Born in 1843, “Rob” was the Lees' youngest son and the sixth child. Like his brothers, Rob was taught to skate, sled, swim, and ride. He seems to have been a typical boy who liked to play. His tastes for food and other habits were relatively simple. When he was a younger child he liked to get into bed with his father in the mornings and talk to him. He and Mildred, the two youngest children and childhood companions, were close to throughout their lives.
Rob was away from Arlington at various boarding schools during for much of the 1850s and entered the University of Virginia and the fall of 1860. He seems to have been the only one of the Lee boys who did not seriously consider a military career before the Civil War.
However, when the war came, in spite of his mother's understandable concern, he enlisted in the “Rockbridge Artillery” as a private in 1862. Before very long he was appointed a Captain and served as aide to his brother Custis.
After the war he returned to Romancock, his inheritance from his grandfather George Washington Parke Custis, and eventually started a private business. He married twice: to Charlotte Haxall (November 1871) and, after her death, to Juliet Carter (1894).
Rob died in 1916. The room most closely associated with him at Arlington was no doubt the boys' chamber, which he may have occupied as a single room much of the time when his older brothers were away and when there were no male guests at Arlington.
In his own memory, perhaps the larger hall (after 1855, the white parlor) stood out. There, the whole family assembled to greet Robert E. Lee, Sr. upon his safe return from the Mexican War in 1848. The junior Lee and his namesake had never seen one another. To his everlasting chagrin, Rob's father did not recognize him and mistakenly embraced his playmate, Armisted Lippit, instead.
Rob recorded his memories of his family and life at Arlington in Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, published in 1904. This first hand account remains a valuable source of information on day-to-day life at Arlington House. Through Rob and his older brother Rooney, there are over twenty direct descendants of Mary and Robert E. Lee alive today.
Last updated: April 3, 2017