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Robert E. Lee Birthday Commemoration
January 14, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Robert E. Lee Birthday Commemoration, January 14 & 19, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Join us as we commemorate Robert E. Lee’s birthday on Saturday, January 14, 2017, and on Thursday, January 19, 2017. On both days there will be free gate admission and free visits to the Great House where Robert E. Lee was born. There will be live music, refreshments, and scavenger hunt for the kids. On Saturday, January 14, Al Stone, who portrays Robert E. Lee, will be onsite and doing a signing of his new book. Also on Saturday, The Civil War Civilians of Spotsylvania will be in the Visitor Center illustrating the civilian side of the times just prior, during and just following the American Civil War.
Saturday, January 14, 2017 Schedule:
- 9:30 AM-5:00 PM FREE admission.
- 9:30 AM -5:00 PM In the Preservation Gallery: Civil War Civilians of Spotsylvania, historical interpreters.
- 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Birthday cake and refreshments in Visitor Center
- 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Al Stone, noted first-person Robert E. Lee interpreter, will be on the grounds and in the Great House. Al Stone will also be signing his book, GeneraLee Speaking, My Life as a Living Historian, in Gift Shop from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.
- 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Food available for purchase from Sweet and Sassy BBQ Company
- 10:00 AM-4:00 PM FREE visits to the historic Great House
- 10:00 AM-4:00 PM Robert E. Lee Kids Scavenger Hunt with Gift Shop prizes
- 11:00 AM-4:00 PM Marshall and Company performing 19th-century music
- 11:30 AM-4:00 PM Lunch available for purchase in Stratford Hall Dining room
- 5:00 PM Visitor Center closes
Robert E. Lee was a commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). He was born at Stratford, Virginia, on January 19, 1807. His father Henry, a Revolutionary War hero, was known as “Light Horse Harry” Lee. When Robert E. Lee was around four years old, his family moved from Stratford to Alexandria, Virginia.
Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class at West Point, earning no demerits for discipline infractions during his years there. His first military action after graduation from West Point was in 1845, in the war with Mexico. He met and worked with later key players in the Civil War, including James Longstreet, Ulysses S. Grant, George Pickett and Thomas J. Jackson. Lee worked as an army engineer prior to the Civil War. He helped build the waterfront in St Louis and coastal forts in Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. He was appointed superintendent of West Point in 1852 and is considered one of the best superintendents in the institution’s history.
Abraham Lincoln, who later became president of the United States, offered Robert E. Lee command of the Union Army in 1861 but Lee refused. He would not raise arms against his native state. Lee resigned his commission and headed home to Virginia. Lee served as adviser to Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, and then commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. After four years of civil war, Robert E. Lee met Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, where Lee surrendered his army and both generals ended their battles. Lee told his comrades, “Go home and be good Americans.”
Lee was appointed as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, in 1865. The school was later renamed to include his name in his honor. He died at Washington College on October 12, 1870, and is buried with his family in a chapel on the school grounds .