Henry Lee was born on January 29, 1756 in Leesylvania, Virginia. In June 1776, he was commissioned a Captain in the Virginia Light Cavalry. In January 1778, he was promoted to Major. Lee next received commendation for his actions at Paulus Hook, New Jersey in August 1779. In the Fall of 1780, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel, 'Lee's Legion' was formed and ordered to South Carolina. Lee's Legion was effective at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in March, 1781. In a series of detached actions, Lee captured Fort Watson, Fort Motte, Fort Granby and Fort Galphin. He next supported sieges at Augusta and Ninety-Six. Lee again distinguished himself at Eutaw Springs on September 8, 1781. Lee was present at Yorktown, Virginia in October, 1781. He then returned south.
In February 1782, Lee was granted a leave of absence and never returned to duty. He married his cousin Matilda Lee and entered politics being elected to Congress in 1785. In 1788 he led the fight in Virginia for ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In 1790, his wife died. From 1791-1794, he was governor of Virginia. On June 13, 1793, he married Ann Carter Hill. In 1794, He was in command of troops during the Whiskey Rebellion. He returned to Congress from 1799 to 1801. In 1812, Lee was severly injured when a mob stormed a jail where he, Alexander Hanson and others had gone for protection after Hanson's Federalist newspaper had denounced President Madison. Henry Lee ended up in debtor's prison in 1812 and in 1813, went to the West Indies. When his health continued to grow worse, he set sail for home. However, he only made it to Cumberland Island, Georgia, where passed away on March 25, 1818 and was bured there.
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