1776

General Charles Lee Character Analysis

General Charles Lee is an old friend and fellow general of George Washington. During the early stages of the Revolutionary War, he’s Washington’s second-in-command. However, Lee is headstrong and arrogant, and as 1776 drags on, he begins to question some of Washington’s military decisions, claiming that he could have done a better job commanding the American troops in New York and New Jersey. Lee even corresponds with Washington’s close friend and secretary, Joseph Reed, claiming that Washington is indecisive and weak. Despite his occasional arrogance and disloyalty, Lee is a talented general and an important asset for the American cause, and when he’s arrested at the end of 1776, it’s a major setback for Washington and his troops.

General Charles Lee Quotes in 1776

The 1776 quotes below are all either spoken by General Charles Lee or refer to General Charles Lee. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Military Strategy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of 1776 published in 2006.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Possibly, Washington was more hurt than angry. Later he would tell Reed, "I was hurt not because I thought my judgment wronged by the expressions contained in it [the letter], but because the same sentiments were not communicated immediately to myself." Possibly the charge of "fatal indecision of mind" also hurt deeply, because Washington knew it to be true.

Related Characters: George Washington (speaker), Joseph Reed, General Charles Lee
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

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General Charles Lee Character Timeline in 1776

The timeline below shows where the character General Charles Lee appears in 1776. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Rabble in Arms
Military Strategy Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
The next morning, George Washington meets with his head generals, including General Charles Lee , who fought alongside Washington in the backwoods. In addition to Washington’s head generals, Nathanael... (full context)
Chapter 3: Dorchester Heights
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...Reed, Washington takes an important step. With the approval of the Continental Congress, Washington sends General Charles Lee to New York, recognizing that the city needs to be protected from a possible British... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Lines are Drawn
Idealism vs. Practicality Theme Icon
Colonial Society Theme Icon
...Archibald Kennedy. In the coming weeks, Washington inspects the city’s fortifications, which were designed by Charles Lee and built under the guidance of General William Alexander, better known as Lord Stirling. Stirling... (full context)
Military Strategy Theme Icon
Idealism vs. Practicality Theme Icon
Colonial Society Theme Icon
General Charles Lee has told Washington that the troops will need to be ready to defend New York... (full context)
Chapter 6: Fortune Frowns
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Leadership Theme Icon
...council: John Sullivan, Lord Stirling, Mifflin, and Henry Knox are all present. Also present is Charles Lee , whom Washington has reappointed his second-in-command. (Washington has also changed the name of Fort... (full context)
Military Strategy Theme Icon
...his troops into four groups. He allocates 7,000 troops to remain under the command of General Charles Lee , who will be stationed east of the Hudson. 3,000 troops will guard the Hudson... (full context)
Chapter 7: Darkest Hour
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Leadership Theme Icon
...move into New Jersey. His men are “broke and dispirited.” He sends a letter to General Charles Lee , suggesting that Lee cross the Hudson and join forces with him to protect New... (full context)
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Unbeknownst to Washington, Joseph Reed sends a secret letter to Charles Lee . In this letter, Reed implores Lee to join Washington, adding that he has often... (full context)
Military Strategy Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Colonial Society Theme Icon
On November 24, a messenger arrives with a letter for Joseph Reed from General Charles Lee . Thinking the letter might have important information, Washington opens it. In the letter, Lee... (full context)
Military Strategy Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
...2,000 of Washington’s troops leave the army rather than reenlist. Washington sends another letter to General Charles Lee , commanding him to come to New Jersey at once. Meanwhile, British and Hessian troops... (full context)
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It’s likely that the British soldiers will cross the Delaware and seize Philadelphia. Washington expects General Charles Lee to march toward him, providing much-needed troops. However, unbeknownst to Washington at the time, Lee... (full context)
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British Society Theme Icon
Washington is furious when he learns of Charles Lee ’s arrest. He’s also dismayed when the Continental Congress relocates to Baltimore for fear that... (full context)