Autographed Robert E. Lee CDV
Autographed Robert E. Lee CDVSigned Lee2

Autographed Robert E. Lee CDV c. 1862 – 1863


AUTOGRAPHED ROBERT E. LEE CDV PHOTOGRAPH c. 1862-1863 – This CDV, a recent, local acquisition, is clearly signed “R E Lee” on the image.  The back mark of the image denotes “Rockwell & Cowell, Photographers, Petersburg, Va.”, although the photograph was originally the work of Petersburg and Richmond photographer George W. Minnis, assisted by David T. Cowell and was originally taken in either 1862 or 1863. The image depicts Lee wearing his general’s frock coat, which is unbuttoned, with his lapels evidencing the typical three stars of a Confederate colonel. It has been suggested by Lee image authorities, Roy Meredith and Donald Hopkins, that this particular image may have been taken, ”in the field”, some time in 1862, at the onset of the war. Noted Civil War historian and author, Richard B. Hartwell, insisted that this image of an apparently relaxed Lee, was made in April of 1863, at Lee’s headquarters, near Fredericksburg, by Minnis and Cowell. Regardless, this is an early and significant image of General Lee, clearly signed by him. On the verso, is a 2-cent US tax stamp, hand cancelled and inscribed “Apl 16 / 1866″. This CDV is in good condition, with some minor foxing and with some slight paper loss, to the image, in the upper left corner of the print; there is a small segment of the lower right corner of the print missing, as well, apparently the result of mishandling when the image was removed from a CDV album; this slight tear did remove a very small bit of the second “e” in Lee’s autograph. Overall, this is a fine image, exhibiting a rare, early to mid-War depiction of General Lee, and clearly and boldly signed by him. (We highly recommend, for additional research about images of Gen. Lee, that one obtain “Robert E. Lee in War and Peace; The Photographic History of a Confederate and American Icon” by Donald A. Hopkins. Dr. Hopkins discusses the pose seen in this CDV, at length, in this work.)


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