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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Lee, John F. (1813-1884) to Henry Jackson Hunt

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02382.086 Author/Creator: Lee, John F. (1813-1884) Place Written: Upper Marlboro, Maryland Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 18 February 1871 Pagination: 2 p. ; 20.3 x 12.8 cm.

Requests information from Hunt regarding Robert E. Lee's heroic crossing of the pedregal (a lava field) during the Mexican American war. This inquiry is for Emily V. Mason, who is writing a pictorial school book on the life of Lee. Mentions Generals Winfield Scott and David Twiggs, and Poinsett (possibly Joel Roberts Poinsett). Mentions the retirement of General Benjamin Roberts. States "I regret that the army is insufficient under military direction, to suppress the Ku Klux & regulate the elections. The new bill... treats the military machine, as capable of working usefully, only when under intelligent civil direction." Congress passed several "force bills" in 1870 and 1871, attempting to curtail actions of the Klan. Mason, a friend of Mary Randolph Curtis Lee, published her book Popular Life of Gen. Robert Edward Lee in 1872.

Hunt had served as Chief of Artillery for the Army of the Potomac. After the Civil War, he occupied various military posts. During the early 1870s, Hunt served at Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island. Congress passed several "force bills" in 1870 and 1871, attempting to curtail actions of the Klan. Mason, a friend of Mary Randolph Curtis Lee, published her book Popular Life of Gen. Robert Edward Lee in 1872.

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