Stratford Hall and the Lees Connected with Its History, by Frederick Warren Alexander, Seventh Generation

Stratford Hall and the Lees Connected with Its History

SEVENTH GENERATION.


Blair Lee.

BLAIR 7, only child of Samuel Phillips 6, (Francis Lightfoot 5, Richard Henry 4, Thomas 3, Richard 2, Richard 1), born at Silver Spring, Md., August 9, 1857, where he now resides.

He graduated at Princeton in 1880 and studied law at the Columbian University, and in the office of Reginald Fendall. Was admitted to the bar in Montgomery County, Md., and the District of Columbia in 1883, since which time he has been active in the practice of his profession and has taken a prominent part in the politics of Maryland. He was a candidate for Congress in 1896 from the 6th Maryland District on the Democratic ticket, but the District being usually Republican, he was defeated. In 1905 he was a candidate for State Senator from Montgomery County, and after a vigorous contest was nominated and elected. In 1909 he was re-elected to the State Senate being the first person to serve two consecutive terms from that county. In 1911 he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Maryland under the popular primary election law of that State and after a close and hotly contested campaign was defeated, the vote in the convention being 64 to 65. During his service in the Maryland State Senate he has taken an active part in Legislation and debate and is the author of a number of important Laws passed during that period.


Anne Clymer (Brooks) Lee.

Blair Lee, married Anne Clymer Brooks, October 1st, 1891. She died December 24,1903, and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, D.C.

By her he had three children.

I—Edward Brooks Lee 8, born October 23, 1892, now a student at College.

II—Phillips Blair Lee 8, born December 27, 1896, also a student at college.

III—Arthur Fitzgerald Lee 8, born 1899, died in his sixth year and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, D.C.


Fitzhugh Lee.

Fitzhugh 7, eldest child of Sidney Smith 6, (Henry 5, Henry 4, Henry 3, Richard 2, Richard 1), born at “Clermont,” Fairfax County, November 19, 1835. When sixteen he entered the Military Academy at West Point, where he was graduated in July, 1865, and at the head of his class in horsemanship, and was appointed second lieutenant in the famous old Second Cavalry, which regiment furnished so many officers afterward distinguished in the civil war. His first important duty was drilling and discipline raw recruits at the Carlisle Barracks, in Pennsylvania, where he gave evidence of ability in organizing troops. It was probably the ability shown on this duty that led to his being appointed, a few years later, an instructor of cavalry at West Point. After leaving Carlisle, Lieutenant Lee served upon the frontier against the Indians. The following sketch of “Fitzhugh Lee as an Indian fighter,” from the pen of an old army comrade, is of interest, telling both of the adventures of the subject of this sketch, and giving the experience of the soldiers on the “plains” in a species of warfare now happily past.

In 1859, I was a bugler of “B” Company of the 2nd. U.S. Cavalry (now the 5th), having enlisted in the army at the age of thirteen years. The officers of the company were: captain, E. Kirby Smith; 1st Lieutenant, Walter Jenifer, and 2nd Lieutenant, Fitzhugh Lee.

At the time of which I write, the company formed a part of the Wichita expedition, composed of six companies of the 2d Cavalry and commanded by Brevet Major, Earl Van Dorn, Captain 2d Cavalry; Lieut. Lee acting as Adjutant. This expedition was organized for the purpose of operating against the main villages of the hostile Indians, whose depredations on the people of Texas had become unbearable. These Indians, leaving their families and villages in the far distant Indian Territory, would form into small bands and, penetrating into the very heart of the settlements, murder men, women, and children, and return in comparative safety to their villages with their spoils of scalps and horses. The few mounted troops in Texas at that time were widely scattered, the posts being from 100 to 150 miles apart, and although the officers and men were ever on the alert, still the Indians’ knowledge of the country, their plainscraft and ability to travel night and day, gave them a great advantage over the soldiers, and made the chance of overtaking and punishing them very uncertain. The object of the expedition, then, was to strike the large bands congregated in their villages, give them a chastisement they would not soon forget, and thereby put an end to the depredations on the people of Texas. . . .

The approach to the Indians’ stronghold could only be made on foot and in open or skirmish order, as the undergrowth was so thick as to be almost impenetrable. Several charges were made, one being led by Major Van Dorn in person, but all were forced back, due as much to the obstacles they encountered as to the fire of the Indians.

At this juncture Lieut. Lee asked permission to lead a charge against one of the flanks of the Indians position, which was granted, and resulted in the capture of a large number of women and children and a few warriors, who were mixed up with them. In a second charge he struck the Indians within a few yards of their main body, and a desperate encounter ensued. In pressing forward in advance of his men, Lieut. Lee came face to face with an Indian brave. He raised his pistol, the Indian drew his bow and both fired at the same instant. The lieutenant’s bullet struck the Indian squarely between the eyes and the Indian’s arrow entered his right side under his extended arm, and, passing between the ribs, penetrated the right lung. The force and shock of the wound caused Lieut. Lee to stager for support against a tree, whence he was assisted to a place of safety by his men. It was at this time that Major Van Dorn was made aware of Lieut. Lee’s accident, and, taking me with him, hastened to where he lay stretched on the ground in an apparently dying condition. He motioned me to him, and I sat down beside him, taking his head in my lap. The blood was streaming from his mouth, but not a drop came from his wound. He was unable to speak, but could, by motions, make himself understood. The surgeon was soon on the spot, and used all his skill to stop the flow of blood, which threatened to strangle the patient, but was only partially successful.

