Robert E. Lee was an American career military officer best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the Civil War. When Virginia declared its secession from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his personal desire for the country to remain intact and despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln had offered Lee command of a Union army. During the Civil War, Lee originally served as a senior military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. He soon emerged as a shrewd tactician and battlefield commander, winning numerous battles against far superior Union armies. Lee would ultimately surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox in 1865. Other Confederate forces swiftly capitulated after Lee’s surrender. Lee became a great Southern hero of the Civil War and remains one of the most revered, iconic figures of American military leadership. He died on October 12, 1870.