Lee was distantly related to Gen. Robert E. Lee. Lee graduated from West Point in 1854, ranked 17 out of 46 in his class. He served with the U.S. Army for 7 years, in artillery and staff positions, in the frontier and in the Seminole War. In February 1861, he resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy.
He was commissioned as a captain, first in the South Carolina Volunteers and then in the Confederate army. He was Brigadier Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard's Aide de Camp at the battle of Fort Sumter. By performing well as an artillerist, he was promoted to major of C.S.A. Artillery. He fought at the battles of Seven Pines, Savage's Station, Malvern Hill, 2nd Bull Run and Antietam.
In Mississippi, he became a Brigadier General in the artillery and fought in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Champion's Hill, and the Siege of Vicksburg. He was captured when Vicksburg surrendered, he was exchanged within a few months. After being exchanged, he was promoted and put in charge of all cavalry in Mississippi. In February 1864, he was put in command of all cavalry west of Alabama. In May of 1864, he was appointed commander of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana.
Lee commanded troops in the Atlanta Campaign, the battle of Ezra Church, and the Franklin and Nashville Campaign, where he was wounded. He was wounded while retreating from Nashville, and was unable to return to active duty until the last Carolinas Campaign. Lee was married on February 9, 1865 and resumed command of his corps after the reorganization after Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender. He surrendered on April 26, 1865.
After the war, Lee lived in Mississippi. There, he worked as a farmer, a member of the State Legislature, and became the first president of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College from 1878-97. As one of the founders and active members of the United Confederate Veterans, Lee served as its president from 1904-08. He also helped promote women's rights and wrote about history. Lee was a commissioner to organize the preservation of the Vicksburg battlefield sites. Lee was the youngest Confederate Lieutenant Gen.
Captain- February ??, 1861
Major- November ??, 1861
Colonel - ?? ??, 1861
Brigadier General - November 6, 1862
Major General - August 3, 1863
Lieutenant General - June 23, 1864
Chief of Pemberton's Artillery
Cavalry commander in Mississippi
Cavalry command in the Dept. of Alabama Mississippi and East Louisiana