An Opportunity to Own a Note Written by Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart as Major General, Responding to a Message from General Robert E. Lee!
The first part of this document is a letter written by General Robert E. Lee’s most trusted aide, Major C. S. Venable to General William E. “Grumble” Jones. It is headed, “Confidential” and “Head Quarters February 13th, 1863”. Stuart’s endorsement note, all in his own hand, is written at the bottom of the 2nd page and is dated the following day, February 14th, 1863.

This confidential letter from General Lee involves preparations for the Jones-Imboden Raid of April –May 1863. The raid, which employed attacks on supply lines to draw the Union Army out of the Shenandoah Valley, laid the foundations for the Gettysburg campaign of the following summer. At the conclusion of the letter, Stuart provides additional instructions, in full: “Some hard bread has been ordered for you to Staunton. Get everything ready – but by all means – Keep the matter secret - & prevent any information reaching the enemy. I shall be with you in about a week – ostensibly for review.” In his letter to Jones, Lee had suggested that Jones and Stuart, who had a notoriously acrimonious relationship, meet to discuss the operation: “I have suggested to Gen. Stuart that… after putting the cavalry… in motion, he proceed in person… where he can join & confer with you.” At the outset of the war, Jones was assigned to Stuart’s command; when Stuart was promoted to Brigadier General, the tension between the two grew until, as one contemporary noted, “(it) ripened into as genuine a hatred as I remember ever to have seen.” One historian has suggested that Lee approved of Jones’ assignment to Valley Command “to utilize Jones’ capacity for command to a more effective degree that was possible when Jones was under Stuart” (Freeman, Lee’s Lieutenants, Vol. 2, page 410). One suspects that the proposed meeting was not eagerly anticipated by either man. In October, Stuart’s dissatisfaction with Jones reached the breaking point, and he court-martialed Jones for insulting him. Although “Grumble” was found guilty, Lee intervened and transferred him to the Trans-Allegheny Department in West Virginia. Both Stuart and Jones would die in battle before the war’s close (accounting in large part for the scarcity of their autograph material) – Stuart at Yellow Tavern, Jones at Piedmont. In very good condition, with partial separations along folds touching letter text (archival take reinforcements), paper loss to top margin affecting a few words of letter text on second page, and a hint of mild soiling. Stuart’s writing is clear and dark. An unusually historic and significant document from this most elusive of Civil War signers!

This letter was sold by R & R Auction on June 21st, 2007 for the price of $7,423. Anything written by J. E. B. Stuart who would later be killed on May 12th, 1864 is extremely desirable. THE FACT THAT HIS STATUE IN RICHMOND IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING TAKEN DOWN IN AN ATTEMPT TO ERASE HISTORY IS TRULY TRAGIC. While the small piece of paper missing at the top left corner does not really detract from this great piece, our conservationist could easily fix this if so desired. A wonderful opportunity for investment… and to save $4,000.

#CG498 - Price $3,500