Lieut. Lee’s condition was deemed very critical—so much so that Major Van Dorn though it advisable to take down any message he might wish to send his parents, and my recollection is that the letter, as dictated, was addressed jointly to his father and mother. It was necessarily very brief, as he could only speak with great effort, and one sentence still remains fresh in my memory. It was that; “he was dying a soldier’s death, the one he preferred above all others.” In the meantime, the troops had overwhelmed the Indians, killing 55 warriors and taking numerous prisoners. In the last assault, my captain—E. Kirby Smith—was severely, but not dangerously, wounded. Now that the fight was over the officers gathered around their wounded comrade with expressions of sympathy and sorrow. They soon dispersed, however, at the request of the surgeon, who feared bad effect for his patient from the excitement of their presence. Lieut. Lee remained perfectly still for several minutes after they left, when, looking up at me, he said: “Jack you are going to loose your best friend.” This caused me to feel much depressed, as I was sincerely attached to him, but an incident which took place a little later made me feel differently. At that time a Lieut. Kimmel, an old West Point comrade, who had only just heard of his friend’s misfortune, being at a distant part of the field, came rushing up and, taking both of Lieut. Lee’s hands, said; “Fitz, old man, we can’t afford to loose you,” together with many other expressions of love and sympathy; and as the sufferer seemed pleased and interested, continuing saying: “I had a close call myself,” and took off his hat and showed where a bullet had passed through it. Lieut Lee, with a faint smile on his face, turned his head towards Kimmel and said between gasps: “Kimmel do you wish me to believe that an Indian shot that hole in your hat! Acknowledge the corn, old man; didn’t you go behind a tree and shoot the hole in your hat yourself?” After that I never doubted he would get well, but he had a hard struggle, and it was many months before he entirely recovered. . . .

Soon after our arrival at Camp Colorado, Lieut. Lee was granted permission to visit Austin, the capital of the State, to witness the inauguration of General Sam. Houston, as Governor, and took me with him. We traveled by ambulance and, after taking in the inauguration, started on our return via San Antonio, then, as now, the livilest city in Texas. After a few days spent in San Antonio, we started for our station, arriving there on the evening of the 12th of January, 1860, in the midst of a Texas norther and snow-storm. A short time before, two men of the company, who had been on a hunting pass, came in and reported having seen a party of Indians driving a large band of horses and mules about sixteen miles from the post. As none but hostile Indians ever visited that part of the country and then only for the purpose of murder and plunder, preparations were made at once to pursue them, and, inside of an hour from our arrival at the post, Lieut. Lee, with a detachment of twelve men, was in the saddle and riding for the place where the Indians had been seen. The wind was blowing a gale and snow drifting so as to make our progress very slow, and, in consequence, we did not reach the point where the Indians had been seen until after daylight. Their trail was soon found, but, on account of the heavy fall of snow covering it in places and the precautions taken by the Indians to hide it, such as driving their animals in a circle and other devices, it was slow work following it for the first few miles, but after that, the Indians having become careless, we were able to follow it at a trot and kept the gait without a halt or rest until night set in and it was too dark to follow further. We then halted for the first time since leaving the post eighteen hours before, not to go into camp but to sit and walk about until it was light enough to again take up the trail. Fortunately, the norther had blown itself out during the night, but it was still very cold and, no fire being allowed we breakfasted on hard tack and frozen pork. When the time came to mount our horses, some of the men were so stiff they had to be assisted into their saddles. We had not traveled far, before we came to where the Indians had halted for a short time, and killed a colt and cooked a part of it. From these indications we infered that they could not be very far ahead of us and spurred on with renewed vigor. As the sun was out bright and strong, causing the snow to melt rapidly, the trail was now easy to follow and ran a course parallel to a ridge which extended northward for several miles. This ridge was covered by a heavy growth of cedar trees, with occasional clear spaces. Pressing forward on the trail, which was becoming fresher each mile, one of our party discovered an object in the timber to our right and I was ordered to ascertain what it was. After going about 300 yards, I was able to ascertain that it was a loose pony, and, turning to rejoin the command, saw the Indians going over a hill less than half a mile ahead. Luckily they did not see me, and, putting spurs to my horse I soon joined the command and reported my discovery to Lieut. Lee, who immediately halted, ordered the men to divest themselves of their overcoats and other impedimenta, and carefully examine their arms. Then, drawing our pistols, we moved forward at a fast gallop, and, rising the hill, came in full view of the objects of our pursuit, who, owing to being muffled up in their blankets and robes, had not as yet seen us. Indeed we could have gotten right on them, but for the accidental discharge of a pistol by one of the men, which gave the Indians notice.

