Henry Lee III
Posthumous portrait by
William Edward West (c.1839)
|9th Governor of Virginia|
December 1, 1791 –December 1, 1794
|Preceded by||Beverley Randolph|
|Succeeded by||Robert Brooke|
|Member of the |
U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 19th district
March 4, 1799 –March 3, 1801
|Preceded by||Walter Jones|
|Succeeded by||John Taliaferro|
|Delegate to the Confederation Congress |
|Born||January 29, 1756|
Leesylvania, near Dumfries, Prince William County, Colony of Virginia, British America
|Died||March 25, 1818 62) (aged|
Cumberland Island, Georgia, U.S.
|Resting place|| Lee Chapel |
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Matilda Ludwell Lee|
Anne Hill Carter
Henry Lee IV
Sydney Smith Lee
Robert E. Lee
|Parents|| Henry Lee II |
|Relatives||See Lee family|
|Alma mater||Princeton (1773)|
|Years of service||1776–1783 (Continental Army)|
1798–1800 (U.S. Army)
|Rank|| Lieutenant colonel (Continental Army)|
Major general (U.S. Army)
|Battles/wars|| American Revolutionary War |
Major-General Henry Lee III (January 29, 1756 – March 25, 1818) was an early American Patriot and politician. He served as the ninth Governor of Virginia and as the Virginia Representative to the United States Congress. Lee's service during the American Revolution as a cavalry officer in the Continental Army earned him the nickname by which he is best known, "Light-Horse Harry".He was the father of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armies in the American Civil War.
Lee was born on Leesylvania Plantation in Prince William County in the Colony of Virginia. He was the son of Col. Henry Lee II (1730–1787) of "Leesylvania" and Lucy Grymes (1734–1792). His father was the first cousin of Richard Henry Lee, twelfth President of the Continental Congress. His mother was an aunt of the wife of Virginia Governor Thomas Nelson, Jr. His great-grandmother Mary Bland was also a grand-aunt of President Thomas Jefferson.
Lee was the grandson of Henry Lee I, a great-grandson of Richard Bland, and a great-great-grandson of William Randolph.He was also a descendant of Theodorick Bland of Westover and Governor Richard Bennett.
Lee graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1773, and began pursuing a legal career. With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he instead became a captain in a Virginia dragoon detachment, which was attached to the 1st Continental Light Dragoons. In 1778, Lee was promoted to major and given the command of a mixed corps of cavalry and infantry known as Lee's Legion, with which he won a great reputation as a capable leader of light troops. At the time, highly mobile groups of light cavalry provided valuable service not only during major battles, but also by conducting reconnaissance and surveillance, engaging the enemy during troop movements, disrupting delivery of supplies, raiding and skirmishing, and organizing expeditions behind enemy lines;part of such tactics now are known as guerrilla warfare and maneuver warfare. In September of the same year, Lee commanded a unit of dragoons which defeated a Hessian regiment at the Battle of Edgar's Lane.
It was during his time as commander of the Legion that Lee earned the sobriquet of "Light-Horse Harry" for his horsemanship. On September 22, 1779 the Continental Congress voted to present Lee with a gold medal—a reward given to no other officer below a general's rank—for the Legion's actions during the Battle of Paulus Hook in New Jersey, on August 19 of that year.
Lee was promoted to lieutenant colonel and was assigned with his Legion to the southern theater of war. Lee's Legion raided the British outpost of Georgetown, South Carolina, with General Francis Marion in January 1781 and helped screen the American army in their Race to the Dan River the following month. Lee united with General Francis Marion and General Andrew Pickens in the spring of 1781 to capture numerous British outposts in South Carolina and Georgia including Fort Watson, Fort Motte, Fort Granby, Fort Galphin, Fort Grierson, and Fort Cornwallis, Augusta, Georgia.They conducted a campaign of terror and intimidation against Loyalists in the region, highlighted in Pyle's Massacre. Lee and his legion also served at the Battle of Guilford Court House, the Siege of Ninety-Six, and the Battle of Eutaw Springs. He was present at Charles Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, but left the Army shortly after, claiming fatigue and disappointment with his treatment from fellow officers.
In 1794, Lee was summoned by President George Washington to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Lee commanded the 12,950 militiamen sent to quash the rebels; because of a peaceful surrender, there was no fighting.In 1798, in anticipation of a war with France, Henry Lee was appointed a major general in the U.S. Army. In 1808, he was recommissioned by President Thomas Jefferson as major-general when war with Great Britain was imminent; Lee organized the Virginia militia. He asked President James Madison for a commission at the onset of the War of 1812 but without success. In 1812 he published his Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States, where he summarized his military experiences during the Revolutionary War.
