Returning to Baltimore after distinguishing himself in the Mexican–American War, Lee reveals an attention to detail that will later make him famous
Career army officer and the most successful general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. He eventually commanded all Confederate armies as general-in-chief. Like Hannibal earlier and Erwin Rommel later, his victories against superior forces in an ultimately losing cause won him enduring fame. After the war, he urged sectional reconciliation, and spent his final years as President of the college that would come to bear his name, Washington and Lee University. ALS signed “R. E. Lee,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 8 x 10, May 21, 1849. Letter to Major Delafield, written from Baltimore while working on a project. In part, “I duly rec’s your letter of the 4th Inst: on the subject of cranes; and last week the roll of drawings arrived safely. I have merely looked over the plans, but shall this week take them up & will no doubt be able to concoct from them, something simple to answer my purpose. I think I have achieved a firm foundation at last. About 45´ below low water mark. An awful distance, but I began to fear it would have been worse. The first 16´ below the shoals is of a quicksand nature. It there grows firmer till you reach 23´, when a shalum of clay 3 feet thick is interposed between the shalum of sand. The bed of sand below the clay is apparently firm and solid. The sand is sharp & mixed with gravel, yields with difficulty to the auger & requires to be broken up by a drill, before the auger will fill. I have not yet penetrated more than 2 ft. in it. But yesterday, attempted to drive a file in it which met with great resistance. The files ... were all 30 ft. I had therefore to resort to a punch to drive them underwater.... The hammer rebounded 6″ or more from the head of the punch at each blow. After the file had rec’d 143 blows in all, fearful of accident from the ... punch I desisted.” In fine condition, with intersecting mailing folds and a small area of paper loss to right edge of second page from wax seal. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RRAuction COA.
#356 - Ended April 14, 2010
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