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Sydney Smith Lee
Born (1802-09-02)September 2, 1802
Died July 22, 1869(1869-07-22) (aged 66)
Place of birth Stratford Hall, Virginia
Place of death Richlands, Virginia
Buried at Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, Alexandria, Virginia
Allegiance United States United States of America
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg US Navy
CS Navy Department Seal.png CS Navy
Years of service 1820 - 1861 (USN)
1861 - 1865 (CSN)
Rank USN cpt rank insignia.jpg Commander (USN)
Csn strap capt.png Captain (CSN)
Battles/wars Mexican–American War
American Civil War

Sydney Smith Lee (September 2, 1802 – July 22, 1869) was an American naval officer and older brother to Robert E. Lee. He was the third child of Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Anne Hill Carter.


Lee was born at Stratford Plantation, Westmoreland County, Virginia on September 2, 1802. At the age of 18 on December 30, 1820 he was appointed midshipman in the US Navy and 8 years later promoted to lieutenant on May 17, 1828. During the Mexican–American War, he was stationed at Veracruz. He was promoted to commander on June 4. 1850 and accompanied Commodore Perry to Japan in 1853, commanding his flagship.

He served as commandant at the US Naval Academy and Philadelphia Navy Yard. He resigned from the service on April 17, 1861, the day Virginia 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 US 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. Sidney was promoted to captain, and remained at this post until the end of the war.

Sydney Smith Lee died at Richlands, Virginia, on July 22, 1869. His wife was Anne Marie Mason of Virginia. One of their sons was Fitzhugh Lee a Confederate major general, governor of Virginia, and a major general of volunteers during the Spanish American War.

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