John Esten Cooke

A Life of General Robert E. Lee

The dramatic story of the life of the Confederate States of America’s military commander, as told by a senior CSA army staff officer. John Esten Cooke’s classic account of General Robert E. Lee’s life is acknowledged as one of the ultimate works on the topic and covers the famous Confederate leader’s life from birth to death.

After dealing with Lee’s childhood and youth, the work provides many fascinating details of his early ser ice as an officer in the United States Army. This included Lee’s participation in the Mexican War—which led directly to the creation of the state of Mexico. The work then quickly moves on the main focus of Lee’s military career—his role in the Civil War as the pre-eminent CSA commander.

Starting with his appointment as senior military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Lee was then given command of the mighty Army of Northern Virginia in June 1862. He was immediately plunged into the thick of the war, with numerous battles and campaigns fought over a four year period which defined the outcome of the conflict. These great campaigns included the first defense of Richmond, Virginia, the second Battle of Bull Run, the invasion of Maryland, the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and the Siege of Petersburg.

At long last, overcome by shortages, the dreadful attrition of long years of war, and a vastly numerically superior enemy, Lee was forced to surrender in April 1865—an act which had the effect of ending the war.

Although this vast work covers a huge range of topics, perhaps one of its most interesting features is a post-war question and answer interview with Lee on the topics of the day—race, slavery, states’ rights, and much more.

This is not a facsimile, but has been completely reset edition and contains all the original illustrations.

516 pages, softcover

About the Author
Part I: Lee’s Early Life
I. Introduction
II. The Lees of Virginia
III. General “Light-Horse Harry” Lee
IV. Stratford
V. Lee’s Early Manhood and Career in the United States Army
VI. Lee and Scott
VII. Lee Resigns
VIII. His Reception at Richmond
IX. Lee in 1861
X. The War Begins
XI. Lee’s Advance into Western Virginia
XII. Lee’s Last Interview with Bishop Meade
Part II. In Front of Richmond
I. Plan of the Federal Campaign
II. Johnston is Wounded
III. Lee Assigned to the Command—His Family at the White House
IV. Lee Resolves to Attack
V. Stuart’s “Ride Around Mcclellan”
Part III: On the Chickahominy
I. The Two Armies
II. Lee’s Plan of Assault
III. The Battle of the Chickahominy
IV. The Retreat
V. Richmond in Danger—Lee’s Views
VI. Lee and Mcclellan—Their Identity of Opinion
Part IV. The War Advances Northward
I. Lee’s Protest
II. Lee’s Manoeuvres
III. Lee Advances from the Rapidan
IV. Jackson Flanks General Pope
V. Lee Follows
VI. The Second Battle of Manassas
Part V: Lee Invades Maryland
I. His Designs
II. Lee in Maryland
III. Movements of the Two Armies
IV. The Prelude to Sharpsburg
V. The Battle of Sharpsburg
VI. Lee and Mcclellan—Their Merits in the Maryland Campaign
VII. Lee and His Men
VIII. Lee Passes the Blue Ridge
IX. Lee Concentrates at Fredericksburg
X. The Battle of Fredericksburg
XI. Final Movements of 1862
XII. The Year of Battles
XIII. Lee in December, 1862
Part VI: Chancellorsville and Gettysburg
I. Advance of General Hooker
II. The Wilderness
III. Lee’s Determination
IV. Jackson’s Attack and Fall
V. The Battle of Chancellorsville
VI. Flank Movement of General Sedgwick
VII. Lee’s Generalship and Personal Demeanor During the Campaign
VIII. Personal Relations of Lee and Jackson
IX. Circumstances Leading to the Invasion of Pennsylvania
X. Lee’s Plans and Objects
XI. The Cavalry-Fight at Fleetwood
XII. The March to Gettysburg
XIII. Lee in Pennsylvania
XIV. Concentration at Gettysburg
XV. The First Day’s Fight at Gettysburg
XVI. The Two Armies in Position
XVII. The Second Day
XVIII. The Last Charge at Gettysburg
XIX. Lee After the Charge
XX. Lee’s Retreat across the Potomac
XXI. Across the Blue Ridge Again
Part VII: Last Campaigns of the Year 1863
I. The Cavalry of Lee’s Army
II. Lee Flanks General Meade
III. A Race Between Two Armies
IV. The Fight at Buckland
V. The Advance to Mine Run
VI. Lee in the Autumn and Winter of 1863
Part VIII: Lee’s Last Campaigns and Last Days
I. General Grant Crosses the Rapidan
II. The First Collision in the Wilderness
III. The Battle of the 6th of May
IV. The 12th of May
V. From Spottsylvania to the Chickahominy
VI. First Battles at Petersburg
VII. The Siege of Richmond Begun
VIII. Lee Threatens Washington
IX. The Mine Explosion
X. End of the Campaign of 1864
XI. Lee in the Winter of 1864-’65
XII. The Situation at the Beginning of 1865
XIII. Lee Attacks the Federal Centre
XIV. The Southern Lines Broken
XV. The Southern Lines Broken
XVI. Lee Evacuates Petersburg
XVII. The Retreat and Surrender
XVIII. Lee Returns to Richmond
XIX. General Lee After the War
XX. General Lee’s Last Years and Death
I. The Funeral of General Lee
II. Tributes to General Lee

About the author: John Esten Cooke (1830–1886) was a staff officer for both Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and for Brig. Gen. William N. Pendleton in the Confederate States Army cavalry.


Additional information

Dimensions 6 × 9 in

John Esten Cooke

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