When the Southern states of America seceded from the Union, it was a question for many Generals which

side they would fight for.


Robert E. Lee was considered the best General in the nation. He was the son of Revolutionary war hero,

Harry Lee. He graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1829, earning distinction as the first cadet to

graduate without a single demerit.


Lee served on General Scott's staff in the Mexican War where he distinguished himself by his leadership of

the troops. After the war, he became superintendent of West Point. He achieved further recognition for

leading the force of marines that captured Harpers Ferry in the raid against John Brown in 1859.


At the beginning of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln approached Lee about commanding the

Union forces. While he deprecated secession of states from the Union, Lee could not bring himself to take up

arms against his native state of Virginia. He joined the Confederacy and the best generals in the land followed



If Lee had chosen to lead an army for the Union he would have attracted other generals to the side of the

North. Some historians believe that if this had happened, the war might have lasted two years instead of

five, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.


Source: 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell