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Robert E. Lee

A former superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, Robert E. Lee is perhaps the most famous general officer of the Civil War. A Virginian, Lee was offered command of all Union forces at the outbreak of the war but refused and resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, unable to raise his hand against his native state, which had seceded. As the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Lee became a legend, taking great risks and winning several major battles due to his audacity and the battlefield competence of lieutenants such as Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and James Longstreet. However, modern historians have criticized his performance at the Battle of Gettysburg. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. After the Civil War, Lee became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. He died in 1870 at the age of 63, and the college was renamed Washington & Lee in his honor.

Jefferson Davis in Mexico

Jefferson Davis in Mexico

On September 20, 1846, Colonel Jefferson Davis and a regiment of untested Mississippi volunteers stood before the fortress of La Teneria in Northern Mexico.   More »

Fieldworks: An Essential Tool in the American Civil War

Fieldworks: An Essential Tool in the American Civil War

When no one was actively shooting at them, Civil War soldiers despised the hard physical labor required to construct fieldworks. As one officer of the 2nd Michigan Infantry recalled, “Soldiers would rather march all day than shovel for an hour.” Another Union soldier, Sergeant George Tipping of the 155th New   More »



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Japanese Sneak Attack on Sydney Harbor

Japanese Sneak Attack on Sydney Harbor

In May 1942, a Japanese submarine force snuck into Australia’s Sydney Harbor for a daring, suicidal attack.

Napoleon Bonaparte in Present-Day Israel

Napoleon Bonaparte in Present-Day Israel

When an Ottoman army surrounded Jean Kleber’s Division of Mount Tabor on April 16, 1799, the timely arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte ensured a French victory.

Nazi U-Boats At America’s Doorsteps

Nazi U-Boats At America’s Doorsteps

Nazi U-Boats brought World War II to America’s shores as they ravaged merchant shipping off the East Coast.

World War I Doughboys’ Bloody Baptism

World War I Doughboys’ Bloody Baptism

In their first major battles of World War I, American Expeditionary Force troops helped blunt multiple offensives launched by the German Army in the spring of 1918.

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