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 Posted: Mon Jun 24th, 2013 11:36 pm
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Texas Defender
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  Lee's Legion was a combined unit of infantry and cavalry that totalled perhaps 250-300 soldiers. This unit was commanded by a famous officer named Lee, but it was not Robert Edward Lee. It was commanded by his father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee (1756-1818), during the Revolutionary War (Starting in 1778).

Rev War Dragoons

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee's_Legion]Lee's Legion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]


  As a very young officer, "Light Horse Harry" Lee showed talent, and was highly regarded by his superiors. He proved his worth in a number of battles, including the Battle of Springfield, NJ in June of 1780. He was advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel..

Landmarks of Liberty: The Battle of Springfield: June 23, 1780

  The following year, Lee's Legion went south to South Carolina to battle British expeditionary forces there. During this time, he worked with, among others, the: "Swamp Fox," Francis Marion, and General Thomas Sumter (Who later had a fort named after him). 

  After independence was achieved, "Light Horse Harry" Lee embarked on a successful political career in the early years of the Republic. He served in the Continental Congress and the Virginia House of Delegates, in the 1780s. He was an advocate of the ratification of the new Constitution. In the 1790s, he served as the Governor of Virginia, commanded militia troops sent to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, was a major general in the U.S. Army, and served in the U.S. House. (1799-1801).

  In 1799, Lee eulogized George Washington at Washington's funeral, calling him: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." He remained a popular figure during these times.

  Unfortunately, he fell onto hard times financially, starting during the Panic of 1796-1797. The situation worstened in the following years, and in 1808, he suffered the indignity of spending time in debtors' prison. He died in 1818, when his young son, Robert, was eleven years old.

Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee (1756 - 1818) - Find A Grave Memorial

 


Last edited on Tue Jun 25th, 2013 12:46 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Jun 26th, 2013 01:41 am
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TD, might also want to mention he worked with a future US Marshal for the State of Georgia. Robert Forsyth was a Captain in Lee's Legion. Interestingly, both men had sons who went on to become somebodies in the nation's history. Lee's youngest son we obviously know became General of the Army of Northern Virginia (of course at least two of his older brothers were a bit of somebodies in their own right as his half brother Henry "Black Horse Harry" Lee became a biographer and historian who wrote three noteworthy books and his brother Sydney Smith Lee was a Commodore in the US Navy and a Captain in the Confederate Navy) and Forsyth's son John became the 13th Sec. State.



 Posted: Wed Jun 26th, 2013 02:08 am
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Hellcat-

  Thanks for the addition. I didn't know about Captain Forsyth. It seems that he had the distinction of being the first US Marshal killed in the line of duty

.January 11, 1794, Robert Forsyth Becomes 1st U.S. Marshal Killed In Line Of Du

  I must make one small correction, though. Sydney Smith Lee served in the U.S. Navy from 1820 until 1861, but he was never promoted beyond the rank of commander. (Date of rank 04 June 1850). When Virginia seceded in April of 1861, Commander Lee tendered his resignation from the US Navy. It was not accepted, and he was dismissed. He then accepted a commission as a commander in the CS Navy. Later in the war, he was promoted to captain.

  Here is how he appeared as a US Navy officer in the early 1830s:

Amazon.com: Photo: Sydney Smith Lee,1802-1869,American naval officer: Home & K


  And over 30 years later as a CS Navy officer:

http://civilwartalk.com/attachments/sydney-smith-lee-jpg.9569/

Last edited on Wed Jun 26th, 2013 02:40 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Jun 26th, 2013 04:51 am
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My mistake, I misread his rank and posted as a higher naval rank.

On Forsyth I've been skimming through a PDF on Lee's Legion (Lee's Legion Remembered and was starting to get a little concerned when I wasn't immediately seeing his name. Then I found this paragraph on a search for it.

