If there is one individual that comes to mind when thinking about the Confederacy it is Robert E. Lee. He became larger than life. . .but one needs to remember that Lee at the outset of the war was a paper pusher. Lee was put in charge of organizing the armies of Virginia, which he did very well. Although Lee fought in the Mexican War and was sent to deal with John Brown at Harpers Ferry, Lee was viewed by some as “too long in the tooth” and given the nickname ‘Granny’ as a result. Hence, Lee did not immeditaltey become commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, that title was given to Joseph Johnston. Johnston died of wounds at the Battle of Seven Pines in June of 1862. It was only then that Jefferson Davis turned to Robert E. Lee. . .
By the end of June 1862 Lee had turned back McClellan’s Army of the Potomac- making a mockery out of the Union commander’s Pennisular Campaign. With an inferior force in manpower Lee managed to build up the defenses around the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA and push on the offensive at the Seven Days Battles. The result of course was that McClellan retreated back to the James River. Lee had successfully protected the Confederate capital with this offensive-minded strategy and in doing so silenced many of his critics. Lee’s best work was yet to come. . .