When Lee learned of Virginia's secession on April 19, 1861, he spent a long night agonizing over his future and that of his family. He deplored the idea of secession but he realized he could not "raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home." He resigned from the U.S. Army in the office.
With the war over and the South in ruins Lee pondered his future. Believing that he had a duty to Virginia, the South, and the nation to help rebuild, Lee embraced efforts to restore peace and promote reconciliation.
On August 5, 1975 in front of Arlington House, President Ford signed a joint congressional resolution restoring Lee's full rights of citizenship. The desk he sat in for the signing is now located in the office were Lee resigned his commission from the U.S. Army.
Last updated: July 13, 2020