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    Description

    Engineering Dividers Owner By Confederate General Robert E. Lee. An amazing piece, luckily discovered at a recent Civil War show by our consignor. A pair of Engineering dividers once owned by Robert E. Lee. After graduating West Point in 1829 Lee was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. He continued his engineering career while courting his future wife Mary Custis, whom he had known as a child. Lee moved on to Fort Monroe after his marriage in 1831 and continued his engineering and designing of buildings. Life at Fort Monroe was marked by conflicts between artillery and engineering officers. Eventually the War Department transferred all engineering officers away from Fort Monroe, except Lee, who was ordered to take up residence on the artificial island of Rip Raps across the river from Fort Monroe, where Fort Wool would eventually rise, and continue work to improve the island. Lee duly moved there, then discharged all workers and informed the War Department he could not maintain laborers without the facilities of the fort. Lee served as an assistant in the chief engineer's office in Washington, D.C. from 1834 to 1837, but spent the summer of 1835 helping to lay out the state line between Ohio and Michigan. As a first lieutenant of engineers in 1837, he supervised the engineering work for St. Louis harbor and for the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Among his projects was the mapping of the Des Moines Rapids on the Mississippi above Keokuk, Iowa, where the Mississippi's mean depth of 2.4 feet (0.7 m) was the upper limit of steamboat traffic on the river. His work there earned him a promotion to captain. In 1842, Captain Robert E. Lee arrived as Fort Hamilton's post engineer. In 1852 Lee became Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point. He soon left West Point to take second in command of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Texas in 1855. So after he returned to Arlington help manage his father in laws estate before the outbreak of the Civil War.

    The engineering calipers are almost identical to the other tools housed at Washington and Lee University according to an employee who works in the archives at the university where Lee was President after the Civil War. The "Arlington House" at Arlington National Cemetery also had similar style engineering tools as well. It is interesting to note that the Arlington house has two sets of engineering tools which are missing two larger pieces, one of which could be this piece. Lee could have taken this piece for his engineering duties. The dividers that are being presented measure 10 3/4" in length. At the top is the name "R E Lee", which is beautifully engraved. There is no makers mark. The engineer dividers are of the highest quality, certainly what one would expect an officer to use. In excellent condition with the original patina.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 504

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