisfaction and on the appointed day the vote was held. Kentucky elected to join the C.S. while Missouri voted to remain with the U.S.
As Davis' term came to an end, he insisted Lee run for president. While initially ambivalent, Lee was persuaded by his concerns about the influence the Rivington Men had on the C.S. When Rhoodie attempted to assert himself over Lee so as to insure the continuation of slavery, Lee would have none of it, harshly rebuffing Rhoodie's presumptuous attitude. Rhoodie's men then supported veteran cavalry general and ardent slavery-supporter Nathan Bedford Forrest. Lee and Forrest shared a deep enmity during the election of 1867, but Lee won.
On the day of Lee's inauguration, March 4, 1868, Rhoodie's men attempted to assassinate Lee. While Lee survived, his wife Mary, his newly-inaugurated Vice President, Albert Gallatin Brown, and General Jubal Early were killed in the crossfire. This action united Lee and Forrest, and the C.S. army did battle with the time-travelers. Through captured history texts, Lee learned the truth: that the group were merely racists who wanted to insure the subjugation of blacks by altering history. He also learned that history had taken a dim view of the Confederate cause.
This knowledge steeled Lee's resolve to end slavery in the C.S. Although Congress was resistant at first, Lee shared evidence of the Rivington Men's original timeline, coupled with recent events and international pressure, to sway a sufficient number of votes to his position. In the summer of 1868, Lee's bill passed the Confederate Congress, ensuring that slavery would be phased out of existence before 1900.
On a more personal note, Lee's introduction to nitroglycerin-based medicine from the future gave him reason to hope that his 1870 death date from the original timeline could be averted.
Robert E. Lee in Southern Victory
|Southern Victory |
POD: September 10, 1862
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV in one scene (numerous posthumous references in series)|
|Date of Death:||Unrevealed|
|Relatives:||Confederate President Lee (possibly son or nephew)|
|Military Branch:||Army of Northern Virginia (War of Secession)|
In 1861, Robert E. Lee's small army was defeated in West Virginia, allowing the United States to admit that state, and he was recalled to Richmond. In the spring of 1862, he became the Army of Northern Virginia's commander when his predecessor, Joseph Johnston, was wounded outside Richmond during the Peninsula Campaign. Lee repulsed the Union Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan. The following summer, he defeated an overland invasion of Virginia led by General John Pope at Manassas Junction.
In the fall of 1862, he launched an ambitious invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Aided by failures of US Intelligence to find his columns and by McClellan's timidity and incompetence, he defeated the Army of the Potomac at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and advanced on the city of Philadelphia unopposed. (Twenty years later, this campaign would inspire German officer Alfred von Schlieffen to plan the campaign which Germany eventually used to open the Western Front during the Great War in 1914.) This campaign obtained for the Confederacy British and French recognition and forced US President Abraham Lincoln to extend US recognition as well--in other words, it won the war for the Confederates.
Robert E. Lee in "Lee at the Alamo"
|"Lee at the Alamo" |
POD: December 13, 1860
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
Through a combination of circumstance and his own sense of duty, Robert E. Lee became one of the Union's military heroes by defending the Alamo against Confederate forces in what became the first battle of the American Civil War.
In February 1861, Lee was a lieutenant colonel in command of the Department of Texas, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. He was the commander by default; in December 1860, Brig. General David E. Twiggs had to give up command due to failing health.
At the beginning of February, the Texas legislature had voted to join several states seceding from the U.S., despite the best efforts of Governor Sam Houston. One morning, Lee was approached by several members of the Texas militia, led by Colonel Benjamin McCulloch. McCulloch demanded that Lee and any Union loyalists leave the state and surrender all munitions and forts to the militia. Lee refused, much to McCulloch's surprise, and began making plans for the inevitable war.
After consulting with Major George Thomas, a fellow Virginian, Lee decided to take his garrison (after sorting out pro-Confederate soldiers) and set-up a redoubt at the Alamo in the early morning hours.
When McCulloch discovered what Lee had done, he still opted to give Lee twenty-four hours to surrender. Instead, Lee and Thomas continued their preparations, while more militia men drifted to McCulloch's banner throughout the day. After the twenty-four hours elapsed, Lee once again defied McCulloch's demands, and the siege began in earnest.
The Texans began by attempting to use a battering ram. Lee waited until his troops had been fired on before firing upon Confederate troops. The battering ram failed in short order, as did an attempt to place ladders on the sides of the Alamo's walls, with Lee's garrison inflicting heavy casualties upon the militia. McCulloch once again offered to accept Lee's surrender, arguing that Lee had satisfied the needs of honor. Again, Lee refused.
The next few days were quiet. A plebiscite officially took Texas out of the Union. McCulloch began making plans for a night attack not long after, but a Unionist named Andrew Crouch managed to sneak into the Alamo and let Lee know about the attack. Lee's garrison held off the attack, although he and Thomas were aware that their success was dependent upon Crouch.
Again, McCulloch remained quiet for several days, save for disparaging President Abraham Lincoln publicly on Lincoln's inauguration day. However, on March 10, the militia brought Napoleon cannon to bear. In short order, the Texans breached a wall. Lee, realizing that the militia would be through the wall shortly, and having no desire to follow the fate of the original Alamo defenders, immediately surrendered.
McCulloch accepted their surrender, rather than slaughter them. While McCulloch drew up the terms of surrender, Lee had the supplies, including the munitions, set afire, an act that was not forbidden by the terms of surrender. An angry McCulloch promised to shoot Lee on sight if they ever met again, but let Lee and his men go.
Lee returned to Washington City a hero. Unfortunately, Virginia had seceded in the meantime after Lincoln's call for 100,000 volunteers, much to Lee's chagrin. General Winfield Scott offered Lee command of the U.S. Army. Lee, who was unwilling to fight his fellow Virginians, declined. President Lincoln quickly called a meeting with Lee. While Lee was steadfast in his refusal to take command, or any position that might see him in combat with Virginia, he did agree to fight the Confederacy along the Mississippi River, provided he be allowed to resign and retire at any time should he feel the need. Lincoln accepted those terms, and went one better, promising Lee a farm to show his appreciation in the event Lee did retire.
Lee realized he might meet McCulloch in the west.
- References to Historical Figures in Turtledove's Work, for more minor references to Lee.
- Confederate President Lee
- Edward of Arlington, a fantasy analog of Lee in The War Between the Provinces.
|Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia
|General-in-Chief of the Confederate States Army
January 31-April 9, 1865
(The Guns of the South)
|President of the Confederate States
Incumbent at story's end
|Party political offices|
(The Guns of the South)
|Confederate Party Presidential candidate