Fitzhugh Lee (November 19, 1835 April 18, 1905), nephew of Robert E. Lee, was a Confederate cavalry general in the American Civil War, Governor of Virginia, diplomat, and U.S. Army general in the Spanish-American War.
Lee performed well in the Maryland Campaign of 1862, covering the Confederate infantry's withdrawal from South Mountain, delaying the Union Army advance to Sharpsburg, Maryland, before the Battle of Antietam, and covering his army's recrossing of the Potomac River into Virginia. He conducted the cavalry action of Kelly's Ford (March 17, 1863) with skill and success, where his 400 troopers captured 150 men and horses with a loss of only 14 men. In the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Lee's reconnaissance found that the Union Army's right flank was "in the air," which allowed the successful flanking attack by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, a movement led by Lee's cavalry.
After Chancellorsville, Lee was incapacitated by inflammatory rheumatism, missing a month of action, which included the significant cavalry operations at the Battle of Brandy Station. He recovered in time to lead a brigade in Jeb Stuart's ride around the Union Army in the early days of the Gettysburg Campaign, with his most significant contribution being at the Battle of Carlisle. During the Battle of Gettysburg, his brigade fought unsuccessfully in the action at East Cavalry Field. Stuart's report singled out no officer in his command for praise except Fitz Lee, who he said was "one of the finest cavalry leaders on the continent, and richly [entitled] to promotion. Lee was promoted to major general on August 3, 1863.
In the Overland and Petersburg campaigns of 1864, he was constantly employed as a divisional commander under Stuart, and, after Stuart's death, under Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton. Hampton, who had been Lee's peer for much of the war, was promoted to replace Stuart due to his seniority and greater level of experience; some observers at the time had cynically expected Robert E. Lee's nephew to receive the command.
Lee took part in Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early's campaign against Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, and at Third Winchester (September 19, 1864) three horses were shot under him and he was severely wounded. When General Hampton was sent to assist General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina, the command of the whole of Robert E. Lee's cavalry devolved upon Fitzhugh Lee on March 29, 1865, but the surrender at Appomattox followed quickly upon the opening of the campaign. Fitzhugh Lee himself led the last charge of the Confederates on April 9 that year at Farmville, Virginia.
After the war, Lee 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 Battle of Bunker Hill centennial at Boston 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, Lee was appointed consul-general at Havana by President Cleveland, with duties of a diplomatic and military character added to the usual consular business. In this post (in which he was retained by President William McKinley until 1898) he was from the first called upon to deal with a situation of great difficulty, which culminated with the destruction of the warship USS Maine. 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. Lee was an early leader of the committee for the Jamestown Exposition, which was held at Sewell's Point on Hampton Roads in 1907.
Lee wrote the article about Robert E. Lee in the Great Commanders series (1894), and Cuba's Struggle Against Spain (1899).