Robert E. Lee.
Confederate general and commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, autograph endorsement "Official business R.E. Lee Genl. Commg."
on buff cover addressed in his hand to "Honble Wm. Porcher Miles Charles S.C."
, mailed shortly after Lee arrived in Savannah to supervise coastal defenses (Nov. 8, 1861), the cover was postmarked with "Savannah Geo. Nov." circular datestamp (small style with stars, date not legible) and "Paid 5" in oval handstamp at upper left, then returned from Charleston to Savannah with "Charleston S.C. Nov. 24, 1861" double-circle datestamp and red crayon "fw 5", readdressed to Richmond in early 1862 with large style "Savannah Ga. Paid" datestamp applied over first datestamp, red "Due 5" in oval applied but then struck out by black grid cancel, backflap missing, mended nicks at top from opening (clear of endorsement and markings)
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.
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