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    Description

    Doubtless worn by him when leading the last Confederate cavalry charge of the American Civil War at Farmville, Virginia, April 9, 1865.

    The Inscribed and Dated Civil War Gauntlets of Famed Confederate Cavalry Commander Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. The nephew of Robert E. Lee, he graduated from West Point in 1856, and was severely wounded fighting Comanches in Texas in 1859. At the outbreak of the Civil War he offered his services to his native Virginia, and rapidly rose through the ranks, including Colonel of the 1st Virginia Cavalry, promotion to Brigadier General July 24, 1862, and Major General August 3, 1863. Lee has the distinction of being one of only a handful of men who held the rank of General in both the Confederate and United State's Armies, achieving that rank in US service in 1898. Lee was engaged in nearly every major action of the Army of Northern Virginia Cavalry Corps, and, after the cavalry engagement on July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg, he was the only officer to be singled out for praise by Stuart, who stated that he was "one of the finest cavalry leaders on the continent, and richly [entitled] to promotion" In response he received his Major General's stars on August 3, 1863. Lee was constantly employed by Stuart as a divisional commander. Although there were those who felt he should have succeeded to command of the Cavalry Corps after Stuart's death, Robert E. Lee, possibly in an effort to avoid charges of nepotism, gave the command to Gen. Wade Hampton. Lee continued to serve gallantly and, at 3rd Winchester, after having three horses shot out from under him, he was severely wounded. It is at that point, apparently while he was convalescing, that he was presented with this set of buff leather gauntlets.

    Each gauntlet, inside the cuff, bears the neat, almost calligraphic ink inscription, "Genl Fitz Lee/ from his friend Mr. Collie/ October 22nd 1864". Sadly, the precise identity of Mr. Collie has apparently been lost. Although soft, pliable and very sound, the gauntlets clearly show heavy use, with several areas worn through on the edge of the cuffs, and, most telling, a heavy buildup of what is doubtless leather dressing on the ends pf the thumb, fore, and index fingers, clearly the result of holding the reins of a horse. Really representing remarkably graphic testimony to their use by Lee while in the saddle.

    The set is also accompanied by Lee's silk sash. Quite tattered with a number of small holes, but intact with both tassels. The original color of the sash is difficult to discern, either crimson and faded, or buff/yellow with staining. It is interesting to note however, that the tassels themselves are 100% buff/yellow. This set surfaced a number of years ago from a lateral Lee descendant, to a leading Civil War authority, thence to a collector in Pennsylvania where it resided until this auction. Details will be furnished to purchaser.

    Lee went on to command the Army of Northern Virginia Cavalry Corps on March 29, 1865. His almost suicidal charge at Farmville allowed his command to escape until three days after the surrender, when he finally laid down his arms. Lee went on to serve as Governor of Virginia and commanded the VII US Army Corps in the Spanish American War. He retired form military service in 1901, died in 1905, and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Certainly one of the most historic and moving Civil War artifacts we've ever catalogued, representing a truly palpable touchstone to one of the Confederacy's greatest generals, and the almost mythical bravado of the Cavalry Corps he commanded.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,811

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