(Note: see our previous post for the backstory to the theme of this post and the next one.)
Few Americans of the Civil War era could claim a family lineage as illustrious as Fitzhugh Lee. His uncle – Robert E. Lee – was the commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia. His grandfather, “Light Horse Harry” Lee (more formally Henry Lee III) was a famous Revolutionary War cavalry officer, a Governor of Virginia, and a member of Congress. And Fitzhugh Lee was also a great-grandson of George Mason, one of the nation’s founding fathers.
During the Civil War Lee rose to the rank of Major General and served with a number of illustrious Confederate generals, including J.E.B. Stuart during the Gettysburg Campaign. Lee also served with a who’s who among Confederate generals including Ewell, Hampton, Early, Stonewall Jackson, and Joe Johnston.
At the Third Battle of Winchester in September, 1864 – the same battle in which James Schoonmaker, the Pittsburgh industrialist who served as the Chairman of the official committee responsible for the Great Reunion, won the Medal of Honor – General Fitzhugh Lee was seriously wounded. And according to an entry for General Lee in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, he led the very last charge of the Confederate Army on April 9, 1865.
After the war, Lee served as the Governor of Virginia (a position previously held by his grandfather, as noted above) but then during the Spanish-American War, he rejoined the United States Army (he had been an 1856 graduate from West Point and had been commissioned into the U.S. Army, but resigned at the start of the Civil War) and served as a Major General during the war. Unlike Joe Wheeler (see our previous post), though, Lee did not take part in any combat during the war.
He passed away in 1905.