Robert E Lee's Farewell Address to sell for $100,000 at Heritage

The Anderson family copy of Robert E Lee's Farewell Address will appear at Heritage Auctions' April 11 Manuscripts Signature Auction in New York.

Lee's farewell address
'I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen'

The period copy of the Confederate leader's surrender will be sold with an $80,000-100,000 estimate. It once belonged to John Reid Anderson (1813-1892), who was a close friend of Robert E Lee.

Also starring in the sale is the Nobel Prize medal that Francis Crick was awarded for his discovery of the structure of DNA.

Lee's heartfelt farewell to his troops in the US civil war came after Ulysses S Grant's breakthrough of the Confederate lines in the Battle of Five Forks in April 1865. General Lee fled from Petersburg and Richmond and travelled west in the hope of joining the Army of Tennessee in North Carolina.

However, George Custer's cavalry managed to prevent the Confederate troops from reaching supply trains and Lee soon found himself surrounded. After negotiating a cease fire, he ordered the drafting of General Order No 9, also known as Lee's Farewell Address.

The document sees Lee addressing his troops for the last time, and shows his affection and appreciation for their efforts.

It is not certain who made the example at auction, though the low quality paper is consistent with that used by Confederate troops at the time. The ink used for the body of the text is the same that Lee used to sign his name, suggesting that he was present while it was written.

The document has been passed down through the Anderson family since its creation, and is therefore supported by a strong provenance. A fantastic example of a renowned American document, it will undoubtedly sell well.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a copy of the most important of all American documents - the Declaration of Independence.

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