VERY FINE ROBERT E. LEE FREE FRANK AS A LIEUTENANT IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY, SENT EARLY IN HIS CAREER.
This cover was franked early in Robert E. Lee's career as a U.S. Army officer. After graduating from West Point in 1829, Lee served in various engineering assignments before he was posted to the chief engineer's office in Washington D.C., from 1834-37. This letter was written near the end of that assignment. Shortly afterward he was assigned to supervise the engineering works for the St. Louis harbor and the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
Ex Creighton C. Hart
VERY FINE. AN ATTRACTIVE AND BOLD SIGNATURE APPLIED BY GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE TO MAIL CARRIED BY MILITARY COURIER.
Trimble was appointed Brigadier General on Aug. 6, 1861, and was promoted to Major General on Jan. 17, 1863. On July 3, 1863, Trimble lost a leg and was captured during Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. He remained a prisoner until February 1865. The docketing on this cover refers to his promotion to Major General; therefore, it probably dates to January 1863.
With 1981 C.S.A. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE. A REMARKABLY FRESH AND CHOICE EXAMPLE OF GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE'S SIGNATURE IN COMBINATION WITH A CONFEDERATE GENERAL ISSUE STAMP.
Robert E. Lee's letters sent from the field were enclosed in envelopes signed "R. E. Lee Genl". The letters and other important papers were carried by military courier, often to Richmond, where they were either mailed or delivered by hand. Letters were also stamped and mailed at post offices near Lee's location, as in this case. The addressee was the wife of Major General Robert Ransom Jr.
Ex Birkinbine and Walske. With 1985 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. A REMARKABLE AND RARE ROBERT E. LEE FIELD LETTER AND COVER TO GENERAL RICHARD S. EWELL, ORDERING HIM NOT TO SEND MAJOR CRITTENDEN INTO CULPEPER, VIRGINIA.
The letter reads:
Genl, I dislike to send Major Crittenden into Culpepper. If captured, it would be extremely unpleasant & they would treat him different from our other scouts. He had better not go. He is bold & fearless & would expose himself I fear.
I will consider about the transportation -- there is nothing new since I wrote this mng.
R. E. Lee
Robert E. Lee's letters sent from the field were enclosed in envelopes signed "R. E. Lee Genl", as seen here. The letters and other important papers were carried by military courier, often to Richmond to another officer under Lee's command, and in this case to the headquarters of General Richard S. Ewell. It was surmised by Charles Kilbourne that this was written in the days before the Battle of Cedar Mountain (Aug. 9, 1862) which took place in Culpeper County, Virginia. General Ewell at that time commanded a division under General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Field covers from Lee, when they appear at auction, are normally bereft of their contents. This is an extremely rare and desirable combination of cover and letter.
Ex Bogg. With 1966 certificate of authenticity from Gordon T. Banks
VERY FINE ROBERT E. LEE FIELD ENDORSEMENT ON COVER TO THE WIDOW OF GENERAL JOHN PEGRAM.
Hetty Pegram was once described by Henry Kyd Douglas as "the most beautiful woman of her day and generation," but her marriage to General Pegram was attended by several omens, including the bride breaking a mirror on her dressing table. When President Davis sent his private carriage and horses to take the couple to church, the horses stubbornly refused to go forward. Three weeks later, on February 6, 1865, General Pegram was killed at Hatcher's Run. On the day of Pegram's death, Lee was given command of all the armies of the Confederacy.
This cover once contained a letter of condolence, dated Feb. 11, 1865 at Petersburg, which is now part of the collection of the Virginia Historical Society (photocopy accompanies). Ex Walske. With 1967 Gordon T. Banks (Goodspeed) certificate.
VERY FINE. A RARE FIELD COVER FROM CONFEDERATE GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE TO GENERAL J.E.B. STUART.
Robert E. Lee's letters sent from the field were enclosed in envelopes signed "R. E. Lee Genl". The letters and other important papers were carried by military courier, usually to Richmond to another officer under Lee's command. James Ewell Brown Stuart, the recipient, was a trusted Confederate Cavalry General and excelled in major conflicts such as the Peninsular Campaign and the Battle of Chancellorsville. He was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864
Ex Dr. Robertson.
VERY FINE. A REMARKABLE ROBERT E. LEE FIELD LETTER WRITTEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY 1863, DESCRIBING INTIMATE FAMILY DETAILS.
The letter reads:
"My dear Cousin Margaret, I take advantage of a few quiet moments this holy ? to write to you, for the thought of you always brings me pleasure & adds to my Causes of gratitude to our merciful God for all the blessings bestowed upon me. I have recently returned from Richmond, where I thought much of you & wished for your presence that afforded so much pleasure to my former visit. I caught glimpses of Sweet Carrie but she was so surrounded by her little because that little could be got from her. But there was one tall one with her, a signal man, of that voracious family of Randolphs, whom I threatened with Castle Thunder. I did not see her look at Rob once. But you know he is to take her home on certain conditions. I hope your mother has given her Consent & that the Cakes are baking. I also saw happy Mrs. Ada. Her face was luminous with Content & she looked as if she thought there was but one person in the world. Mrs. Randolph was as handsome as ever & she was as kind & sweet as she is beautiful. Nothing more can be said for her. Mrs. R is much better & looks indeed quite well. But I was ? at the Condition in which I found your poor Cousin Mary. She is now a great sufferer, Cannot walk at all & can scarcely move. But Mildred has returned and I hope now she has all her daughter with her she will be more Comfortable. She is going to move to my old quarters, next to Mrs. Randolph's. Go down and help dispense the Club. The members are all aghast. Curtis says he cannot be married now till six months after the ratification of peace. The day in which all the public dues are payable-So you will have to wait Maggie-I left Richmond with a sad heart. Charlotte who was so well on me arrived looking like herself again, so cheerful affectionate & sweet, was taken sick two or three days before my departure & completely prostrated. She sounds ? weak though somewhat ? the night before I left. The change between my arrival & departure was so sudden & unexpected to me that I am filled with sadness, Yet can do nothing. I pray she may be relieved, you must give a great deal of love to your father & mother for me. May every happiness attend you all, & may a kind God in his infinite mercy before the return of the anniversary of this blessed day, give us our independance & restore us to peace and happiness. Truly & affy your Cousin, R E Lee"
Margaret and Mary Stuart were Lee's wife's second cousins, and they were close in age to his own daughters.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE AUTOGRAPH FIELD ENDORSEMENT FROM ROBERT E. LEE DURING HIS SHORT TENURE AT SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, AND A REMARKABLE RETURNED AND FORWARDED POSTAL USE BETWEEN CHARLESTON AND SAVANNAH.
Since this cover entered the market several years ago (Siegel Sale 760A, lot 3374), it remains the only recorded example in private hands of Robert E. Lee's endorsement from this location.
William Porcher Miles (1822-1899) was a pro-slavery States' Rights advocate -- one of the so-called "Fire-Eaters" who pushed hard for secession. Miles served as mayor of Charleston (elected in 1855) and as a U.S. congressman from 1857 until South Carolina seceded in December 1860. He was a member of the Secession Convention, a S.C. representative at the Confederate Convention in Montgomery, and a C.S.A. congressman during the war.