Lee, Henry

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Lee, Henry,

1756–1818, American Revolutionary soldier, known as Light-Horse Harry Lee, b. Prince William co., Va. He was a cousin of Arthur Lee, Francis L. Lee, Richard H. Lee, and William Lee and was the father of Robert E. Lee. As a cavalry commander he established an enviable record in the Revolution. He first gained wide notice for his capture of the fort at Paulus Hook (now in Jersey City), N.J., on Aug. 19, 1779. His service under Nathanael Greene after 1780 in the Carolina campaignCarolina campaign,
1780–81, of the American Revolution. After Sir Henry Clinton had captured Charleston, he returned to New York, leaving a British force under Cornwallis to subordinate the Carolinas to British control.
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 was notable for daring and brilliance and he distinguished himself at Guilford Courthouse and Eutaw Springs. After the war he was elected (1785) to Congress. He favored a stronger government and in 1788 was a leader in the struggle to have Virginia ratify the Constitution. He was (1791–94) governor of Virginia, and in 1794 he commanded the troops who suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion. A Federalist Congressman (1799–1801), he was author of the description of George Washington as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen" in the resolutions on the first President's death. A poor business manager, Lee was imprisoned (1808–9) for debt. In 1812 he was severely injured when an angry mob dragged Alexander Hanson, Lee, and others from a jail where they had gone for protection after Hanson's Federalist newspaper had denounced President Madison and the War of 1812. He wrote Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department (1812, repr. 1869 with a biographical sketch by Robert E. Lee).


See biographies by T. Boyd (1931) and N. B. Gerson (1966).

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Lee, Henry

(1756–1818) soldier, public official; born in Prince William County, Va. Known as "Light Horse Harry," he led a mixed force of Continental cavalry and infantry in the storming of Paulus Hook, N.J. (1779), and fought with distinction in the southern theater under Nathanael Greene. Lee composed the famous eulogy of his friend George Washington, whom he called "First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen." The father of Robert E. Lee, he had a poor head for business, speculated unwisely, and spent a term (1808–09) in debtors' prison.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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With: Jack Neo, Mark Lee, Henry Thua, Hong Hui-fang, Patricia Mok, John Cheng, Yan Ni, Yoo Ah-min.
Lee, Henry, The Campaign of 1781 in the Carolinas, with Remarks Historical and Critical on Johnson's Life of Greene.