Lieut. Lee immediately ordered the charge, and the men dashed forward with yells and cheers, following the scattering Indians, who were too much surprised to make a stand, but broke to the timber on the ridge to our right. In the pursuit I found myself with Lieut. Lee and one other man trying to intercept two of the men before they could reach the timber. One was killed at the edge, but the other being mounted on a remarkably fast pony not only succeeded in getting to the timber, but had the audacity to turn and fire several shots at us before entering. But Lieut. Lee was determined he should not escape, and we followed him into the timbers and for several miles along the ridge. The cedar trees grew very thick in places, and we would at times ride several hundred yards without catching sight of our Indian, and then again, striking into one of the clear spaces, we would find ou[r]selves close upon him, when Lieut. Lee would take a snap shot at him with a carbine he had borrowed from the man with us, but without effect. This continued for about seven miles, when we came to where the ridge ended in ravines opening out into the prairie. We had lost sight of our Indian for some time, but the tracks of his pony in the melting snow were quite plain and easily followed. Presently the tracks led into a dark ravine. Here we separated, Lieut. Lee taking one side and I the other, the third man following the trail. We had only gone a few hundred yards, when lieutenant called to me to come to his side of the ravine, as he wished to speak to me, and, as I turned to reply, I saw the Indian coming out of the ravine we had passed, on foot, and run over the hill toward a ravine on the other side. I instantly called out “There he goes, lieutenant!” and the latter turned just in time to see him disappear over the hill. We immediately galloped to the point where he disappeared, but could see nothing of him anywhere, but dismounting soon discovered his moccasin tracks leading down the hill into a thicket. Leaving our horses in charge of the other man, we entered the brush abreast, with an interval between us of about thirty yards. Lieut. Lee still wore his overcoat, made of heavy cloth with cape, and was armed with an old fashioned muzzle-loading carbine and Colt’s revolver. I had a pistol only. After making our way cautiously into the brush for a couple of hundred yards, Lieut. Lee called to me, “Jack, keep a good look out now, for he is not far off; here is his blanket,” which he picked up from the ground and threw across the carbine he carried on his left shoulder and started forward. At this time the Indian was only a few yards away, crouching behind a small ledge of rocks, where he remained until Lieut. Lee was almost on top of him, when, straightening up with a yell, he let drive an arrow full at his breast. This the lieutenant avoided by jumping to one side, but it was shot with such force and at such close range that, after parsing through the cape and left sleeve of his coat, it struck the stock of the carbine he carried and broke in two. In jumping aside, Lieut. Lee dropped the carbine and was left with his pistol only, which he thrust towards the Indian to fire, when the latter grasped it by the barrel with his left hand and turned the muzzle from him. In this position the pistol was discharged without injury to either, and in the struggle that issued for its possession, it fell to the ground, and for the time was lost to both of its combatants. A desperate hand to hand struggle now ensued, the Indian now attempting to use his knife and Lieut. Lee closing with him to prevent him. The whole thing was so sudden and startling that for a moment I was powerless to move and stood still in my tracks, but, hearing the lieutenant call my name, I hurried to his assistance. The Indian was the larger and stronger man, and he flung his antagonist about with apparent ease, but could not down him. Seeing me approach with my pistol presented, he managed to place the-lieutenant between him and me, and I was afraid to shoot for fear I might hit my officer. An instant later, greatly to my surprise and joy, I saw the Indian hurled to the ground, Lieut. Lee falling on top—one of the prettiest falls I have ever seen. Now one of those fortunate circumstances took place which seldom happen more than once in a lifetime. As Lieut. Lee was falling he saw his pistol, which had been dropped in the struggle, lying on the ground and within reach. With great presence of mind he managed to free his right arm and, grasp and cock the pistol and fire a bullet through the Indian’s cheeks, while another shot better aimed sent him to the “happy hunting grounds.”

As soon as he could free himself from the embrace of the Indian, he arose to his feet and commenced to feel over his body for knife or arrow wounds, but, fortunately, though his clothing was cut in many places, his skin was not touched. This was due to the heavy clothing he had on, especially to the overcoat, the material of which was unusually thick and heavy.

I remarked to him: “You had a pretty close call with the Indian.” He replied, at the same time extending his arms, “Yes he was a big fellow, but I was only getting my music up with him and feel now that I could get away with half a dozen just like him.” Later, on my asking him how he succeeded in throwing the Indian, he said:

He was very strong as far as brute strength went, but he knew nothing of the science of wrestling. For a time, though, I thought he would get me, when I happened to think of a trick in wrestling which I learned during my school days in Virginia. It was known as the “Virginia back heel.” I tried it on him and fetched him.

Lieut. Lee was complimented in orders by his department commander and the commanding General of the army, General Scott, but I doubt if anyone ever heard him talk of his achievements as a young man on the plains of Texas, as he is all together too modest to speak of his own exploits.

E. M. Hayes, Major, 7th Cavalry.

Fort Clark, Texas, January, 1895.

The outbreak of the civil war found Fitzhugh Lee at West Point an instructor of cavalry tactics. Every endeavor was made to induce him to continue at his post. He was told that if he was not willing to fight against his State, he could remain during the war at West Point, where good pay and easy duty would be his portion. Rejecting these tempting offers, he promptly resigned and offered his services to his native State. Being appointed adjutant-genera1 on the staff of General Ewell, he served in that capacity during the campaign of the first Manassas. In September, 1861, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the First Virginia Cavalry, of which Stuart was then colonel. On the promotion of Stuart, he was chosen colonel, and, later, brigadier-general under Stuart. When Stuart made his famous raid around McClellan, Colonel Lee accompanied him. In 1863, the cavalry of the army of Northern Virginia were divided into two divisions; General Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee succeeded Hampton as the commander of the cavalry of Northern Virginia, with rank of major-general. So much for the various positions held by him. To give a full sketch of his army services, of the battles participated in, of the special raids, of the daring scouting parties, or of the skill with which he aided in covering movements of the army, and that, too, with such a meagre force—to tell all this would be to write a history of the achievements of the army of Northern Virginia. Suffice it to say, that General Fitzhugh Lee was frequently commended and always trusted by his superior officers, and was the idol of his brave troopers. That the cavalry arm of the Southern armies was not able to accomplish more, or to better hold its own against the greater numbers and much better equipped troopers of the enemy, was never due to any lack of bravery on the part of the soldiers nor to want of skill and daring on the part of their officers. The Southern cavalry was never properly mounted nor armed, and seldom did man or beast receive sufficient rations. But all this is well known, and needs no further statement. After the war, General Lee retired to his desolated farm in Stafford County, and, like the rest of his brave comrades, went to work. And it was hard work. He himself has said of it: “I had been accustomed all my life to draw corn from the quartermaster, and found it rather hard now to draw it from an obstinate soil, but I did it!” In the autumn of 1885, General Lee was elected Governor of Virginia, thus following the footsteps of his grandfather, General Henry Lee.

