William Henry Fitzhugh Lee

Major-General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, the second son of Gen. Robert E. Lee, was born at
Arlington, Va., May 31, 1837. He was educated at Harvard college, where he was graduated in 1857.
In the same year he was appointed second lieutenant of the Sixth infantry, United States army, and in
this rank he served in the Utah campaign under Albert Sidney Johnston, and subsequently in
California. Early in 1859 he resigned his commission and took charge of his farm, the historic White
House, on the Pamunkey river. He was heartily in sympathy with the Confederate cause, and
organized a cavalry company early in 1861, becoming one of the leading spirits in the formation of
the gallant body of troopers which were subsequently distinguished in the history of the army of
Northern Virginia, and contributed so effectively to its successes. In May he received the rank of
captain, corps of cavalry, C. S. A., and in the same month was promoted major in the regular army.
During the West Virginia campaign he acted as chief of cavalry for General Loring. In the winter of
1861-62 he was ordered to Fredericksburg, Va., and was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the
Ninth Virginia cavalry regiment, promotion to the colonelship following in March. With his regiment he
was attached to the cavalry brigade of J. E. B. Stuart, and shared its operations during the retreat
from Yorktown toward Richmond. In the famous raid around McClellan's army Stuart's men were led
by the three colonels, Fitz Lee, W. H. F. Lee and W. T. Martin; the artillery under Breathed. His
troopers defeated the enemy's cavalry at Hawes' Shop, June 13th, during this expedition. Upon the
organization of the cavalry division in the following month, his regiment was assigned to the brigade
of Fitzhugh Lee, and he participated in the operations of this command in the campaign of Second
Manassas. After serving on the advanced line before Washington, during the advance into Maryland
he was particularly distinguished in the rear-guard fighting after the action at Turner's pass. Squadron
after squadron of his regiment bore the brunt of the attacks of the Federal advance until they were the
last to enter Boonsboro. At this point Colonel Lee was unhorsed and run over in crossing a bridge;
and severely bruised and at first unconscious, lay by the roadside for some time in full view of the
passing enemy. He managed to escape and finally reached the army on the Antietam, where he was
welcomed as one from the dead. Subsequently he commanded a detachment of Lee's brigade
during the Chambersburg raid, and held the advance during the return movement in the rear of
McClellan's army. His intrepid conduct and coolness in demanding the surrender of a largely superior
force of the enemy which held White's ford on the Potomac, caused the withdrawal of this obstacle
which might have been fatal to the safe return of Stuart's command to Virginia. At the reorganization
in November he, having been promoted brigadier-general, was given command of the brigade of
cavalry consisting of the Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Fifteenth Virginia and Second North Carolina. During the
operations preceding and following the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville he was
frequently engaged, and during the combats with Pleasanton's cavalry before the Gettysburg
campaign he fought at Fleetwood Hill and Brandy Station, where he engaged the enemy in a series
of brilliant charges with his regiments, in one of the last of which he received a severe wound through
the leg. General Stuart reported "the handsome and highly satisfactory manner" in which he handled
his brigade, and the deplorable loss "for a short time only, it is hoped, of his valuable services. " But,
in his helpless condition, he was taken prisoner by Federal raiders and carried to Fortress Monroe,
where, and at Fort Lafayette, he was held until March, 1864. On his return to the army he was
promoted major-general and assigned to the command of a division of the cavalry. He participated in
the operations of the cavalry from the Rapidan to the James in 1864; was at Malvern hill when Grant
crossed the river; opposed Wilson's raid against the Weldon railroad in June; commanded the
cavalry at Globe Tavern, August; at Five Forks held the right of the Confederate line; and during the
retreat to Appomattox, aided Gordon in repulsing repeated assaults. After the surrender he retired to
his plantation, and resided there until his removal to Burke's Station in 1874. He was president for a
time of the State agricultural society, served one term in the State senate, and sat in the Fiftieth, Fifty-
first and Fifty-second Congresses as representative of the Eighth Virginia district. He died at
Alexandria, October 15, 1891.