From 1786 to 1788, Lee was a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, and in 1788 at the Virginia convention; he favored the adoption of the United States Constitution. From 1789 to 1791, he served in the General Assembly and, from 1791 to 1794, was Governor of Virginia; a new county of Virginia was named after him during his governorship.
From 1799 to 1801, he served in the United States House of Representatives of the Congress. He famously eulogized Washington to a crowd of 4,000 at the first President's funeral on December 26, 1799 as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".
Between April 8 and 13, 1782, at Stratford Hall, Lee married his second cousin, Matilda Ludwell Lee (1764–1790), who was known as "the Divine Matilda". She was the daughter of Philip Ludwell Lee, Sr., and Elizabeth Steptoe. Matilda had three children before she died in 1790:
On June 18, 1793, Lee married the wealthy Anne Hill Carter (1773–1829) at Shirley Plantation. Anne was the daughter of Charles Carter, Esq., of Shirley, and his wife Ann Butler Moore.They had six children:
After retiring from public service in 1801, he lived with his family at Stratford Hall and unsuccessfully tried to manage his plantation. The Panic of 1796–1797 and bankruptcy of Robert Morris reduced Lee's fortune. In 1809, he became bankrupt and served one year in debtors' prison in Montross, Virginia; his son, Robert Lee was two years old at the time.After release, Lee moved his family to Alexandria, Virginia,
During the civil unrest in Baltimore, Maryland in 1812, Lee received grave injuries while helping to resist an attack on his friend, Alexander Contee Hanson, editor of the Baltimore newspaper, The Federal Republican on July 27, 1812. Hanson was attacked by a Democratic-Republican mob because his paper opposed the War of 1812. Lee and Hanson and two dozen other Federalists had taken refuge in the offices of the paper. The group surrendered to Baltimore city officials the next day and were jailed. Laborer George Woolslager led a mob that forced its way into the jail and removed the Federalists, beating and torturing them over the next three hours. All were severely injured, and one Federalist, James Lingan, died.
Lee suffered extensive internal injuries as well as head and face wounds, and even his speech was affected. His observed symptoms were consistent with what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder. After unsuccessful convalescence at home, he sailed to the West Indies in an effort to recuperate from his injuries. On his way back to Virginia, he died on March 25, 1818, at Dungeness, on Cumberland Island, Georgia, cared for by Nathanael Greene's daughter Louisa. "Light-Horse Harry" was buried with full military honors, provided by an American fleet stationed near St. Marys, Georgia, in a small cemetery at Dungeness. In 1913, his remains were moved to the Lee family crypt at Lee Chapel, on the campus of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
The fictional character of Colonel Harry Burwell in the 2000 film The Patriot according to screenwriter Robert Rodat was inspired by the historical exploits of Henry Lee.
In the 1969 musical 1776 Lee's nickname is mentioned (anachronistically) during the song "The Lees of Old Virginia," sung by the character of his older cousin Richard Henry Lee.
William Washington was a cavalry officer of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, who held a final rank of Brigadier General in the newly created United States after the war. Primarily known as a commander of light dragoons, he led mounted troops in a number of notable battles in the Carolinas during the campaigns of 1780 and 1781.
Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, GCB was a British soldier and politician. Tarleton was eventually ranked as a general years after his service in the colonies during the American Revolutionary War, and afterwards did not lead troops into battle.
The British Legion was the name of a British provincial regiment established during the American Revolutionary War, composed of British Loyalist American infantry and dragoons. It was colloquially known as Tarleton's Raiders, the Green Horse, and the Green Dragoons, after the British officer who led most of its day-to-day activities, Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, and the green uniform coats of its officers. "Legion" was an 18th-century term for a military unit the size of a regiment, but consisting of infantry and cavalry, or infantry, cavalry, and artillery, all under one command, to make it more flexible for scouting or irregular operations than a regiment, which consisted of infantry or cavalry alone.
William Lee (1739–1795) was an American diplomat during the Revolutionary War.
The Battle of Bladensburg was a battle of the Chesapeake campaign of the War of 1812, fought on 24 August 1814. Called "the greatest disgrace ever dealt to American arms", a British force of army regulars and Royal Marines routed a combined U.S. force of Regular Army and state militia troops at Bladensburg, Maryland, 8.6 miles (13.8 km) northeast of the federal capital of Washington, D.C. U.S. defeat resulted in the capture and burning of Washington.
William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, known as Rooney Lee or W. H. F. Lee, was the second son of General Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Custis. He was a planter, a Confederate cavalry General in the American Civil War, and later a Congressman from Virginia.
