Autographed Carte de Visite of R.E. Lee by Mathew Brady, c. 1866
Autographed Carte de Visite of R.E. Lee by Mathew Brady, c. 1866 - This fine CDV of Gen. Lee was obtained by Perry Adams Antiques directly from the lineal descendants of the Cocke and Meredith families. Both the Cockes, owners of “Derwent”, the Powhatan County, Virginia home where Robert E. Lee stayed during the summer of 1865, to recuperate after the Civil War ended, and the Merediths (the family of Judge John Meredith, prominent Richmond attorney and one of three Richmond leaders who handed the city over to Union General Weitzel in early April of 1865), had townhouses, in the 300 block of Franklin Street, in Richmond, just a couple of blocks west of the state capitol. Robert E. Lee and family had a Greek Revival townhouse in this same block, and his family and the Cockes and Merediths were neighbors and friends.
John Preston Cocke, youngest son of William Armistead Cocke and Elizabeth Randolph Preston Cocke, married Eliza Bernard Meredith, daughter of Judge John Alexander Meredith. John P. Cocke was a cadet at VMI during the Civil War and was with the Corps of Cadets during their famous participation at the Battle of New Market, in the “Field of Lost Shoes.” Cocke survived the war and later transferred to Washington College, in respect for Gen. Lee (who became President of the college in the Fall of 1865). After graduating from Washington College, Cocke went on to the University of Virginia Law School.
This image of Gen. Lee, taken by Matthew Brady, most likely in Washington, in February of 1866, is a from life image, boldly signed by Lee on the back of the CDV. This pose, according to the fine work by Donald A. Hopkins, “Robert E. Lee in War and Peace; The Photographic History of a Confederate and American Icon”, was “ … made by Brady of New York and Washington, D.C., in February, 1866, which for many years was thought to be one of the only three poses taken at this sitting.” The CDV clearly exhibits Brady’s back mark; the condition of this image and card is superior. Most certainly, the CDV was given by the General to the Cocke family, as a token of gratitude for the Cocke’s allowing the Lee family to stay at “Derwent” during the trying summer of 1865.