Ken Burns Classroom

Robert E. Lee

Ken Burns Film: The Civil War

Collections: Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877)

Subject: US History

Grade Level: 6-12

Confederate General Robert E. Lee
Image of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on the back porch of his Richmond, Virginia, home on April 16, 1865, one week after surrendering his army.


Regarded as the war’s finest general, Robert E. Lee was a master of the organization of war. The country’s most experienced general in 1861, he declined Lincoln’s offer to head the Union Army, even though he opposed slavery. As head of the Confederate Army, Lee projected a deep sense of duty and honor, nicknamed the “Marble Model.” President of Washington College after the war, he lost his family home, Arlington, now the nation’s largest military cemetery.

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