General Lee was married at Alexandria, on the 19th of April, 1871, to Ellen Bernard, daughter of George D. Fowle, of that place; they had five children:

I—Ann Maria 8, born 1872, died in infancy.

II—Ellen 8, born 1873, married Capt. James Rhea, of the 7th U. S. Cavalry, now stationed in the Philippines. They have two children.

III—Fitzhugh 8, unmarried a Captain in the 7th U.S. Cavalry, now stationed in the Philippines.

IV—Georg 8, married Kathryn Burton. 1st lieutenant in 7th U. S. Cavalry, now detailed at Fort Riley.

V—Nannie 8, married 1st Lieutentant Lewis Brown, of the 7th U. S. Cavalry and now stationed in the Philippines.

VI—Virginia 8, married Lieutenant John Montgomery, of the 7th U. S. Cavalry and now stationed in the Philippines.

VII—Sydney Smith 8, died in infancy.


George Washington Custis Lee.

George Washington Custis 7, son of Robert Edward Lee 6, (Henry 5, Henry 4, Henry 3, Richard 2, Richard 1).

George Washington Custis Lee was born at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, on the 16th of September, 1832. His earlier school days were passed at “Clarens,” in Fairfax County, at the classical school of the late Rev. George A. Smith, later, he entered the celebrated mathematical school of Benjamin Hallowell, at Alexandria, where his father had studied before him. President Zachary Taylor nominated him to a cadetship at West Point, and he entered the institution in June, 1850. In June 1854, he graduated at the head of his class, having passed the four years of study there without receiving a single demerit. He was then assigned to the corps of engineers with the rank of brevet second lieutenant; in 1855, he was made full second lieutenant, in 1859, first lieutenant. During his seven years service in the U. S. Army, he was on duty in the engineer bureau at Washington, in Georgia, Florida, and California, engaged in harbor defenses and river improvements. On the second of May, 1861, he resigned from the U. S. Army, to enter the service of his native State; he was appointed major of engineers, and when the Virginia forces were turned over to the Confederate States government, he was commissioned a captain of engineers, C.S.A. On the last of August, 1861, he was appointed aide-de-camp to the President of the Confederate States, with rank of colonel. During his service on the President’s staff he was engaged in supervising the defenses of Richmond. Toward the end of June, 1863, he was made a brigadier-general to command troops for the defense of Richmond; against cavalry raids, etc. During the summer of 1864, he was appointed a major-general to command a division which operated on the lines below Richmond, from Chaffin’s Bluff northward, in which command he continued until the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg.

In the autumn of 1865, General Lee received the appointment to the chair of Civil and Military Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington, Va.

He continued in this professorship until after the death of his father, when (on the first of February, 1871) he was elected president of Washington and Lee University, which position he held until he resigned and was made President Emeritus for life. He retired to the old home of his brother, “Ravensworth,” where he now lives unmarried.

Mr. Davis held General Custis Lee in such high estimation that he considered him the proper man to succeed his father in command of the Army of Northern Virginia, should occasion for a successor arise. Of this statement, the Rev. J. William Jones has given this proof: Mr. Jones writes:

I have the following from the lips of the distinguished officer, who related it. When General — was compelled by failing health to ask to be relieved from a certain important command, he went to Richmond to confer with President Davis as to his successor, and to endeavor to impress upon him the very great importance of the district, and of the commander being a man of fine abilities. Mr. Davis fully sympathized with his views, and, after reflection said: “I know of no better man for that position than General Custis Lee. To show you my estimate of his ability, I will say that, when some time ago I thought of sending General Robert Lee to command the Western army, I had determined that his son Custis should succeed him in command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Now I wish you to go up and see General Lee, tell him what I say, and ask him to order General Custis Lee to the command of that department. Tell him I will make his son major-general, lieutenant-general, or, if need be, full general, so that he may rank any officer likely to be sent to that department.”

General — promptly sought Lee’s headquarters, delivered Mr. Davis’ message and urged a compliance. But to all of his arguments and entreaties, the old chieftain had but one reply: “I am very much obliged to Mr. Davis for his high opinion of Custis Lee. I hope that, if he had the opportunity, he would prove himself in some measure worthy of that confidence. But, he is an untried man in the field, and I cannot appoint him to that command. Very much against his wishes and my own, Mr. Davis has kept him on his personal staff, and he had no opportunity to prove his ability to handle an army in the field. Whatever may be the opinion of others, I cannot pass by my tried officers and take for that important position a comparatively new man—especially when that man is my own son. Mr. Davis can make the assignment if he thinks proper—I shall certainly not do so.”

