DescriptionRobert E. Lee Autograph Endorsement with Carte de Visite. Two-page letter addressed to Lee, penned on recto and verso, 5" x 8", Richmond, November 24, 1865. Following Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, the Confederate general found himself without a job or a home. Because the Custis-Lee Mansion on Arlington Plantation had been seized by Union forces during the war, Lee was forced to find lodging elsewhere. He spent several months in a rented house in Richmond and then moved into the overseer's house of a friend's plantation near Cartersville, Virginia. While there, Lee received an offer to serve as the president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. Lee accepted and remained there as president from October 2, 1865, until his death.
Shortly after taking this new position, Lee received this letter from R. M. Smith, who sends "a dozen or more of reports" which he hopes Lee will find useful and makes recommendations of books that contain interesting commentary on the Confederacy and the Civil War. Lee docketed the signature page of the letter as follows: "24 Nov '65. R.M. Smith sends official reports of Battles &c - offers this." Below this, Lee notes his response: "ans'd - 11 Dec." Unfortunately, the letter bears moderate damage which affects Lee's endorsement. Chips, tears, small areas of missing paper, and moderately toned. Letter is accompanied by a 2.5" x 4" carte de visite of Lee, published by E. & H. T. Anthony photographers of New York. Image bears two half-inch tears at upper edge. Lightly toned.
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