The Fitzhugh Lee papers are made up of 77 unique documents (and 16 carbon copies) kept by Captain Fitzhugh Lee, aide-de-camp to Major General Frederick Funston during and following the Punitive Expedition into Mexico, 1916. These papers were originally housed in a 154-page notebook, ordered roughly by date, beginning with Fitzhugh Lee's appointment as Major General Funston's aide-de-camp, dated February 24, 1916.
The majority of the collection consists of official military orders, telegrams, and other communications from the time of the Punitive Expedition. Many of these are between Major General Funston and the War Department; to General John J. Pershing; and between Major General Hugh L. Scott (U.S. Army chief of staff) and the War Department. Some of the communications are confidential or in code. A number of pre-coded transmissions are accompanied by their coded versions. Some of these documents are orders for attacks or retaliations. One such document, dated in 1916, reads: "Hostilities have begun period Take same action as if you had been attacked." Another contains information on Pancho Villa's background.
One of the most significant items in the collection is a 38-page document, handwritten by Captain Lee, which notes almost daily troop movements and other military activity, March 14-April 6, 1916. The following excerpt is typical in terms of its length and depth. It regards the news of George A. Dodd and the 7th cavalry's attack on Villa's forces at Guerrero:
1) Dodd struck Villa's com'd consisting 500, 6'o'clock-Mch, 29th (probably a.m.) at guerrero. Villa suffering from broken leg & lame Hip, was not present: Villa dead- known to be 30, probably others carried away dead: Dodd captured 2 mach-guns, large number horses, saddles and arms
2) Our casualties, 4 enlisted men wounded- none seriously.
3) Attack was surprise. Villa troops being driven in 10 mile running fight, retreated to mountains. N.E. of R.R. where they separated into small Bands. May assemble upper part Santa Maria Valley:
4) Large no. of Carrangista troops being held for execution were liberated during fight.
5) Dodd marched 55 miles in 17 hours & carried on fight for 5 hours (only 26 miles from Bachineva where Dodd was on 27th guerrero- Believe Dodd marched around west of town & attacked from south)
6) now trying to locate Villa
7) Elisie Hernandez- Villa commander, killed in fight also reports Lopez wounded (not known which Lopez this is - There was a Lopez reported killed at Columbus- Two brothers were with Villa, it is thought."
A selection of communications and documents regards an early May 1916 conference at El Paso, Texas, between General Alvaro Obregon, secretary of war of the Republic of Mexico; Major General Hugh L. Scott, U.S. chief of staff; and Major General Frederick Funston. Three photographs taken at this event depict General Hugh Scott, Col. R.E.L. Michie, Captain Fitzhugh Lee, and General Frederick Funston standing on and alongside a train.
The material dating after the Punitive Expedition relates to Colonel Fitzhugh Lee's work as a commanding officer of the 7th cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas. Many of these are administrative documents pertaining to Lee's position, duties, and proficiency. Most of the official correspondence from this period is between Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Washington, D.C.