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    Mary Custis Lee sends General Lee's sympathies to relatives in South Carolina

    Mary Custis Lee Autograph Letter Signed. Three pages (of a bifolium) on U. S. Sanitary Commission (crossed out) letterhead, 10" x 7.5", [Richmond, Virginia]; June 15, [1865]. A fascinating letter written on behalf of her husband General Robert E. Lee to an unnamed cousin who was related to Shirley Carter Turner, living in Charleston, South Carolina, relating news of the end of the Civil War.

    "Genl. Lee only received your letter today my dear cousin & the one you refer to as having written to us some time since... The mails are very unreliable now. I can give you very little information concerning your son except that he was very well the morning of the battle at sailor creek 6th April with the naval brigade. My nephew Dan Lee saw him there & thinks he was captured, did not see him afterwards. I should think if he was in any prison North he would have found means to communicate with his friends in Phila. & hope he has done so by this time-we have all had an anxious time. God grant we may ever more be settled in this world. The genl. begged me to write for him & to assure you of his deep sympathy. Tell my old friend Shirley he must cheer up & if you hear any good news of your son let me know. If I should hear anything I will write to you....I received a very kind invitation from Edward to come to Kinloch. Much as they have suffered...they seem to have something left for hospitality. I suppose South Carolina has suffered as much as any place. I hope you personally have been spared. I never saw your son tho I sent him a message to come & see me. I do not know if he ever got it. You must remember us affectionately to Shirley & all your family & believe me your affectionate cousin. MC Lee"

    Although someone has penciled in 1864 beneath "15th June", the reference to the battle of Sailor Creek on April 6, clearly indicates that the actual date of the letter is June 15, 1865. General Lee returned to his family home in Richmond immediately after surrendering at Appomattox. The letter offered here bears witness to the hardships and uncertainty faced by Confederate families; that Mrs. Lee is using Sanitary Commission letterhead speaks volumes of their circumstances. Although the war was over, the process of reconciliation had only just begun.

    Condition: The letter has the usual mail folds with some weakness at the intersection of the folds and the central crease. The letter shows stains and shadows of tape on the edges of the letter. Some creasing along the bottom margin and scattered foxing.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 287

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