When his brother, W. H. F. Lee, was a prisoner of war, and held as a hostage under sentence of death, General Custis Lee requested, under a special flag of truce, the Northern authorities to be allowed to take his brother’s place as a prisoner in solitary confinment and under sentence of death, giving as his reason for the proposed exchange his desire to save from sorrow the innocent and sick wife of his wounded brother. His request was refused, on the ground that the burdens of war must remain upon those on whom it had chanced to fall.


Major-General, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee.

William Henry Fitzhugh 7, the second son of Robert Edward Lee 6, (Henry 5, Henry 4, Henry 3, Richard 2, Richard 1), and Mary Anne Randolph Custis, his wife, was born at Arlington, Alexandria County, the 31st of May, 1837; died at “Ravensworth,— Fairfax County, the 15th, of October, 1891. After a thorough preparatory course of study, first under the Rev. George A. Smith, near Alexandria, then with a Mr. McNally, at Baltimore, and, lastly, under the care of a Mr. Nugent, at New York City, he entered Harvard College in the autumn of 1854. One who also entered the freshman class of that year has given a sketch of him as he appeared at that time:

My acquaintance with William Henry Fitzhugh Lee commenced in the summer of 1854, when we met at Cambridge as members of the freshman class at Harvard College. He was just then entering his eighteenth year, was well grown for his age, tall, vigorous, and robust; open and frank in his address, kind and genial in his manners. He entered upon his college life with many advantages in his favor. The name of Lee was already upon the rolls of the university, for other representatives of different branches of the family had entered and graduated in the years gone by, and had left pleasant memories behind them. His distinguished lineage made him a welcome guest in the old families of the university city, and of Boston, its near neighbor, who felt a just pride in the historic and traditional associations connected with the earlier history of the country, and many of the influential members of the class belonged to such families.

He was rather older than the average age of his classmates, and his life had been spent amid surroundings that enabled him to see a good deal of society and the world, so that he brought with him into his college a more matured mind and a greater insight than the student usually possesses at the threshold of his career. He had enjoyed excellent advantages in preparing for the entering examinations, and was well grounded in the languages as well as mathematics, so that he entered the class well fitted for the course of study to be pursued. Thus, from the first, he was prominent in the university, and soon became popular among his classmates, and his prominence and popularity was maintained during his stay among us.

This was due not to his superior distinction in any particular study or in any one feature of college life, but rather to his general standing and characteristics. He kept pace with his classmates in the recitation room, not so much by hard and continuous study as by his quick comprehension and ready grasp of the subject in hand and the general fund of knowledge at his command. He was of a friendly and companionable nature, and there was abundant opportunities in a large class to develop his disposition, cultivate social intercourse, and strengthen the bonds of good fellowship. He had been accustomed to an outdoor life in his Virginia home, and his manly training had given him an athletic frame, which required constant and vigorous exercise. This he sought in active sports on the foot-ball ground and in class and college boat clubs, where he was welcomed as a valuable auxiliary. (Extracts from the remarks of Senator Samuel Pasco, U. S. Senate, 4th March, 1892).

In 1857, Mr. Lee was appointed a lieutenant in the army at the personal request of General Scott, who wrote to the Secretary of War, urging his appointment in the following complementary terms:

Headquarters of the Army, 8th, May, 1857.

Hon. J. B. Floyd, Secretary of War,

Sir:—I beg to ask that one of the vacant second lieutenantcies be given to W. H. F. Lee, son of Brevet Colonel, R. E. Lee, at present on duty against the Comanches. I make this application mainly on the extraordinary merits of the father, the very best soldier that I ever saw in the field. But the son himself is a very remarkable youth, now about twenty, of a fine stature and constitution, a good linguist, a good mathematician, and about to graduate at Harvard University. He is also honorable and amiable, like his father, and dying to enter the army. I do not ask this commission as a favor, though if I had influence I should be happy to exert it in this case. My application is in the name of the national justice in part payment (and but a small part) of the debt due to the invaluable services of Colonel Lee. I have the honor to be, etc.

Upon receiving his appointment to the army, Mr. Lee left Harvard to join his regiment, the Sixth Infantry. His first military service was to command a detachment of soldiers on their way to join the main body, then in Texas. Later he accompanied his regiment, then under the command of the brave and skillful, Albert Sydney Johnston, in his expedition against the Mormons. After the disturbances in Utah were quited he marched with his regiment to the Pacific coast, then a very tedious journey. Lieut. Lee soon became tired of the dull routine of garrison life, and resigned his commission in the army. Returning to Virginia, he married Miss Charlotte Wickham, and settled, as a planter, on the famous old Custis estate the “White House,” on the Pamunky River, once the home of the Widow Custis, when she married George Washington.

The following extracts from some letters written by General R. E. Lee to his son will show the training under which he grew up:

I hope you will always be distinguished for your avoidance of the universal bane, whisky, and every immorality. Nor need you fear to be ruled out of the society that indulges in it, for you will acquire their esteem and respect, as all venerate, if they do not practice virtue. I hope you will make many friends, as you will be thrown with those who deserve this feeling. But indiscriminate intimacies you will find annoying and entangling, and they can be avoided by politeness and civility. When I think of your youth, impulsiveness, and many temptations, your distance from me, and the ease (and ever innocence) with which you might commence an erroneous course, my heart quails within me and my whole frame and being tremble at the possible result. May Almighty God have you in his Holy keeping. To His merciful providence I commit you, and I will rely upon Him and the efficacy of the prayers that will be daily and hourly offered up by those who love you.

