1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lee, Fitzhugh
|←Lee, Arthur||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 16
|Lee, George Alexander→|
|See also Fitzhugh Lee on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
LEE, FITZHUGH (1835-1905), American cavalry general, was born at Clermont, in Fairfax county, Virginia, on the 19th of November 1835. He was the grandson of “Light Horse Harry” Lee, and the nephew of Robert E. Lee. His father, Sydney Smith Lee, was a fleet captain under Commodore Perry n Japanese waters and rose to the rank of commodore; his mother was a daughter of George Mason. Graduating from West Point in 1856, he was appointed to the 2nd Cavalry, which was commanded by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, and in which his uncle, Robert E. Lee, was lieutenant-colonel. As a cavalry subaltern he distinguished himself by his gallant conduct in actions with the Comanches in Texas, and was severely wounded in 1859. In May 1860 he was appointed instructor of cavalry at West Point, but resigned on the secession of Virginia. Lee was at once employed in the organization of the forces of the South, and served at first as a staff officer to General R. S. Ewell, and afterwards, from September 1861, as lieutenant-colonel, and from April 1862 as colonel of the First Virginia Cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia. He became brigadier-general on General J. E. B. Stuart's recommendation on the 25th of July 1862, and served under that general throughout the Virginian campaigns of 1862 and 1863, becoming major-general on the 3rd of September 1863. He conducted the cavalry action of Beverly Ford (17th March 1863) with skill and success. In the Wilderness and Petersburg campaigns he was constantly employed as a divisional commander under Stuart, and, after Stuart's death, under General Wade Hampton. He took part in Early's campaign against Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, and at Winchester (19th Sept. 1864) three horses were shot under him and he was severely wounded. On General Hampton's being sent to assist General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina, the command of the whole of General Lee's cavalry devolved upon Fitzhugh Lee early in 1865, but the surrender of Appomattox followed quickly upon the opening of the campaign. Fitzhugh Lee himself led the last charge of the Confederates on the 9th of April that year at Farmville.
After the war he devoted himself to farming in Stafford county, Virginia, and was conspicuous in his efforts to reconcile the Southern people to the issue of the war, which he regarded as a final settlement of the questions at issue. In 1875 he attended the Bunker Hill centenary at Boston, Mass., and delivered a remarkable address. In 1885 he was a member of the board of visitors of West Point, and from 1886 to 1890 was governor of Virginia. In April 1896 he was appointed by President Cleveland consul-general at Havana, with duties of a diplomatic and military character added to the usual consular business. In this post (in which he was retained by President McKinley) he was from the first called upon to deal with a situation of great difficulty, which culminated with the destruction of the “Maine” (see Spanish-American War) . Upon the declaration of war between Spain and the United States he re-entered the army. He was one of the three ex-Confederate general officers who were made major-generals of United States Volunteers. Fitzhugh Lee commanded the VII. army corps, but took no part in the actual operations in Cuba. He was military governor of Havana and Pinar del Rio in 1899, subsequently commanded the department of the Missouri, and retired as a brigadier-general U.S. Army in 1901. He died in Washington on the 28th of April 1905. He wrote Robert E. Lee (1894) in the “Great Commanders” series, and Cuba's Struggle Against Spain (1899).