Sydney Smith Lee

Sydney Smith Lee
Sydney Smith Lee (September 2, 1802 – July 22, 1869) was a U.S.N. (cmdr.) and later a C.S.N. (capt.) officer, and an older brother to Robert E. Lee.
Born (1802-09-02)September 2, 1802
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
Died July 22, 1869(1869-07-22) (aged 66)
Richlands, Virginia, U.S.
Buried at Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
 Confederate States
Service/branch  United States Navy
 Confederate navy
Years of service 1820-1861 (USN)
1861-1865 (CSN)
Rank Commander (USN)
Captain (CSN)
Commands held USS Mississippi
Gosport Navy Yard
CSN Bureau of Orders and Detail

Mexican War

American Civil War

Sydney Smith Lee (September 2, 1802 – July 22, 1869) was an American naval officer who served as a captain in the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the third child of Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Anne Hill Carter Lee, and the older brother of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Early life and education

Lee was born in Camden, New Jersey on September 2, 1802. At the age of 18 on December 30, 1820 he was appointed midshipman in the United States Navy and 8 years later promoted to lieutenant on May 17, 1828. During the Mexican–American War he fought in the Battle of Veracruz along his brother Robert; and afterwards was stationed at there. He was promoted to commander on June 4. 1850 and accompanied Commodore Perry to Japan in 1853, commanding his flagship USS Mississippi.


He served as commandant at the U.S. Naval Academy and Philadelphia Navy Yard. He resigned from the service on April 17, 1861, the day Virginia declared it had seceded though the resignation was not accepted. After dismissal on April 22, 1861 he accepted a commission as commander in the Confederate States Navy.

When the U.S. Navy abandoned the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia, Sydney became the commander there. When Union forces regained it, Sydney was put in charge of batteries at Drewry's Bluffs, Virginia. On May 6, 1864, he became chief of the Confederate Navy's Bureau of Orders and Detail, replacing Captain John K. Mitchell. Sydney was promoted to captain, and remained at this post until the end of the war.

Family and death

Lee's wife was Anne Marie Mason of Virginia. One of their sons was Fitzhugh Lee, a Confederate major general who later became governor of Virginia, a U.S. diplomat and writer and a Major General of Volunteers during the Spanish American War. At least four more of his sons served in the Confedered States Army or Navy. After the war Lee became a farmer and died at Richlands, Virginia, on July 22, 1869.

External links

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