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An Act to provide the appointment of a General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States. General Orders No. 3; Richmond, February 6, 1865

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An Act to provide the appointment of a General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States. General Orders No. 3; Richmond, February 6, 1865
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Description: OFFICIAL BROADSIDE CONFEDERATE PRINTING with seal on top left corner appointing Robert E. Lee "General in Chief" of the Confederate forces. By 1865 Jefferson Davis had lost widespread support throughout the South. As the Confederacy?s fortunes worsened, there was a growing sense that Davis lacked the political and, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, the military skills needed to deliver victory and independence from the Union. Davis?s increasingly restive detractors began looking for ways to diminish the president?s role and expand that of their great general, Robert E. Lee. Early proposals for expanding Lee?s authority included the idea of simply making him Commander-in-Chief and thus de facto leader of the Confederacy. This never came to pass, in large part because Lee himself made it clear that he had no wish to encroach upon Davis?s authority. Despite this there was a widespread desire among the public, as reflected in this Act of the Confederate Congress, for Lee?s role to be expanded and Davis?s diminished. This Act gave formal expression to this important shift in the Confederate South. A highly important piece of Confederate legislation, these orders not only represent the culmination of Robert E. Lee's career, but had significant effects on the outcome of the war. After Lee was appointed "General in Chief" he became, like Washington for the North, the central figure in which the Confederates placed their hopes. Consequently, when Lee surrendered to Grant, the implications were profound. "Without their Washington, Southerner?s realized their revolution was over" (McCaslin, 191). General Orders No. 3; Richmond, February 6, 1865. Housed in custom half-leather box. In remarkable condition for such a fragile item, with small tear visible on verso and only very light browning. Scarce: Printed for and distributed to members of the Confederate Congress and military officers and officials.

Artist or Maker: Lee, Robert E

 
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