• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Typed Copy


Richmond, Va., June 13, 1865


His Excy.

Andrew Johnson,

President of the U. States



Being excluded from the provisions of amnesty and pardon[1] contained in the proclamation of the 29th ult., I hereby apply for the benefits, and full restoration of all rights and privileges, extended to those included in its terms.

I graduated at the Military Academy at West Point in June, 1829; resigned from the U. S. Army, April 1861; was a General in the Confederate Army, and included in the surrender of the Army of N. Va., April 9, 1865.

I have the honor to be

Very respectfully,

Yr. obdt. svt.

(sgd.) R. E. Lee

When Gen. Lee requested me to make a copy of this letter to Presdt. Johnson, he remarked: it was but right for him to set an example of making formal submission to the Civil Authorities; and that he thought, by doing so, he might possibly be in a better position to be of use to the Confederates, who were not protected by Military paroles – especially Mr. Davis

(sgd.) G. W. C. Lee


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 8, M2009.332, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 21



[1] Lee complied with President Johnson’s requirements for restoration of citizenship. He took a loyalty oath on 1865 October 2, the same day he became president at Washington and Lee University. The copy of Lee’s loyalty oath was lost by the United States government and not found until the 1970s by a worker at the National Archives. On August 5, 1975, Gerald Ford restored Lee’s citizenship at a signing ceremony.

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