Mount Vernon welcomes author Ryan Cole to the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium to discuss his book Light-Horse Harry Lee: The Rise and Fall of a Revolutionary Hero on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

Header Image: National Photo Company Collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-DIG-npcc-32590. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

About the Book

Henry Lee III, whose name “Light-Horse” came from his legendary exploits with mounted troops and skill in the saddle, was a dashing cavalry commander and hero of America’s War for Independence. By now, most Americans have forgotten about Light-Horse Harry Lee, the father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee; but this new biography reveals he may be one of the most fascinating figures in our nation’s history. A daring military commander, Lee was also an early American statesman whose passionate argument in favor of national unity helped ratify the Constitution. When President George Washington needed to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion, he sent in his friend Light-Horse Harry Lee with 12,000 militia men. When Washington died, Lee was the man who famously eulogized our first president as “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” With incredible stories about Light-Horse Harry Lee’s interactions with famous men and women—including George and Martha Washington, Nathanael Greene, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr—this book paints a rich portrait of an underappreciated American character, and also provides unique new insight into the upbringing and motivations of Lee’s son, General Robert E. Lee.

About the Author

Ryan Cole, a former assistant to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and speechwriter at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, holds degrees in history and journalism from Indiana University. He has written extensively about American history and literature for the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the New Criterion, Civil War Times, the American Interest, and the Indianapolis Star. Additionally, he has written for Indiana University and the Lumina Foundation, and he served on the staff of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

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