Author: Henry Lee

Henry Lee, c. 1838

Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee (1756–1818) was born to a well-established Virginia family and graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1773. During the American Revolution, he served as a cavalry officer, eventually being promoted to lieutenant colonel and commanding a mixed corps of cavalry and infantry known as Lee’s Legion. In 1786, he was elected to represent Virginia in the Continental Congress, and from 1791–94 served as the governor of Virginia. In a famous eulogy in 1799, Lee said of George Washington that he was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

George Washington! A Funeral Oration on his Death

Henry Lee

On December 26, 1799, at the request of Congress, Representative Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee III (1756–1818) of Virginia—former cavalry commander in the Revolutionary War, later governor of Virginia, and father of Robert E. Lee—delivered the following funeral oration before a joint session of both houses of Congress.