Robert E. Lee received no demerits during his four years at West Point, and he graduated second in his class in 1829. Lee joined the Army Corps of Engineers and was promoted to colonel for his military acumen in the Mexican-American War.
When the Civil War began in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the command of the Union Army. Lee disagreed with slavery, but due to his loyalty to his home state of Virginia, he resigned his commission in the Union Army and accepted command of the Confederate Army.
Lee had a career in academia when he wasn't actively serving in the military. His served as superintendent of West Point before the Civil War and as president of Washington College after the Civil War. He remained at Washington College until a stroke claimed his life in 1870.