Robert E. Lee

(1807–1870)

Robert E. Lee

Anecdote...

Toward the end of the Civil War, when meat was an almost unobtainable luxury for Lee, he lived chiefly on boiled cabbage. One day, when he had several important guests dining with him, the table was set with the usual heap of cabbage and a very small piece of meat. The guests politely refused the meat, and Lee looked forward to having it all to himself the following day. However, on the next day there was nothing but the usual cabbage. Lee inquired as to the whereabouts of the meat. He learned to his dismay that his servant had only borrowed the meat to impress the guests, and had duly returned it, untouched, to its rightful owner.

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Robert E. LeeWebcast from the Library of Congress: A portrait of Robert E. Lee through his personal letters

Biographical Note: 

Robert E. Lee was a U.S. Confederate general. His outstanding abilities as a strategist and leader made him the most successful Confederate commander during the Civil War (1861-65), although after losing 25,000 men at Gettysburg (July 1863), he was increasingly forced on the defensive.