LEE, ROBERT E., General, C.S.A. Autograph signature ("R E Lee Genl.") plus those of seven members of his General Staff. Fredericksburg, Virginia, inscribed by Lee, "Hd. Qrs. 31 Jany. '63." One page, 4to. Lee's signature in the center of the sheet, surrounded by (from top left, clockwise) those of "R.H. Chilton, Brig. Genl. Chief of Staff"; "A.L. Long. Col: Mil: Sec."; "C.S. Venable Maj. Genl."; Charles Marshall Maj. A D C"; "Sam R. Johnston Capt. Engineers"; "T. M. R. Talcott Major & A.D.C."; "W T Taylor Major & A.D.C." Very fine condition.
LEE AND HIS ENTIRE STAFF, AFTER THE BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG
A remarkable sheet preserving a unique record of the members of Lee's personal staff at a crucial phase in the conflict, only weeks after the Confederate army's resounding victory at Fredericksburg on 13 December 1862. Lee's personal staff had grown to seven members by the preceding June; this was the largest staff he was to have during the war. The staff's nucleus consisted of three former civilians, Taylor (a businessman), Venable (a professor of mathematics) and Marshall (an attorney, descended from Washington's friend and biographer, John Marshall). On the verso of the document is a contemporary ink inscription containing further details: "Autographs of General Lee and his Staff, obtained at his camp before Fredericksburg. 30 January 1863 by J. Wm. Bushby." Bushby, an Englishman visiting the Confederacy, also obtained at the same time, the signatures of General T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson and John Bell Hood (see lot ). The signers represented here include 1) General Robert Hall Chilton, Lee's Chief of Staff from September 1862 to April 1864, the signer of the famous "lost order" at Antietam, later commander, 57th Virginia; 2) General Armistead Lindsay Long, Lee's Military Secretary until detached for artillery service in Jackson's old corps in September 1863, 3) Major Charles S. Venable, 4) Major Charles Marshall, 5) Major Samuel R. Johnston, Provisional Engineers, 6) Thomas M.R. Talcott. Lee, in his official Battle Report of the Fredericksburg Campaign, dated 10 April 1863 gave formal credit to these men for their role in the Fredericksburg victory: "My personal staff were unremittingly engaged in conveying and bringing information from all parts of the field. Col. Long was paticularly useful before and during the battle in posting and securing the artillery, in which he was untiringly aided by Captain Samuel R. Johnston of the Provisional Engineers; Majors Talcott and Venable in examining the ground and the approaches of the enemy; Majors Taylor and Marshall in communicating orders and intelligence....." (Lee, Wartime Papers,
ed. C. Dowdey and L.H. Manarin, p.374).
Very rare. We are unaware of any similar document preserving the signatures of Lee and the members of his personal staff.