Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee appointed commander of the Army of Northern Virginia

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Historical Context Note

Robert Edward Lee (19th January 19, 1807 - 12th October, 1870) was appointed commander of the Army of Northern Virginia (the Confederate eastern army) in 1861. Earlier in 1861 President Lincoln had invited Lee, already a distinguished soldier and tactician, to take command of the Union Army, but he refused and chose instead to remain loyal to his home state of Virginia when it seceded from the Union.

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  1. American Civil War