Our Collection

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, Robert E. (1807-1870) to John MacKay

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07755 Author/Creator: Lee, Robert E. (1807-1870) Place Written: Arlington, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 6 February 1843 Pagination: 4 p. 25.2 x 20 cm

Comments on MacKay's improving health and gives additional advice. Discusses congressional appropriations, reductions in budgets and appointments, and politics in Washington, D.C. at length. Mentions that the Oregon Bill, which expansionist President James K. Polk supported in his campaign, passed the Senate but had a doubtful fate in the House. Lee was then the Superintending Engineer for Fort Hamilton in New York Harbor. Delays and changes in congressional appropriations threatened his improvement projects. MacKay was Lee's closest friend during his days at West Point. He served in the Artillery and the Engineers in Georgia.

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