Lee, Robert E. (Edward) (1807–1870), a United States and Confederate army officer. Lee was commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia and later of all Confederate armies during the Civil War. Although he was forced to surrender his troops as the Confederacy collapsed, he is considered one of the great generals of modern times.
Lee was a member of a distinguished Virginia family that included two signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was a handsome man of great dignity and high moral principles. These qualities won him much admiration in the North as well as the South. After the Civil War, he urged fellow Southerners to lay aside bitterness over the war and strive for a spirit of national harmony.