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Virtual Lecture on “George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court-Martial of Maj. Gen. Charles Lee”

April 11, 2021 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


General Charles Lee, second in command in the Continental Army led by General Washington, was captured by the British in December 1776. As a prisoner, he submitted to his captors a military plan on how to defeat Washington’s army as quickly as possible – but this treason was not discovered during his lifetime. Throughout his sixteen months of captivity and even after his release, Lee continued to offer the enemy help to negotiate an end to the rebellion.

After Lee rejoined the Continental Army, he was given command of many of its best troops and orders to attack the rear of British General Henry Clinton’s column near Monmouth, New Jersey. Lee intended to attack on June 28, 1778, but retreated in the face of Clinton’s bold move to reverse his march. Two of Lee’s subordinate generals—without orders and without informing Lee—moved more than half of his command off the field. Faced with the possible destruction of the balance, Lee ordered a general retreat while conducting a skillful delaying action. Lee was convicted by court-martial for not attacking and for retreating in the face of the enemy.

Historians and biographers of Charles Lee have treated him either as a hero or enemy of the Patriot cause. Neither approach is accurate, according to author Christian McBurney.

In a free, public lecture with Washington Crossing Historic Park on Sunday, April 11, McBurney will discuss his new book George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court-Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the Revolutionary War.

The lecture will begin at 1:30 PM and last about an hour. Registration is required

Zoom meeting details are sent immediately after you register. If you don’t see that email within 15 minutes, please check your junk or spam folder. If you still don’t see that email with Zoom information, please contact us at info@washingtoncrossingpark.org. Don’t wait – we will have limited ability to assist you on April 11!

The Zoom platform limits us to the first 500 registrants only, but we will open a wait list if registration fills.


PA United States


Friends of Washington Crossing Park