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Renegade RevolutionaryThe Life of General Charles Lee$
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Phillip Papas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814767658

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814767658.001.0001

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The Idol of the Officers

The Idol of the Officers

(p.199) 12 The Idol of the Officers
Renegade Revolutionary

Phillip Papas

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on Charles Lee's military campaign during the American Revolution and his eventual capture by the British. On November 30, 1776, Lee sent a private letter to Colonel Joseph Reed, George Washington's aide-de-camp, thanking him for his “most obliging flattering letter” of November 21, in which Reed said that the American officers and soldiers had confidence in Lee and portrayed Washington as an indecisive leader. The correspondence confirmed that by late 1776, some revolutionaries believed Lee was better suited to lead the army than Washington. This chapter discusses Lee's public criticism of Washington, especially for the disastrous New York campaign, and his determination to prove that he was a better soldier and commander than Washington. It also considers Lee's surrender to Lieutenant Colonel William Harcourt in Basking Ridge, Morris County, New Jersey, as well as the reactions in both America and Britain to his capture.

Keywords:   military campaign, Charles Lee, American Revolution, Joseph Reed, George Washington, officers, revolutionaries, William Harcourt, New Jersey, surrender

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