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    General Lee considers a soldier's transfer, bearing in mind "our position before the enemy"

    Robert E. Lee Autograph Letter Signed "R E Lee Genl." One page, 5.5" x 9", "Hdqrs: near Richmond," June 14, 1862. In this letter, General Lee, newly appointed by Confederate President Davis as commander of Confederate forces in eastern Virginia and North Carolina, writes to notify Mrs. William E. Taylor that her husband likely won't soon be transferred into the North Carolina Light Artillery because of Lee's "position before the enemy." The text of the letter, which must have been disappointing, reads in full,

    "I have just recd your letter enclosing an application from your husband to the Sect of War for a transfer to Capt Badhams light Artl. It would give me great pleasure to gratify your wishes, for I sincerely sympathize with you in your Condition. No transfers are being made at this particular time in consequence of our position before the enemy, except such as are found absolutely necessary. But in order that your husband may be considered, it must be made through his Captain, & Colonel, obtain their approval, & the approval of the officer whom he wishes to join. If then his transfer can be made, It will give me pleasure to direct it."

    We were unable to confirm that Mr. Taylor was ever transferred into Captain Badham's light artillery. North Carolina-native William Badham had enlisted in the Confederate army only four months earlier. By the time General Lee wrote this letter, Badham had been elected captain of Company B, 3rd Battalion, North Carolina Light Artillery. This letter is affixed to a page which has been trimmed to the letter's size. The affixing glue has slightly bled through, though text is easily legible.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
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