A year or two later, on New Year’s Day, 1859, he writes:

I always thought and said there was stuff in you for a good soldier, and I trust you will prove it. I cannot express the gratification I felt, in meeting Colonel May in New York, at the ecomiums he passed upon your soldiership, zeal, and devotion to your duty. But I was more pleased at the report of your conduct; that went nearer to my heart and was infinitely of more comfort to me. Hold on to your purity and virtue; they will probably sustain you in all trials and difficulties and cheer you in every calamity.

So, too, when the young lieutenant had married and settled down a typical Virginia farmer:

I am glad to hear that your mechanics are all paid off and that you have managed your funds so well as to have enough for your purposes. As you have commenced, I hope you will continue never to exceed your means. It will save you much anxiety and mortification, and enable you to maintain your independence of character and feeling. It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means than to make our means conform to our wishes. In fact, we want but little. Our happiness depends upon our independence, the success of our operations, prosperity of our plans, health, contentment, and the esteem of our friends, all of which, my dear son, I hope you may enjoy the full.

On the outbreak of the late Civil War, Lieut. Lee raised a company of cavalry and joined the Virginia troops. As another has said of him, he

served in every grade, successfully, from captain to major-general of cavalry; he led his regiment in the famous raid around McClellan’s army, and was an active participant in all these brilliant achievements, which made the cavalry services so proficient.

In the terrible fight at Brandy Station, 10th of June, 1863, he was most severely wounded, and was taken to the residence of Gen. W. C. Wickham, a relative of his wife’s where he was made prisoner by a raiding party (sent for the purpose), and carried off, at great personal suffering, to Fortress Monroe. From the latter place he was conveyed to Fort Lafayette, where he was confined until March, 1864, and treated with great severity, being held, with Capt. R. H. Taylor, under sentence of death, as a hostages for two Federal officers who were prisoners in Richmond, and whom it was thought would be executed for some retaliatory measure.

Exchanged in the spring of 1864, he returned to find his young wife and children dead, his beautiful home burned to the ground, his whole estate devasted and laid waste by the ruthless hand of war; and yet almost his first act on reaching Richmond was to go to Libby prison, visit the two Federal officers for whom he had been held as hostage, and who, like himself, had been under apprehension of being hung, and shake hands with and congratulate them. Immediately joining his command, he led his division from the Rapidan to Appomatox, where with his father, the greatest soldier of modern times, he surrendered to the inevitable. (Extracts from the remarks of Mr. E. E. Meredith, in the House of Representatives, February 6, 1892).

Another member of the House of Representatives paid this tribute:

Throughout the struggle, he discharged every duty and was equal to every responsibility placed upon him. His soldiers loved and trusted him as a father, for they knew he would sacrifice no life for empty glory. The saddest chapter in all his life was when—a prisoner of war at Fort Monroe, lying desperately wounded, with the threat of a retaliatory death sentence suspended over his head, in hourly expectation of its execution—he heard of the fatal illness of his wife and two little children but a few miles away. Earnestly his friends begged that he might be allowed to go and say the last farewell to them on earth. A devoted brother came, like Damon of old, and offered himself to die in “Rooney’s” place. War, inexorable war, always stern and cruel, could not accept the substituted sacrifice, and while the sick, wounded soldier, under sentence of death, lay, himself almost dying, in the dungeon of the fort, his wife and children “passed over the river to rest under the trees,[”] and wait there his coming. Yet no word of reproach ever passed his gentle lips. He accepted it all as the fortune of war.

In all the walks of life—as a student of college, as an officer in the regular army, as a planter on the Pamunky, as a leader of cavalry in the civil war, as a farmer struggling with the chaos and confusion that beset him under the new order of things following the abolition of slavery, as President of the Virginia Agricultural Society, as State Senator, and as a member of Congress—Gen. William H. F. Lee met every requirement, was equal to every emergency, and left a name for honor, truth, and virtue, which should be a blessed heritage and the inspiration for a nobler and loftier life to all those who shall succeed him. (Mr. Herbert Washington).

As had been stated, General Lee was connected with the cavalry all during the war, and, naturally, took the greatest pride in its efficiency, and was jealous of its reputation. This branch of the service seems to have been neglected by the Confederate Government, hence its inefficiency. The following letter from General Lee, on this subject, will prove of interest:

Richmond, 29th November, 1864.

Dear Sir, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d instant, as to requirements and principles to be observed in the reorganization of the cavalry, and today comply as succinctly as possible with your wishes, relative to my ideas on the subject.

The cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia is composed of the best material for troopers in the world. They are intelligent men, naturally excellent riders, and mounted on good horses, and require only, to make them more efficient, organization. First, more horse feed; second, to be more thoroughly and constantly drilled mounted; third, to be better armed. As far as my observation extends, the cavalry are well drilled on foot and with the sabre, as far as laid down in the cavalry tactics, but could not be perfected in the mounted drill for the reason that the horses, for want of a sufficient supply of food, cannot stand the required work. The enemy, on the contrary, being supplied in greater abundance, their mounted drills are mere exercise for their horses; and, in this respect only (save in numbers), is their cavalry superior to ours. Here is the advantage. Badly drilled squadrons charged, the men scatter in every direction; opposing squadrons, well drilled, moving in compact mass, fall upon the isolated fragments and overwhelm them in detail. Experience teaches the proper arms of cavalry to be—a pistol (Colt’s navy the best), a breech-loading carbine (Sharp’s preferred), and a sabre. The government has never been able to supply the demand for cavalry arms; they ought to be imported. Our most efficient arms have been captured from the enemy, but of course not in sufficient quantities to meet the demand.

