Top of page

Collection Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789

General Charles Lee

Major Gnl. Charles Lee (1731-1782). B. Rashbrooke (dates unknown) delin, Alexander Hay Ritchie (1822-1895) sculp. Mixed method, undated.


The eccentric General Charles Lee was known for his slovenly appearance, and coarse language, and was rarely seen without his dogs.

Born in England, Lee fought for the Americans during the Revolution; he was particularly valued for his previous experience in the British army. Captured by the British in 1776 while dallying in a tavern, Lee was released in time to lead a command at the Battle of Monmouth (June 28, 1778), during which he ordered a sudden and inexplicable retreat. Publicly reprimanded by General George Washington, Lee was eventually court-martialed and suspended from service for disobedience and misbehavior.