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Guide to the Robert E. Lee papers, 1749-1975

Summary

Robert E. Lee was a Virginia-born career military officer, Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War, and president of what is now Washington and Lee University. Family and military correspondence of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Confederate general-in-chief; and of his descendants; and a few letters of Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Henry Lee, and Mary Ann Randolph (Custis) Lee. The letters deal with many phases of Robert E. Lee's life from his marriage in 1832 until his death, including family and personal affairs, especially in his letters to a cousin, Mrs. Anna M. Fitzhugh; settlement of the Custis estate; and improvements at the family house in Arlington, Virginia. Included also is one volume of 295 telegram dispatches sent by Robert E. Lee from the field to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate War Department; two scrapbooks memorializing Robert E. Lee; a small notebook in Robert E. Lee's hand, 1857-1860, containing amounts of meat purchased for the Arlington household; and a letterpress book of Robert E. Lee III, a lawyer of Washington, D.C.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.00801
Title
Robert E. Lee papers
Date
1749-1975
Creator
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870
Extent
3 Linear Feet, 204 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

Family and military correspondence of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Confederate general-in-chief; and of his descendants; and a few letters of Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Henry Lee, and Mary Ann Randolph (Custis) Lee. The letters deal with many phases of Robert E. Lee's life from his marriage in 1832 until his death, including family and personal affairs, especially in his letters to a cousin, Mrs. Anna M. Fitzhugh; settlement of the Custis estate; and improvements at the family house in Arlington, Virginia. During the Civil War the correspondence consists of official and family letters, the former containing much information on military activities. The postwar letters reveal details of domestic arrangements following the family's removal to Lexington, Virginia.

One volume contains 295 telegrams (collected and arranged by C.C. Jones, Jr., and published by D.S. Freeman, Lee's Dispatches, New York, 1915) sent by Lee from the field to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate War Department, many having been endorsed by James A. Seddon. These dispatches relate to troop movements, reports of the intelligence service, skirmishes, enemy activities, transportation of prisoners and wounded men, and other details of military operations. Included also are two scrapbooks memorializing Robert E. Lee, chiefly consisting of clippings and engravings; a small notebook in Robert E. Lee's hand, 1857-1860, containing amounts of meat purchased for the Arlington household; and a letterpress book of Robert E. Lee III, a lawyer of Washington, D.C.

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Robert E. Lee Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1769-1923 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 1
Military papers, 1860-1866 and undated
Box 2
Clippings, 1864-1975
Box 2
Printed materials, 1928-1955 and undated
Box 2
Other materials, 1749-1887

Includes a small notebook in Robert E. Lee's hand, 1857-1860; a message from Thomas Lee of Williamsburg, Virginia to the House of Burgesses, 1749; and a copy of Robert E. Lee's last will and testament.

Box 2
Use copies of correspondence

Includes use copies of all materials in Box 1.

Box 3
Lee Memorial scrapbook, Vol. 1
(244 pp.)

Scrapbook chiefly contains newspaper clippings and has bookplate of Charles C. Jones, Jr., Augusta, Georgia

Box 4
Lee Memorial scrapbook, Vol. 2
(215 pp.)

Scrapbook chiefly contains engravings of Lee and newspaper clippings; has bookplate of Charles C. Jones, Jr., Augusta, Georgia

Box 5
Volume: Official Telegrams of General Robert E. Lee, 1862-1865

Consists of 295 telegrams bound into one volume.

Box 6
Robert E. Lee, III, letterpress book, 1892-1903
(452 pp.)
Box 7
Land grant signed by Henry Lee, 1793

Land grant, signed by Gov. Henry Lee of Virginia, for a parcel of land in Montgomery County given to Alexander Stewart near the headwaters of Island Creek and commonly known as "Three Forks."

Oversize-folder 1
 


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Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Alvin Pollock and Stephen D. Miller, 1997

Materials received conservation treatment and rehousing in 2013.

Updated by Paula Jeannet, 2014

Updated by Alice Poffinberger, 2019