The government ought to furnish horses, at least to meritorious troopers who are no longer capable of furnishing their own; and next, to all cavalry serving out of their own states. Existing orders now require permanently dismounted men to be transferred to the infantry, which is manifestly unjust to the deserving, well-trained trooper, whose circumstances are reduced, in many instances, by the enemy’s incursions and depredations. Cases exist, however, sometimes requiring the transfer of cavalrymen to infantry organizations; for such men, soldiers, particularly distinguished for feats of courage, should be exchanged as an equivalent. The military axiom, that in all well disciplined, drilled commands, one soldier is as good as another, approximates to a nearer degree of truth with reference to the infantry than cavalry; for whi1st the former admit of a higher state of discipline, the latter fight more detached and scattered, and individual dash has a greater influence. It generally requires too, more courage to go into a fight on horseback than on foot. Should this principal be observed, the infantry soldier would have an incentive to deeds of valor, viz.: the reward of putting him on horseback—and cavalry be composed of men who would ride up to and over almost anything.

There should be prompt and just legislation to provide payment for all horses killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty, whether in action or otherwise, as long as the ownership remains with individuals. The regimental quartermaster ought to have the authority, with the approval of the colonel, and upon the necessary certificates, to pay all such accounts in his regiment.

Now soldiers are paid for horses only when killed in battle, and the accounts have to pass through so many hands that an unnecessary delay is produced even in that payment. A courier riding his horse a given number of miles in a given time, bearing important dispatches, breaks his horse down and has to abandon him, receives nothing, although he is ordered to make the time. A soldier has his horse permanently disabled by a wound, probably necessitating his being left in the enemies hands, receives nothing, and, unless he. can purchase another, is transferred to the infantry.

I have written very hastily, but think you will see what is really wanting. Whi1st cavalry cannot play the important part in large combats, owing to the improved range of arms, nature of the country, etc., it formerly has done in European wars, still the demand for it everywhere is great, and unless Congress takes the matter in hand, and legislates more liberally on the subject, the enemy next spring will ride rough-shod over the whole State.

After the close of the war General Lee settled on his farm, the “White House,” on the Pamunky River, which had been bequeathed to him by his grandfather, George Washington Parke Custis. The country presented one continuous scene of utter desolation. For nearly four years the tramp of armies had been to and fro over this region, and had, in consequence, left in their wake only the naked earth. Nothing daunted, he set to work to build his houses, to re-mark his farm lines with fences, to restock, and in short, to begin again the life of a Virginia Farmer. Nor was his case in the least exceptional. All through the South the same hard task confronted the returned soldiers; and with the greatest heroism did they begin life anew. General Lee married, in 1867, Mary Tabb Boiling. They removed in 1874, to “Ravensworth,” an estate of the Fitzhughs in Fairfax County, which he inherited under the will of his mother’s uncle, William Henry Fitzhugh, who died in 1701. There General Lee resided until his death, pursuing the quiet life of a farmer, unless taken away by the duties of various public positions, to which his countrymen elected him. He served for several years in the Virginia Senate, and was elected to the Fiftieth, Fifty-first, and Fifty-second Congresses, his death occurring a few months prior to the expiration of his second term.

In personal appearance, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, was tall, well proportioned, and of easy, dignified carriage. His courtly bearing and pleasant manners clearly stamped him one of the true gentlemen of the olden time. He was very fond of the country; of its animal as well as its vegetable life, even of its. sounds. He was also devoted to children, and they to him. Of him his pastor has written:

Of his home life, it is too sacred to speak. It was simply beautiful. He lived for his family. All, including the servants, were devoted to him. His reading of family prayers before breakfast was very impressive. Sunday nights, after tea, he liked to hear the old hymns sung. General Lee was charitable to an extent that no one knew. Many there are, not only among his neighbors, but in all parts of Virginia and beyond, who have been the recipients of his kindness. The mail constantly brought him requests for help, and generally, when the object was a worthy one, it was not in vain. How many poor blacks, not to mention the whites, who will miss his assistance in their need.

To his friends, and they were a host, he was as true as steel and if he had an enemy, I do not believe it was his fault. General Lee had the best control over himself of any man I ever knew. “Better is he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” If misunderstood or misrepresented as a public man ; if worried or annoyed about business, or if things went wrong, he ever exhibited the same courteous manner and deportment. He used to say that, “because a man was worried he had no right to be rude.” One who was an intimate of his family for years says that she, “never heard from him a cross word.” As a true Christian man in every relation of life—at home, to his neighbors, to his church, to his country—I have known no higher example than General “Rooney” Lee.

As previously stated, William H. F. Lee was twice married; first, in 1859, to Charlotte, daughter of George Wickham, U.S.N. From this union two children were born, a boy and a girl. Both died in early infancy. Mrs. Lee died 26th of December, 1863, while her husband was a prisoner. Their son was named after his grandfather—Robert Edward Lee. On hearing of the baby’s christening, the grandfather wrote his son: “. . . So he is called after his grandpapa, the dear little fellow. I wish him a better name and hope he may be a wiser and more useful man than his namesake. Such as it is, however, I gladly place it in his keeping, and feel that he must be very little like his father if it is not elevated and ennobled by his bearing and course in life. You must teach him, then, to love his grandpapa, to bear with his failings and avoid his errors, to be to you as you have been to me, and he may then enjoy the love and confidence of his father, which I feel for you, greater than which my son ever possessed.”

