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    Superb Mexican War-date letter by Robert E. Lee discussing Santa Anna: "Santa A. is drilling his men night & day..."

    Robert E. Lee Autograph Letter Signed, four pages, 8" x 10" (16" x 10" sheet folded, with integral address sheet addressed in Lee's hand), "Camp near Passas", Dec. 9, 1846, to his friend and fellow military officer, Major R. Delafield. In large part: "Many thanks my dear Major for your letter of the 26 Sept: which I rec'd a few days since about 1 A.M....With it there were several letters from Mrs. Lee, the only ones I had rec'd since leaving home. You may therefore judge of my impatience for day light... I am much obliged to you for your clear statement of my accounts & for the trouble you took concerning my horses. I wish I had one of them here for the price both sold for. The slips from the papers were a great treat & they are now going the rounds of the whole camp. I occasionally get a paper from New Orleans, but they are few & far between & that is all we see of the living world... .We reached here on the 4th... The Troops suffered considerably for the want of water. Before leaving... they marched in an atmosphere of dust, under a scorching sun at midday & one day had to go 30 miles before reaching water. The stream was called Aqua de los Angeles... it must have seemed to them the stream of the angels. Our route laid through the mountains passing from one valley to another & frequently through difficult passes. One called San Francisco... on our arrival here the authorities of Parras waited on Gen'l Wool & offered him peaceable possession of the town. Parras... contains about 8000 inhabitants and has the appearance of much wealth. The ladies visit Camp... in their... real English glass coaches... I have been at two dinners given to Gen'l Wool... I am told that there were... 20 courses... It was a pleasure to be waited on by the pretty girls with their bright petticoats... I was particularly pleased with a red wine called Carlon... a mixture between Port & Burgundy... the napkins, silver forks, spoons & rich china were satisfying to the sight... I do not know how long we shall remain here. The Chihuahua expedition is considered abandoned... We have now as much possession of that Province as if we were there... They endeavored to make some opposition to our approach & applied to the Central Gov't for aid. Santa Anna sent... 500 horsemen... there are no soldiers there as we hear... There is a rumor that the place of the Campaign has been changed & that we are to advance no farther, but hold on to all we have... I presume the reason is that we are too weak to advance, without being supplied. The reserve troops now in the U.S. ought to be here to support us, but the Pres. [Polk] has no funds to send them till furnished by Cong[ress]... We learn from Good Authority that Santa Anna has with him at San Luis over 30,000 Infantry. His cavalry am't to 10 or 12,000... Santa A. is drilling his men night & day & has informed his Gov't that if he is not attacked by the Americans by the 15th... He will be ready to move against them..." Santa Anna was reviled by Americans as the villain in Texas' fight for independence. First elected president in 1833, Santa Anna turned his office into a dictatorship the following year. His efforts to increase central government powers did much to foment unrest in Texas, home to many American expatriates. In 1835, the Texas Revolution erupted and Santa Anna became the prime villain of Texas history because of his actions at The Alamo and at Goliad. American forces, under the leaderships of Samuel Houston, defeated the Mexican army under Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, assuring Texan independence. Santa Anna continued in and out of power during the early 1840s and built an undistinguished record in the Mexican War, losing battles at Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Puebla and Mexico City. He eventually retreated into exile, dying in poverty in 1876. Address cover has a black postal cancellation stamp. In near fine condition, save the usual mail folds, with a single clean tear along a fold with no paper loss.

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    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st-3rd Saturday-Monday
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