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All the original war-time photographs of Robert E. Lee: as presented in this chapter and in other volumes.

‘I believe there were none of the little things of life so irksome to him as having his picture taken in any way,’ writes Captain Robert E. Lee of his illustrious father. Lee was photographed in war-time on three occasions only: one was in the field, about 1862-1863; the second in Richmond in 1863; and the third immediately after the surrender, at his Richmond home. Several of the portraits resulting have appeared in other volumes of this history; all the rest are presented with this chapter. Lee's first sitting produced the full-length on page 235, Volume II, and the full-face on the page preceding this—the popular portrait, much lithographed and engraved, but rarely shown, as here, from an original photograph, with the expression not distorted into a false amiability, but calm and dignified as in nature. Lee's second sitting was before Vannerson's camera in Richmond, 1863. Richmond ladies had made for their hero a set of shirts, and had begged him to sit for a portrait. Lee, yielding, courteously wore one of the gifts. The amateur shirtmaking is revealed in the set of the collar, very high in the neck, as seen in the photographs on this page. Another negative of this second occasion, a full-length, is reproduced in Volume IX, page 123. The third photographing of Lee was done by Brady. It was the first opportunity of the camera wizard since the war began to preserve for posterity the fine features of the Southern hero. The position selected by Brady was under the back porch of Lee's home in Richmond, near the basement door, on account of the better light. The results were excellent. Three appear with this chapter: a magnificent three-quarter view, enlarged on page 63; a full-length, on page 69; and a group with Custis Lee and Colonel Taylor, on page 67. Another view of this group will be found on page 83 of Volume I; and the fifth of these Brady pictures, a seated profile of Lee alone, on page 23 of Volume III. An early daguerreotypist had portrayed Lee in 1850 as a young engineer-colonel —see page 55. The general's later life is covered by his celebrated photograph on ‘Traveler’ in September, 1866, on page 121 of Volume IX; by the two portraits of 1867 and 1869 on page 73; by the photograph with Johnston, taken in 1869, on page 341 of Volume I, and by the striking group photograph that forms the frontispiece to this volume.

Robert E. Lee

Lee at the height of his fame 1863


 

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