On 7 April 1778, Lee’s contingent was formally separated from the 1st Continental Light Dragoons; and Lee was promoted to Major-commandant and authorized by Congress, at General Washington’s request, to augment his unit from one to two troops with a mind to forming an independent corps.5 The first troop was command by Capt. William Lindsay; the second by Capt. Henry Peyton; with a focal recruiting post being set up in Charles County,
Maryland. On 28 May, their number was further increased to three troops, the third of these placed under Capt. Robert Forsyth, and a quartermaster added; though one troop acted as a dismounted formation. The later inclusion of foot soldiers with the cavalry, advocated by Lee himself, was seen as measure necessary to insure the flexibility and survivability of the unit. Much of 1778 and early 1779 was spent recruiting, training, and arming the corps; however,
they continued scouting, foraging, putting fear into tories, and occasionally skirmishing including one retaliatory foray on Sept. 30th, 1778 (two days after the Baylor massacre at Tappan, N.J.) when, accompanying some infantry from the 9th Pennsylvania Regt. under Col.
Richard Butler, they put to flight a contingent of German riflemen, led by Hessian Col. Carl Von Donop, and in which they slew 10 and took another 18-20 prisoners.6


It's interesting that this PDF appears not to have any further mention of him. Still might be interesting to go through the names there and find out how many other members had sons, or maybe even daughters, who became noteworthy historical figures in the nation's history. I'm sure some had grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters, etc. who became noteworthy but I look at Lee and Forsyth and see how someone in the next generation of their families became noteworthy in their own right. Although....

We can of course point to Robert E. Lee's own son's who served in the Confederate Army. George Washington Custis Lee and William Henry Fitzhugh Lee both became major generals with Custis Lee becoming aide-de-camp to Davis and Rooney Lee a noted cavalry general. And Robert E. Lee Jr. became a captain in the Rockbridge Artillery and an aide to his eldest brother. Robert Forsyth's grandson, John Forsyth Jr., is known as a newspaper editor but he also apparently became a commissioner representing the Confederate government to the federal government. Though how two this is may be questionable as it may be coming from Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, which supposedly made up some of the biographies in it. Gonna have to try looking him up.



 Posted: Wed Jun 26th, 2013 10:12 am
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Hellcat-

  I'm sure that it would be an interesting project to follow the family lines of those who served in Lee's Legion. Over the generations, the prominent families of Virginia became more and more intertwined through marriage.

  One soldier who served in Lee's Legion was Simeon Buford.

Capt Simeon Buford (1756 - 1835) - Find A Grave Memorial

  Simeon Buford was the grandfather of Union MG John Buford, who commanded a division of cavalry in the AOP and was best known for his actions at Gettysburg. John Buford was married to Martha McDowell Duke Buford (Called: "Patsy"). Mrs. Buford was related to seven Civil War generals (Including her own husband), who were well represented on both sides.

  I would be remiss at this point if I did not include this piece by a distinguished member of this forum:

http://www.gdg.org/Research/People/Buford/bufbio.html

  On this CWi thread, I listed some of Mrs. McDowell's prominent relatives (See 5th Posting):

Charles Marshall - aid/secretary of the ANV - Help Looking for an individual -

  As an aside, General John Buford died in the arms of his young aide, Myles Keogh.

Myles Keogh (1840 - 1876) - Find A Grave Memorial

  On 25 June 1876, Myles Keogh was a captain commanding one of the five companies that was slaughtered at the Little Bighorn. Also killed with Colonel Custer were two of Custer's own brothers, his brother-in-law, and the son of the regimental commander of the 7th Cavalry, LT James G. Sturgis, son of Samuel Sturgis. ( A grandson of Samuel Sturgis became the Chief of Engineers in the US Army in the 1950s, but that is another story).

  As for John Forsyth, Jr.- his story can be found here:

Encyclopedia of Alabama: John Forsyth Jr.

Last edited on Wed Jun 26th, 2013 11:00 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Jun 26th, 2013 07:06 pm
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It's not just Virginians who made up the Legion, though they were the bulk of it. According to page 47 of the above PDF

Most of the Legion, circa 1780-82, were Virginians, and after that men from Maryland. But in addition to this, the unit had soldiers from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.


I was looking up a James Armstrong from Pennsylvania who served in the Legion but ran into a problems there. The James Armstrong I got is from Pennsylvania, which would seem a good sign. But it says he's often confused with others of the same name who served in the war http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Armstrong_(Pennsylvania). On top of that his service in the war is as a medical officer. The PDF makes no comment about the Legion's Lt. James Armstrong being a doctor, it list a Matthew Irvine of Pennsylvania immediately before Armstrong and gives his position as Surgeon. That would seem to mean Armstrong was not the same James Armstrong who served as a doctor during the war. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=13397641

However there is another noteworthy name I found. Sergeant Major John Champe who apparently was made a double agent tasked with the capture of Benedict Arnold. http://www.loudounhistory.org/history/revolution-war-john-champe.htm

Edit: Sorry, I meant to thank you for that link on John Forsyth Jr.

Last edited on Wed Jun 26th, 2013 07:07 pm by Hellcat



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