The Legion of the United States was a reorganization and extension of the Continental Army from 1792 to 1796 under the command of Major General Anthony Wayne. It represented a political shift in the new United States, which had recently adopted the United States Constitution. The new Congressional and Executive branches authorized a standing army composed of professional soldiers, rather than relying on state militias.
The United States Cavalry, or U.S. Cavalry, was the designation of the mounted force of the United States Army by an act of Congress on 3 August 1861. This act converted the U.S. Army's two regiments of dragoons, one regiment of mounted riflemen, and two regiments of cavalry into one branch of service. The cavalry branch transitioned to the Armored Forces with tanks in 1940, but the term "cavalry", e.g. "armored cavalry", remains in use in the U.S. Army for mounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) units based on their parent Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) regiment. Cavalry is also used in the name of the 1st Cavalry Division for heraldic/lineage/historical purposes. Some combined arms battalions are designated as armor formations, while others are designated as infantry organizations. These "branch" designations are again, heraldic/lineage/historical titles derived from the CARS regiments to which the battalions are assigned.
Stratford Hall is a historic house museum near Lerty in Westmoreland County, Virginia. It was the plantation house of four generations of the Lee family of Virginia. Stratford Hall is the boyhood home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee (1732–1794), and Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734–1797). Stratford Hall is also the birthplace of Robert Edward Lee (1807–1870), a longtime military officer in the Corps of Engineers in the United States Army. Later, Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis selected Robert E. Lee as General-in-Chief of the Confederate States Army. Lee commanded the CSA’s Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War (1861–1865). After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee became president of Washington College, later known as Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia. The Stratford Hall estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, under the care of the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Lee family of the United States is a historically significant Virginia and Maryland political family, whose many prominent members are known for their accomplishments in politics and the military. The family became prominent in colonial British North America when Richard Lee I immigrated to Virginia in 1639 and made his fortune in tobacco.
Richard Bland Lee was a planter, jurist, and politician from Fairfax County, Virginia. He was the son of Henry Lee II (1730–1787) of "Leesylvania" and Lucy Grymes (1734–1792), as well as a younger brother of both Maj. Gen. Henry Lee (1756–1818) and of Charles Lee (1758–1815), Attorney General of the United States from 1795 to 1801, who served in both the Washington and Adams administrations.
The 1st Continental Light Dragoons, also known as Bland's Horse, was a mounted regiment of the Continental Army organized between 13 June and 10 September 1776 in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was made up of men from eastern and northern Virginia for service with the Continental Army.
Lee's Legion was a military unit within the Continental Army during the American Revolution. It primarily served in the Southern Theater of Operations, and gained a reputation for efficiency, bravery on the battlefield and ruthlessness equal to that of Tarleton's Raiders.
Field Marshal William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt, was a British nobleman and British Army officer. He served as an aide-de-camp to Lord Albemarle for the expedition to Havana during the Seven Years' War. He also commanded his regiment at the Battle of White Plains and then captured General Charles Lee at Basking Ridge during the American Revolutionary War. After that he commanded the British Cavalry at the Battle of Willems during the Flanders Campaign. He succeeded the Duke of York as commander during that campaign and oversaw the British retreat and their final evacuation from Bremen. His last main military role was as Governor of the Royal Military College at Great Marlow.
Col. Thomas Lee was a leading political figure of colonial Virginia. He was a member of the Lee family, a political dynasty which included many figures from the pre-American Revolutionary War era until the late 20th century. Lee became involved in politics in 1710 and he became the resident manager of the Northern Neck Proprietary for Lady Catherine Fairfax. After his father died, he inherited land in Northumberland and Charles County. Lee later acquired vast holdings in what are now Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, and Loudoun Counties. These properties were developed as tobacco plantations.
Col. Henry Lee II (1730–1787) of Alexandria, Westmoreland, Virginia Colony, was an American planter, soldier, and politician, the father of Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III, and grandfather of Robert E. Lee.
The Fendall family was a prominent American political family that had its beginnings when Josias Fendall immigrated to Maryland in the early 1650s. He was appointed the 4th proprietary Governor of Maryland from 1656 to 1660.
Nicholas Ruxton Moore was a U.S. Representative from Maryland.
General Sir John William Floyd, 1st Baronet, was a British cavalry officer.
Anne Hill Carter Lee was the wife of the ninth governor of Virginia, Henry Lee III, and the mother of the general-in-chief of the Confederate States of America, Robert E. Lee. As a separated wife and then as a widow, she was the head of her household at Lee Corner, Alexandria, Virginia, in what is now known as the Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home. Her chronic pain and straightened circumstances play a significant role in her son Robert's biography.
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Henry Lee III
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| Governor of Virginia |
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Virginia's 19th congressional district
March 4, 1799 – March 3, 1801 (obsolete district)