The Haunted Homes of the Robert E. Lee

DARK SHADOWS OF THE LEES OF VIRGINIA

In researching Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War, I never came across references to any ghostly sightings of Robert E. Lee, the venerable commander of the Army of Northern Virgina.

Curiously though, at least three of the homes he lived in life have had verified accounts of being haunted by one or another Lee family member. While I devote an entire chapter to Lee’s haunted homes in Dixie Spirits, I thought to supplement that with this article and some photos to go along with it.

When one thinks of General Lee and his family, one naturally pictures a dignified Southern gentleman, someone descended from an honored and venerable First Family of Virginia (FFV for short).

While Lee always conducted himself with probity, his family was anything but venerable; in fact, it was riddled with scandal through several generations. For one thing, Lee’s father,  “Light Horse” Harry Lee, although a hero of the American Revolution, had the reputation of a hell raiser; he drank heavily and gambled much of the family wealth away, and as a result he was constantly in debt–at one time he was even thrown into debtor’s prison.

After he died, his widow and children were dependent on the charity of other family members–and they too had their scandals–notably their relative “Black Horse” Harry Lee.

Arlington The Custis Lee Mansion during the Civil War LC 08246r
Pictured here is Arlington, taken during the Civil War. Federal troops seized the family mansion and soon started burying Union troops on the grounds, the estate becoming Arlington National Cemetery.

The best known Lee home is, of course, Arlington, now located in the middle of the National cemetery. Seized early in the war, it became a last resting place for Union war dead. The mansion itself is also an abode of the dead–who at times get a mite restless. Several family ghosts have been sighted here by visitors.

Stratford Hall the Lee ancestral home (HABS)
Stratford Hall, the home of “Black Horse” Harry Lee, who brought shame and disgrace on the family.

Stratford Hall, the ancestral home of the Lees, was built in the early 1700’s and so it naturally has several generations of Lee ghosts, including old “Black Horse” Harry who had an affair with his wife’s sister while his own spouse lay sick abed. Robert lived here for a time with his mother and siblings.

Gen Lee House Richmond LC 02918a
General Lee’s “boyhood home.” Directly after Appomattox, Lee returned here for a short time.

Then there is the “Lee Boyhood Home” in Alexandria, Virginia. After their father died in debt, Robert and his mother had to move about a bit due to their financial situation. Nonetheless, General Lee always had fond memories of this place and it was here he returned after the surrender–who knows he may still be there.

There are a few other old Virginia manse’s associated with the general—all of them reputedly haunted. For more on the tragic haunted history of the Lees of Virginia and their stately haunts see the Chapter in Dixie Spirits. Depending on the time of the year most of the Lee homes will be open to the public, where you might even encounter a Lee family ghost for yourself. Happy haunting!

Dixie Spirits Fall River Press
Dixie Spirits, authentic accounts of the Supernatural in the South.
GHOSTS AND HAUNTS OF THE CIVIL WAR 3x5
Ghosts & Haunts of the Civil War. True accounts of haunted battlefields, Civil War ghosts and other unexplained phenomena.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s