Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Fitzhugh Lee Papers, 1914-1927

Duane Norman Diedrich Collection

Finding aid created by
Cheney J. Schopieray, June 2008

Summary Information
Title: Fitzhugh Lee papers
Creator: Lee, Fitzhugh
Inclusive dates: 1914-1927
Bulk dates: 1916-1927
Extent: 93 items
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.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by D. N. Diedrich, 2006. M-4551.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Processing Information:

This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Fitzhugh Lee Papers, Duane Norman Diedrich Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Fitzhugh Lee papers arrived in a bound notebook. Though the materials have been removed for their safety, they remain in their original order.


Captain Fitzhugh Lee of the United States Army, 3rd Cavalry, was appointed aide-de-camp to Major General Frederick Funston in February 1916. Less than a month later, on March 9, Mexican Revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa ordered a cross-border raid on Columbus, New Mexico. Though the raid was largely unsuccessful, President Woodrow Wilson received permission from General Alvaro Obregon, Mexican secretary of war, to pursue Pancho Villa in Mexico. Major General Funston and Captain Lee (who had been stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas) served under General John J. Pershing in this operation. United States and Mexican forces failed to capture Villa and U.S. troops were ordered home in January 1917.

After the conflict, Captain Fitzhugh Lee served as an officer for the 7th Cavalry, stationed at various forts in Texas. By 1919, Lee had been made a colonel. He remained in command of the 7th Cavalry until at least 1927.

Collection Scope and Content Note

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:

"From Pershing-
Mch 30-16
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.

Subject Terms

    • Dodd, George A.
    • Fort Bliss (Tex.)
    • Fort Sam Houston (Tex.)
    • Funston, Frederick, 1865-1917.
    • Lee, Fitzhugh.
    • Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948.
    • Scott, Hugh Lenox, 1853-1934.
    • United States--National Guard.
    • United States. Army--Cavalry, 7th.
    • United States. Army--History--Punitive Expedition into Mexico, 1916.
    • Villa, Pancho, 1878-1923.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Funston, Frederick, 1865-1917.
    • Lee, Fitzhugh.
    • Michie, R. E. L.
    • Scott, Hugh Lenox, 1853-1934.
    Genre Terms:
    • Military records.
    • Orders (military records)
    • Photographs.
    • Telegrams.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Fitzhugh Lee papers,  1914 December 3-1927 April 25 [series]
    Box   1 Folder   1
    Notebook pages 1-8,  1914 December 3-1916 February 24
    Box   1 Folder   2
    Notebook pages 9-20,  1916 March 14-1916 March 20
    Box   1 Folder   3
    Notebook pages 21-33,  1916 March 21-1916 March 27
    Box   1 Folder   4
    Notebook pages 34-52,  1916 March 28-1916 April 6
    Box   1 Folder   5
    Notebook pages 53-63,  1916 April 26-1916 May 2
    Box   1 Folder   6
    Notebook pages 64-77,  1916 May 4-1916 June 22
    Box   1 Folder   7
    Notebook pages 78-87,  1916 May 4-1916 June 27
    Box   1 Folder   8
    Notebook pages 88-111,  1916 June 27-1917 January 1
    Box   1 Folder   9
    Notebook pages 112-119,  1917 January 4-1917 February 15
    Box   1 Folder   10
    Notebook pages 120-134,  1917 February 20-[1925 April 28]
    Box   1 Folder   11
    Notebook pages 135-143,  1926 February 5-1926 December 28
    Box   1 Folder   12
    Notebook pages 144-154,  1927 January 18-1927 April 25
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Frederick Funston Papers, 1891-1917, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas