Henry Augustine Washington was born at Haywood, Virginia on 24 August 1820, the son of Lawrence Washington and Sarah Tayloe Washington. He attended Georgetown College and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Studied law under John Tayloe Lomax. He moved to Richmond to practice law in 1842, but in 1847 returned to the Northern Neck of Virginia.
He was appointed professor of history and political economy at the College of William and Mary. He married Cynthia Beverley Tucker, daughter of Williamsburg mayor and judge, Nathaniel Beverley Tucker. Washington edited the [i]Writings of Thomas Jefferson[/i] (Washington, 1853-54) and completed Thomas R. Dew's A Digest of the Laws, Customs, Manners and Institutions of the Ancient and Modern Nations (1853). He suffered ill-health for years and died 28 February 1858.