<br /> Lee Letter: g086

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Jefferson Davis

Mr President

I have read the letter of Lt. Col H. D. Capers which you did me the honour to transmit to me. The object of the writer is no doubt praiseworthy, but I do not think it would be well to attempt at this time the reestablishment of the Society of the Cincinnati. I think it important to unite as closely as possible the interests of the army with the interests of the citizens. They are one in reality & all for the Country. It would revive I fear the ancient opposition to the order give rise to misconstruction, & furnish themes to the discontented dissatisfied & captious – We want harmony, sympathy & cooperation of all our people. You may recollect before the design of the Cincinnati was to maintain & perpetuate social feelings & relations, & how it was misrepresented. I believe too greatly by the southern states & the politicians of the Jefferson School! We have now but one thing to do; to establish our independence. We have no time for anything else, & nothing of doubtful bearing on this subject should be risked – I have the honour to return to your Excy. the letter of Col: Capers.

With great respect your obt. servt.

R. E. Lee.

Notes:

W. J. De Renne CollectionWormsloe, Chatham County, Georgia (1914)

Printed in Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Dispatches, Dispatch No. 86.