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[AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, BY ROBERT E. LEE, INTRODUCING ONE FORMER CONFEDERATE OFFICER, CORNELIUS BOYLE, TO ANOTHER, MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY, IN MEXICO IN 1866]
Lexington, Va, 1866. [1]p., written on a lined sheet, 9 1/4 x 7 inches. Previously folded, with a few small separations and pinholes along old folds. Some foxing along left margin. Still very good. A letter of introduction from Robert E. Lee for former Confederate Provost Marshal Cornelius Boyle, addressed to former Confederate naval Captain Matthew Fontaine Maury. Boyle had been barred entry into Washington because he had conducted espionage during the war. His land had been confiscated, and he was denied the opportunity to pay taxes in order to regain ownership. As many former Confederates did, he then turned to Mexico for an opportunity to regain his fortunes. Emperor Maximilian gave encouragement to such ventures, and suggested slavery would be accepted. Boyle set sail from New York in 1866 with Robert E. Lee's letter of introduction. The intended recipient of the letter, Matthew Fontaine Maury, a U.S. Navy officer and oceanographer before the war, had served as the Confederate Chief of Sea Coast, Harbor, and River Defenses. After the war, Maury went to Mexico and was serving as the Imperial Commissioner of Immigration for Emperor Maximilian. The letter reads, in full: "Dr. Cornelius Boyle formerly of Washington City proposes to visit Mexico. You are no doubt acquainted with Dr. Boyle by reputation, if not personally. He entered the Confederate Service at the beginning of the war, & was appointed to the command of a Battn, comprised of companies from the Dis of Columbia, with the rank of Major. He was subsequently selected by Genl. J.E. Johnston as the Provost Marshal Genl of the Army of N. Virg., & acted in that capacity to the end of the war with intelligence, firmness, & discretion. I regret the necessity he feels under of leaving the Country, but his property in Washington having been taken, he thinks it necessary to seek a new home." Lee wrote this letter from Lexington, Virginia, where he had taken the position as President of Washington College in the Autumn of 1865. The missive demonstrates his ongoing concern for former Confederate officers from the Army of Northern Virginia after the end of the Civil War, and provides insight into the process by which Confederate officers unwelcome in the United States emigrated to Mexico following the conflict.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2017-12-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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