General Lee is best known as the commander of the Confederate army in the American civil war, and it's a name that continues to inspire militaria collectors and historians.
The 1865 tintype was contained in a wooden case covered in leather.
The fascinating piece of history was sold by the Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, with proceeds going to the charity's job programme, as public relations and communications manager Suzanne Kay-Pittman told local television station NewsChannel5.com.
"This sale will help 69 people with free job services, job training [and] job training programmes," she said.
Lee had been offered the opportunity to take charge of the Union army prior to the civil war by Abraham Lincoln in 1861.
Several historians claim that he was in fact opposed to slavery but sided with the Confederates due to his strong allegiance to his state, Virginia.
Photographs of famous Americans of the 19th century have a history of selling well at auction, with a particular emphasis on outlaws.
The only known signed photograph of US outlaw Jesse James made $51,240 at auction in April, far surpassing its high-end estimate of $30,000.
And the only authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid in existence achieved $2.3m at Brian Lebel's 22nd Annual Old West Show & Auction in Denver, Colorado, US in June.
The tintype image was captured 130 years ago in a saloon at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
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