Robert E. Lee was one of the most accomplished military figures of the 1800's. It was no small blow to the Northern cause to have the General take command of the
Confederate States Army. There were certainly bruised sentiments in the North. In 1864 Harper's Weekly ran a cover story on Robert E. Lee, that included a dramatic illustration of him. The image at your right is a picture of the original Harper's Weekly story on Lee. It is a great portrait of him. The story definitely reveals the paper's Northern bias, and their resentment of Lee's choice in the war.
To give you a feel for what the North felt about Lee, I include below the ENTIRE story that appeared in Harper's Weekly in that 1864 edition.
Robert E. Lee
General Robert Edmund Lee
(Note Harper's got his middle name WRONG)
General Robert E. Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the Rebel Armies, whose portrait we give on this page, is unquestionably a consummate Master of the art of war. That superiority, indeed, was acquired at the expense and under the patronage of the Government he is now endeavoring to destroy; but this does not alter the fact. His career, prior to his desertion of the flag of the country, may be briefly stated. Born in 1808, he was regularly educated at West Point. In the Mexican campaign he served with the Engineer Corps, and was twice promoted for gallantry. At
Chapultepec he was severely wounded. IN 1852, while holding the rank of Major, he was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy; but three years afterward he was sent to Europe with
M'clellan, and a Captain, to study the proceedings of the French and English armies in the siege of Sebastonpol. About this time he was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the second Regiment of Cavalry, and this was his position when he traitorously forsook his country and entered the revel service.
General Lee, now in his fifty-sixth year, is six feet in height, erect and well-formed, and of imposing appearance; has clear black eyes, dark-gray hair, and a heavy gray beard. He is plain in dress, wearing a black felt hat with a narrow strip of gold around it, and a plain Brigadier's coat with three stars on the collar. He is said to be popular with his army, but the conviction is growing that in
General Grant he has met his match, and the confidence now entertained in him is not, probably, as great as formerly. In the present campaign he has displayed great tenacity and skill in the management of his army; but in all the elements of strategy
Grant has proved more than his equal.
The photograph from which our engraving is made is one taken by MESSRS. MINNIS & COWELL, of Richmond, which bears the stamp of its legal registration in 1863, "in the District Court of the
Confederate States for the Eastern District of Virginia."