SIGNED & DATED POST-WAR CIVILIAN VIEW OF GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE’S OLDEST SON -GEORGE WASHINGTON CUSTIS LEE

$650.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1138-290B

Image shows Lee in a dark civilian suit with a bold ink signature at bottom of “G.W. C. LEE.”

Contrast and clarity are excellent as is the mount and paper. Bottom of the mount is marked “MILEY LEXINGTON, VA.

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for MILEY, LEXINGTON, VA. With collector information in pencil at top and “1868” in pencil at bottom.

From the collection of the late William A. Turner.

George Washington Custis Lee was born in Fort Monroe, Virginia on September 16, 1832. He was educated at numerous boarding schools to prepare him to follow in his father's footsteps. Lee was not given admission to West Point at age 16. His father, Robert E. Lee, then sent a letter to General Winfield Scott on his son's behalf. Zachary Taylor then nominated young Lee to West Point at age 17.

From 1850 to 1854, Lee attended West Point. During his first year, he excelled both academically and militarily. Toward the end of his first year, he was almost expelled, when alcohol was found in his room. He claimed that he did not put it there, and got away with only minor punishments. His second year passed well. At the beginning of his third year, his father became the Superintendent of West Point. Lee graduated first in his class of forty-six, in 1854.

Custis Lee was then commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, as his father before him. He was given the rank of brevet second lieutenant. He served primarily in California, Georgia, and Florida during his time in the United States Army. In 1855, he was given the rank of second lieutenant in the Regular Army. In 1859, Lee was commissioned a first lieutenant and was then stationed in Washington D. C., during the period of secession and Fort Sumter. He resigned from the Army in the spring of 1861 after Virginia seceded and two weeks after his father’s resignation. Custis Lee then offered his services to his father's Virginia state forces.

Custis Lee served in the Virginia state forces, until July 1861. At that time, he was given a commission as a captain in the Confederate States Army. During the next few months, Lee worked in the Confederate Engineers. He spent his time constructing fortifications for the new capital city, Richmond. At the end of August 1861, Lee was offered and accepted the position of aide-de-camp to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He was then promoted to the rank of colonel. Lee served in his position for the next three years of the war. He was often sent on missions to assess the military, and would then return to report to Davis. When Robert E. Lee became the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Custis Lee had constant contact with his father. In 1862, during the Peninsula Campaign, Custis Lee was put in charge of supervising the engineers at Drewry's Bluff.

In June 1863, he was promoted to brigadier general. Lee was discouraged from taking a field command by Davis, but encouraged by his father. He finally asked his father for a field command, but his father replied that his highest duty was obedience to his superiors. For the most part, he obeyed Davis, but during the Battle of Gettysburg, Custis Lee was given the command of the troops in Richmond. In 1864, Custis Lee was placed in command of Richmond's local defenses against General Grant and General Benjamin Butler. He did so well that he was given command of Richmond's eastern defenses at Chaffin's Bluff. Lee remained at Chaffin's Bluff throughout the next months, and in 1864, he was promoted to major general. Shortly before the end of the war, he commanded troops in the field and was captured at Sayler's Creek by David Dunnels White a private in the 37th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment on April 6; three days before his father surrendered on Palm Sunday April 9, 1865 to Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

In late 1865, Lee was hired as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute. He held this position until the death of his father. Between 1871 and 1897, Lee served as the ninth president of Washington and Lee University. In 1877, seven years after his father's death, Custis Lee sued in a case with assistance from Robert Lincoln that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court to regain title to the family mansion, Arlington House and plantation, which had become Arlington National Cemetery. Lee's case, United States v. Lee, was decided in his favor by a 5–4 vote, in 1882. Lee won both the house and the 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) surrounding the mansion. In 1883, Lee sold Arlington House to the United States Government for $150,000. In 1897, Lee resigned as president of Washington and Lee University. He then moved to the home of his late brother, Major General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee's Ravensworth Mansion. Custis Lee died on February 18, 1913, in Alexandria, Virginia, and is buried in the Lee Chapel, near his family members. He never married, and had no children.  [AD] [PH:L]

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