H. Lee was a volunteer fireman in Camden, serving with the Perserverance
Fire Company as early as 1852 and right up until the beginning of the
Civil War. It
is unclear as to where Richard H. Lee lived when the Census was taken in
1860. However, when the Civil War broke out in April of 1871, Richard H.
Lee and three of his brothers, William C. Lee, Thomas
McKane Lee Jr., and Joseph Lee, answered their nation's call.
H. Lee left Camden on April 25, 1861 with Company F, 4th Regiment Militia, mustered in at Trenton on April 27th and departed for
Washington D.C. on May 3, 1861. The 4th Regiment was moved from Washington into northern Virginia to erect defensive positions. They saw little, if any, action but did meet President Lincoln and returned to Trenton after their ninety-day enlistment was up. They were mustered out on July 31, at which time Lee was a 1st Lieutenant. He again mustered in on September 9, 1861 as a captain in Company I of the Sixth Regiment, Second New Jersey Brigade. Nearly the entire membership of the Perseverance Fire Company mustered with him and fought numerous battles in the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. At Bristow Station on July 27, 1862 and at Bull Run and Chantilly a month later, the Sixth Regiment suffered one hundred and four killed, wounded or missing. At Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863 they lost six men and had fifty-nine wounded.
It is believed that Captain Lee was captured by Rebels during the Peninsular Campaign and confined in the infamous Libby Prison. He suffered great hardship there until his release in the summer of 1863 by exchange. Lee resigned from the army on August 10, 1863 due to disability.
The Sixth Regiment did noble service at Gettysburg on the afternoon of .July 2, 1863. They were sent into Devil's Den by Colonel Burling and sustained
one dead and thirty-two wounded and fought in many other battles before mustering out on September 7, 1864.
Meanwhile, with the uprising in Maryland, Captain Lee again mustered in on July 14 with Company A, First New Jersey Militia. He mustered out on August 15, 1864 with a commendation from President Lincoln for his great patriotism. Lee was appointed Postmaster of Camden on May 18,
1864 and served until Octiber of 1866. He was reappointed on May 18,
1867. In 1870 he was named as Major in the Sixth Regiment, New Jersey
National Guard. Richard H. Lee served as postmaster for sixteen years.
His last public position was as a customs inspector in Philadelphia.
H. Lee made his home at 512 South
6th Street. He was a member of the Ninth Ward Republican Club and a
the time of his death was a member of Garfield Post No. 2 of the Grand
Army of the Republic. He had previously been a member of Thomas
M.K. Lee Post No. 5 and had
served as Department Commander of the G.A.R. in New Jersey.
H. Lee died of typhoid fever on June 9, 1889. He was survived by his
wife and five children. After funeral services held at the home of his
son Ulie, 645 Clinton
Street, he was interred at Evergreen Cemetery.
Richard H. Lee's family, a number were active in Camden's civic life
over the years. Brothers Howard
Lee and William C. Lee
were original members of the Camden Fire Department. Thomas
M.K. Lee Jr. was elected, in
1865, as county clerk, and held the position for five years. He died
December 10, 1873, aged thirty-seven years, and was buried in Evergreen
Cemetery. His name lived on in Camden for many years after, as in
January of 1876, a Grand Army of the Republic Post was organized in
Camden. At the first meeting of the new post, it was unanimously decided
to honor Captain Lee by adopting the name Thomas M.K. Lee Post. The Thomas
M.K. Lee Post No. 5, was active in Camden well into the next
H. Lee's son, Ulie G. Lee, was active in New Jersey National Guard
circles and was quite well known in Camden in his time.
Lee's son Lewis A. Lee,
worked for forty years in the Camden Board of Health office, after being
sponsored in the job by Dr.
Henry H. Davis, for whom the Henry
H. Davis Elementary School, and Dr.
Marcus K. Mines.