Lee, Fitzhugh

Lee, Fitzhugh

Lee, Fitzhugh, 1835-1905, Confederate cavalry general in the American Civil War, b. "Clermont," Fairfax co., Va.; nephew of Robert E. Lee. He campaigned against the Comanche in Texas and later was an instructor at West Point when Virginia seceded in May, 1861. He immediately resigned his commission to serve his state. In the Civil War, Lee was made a brigadier general (1862) for his part in the raid led by J. E. B. Stuart around George B. McClellan's army, and he brilliantly covered the Confederate retreat in the Antietam campaign (1862). In a cavalry engagement at Kelly's Ford in Mar., 1863, his brigade opposed the superior Union force under Gen. William W. Averell. His discovery of the weakness of Joseph Hooker's right led to Stonewall Jackson's successful flanking movement in the battle of Chancellorsville (May, 1863). Lee was with Stuart in the Gettysburg and Wilderness campaigns (1863, 1864). He was promoted to major general in Sept., 1863. Sent to support Jubal A. Early in the Shenandoah Valley in Aug., 1864, Lee was wounded at Winchester and did not return to active service until Jan., 1865. He was chief of the cavalry corps of the Army of Northern Virginia in the last days of the war and covered the retreat to Appomattox. He was (1886-90) governor of Virginia, and in 1896 President Cleveland appointed him consul general at Havana. Lee won national approval by his conduct in the difficult period preceding the Spanish-American War, and in that conflict he was a major general of volunteers. He was military governor of Havana after the war and later commanded the Dept. of the Missouri. He wrote a biography of his uncle (1894).

See D. S. Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants (3 vol., 1942-44).

Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis (April 22, 1788-April 23, 1853) was an Episcopal lay leader in Alexandria County (now Arlington County, Virginia, USA). The daughter of Ann Randolph Fitzhugh and William Fitzhugh (1741-1809), a member of the Continental Congress, she was most likely born at Chatham, in Stafford County, Virginia. On July 7, 1804, she married George Washington Parke Custis, an orator, playwright, and writer. They lived at Arlington, an 1,100-acre plantation in Alexandria County, Virginia. Of their four daughters, only Mary Anna Randolph Custis, who later married Robert E. Lee, survived childhood.

Custis was a member of a family network in northern Virginia that helped revive the state's Episcopal Church in the first part of the nineteenth century. She particularly influenced her cousin Bishop William Meade. Custis promoted Sunday schools and supported the work of the American Colonization Society.

She died at Arlington on April 23, 1853, and was buried on the estate.

References

  • Death notice and tribute in Alexandria Gazette, May 16, 27, 1853.
  • Biography in John T. Kneebone et al., eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography (Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1998- ), 3:640-642. ISBN 0-88490-206-4

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