|Description and Photograph||
Being the greatest celebrity of his day, General Lee was offered many lucrative positions after the war. In his simple dignified way he turned them all down and instead accepted a position at a humble university in southwest Virginia, which to this day bears his name.
In the months after the war, Northern fanatics were calling for the heads of Southern leaders. Many had fled the country and were living in exile. Jefferson Davis was languishing in Fortress Monroe. In order to further the case against the former Southern leaders, General Lee was summoned to appear before a committee of congress in February 1866. General Lee’s testimony was clear, concise and the simple truth.
Subsequent events plainly showed that the legal minds of the North had not a leg to stand on in prosecuting the South. Contrarily, a public trial would have vindicated the South and incriminated the North before the eyes of the world. All charges were dropped, thus denying the South’s day in court.
While he was in Washington, people of all classes clamored to see the world’s greatest General. It was at this time in late February or early March of 1866 that General Lee sat for this portrait in Alex Gardner’s Pennsylvania Avenue studio.
I have searched out every published photograph of General Lee and have concluded that this image has never before been published. If anyone of my readers knows of a published work including this image, I would appreciate hearing from you. The image is in excellent condition; its only flaw is a slight crimping of the upper right corner. General Lee’s signature is done in ink and remains bold and clear.
This CDV was taken from an album in Richmond, Virginia on October 5, 2000.