ROBERT E. LEE and MARY CUSTIS LEE Carte-de-Visite photograph signed by the Lee and his wife, to her cousin Susan P. Meade! Photograph Signed: "R.E. Lee" and inscribed and signed on verso: "Susan P. Meade/from her cousin/Mary Custis Lee".

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Reg. $8,000.00

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ROBERT E. LEE and MARY CUSTIS LEE Carte-de-Visite photograph signed by the Lee and his wife, to her cousin Susan P. Meade! Photograph Signed: "R.E. Lee" and inscribed and signed on verso: "Susan P. Meade/from her cousin/Mary Custis Lee". Sepia, 2½x4 overall, image 2¼x3½ (two surfaces). Photographer's imprint at lower border: "Boude & Miley. Lexington, Va." In the early 1850s, photographer Mathew Brady photographed Robert E. Lee in civilian clothes. Artist and engraver A.H. Ritchie reproduced the image and then painted a uniform on Lee showing epaulets and Lee as a Major General in the Virginia Militia. The print was originally issued out of Baltimore and was widely circulated in 1861. The photograph offered here is a vignette view of Lee from the Ritchie engraving. "Vignetting" was a way in which a photography studio would avoid copyright problems for reproducing another's work. Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870), among the most revered military leaders in American history, was the son of Revolutionary War hero and Virginia Governor "Lighthorse Harry" Lee. But the father had squandered the family fortune, even spending time in debtors' prison. Robert E. Lee's later wealth and Arlington plantation derived from his wife Mary Custis, great grand-daughter of Martha Washington. Lee graduated from the US Military Academy in 1829, second in his class, and spent his early years of military service in engineering pursuits. His military talent became evident, though, in the Mexican War, as one of General Winfield Scott's chief aides in the campaign from the coast to Mexico City. He was wounded in the climactic assault on Chapultepec (1847). Lee was Superintendent of West Point (1852-1855), and then served as a cavalry officer on the Western frontier. He commanded the federal troops who captured John Brown after the abolitionist's raid on Harper's Ferry (1859). Lee's personal views on slavery are much debated, but he certainly did not welcome secession of the Southern states. He was offered command of the US Army in 1861 and did not immediately refuse it. However, he resigned from the US Army (April 20, 1860), when it was clear that President Lincoln was determined to prevent secession by force and took command of the Virginia militia three days later. Lee did not gain the position for which he is best remembered, command of the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia, until June 1862, but then he won a string of brilliant victories: befuddling one Union general after another during the Seven Days Battle, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Lee was aggressive in attack, believing that a long war favored the North, which served him well in battles like Chancellorsville, but led to also led to costly defeats at Antietam and - most importantly - Gettysburg (July 1-4, 1863). In the final two years of the conflict, Lee - finally opposed by an equally talented Union General in Ulysses S. Grant, and with Confederate resources nearing exhaustion, switched to a defensive strategy, offering tenacious defense in battles like the Wilderness and the long siege of Petersburg. The most trusted confidante of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Lee was promoted to commander-in-chief of all Confederate armies in January1865, but was compelled to surrender to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse (April 9). After the war, Lee advocated acceptance of reunion and became a symbol of national reconciliation. As such, and unlike most other wartime leaders, he was viewed neither as villain nor scapegoat in the North or the South. He accepted the presidency of Washington College, later renamed Washington and Lee. Mary Anne Randolph Custis (1807-1873), the only surviving daughter of George Washington Parke Custis and Mary Lee Fitzhugh married Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) on June 30, 1831. The couple, who had seven children, including an eldest daughter named Mary Custis Lee (1835-1918), lived at the family home in Arlington until forced to flee during the Civil War. After the war, they settled in Lexington, where Robert E. Lee was President of George Washington College (later Washington and Lee University). After her husband's death in 1870, Mrs. Lee stayed on in Lexington (upon her death, she was buried next to her husband on the College campus). Mrs. Lee, who enjoyed having visitors and was a gracious hostess, was plagued with rheumatoid arthritis, which made writing and other activities, including quilting, very painful for her. Soiled, foxed and stained. Tack hole at upper right blank background. Creased corners, worn edges. Image of Lee light but completely legible. Light surface defects. Signatures in fine condition. Accompanied by PSA/DNA LOA.

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