First Battle for Robert E. Lee


Early in the war, a young Captain Lee served under Gen. John E. Wool in Northern Mexico, conducting valuable reconnaissance efforts before the Battle of Buena Vista. In due time, the young Captain would find himself at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, April 18, 1847, it was a young Captain Lee who led the team which blazed a trail through the dense growth and attacked the Mexican left flank, maneuvering American artillery onto vital high ground, routing the unprepared Mexicans.

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General Lee also was in the Mexican War, Robert E. Lee was a forty-year-old captain in what was then considered the elite branch of the Army—the Corps of Engineers. Faced with a lava field at the Battle of Contreras in August of the same year. Lee used his surveying skills to plot a path around the dangerous natural obstacle.

Lee himself crossed the lava field, known as the Pedregal, on foot during the night to obtain reinforcements, which he guided back through the field to victory.

For these actions, he received the brevet rank of Major.

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