Lee, Charles (1731/2 - 1782) General: Lee's father, a British officer, bought a royal commission for his son when the boy was 14 years old. For 30 years, Charles Lee served in America and Europe, including time spent with the British and Polish armies. Upon his return to North America in 1774, patriot leaders were interested in Lee because of his political stand and military experience. In 1775, he was appointed a major general in the Continental Army, subordinate only to George Washington and Artemas Ward. In the first year of the Revolutionary War, Lee was a successful commander, leading the left wing of the army in the siege of Boston and organizing defenses at Charles Town. Personally, however, Lee was a controversial figure, an eccentric, haughty, volatile man who was ill at ease with his superiors and troops. He criticized and ignored General Washington during the fall campaign if 1776, and was captured by the British in December of that year. After 16 months n British custody, he returned to America and commanded troops at the Battle of Monmouth. At the battle Washington relieved Lee, and took direct control of the troops. He was court-martialled for his performance on the field. Lee was suspended for disobedience, misbehavior, and disrespect, and was permanently dismissed from the Continental Army on 1780.