Person:Charles Lee (general) (1)

Maj. Gen. Charles Lee
b.26 January 1731 Darnhall, Cheshire, England
  1. Thomas Lee1721 - 1741
  2. Henry Lee1722 - 1732
  3. Sidney Lee1727 - 1788
  4. Maj. Gen. Charles Lee1731 - 1782
Facts and Events
Name Maj. Gen. Charles Lee
Gender Male
Birth[1] 26 January 1731 Darnhall, Cheshire, England
Burial[5] 1782 Christ Episcopal Churchyard, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Reference Number? Q390992?
Death[1] 2 October 1782 Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Charles Lee ( – 2 October 1782) served as a General of the Continental Army during the American War of Independence. Lee also served earlier in the British Army during the Seven Years War. After the war he sold his commission and served for a time in the Polish army of King Stanislaus II. In 1773 Lee, who had Whig views, moved to America and bought an estate in Virginia. When the fighting broke out in the American War of Independence in 1775 he volunteered to serve with rebel forces. Lee's ambitions to become Commander in Chief of the Continental Army were thwarted by the appointment of George Washington.

During 1776, forces under his command repulsed a British attempt to capture Charleston, which boosted his standing with the army and Congress. Later that year he was captured by British cavalry under Banastre Tarleton and held as a prisoner until exchanged in 1778. During the decisive Battle of Monmouth later that year, Lee led an assault on the British which miscarried. He was subsequently court-martialed and his military service brought to an end. He died in Philadelphia in 1782.

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Will Transcript

I Major General Charles Lee of the County of Berkeley, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, being in perfect health, and of a sound mind, considering the uncertainty of death, and the uncertainty of the time it may happen, have determined to make this my last will and testament, in manner following:
that is to say, I give and bequeath to Alexander White, Esq. one hundred guineas, in consideration of the zeal and integrity he has displayed in the administration of my affairs, also the choice of any two of my colts or fillies under four years of age.
Item, I give and bequeath to Charles Minn Thurston, Esq. fifty guineas, in consideration of his good qualities and the friendship he has manifested for me; and to Buckner Thurston, his son, I leave all my books, as I know he will make good use of them.
To my good friend John Mercer, Esq. of Marlborough in Virginia, I give and bequeath the choice of two brood mares, of all my swords and pistols, and ten guineas to buy a ring; I would give him more, but as he has a good estate and a better genius, he has sufficient, if he knows how to make a good use of them.
I give and bequeath to my former aid de Camp, Otway Byrd, Esq. the choice of another brood mare, and ten guineas for the same purpose of a rememberancering.
I give and bequeath to my worthy friend Colonel William Grayson, of Dumfries, the second choice of two colts; and to my excellent friend William Steptoe, of Virginia, I would leave a good deal, but as he is now so rich, it would be no less than robbing my other friends who are poor. I therefore entreat, he will only accept of five guineas, which I bequeath to him to purchase a ring of affection.
I bequeath to my old and faithful servant, or rather humble friend, Guisippi Minghini, three hundred guineas, with all my horses, mares, and colts of every kind, those above mentioned excepted; likewise all my wearing apparel and plate, my waggons and tools of agriculture, and his choice of four milch cows.
I bequeath to Elizabeth Dunn, my housekeeper, one hundred guineas and my whole stock of cattle, the four milch cows above mentioned only excepted.
I had almost forgot my dear friends, (and I ought to be ashamed of it), Mrs. Shippen, her son Thomas Shippen, and Thomas Lee, esq., of Belle-View. I beg that they will accept ten guineas each, to buy rings of affection.
My landed eatate in Berkeley, I desire may be divided into three equal parts, according to quality and quantity; one-third part I devise to my dear friend Jacob Morris, of Philadelphia; one other third part to Evan Edwards, both my former aid de camps, and to their heirs and assigns; the other third part I devise to Eleazer Oswald, at present of Philadelphia, and William Goddard, of Baltimore, to whom I am under obligations, and to their heirs and assigns, to be equally divided between them; but these devisees are not to enter until they have paid off the several legacies above mentioned, with interest from the time of my death, and all taxes which may be due on my estate. In case I should sell my said landed estate I bequeath the price thereof, after paying the aforesaid legacies, to the said Jacob Morris, Evan Edwards, Eleazer Oswald, and William Goddard, in the proportions above mentioned.
All my slaves, which I may be possessed of at the time of my decease, i bequeath to Guisippi Minghini and Elizabeth Dunn to be equally divided between them.
All my other property of every kind, and in every part of the world, after my decease, funeral charges, and necessary expenses of administration are paid, I give, devise and bequeath to my sister Sidney Lee, her heirs and assigns forever.
I desire most earnestly, that I may not be buried in any church, or church-yard, or within a mile of any Presbyterian or Anabaptist meeting-house; for since I have resided in this country, I have kept so much bad company when living, that I do not chose to continue it when dead.
I recommend my soul to the Creator of all worlds and of all creatures; who must, from this visible attributes, be indifferent to their modes of worship or creeds, whether Christians, Mahometans, or Jews; whether instilled by education, or taken up by reflection; whether more or less absurd; as a weak mortal can no more be answerable for his persuasions notions, or even scepticism in religion, than for the colour of his skin.
And I do appoint the above-named Alexander White and Charles Minn Thurston, executors of this my last will and testament, and do revolk all other wills by me heretofore made. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day of ______ in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two.
(Signed) Charles Lee [His Seal]
Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Major General Charles Lee, as and for, his last will and testament.
In presence of:
James Smith
Samuel Swearingen
William Garrard.
At a Court held for Berkeley county the 15th day of April 1783, this last will and testament of Charles Lee, deceased, was presented in Court by Alexander White, one of the executors therein named, who made oath thereto according to law, and the same being proved to be executed on the 10th day of Saptember, 1782 by the oaths of James Smith and Samuel Swearingen, two of the witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded; and on the motion of the said executor who entered bond with Adam Stephen, esq., his security, in the penalty of twenty thousand pounds, conditioned for his true and faithful administration of the said estate. Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form of law.
(Signed) William Drew
[Source: Collections of the New York Historical Society: The John Watts De Peyster publication fund series, Volume 7, pg. 29-33]
  1. 1.0 1.1 Charles Lee (general), in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  2.   McCullough, David. 1776, Pg. 51.

