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    Robert E. Lee War Date Autograph Letter Signed, "R E Lee", two pages, 7.75" x 10", Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, December 29, 1861, to Captain John Newland Maffitt. In part: "If a steamboat be necessary for the execution of the service, with which Capt. Ives, Eng Dept, and yourself have been charged, you will proceed to Charleston, to ascertain if a suitable vessel can be assigned to you by Brig. Gen'l Ripley comd'g in that Dist. In making arrangements for conveying the steamer to her point of destination, you will exercise your judgment, as to the propriety or safety of doing so, and will take measures before hand, to ascertain whether any of the enemy's vessels occupy the waters through which you will necessarily pass. You will also notify the commanders of our troops, on the route, of the time, at which you will pass their pickets, or commands, and arrange with them, if practicable, a signal of recognition. In conveying the boat to her destination, should you find it necessary to abandon her, to save the crew from capture, you are authorized to do so, and in order to prevent the boat falling into the hands of the enemy you must destroy her & light draught boat suitable for bringing off your crew, in the latter contingency, must be prepared in Charleston." A highly collectible manuscript with the above transcribed body text consisting of 26 lines the General's hand. The verso is docketed, most likely by Maffitt himself, as follows: "Genl Lee Special order Decr 29 "/61". Old archival repairs along smoothed folds, marginal browning and light fading as expected. Overall very good condition.
    Robert E. Lee, an experienced engineering officer, was, in late 1861, assigned the task of improving the coastal defenses between Charleston and Savannah. The future Army of Northern Virginia commander was assisted by the able John Newland Maffitt, who would come to earn his own formidable reputation as captain of the commerce raider C.S.S. Florida.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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