By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, January 15, 2018, is celebrated across the state of Alabama as General Robert E. Lee’s birthday. Generations of Alabamians have revered the Virginian who commanded the Army of Northern Virginia in the War Between the States.
Lee was born on Jan. 19, 1807. His father, Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee was a Revolutionary War hero. The younger Lee attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and embarked on a lifetime of military service. Lee served on General Winfield Scott’s staff in the Mexican-American War, was the Commandant at West Point, fought Indians in the West and led the American response to crush John Brown’s attempted insurrection as a member of the U.S. Army. President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee command of all union forces, but after Virginia seceded from the Union, Lee sided with the Confederacy. His service leading the Confederate forces of the Army of Northern Virginia earned Lee a reputation as one of the best military tacticians in American history. The South had fewer people, fewer factories, no money and no navy. The Confederate States of America should have been easily crushed by the better equipped and supplied Union forces; but better leadership by people like Lee, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, James Longstreet, A. P. Hill, etc. almost turned the tide. Their efforts combined with Pres. Lincoln’s resolve turned the Civil War into, by far, the most costly war in American history.