    The council of war convened in his [Gen. George Washington's] office as scheduled the next morning - three major generals, including the venerable Israel Putnam, and four brigadiers. All were New Englanders but one, Major General Charles Lee, who was Washington's second-in-command and the only professional officer present. A former British officer and veteran of the French and Indian War, Lee, like Washington, had fought in the ill-fated Braddock campaign and later settled in Virginia. He was a spare, odd-looking man with a long, hooked nose and dark, bony face. Rough in manner, rough of speech, he had nothing of Washington's dignity. Even in uniform he looked perpetually unkempt.

    Lee might have been a character out of an English novel, such were his eccentricities and colorful past. He had once been married to an Indian woman, the daughter of a Seneca chief. He had served gallantly with the British Army in Spain, and as aide-de-camp to the King of Poland. Like Frederick the Great, he made a flamboyant show of his love for dogs, keeping two or three of them with him most of the time. A New Hampshire clergyman, Jeremy Belknap, after dining with the general in Cammbridge, thought him "an odd genius... a great sloven, wretchedly profane, and a great admirer of dogs, one of them a native of Pomerania, which I should have taken for a bear had I seen him in the woods."

    Lee was also self-assured, highly opinionated, moody and ill-tempered (his Indian name was Boiling Water), and he was thoughht by many to have the best military mind of any of the generals, a view he openly shared. Washington considered him "the first officer in military knowledge and experience we have in the whole army", and it was at Washington's specific request that Congress had made Lee second-in-command.

  3. Public Member Trees: (Note: not considered a reliable source).
  4.   Dictionary of national biography second supplement. (London: Smith, Elder, 1912), Vol. II, Pg. 784.

    LEE, CHARLES (1731-1782), American major-general, belonged to the old Cheshire family of Lee or Lea and afterwards of Dernhall (see pedigree in Ormerod's Cheshire, i. 466-7). His father, Major-general John Lee, served in the 1st foot-guards and 4th foot, and was colonel of the 54th, afterwards 44th foot (now the 1st Essex regiment), from 1743 to his death in 1751. John Lee married Isabella, third daughter of Sir Henry Bunbury, third baronet of Stanney Hall, Cheshire. Before his death he sold the Dernhall estate. Charles, the youngest of his children, was born at Dernhall in 1731. He was sent to the grammar school at Bury St. Edmunds, and afterwards to an academy in Switzerland, where he acquired some knowledge of classics and French. He is said to have received a commission when he was eleven years old, but his name first appears in the military records on 9 April 1746, when he was appointed ensign in this father's regiment. (Home Office Military Entry Book xix. f.282). As a lieutenant he accompanied the regiment (44th foot) to America, under the command of Thomas Gage (1721-1787) [q.v.], and was with it in the disaster at Fort Duquesne, under General Edward Braddock [q.v.]. When his regiment went into quarters at Albany, Lee was present at the Indian conference at Schenectady, and was invited into the Bear tribe of Mohawks, under the curiously prophetic name of 'Ounewaterika' (Boiling Water). [remainder omitted]

  5. Find A Grave.

    Charles Lee
    Birth: Jan. 26, 1731
    Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority
    Cheshire, England
    Death: Oct. 2, 1782
    Philadelphia County
    Pennsylvania, USA

    Revolutionary War Continental Major General. Served in the British Army from early in his life, and participated in the expedition against Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War. Settled in American and supported the Colonials in the rebellion against the British. Appointed to the second Major Generalship of the Continental Army by Congress in 1775. Fought with George Washington’s Army at the Battles of Long Island, Brooklyn and White Plains. Captured in Basking Ridge, New Jersey in 1776, and held until exchanged in 1778. He was highly contemptuous of Colonial officers, especially General Washington, whom he felt was inferior to him. Submitted a plan to British General Howe for defeating American forces while imprisoned. Rejoined Army in time to participate in the Battle of Monmouth, where he was at odds with Washington, and ordered an ill advised retreat, which prevent the Continentals from turning a tactical stalemate into a victory. Relieved from the Army for this act, and fought a duel with Washington aide John Laurens. When he submitted a damning and insolent letter to Congress, he was dismissed from the Army in disgrace.

  6.   .