Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson were considered the top two generals of the Confederacy. Lee was a moderate who was displeased with the extremists on both sides of the North-South controversy in the 1850s. Believing he owed his first loyalty to Virginia, he resigned his U.S. Army commission (although he had been offered command of the Federal army) and offered his services to his home state.
Jefferson Davis appointed Lee a general in the Southern Army, and the following year Lee became commander of the main Confederate army in Virginia. He had success, until Chancellorsville, where he won the battle and lost his best lieutenant, Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Jackson had a distinguished record leading Confederate armies. He contributed greatly to a string of Southern victories, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. On returning from night reconnaissance, Jackson was shot by some of his own men. He developed pneumonia from the wounds and died.