Robert Edward Lee papers
New Search | Return to Search Results | View/Save/Print PDF

Robert Edward Lee papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Lee, Robert E., (Robert Edward), 1807-1870.
Title: Robert Edward Lee papers
Dates: 1838-1871
Extent: 0.05 cubic feet (1 folder)
Identification: MS 0489

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) was born in Virginia. He graduated from West Point and was assigned to the Engineer Department. His first service was at Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island on the Savannah River, then under construction. After serving in several other posts, he became Assistant Chief Engineer in Washington, D.C. He was in the Mexican War under Gen. Winfield Scott. He was for several years Superintendent of West Point. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was offered the field command of the U.S. Army which he refused and soon resigned from his post. In 1861, he was appointed commander of the Virginia forces and served as military adviser to President Jefferson Davis with the rank of General. In 1862, he assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and in 1865, he was General-In-Chief of all Confederate armies. He surrendered to Gen. U.S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865. After the war he became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia where he remained until his death. After his death the name of the College was changed to Washington and Lee University.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of correspondence and photographs of Robert E. Lee. The contents reflect his military service at Fort Pulaski, military maneuvers, honorary membership in the Bartow Debating Society and the Metropolitan Steam Fire Engine Company, and ongoing correspondence with Annie W. Owens.

The papers are arranged chronologically. Items 1, 3 and 10 are on deposit.

Index Terms

Bartow Debating Society (Savannah, Ga.)
Fire engines.
Fort Jackson (Ga.)
Fort Pulaski (Ga.)
Lee, Agnes, 1841-1873.
Lee, Robert E., (Robert Edward), 1807-1870.
Letters (correspondence)
Military maneuvers.
Minis, Jacob Florance, 1852-1936.
Owens, Annie W., active 1870.
United States. Army--History Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States. Army--History.
Vouchers (sales records)

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], Robert Edward Lee papers, MS 489, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Wm N. Heyward, 1872 (Item 4); Julian F. Corish, 1974 (Items 5, 7, 9, 11, 12). Deposited by Gawin Corbin, 1959 (Item 1); Karl Derst, 1953 (Item 3); Savannah Public Library, Unknown (Item 10).


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

Item 1: Voucher, signed by R.E. Lee, Cpt. Engineers, 1838 May 24
Contents are regarding repairs to S.B. Pearl on the Mississippi River. Also includes letter from Mary Custis Lee to Mrs. Gawin Corbin, March 6, 1918 transferring voucher as a gift.
Item 2: R.E. Lee letter to Capt. John Mackay, 1838 August 8
Sent from St. Louis. Contents are regarding the loss of Mrs. William Mackay and children on the S.S. Pulaski.
Item 3: R.E. Lee letter to Capt. John Mackay
Sent from Engineer Dept., Washington. Contents are regarding Fort Jackson and Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River.
Item 4: R.E. Lee letter to Brig. Gen. T.F. Drayton. Headquarters Dept., 1862 February 4
Contents are regarding approval of the evacuation of Red Bluff and directing the mode of defense.
Item 5: R.E. Lee letter to Miss Annie W. Owens, 1866 March 22
Sent from Lexington, Va. Includes enclosed photograph endorsed to her.
Item 6: R.E. Lee letter to E.H. Nichols, 1868 January 29
Sent from Lexington, Va. Includes thank you for election as honorary member of the Bartow Debating Society, Savannah of which Nichols was Corresponding Secretary.
Item 7: R. E. Lee letter to Miss Annie W. Owens, 1869 November 29
Sent from Lexington, Va. Contents include a thank you for sending her photograph and enclosing one of him as a younger man. Autograph clipped off item.
Item 8: R.E. Lee letter to W.F. Marshall, 1870 April 8
Sent from Savannah, Ga. Contents include thanks for his election as honorary member of the Metropolitan Steam Fire Engine Company, Savannah.
Item 9: R.E. Lee letter to Miss Annie W. Owens, 1870 June 18
Sent from Lexington, Va. Encloses photograph of R.E. Lee, Jr., signed, and one of himself endorsed to her.
Item 10: R.E. Lee letter to Abraham Minis, 1870 June 28
Sent from Washington College, Lexington, Va. Contents include commendation of work of J.F. Minis at the College.
Item 11: Agnes Lee letter to Annie W. Owens, 1871 January 31
Sent from Lexington, Va. Contents include thanks for her note on the death of R.E. Lee, Agnes' father.
Item 12: Carte de Visite photograph of R.E. Lee standing by his horse Traveller
Endorsed to Annie Owens by (illegible) initials.