George Washington Custis Lee

Major General


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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

George Washington Custis Lee, eldest son of Robert E. Lee, was born at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, September 16, 1832. Upon his graduation from the Military Academy at the head of the class of 1854, he served as an engineer officer in various parts of the country. He resigned his 1st lieutenant's commission on May 2, 1861. As a captain of engineers in the Confederate Army the younger Lee was first engaged in the construction of the fortifications around Richmond, later serving on the staff of President Davis with rank of colonel. Davis recognized his military ability by advancing him to brigadier general from June 25, 1863, and major general on October 20, 1864. The latter appointment was to permanent rank and was confirmed on February 3, 1865. Lee was entrusted with numerous important missions by the President and was sometimes consulted by his father. He saw no active field service until the last months of the war, when he organized a force of clerks and mechanics for emergency defense of the capital. Attached to Ewell's corps on the retreat from Richmond, he was captured along with that officer and several other generals at Sayler's Creek, April 6, 1865. Because of the illness of his mother he was almost at once paroled and thus did not join his contemporaries at Fort Warren. For more than thirty years thereafter General Lee was connected with Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), succeeding his father as president upon the latter's death. Resigning in 1897, he took up residence at "Ravensworth," an ancestral home, where he died, February 18, 1913. He is buried in Lexington.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.