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Charles Lee

During the American Revolution, many generals fought under the command of George Washington. Many of these generals would go on to play important parts in the new government of the United States. However, one general passed out of public service before the revolution would end.

This general was the man whose ego and character created dissents and mistrust on the general staff. In the end, Lee was relieved of his command in 1778 after a court-martial. This man was Major General Charles Lee.

Lee was born in Cheshire England. He became a British army officer and participated in the French and Indian war. He served under Braddock in hisdisastrous campaign in 1755, the unsuccessful campaign against Ticonderoga and the capture Montreal. He would also serve with Burgoyne in Portugal and Poland.

Later on, he would move to Virginia and become a supporter of colonial independence. In 1776, the Continental Congress commissioned Lee as a major general in the Continental army because of his prior military experience. He would serve with some distinction early on in the war, even though he felt he was a better commander than Washington was. This combined with his ego, would in the end, result in a court-martial after the battle ofMonmouth and an eventual cashiering from the army in 1780.

You can read about Lee and some of his exploits by looking at the web sites that discuss him and his involvement in the American Revolution.

  1. Charles Lee Biography
    From American National Biography Online, read this biography of Charles Lee. It sketches his military accomplishments both before and during the American Revolution.
  2. Fort Moultrie and the Battle of Sullivan's Island
    Read about the Battle that saved Charleston from British capture. Lee was given the credit for saving Charleston despite his advice to Moultrie that the fort should be abandoned. Located on the Charleston Multimedia Project web site.
  3. Charles Lee Entry in the Staff Ride Glossary
    Read this entry in the Staff Ride website glossary about Charles Lee.