W. H. F. Lee married secondly, November 28,1867, Mary Tabb Bolling and had two sons:

Robert Edward 8, born at Petersburg, Va., February 11, 1869, was educated at the Episcopal High school near Alexandria, Va. In September, 1886, he entered the Washington and Lee University for a four year academic course, this was followed by two years in law, graduating a B:L. from that institution, June, 1902. In October of the same year, was admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, where he still continues a prominent member of the Washington Bar. His home is at “Ravensworth,” Fairfax County, Va., where he lives unmarried.

He served his county three terms in the House of Delegates, being first elected to the sessions of 1902 and successively returned to the sessions of 1904 and 1906.

George Bolling 8, born Lexington, Va., August 30, 1872, was educated at the Episcopal High school, near Alexandria, followed by an academic course at the Washington and Lee University, and later graduated in medicine from the School of Physicians and Surgeons at New York.

He is practicing his profession in New York City, where he now lives unmarried.


Captain Robert E. Lee.

Robert Edward 7, the youngest son of Robert Edward Lee 6, (Henry 5, Henry 4, Henry 3, Richard 2, Richard 1), and Mary Anne Randolph Custis, his wife, was born at Arlington in Alexandria County, on the 27th of October, 1843. After a course of tuition at private schools, he entered the University of Virginia in October, 1860. Though the students of the university were exempted from army service, all the young men of suitable age hastened to join the Southern army; among them Robert E. Lee, Jr. In February, 1862, he joined the famous “Rockbridge Artillery,” as a private, and served with it until appointed a lieutenant and aide to his brother, General W. H. F. Lee. He continued with the cavalry staff until the close of the war, rising to the grade of captain.

Mrs. Lee naturally desired that her son should be with his father. In reply to a letter on this subject, the General wrote her: “. . . In reference to Rob, his company would be a great pleasure to me, and he would be extremely useful to me in many ways, but I am opposed to officers surrounding themselves with their sons and relatives. It is wrong in principle, and in that case selections would be made from private and social relations rather than for the public good. There is the same objection to going with Fitz Lee. I should prefer Rob’s being in the line of an independent position, where he could rise by his own merit and not through the recommendation of his relatives. I expect him here soon, when I can better see what he himself thinks. The young men have no fondness for the society of the old general. He is too heavy and sombre for them.” In another letter, the General adds: “I hope our son will make a good soldier.”

After the close of the war, Captain Lee settled on his farm on the Pamunky River, where he now resides. He had been twice married. First, on the 16th of November, 1871, to Charlotte Taylor, daughter of R. Barton Haxall, and Octavia Robinson, his wife, of Richmond; she was born on the 23d of October, 1848, died, without issue, on the 22nd of September, 1872. He was married secondly, at Washington, D.C., on the 8th of March, 1894, to Juliet, daughter of Colonel Thomas Hill Carter, and Susan Roy, his wife, of “Pampatike,” King William County, and had:

I—Anne Carter 8, born at University of Virginia, July 21, 1897.

II—Mary Custis 8, born at Richmond, Va., December 23, 1900.


Edwin Gray Lee.

Edwin Gray Lee 7, third child of Edmund Jennings 6, (Edmund Jennings 5, Henry 4, Henry 3, Richard 2, Richard 1), born at “Leeland,” Jefferson County, W. Va., May 25, 1835, died at Yellow Springs, Va., August 24, 1870.

On the breaking out of the late Civil War, he entered the Confederate service as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Virginia Infantry; in May, 1861, he was appointed first lieutenant and aide to General Thomas J. Jackson; then major of the 23d regiment, next lieutenant-colonel, and in August, 1862, colonel of that regiment. Forced by ill health to give up duty in the field, he resigned early in 1863, but was again assigned to active duty in the fall of that year, and served on the staff of General Robert Ransom, on the south side of James River in May, 1864; was sent to Staunton the following June to command the post there and to call out the reserves in the valley. When the enemy advanced in force agai[n]st Staunton, Col. Lee saved all the government property and all the prisoners, losing only his own baggage. In October of 1864 he was appointed brigadier-general, and later was sent to Canada on secret service for the Confederate Government. After the war, his health being very poor, he was compelled to spend his winters in the far South. On hearing of his death, General Robert E. Lee wrote: “I am truly sorry to hear of Edwin Lee’s death. He was a true man, and if his health had permitted would have been an ornament, as well as a beneilt to his race. He was certainly a great credit to the name.”

On November 17, 1859, he married Susan Pendleton, and left no issue.


Edmund Jennings Lee.

Edmund Jennings 7, sixth child of Edmund Jennings 6, (Edmund Jennings 5, Henry 4, Henry 3, Richard 2, Richard 1), born at “Leeland,” Jefferson County, W. Va., October 8,1848, served in the Southern Cavalry during the last two years of the war, married first, September 25, 1875, Rebecca Lawrence Rust, of “Rockland,” Loudoun County, Va., and had:

I—Lawrence Rust 8.

II—Edmund Jennings 8.

III—Armstead Mason 8.

On September 26, 1893, he married Bessie Read Neilson.

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