Pinehurst, North Carolina
My dear Mr. Marshall: I saw your letter, the other day, to Mrs. Marshall, and your more recent letter of February 13 at the same time as the copy of the ‘“Aide-de-Camp to Lee.’” I am very appreciative of your kindness in sending me the copy of the book. I had read it years ago, but I am very glad to have it in my own library, and the opportunity to go over the contents again.
It may interest you to know that, according to my childish recollection—I was about ten years old at the time—your father, at the hotel in Luray, Virginia, first centered my mother’s attention on the Virginia Military Institute.2 As a result, my brother went there that fall, 1890, and I followed him in 1897.
It has always been a source of great regret to me that I was so young at the time that I did not ask the questions of your father that agitated my thoughts in the study of the various campaigns of the Army in Northern Virginia. It was a rare opportunity but I was too young to take advantage of it.
With regard to the original of General Lee’s farewell order to his troops in your father’s handwriting, it seems to me that might more properly belong in the Museum in Richmond rather than at Stratford House, where not so many people would have the opportunity of seeing it.3 It is a paper of great historical interest; and, incidently, a great tribute to your father’s remarkable gift of expression.
With my thanks again, and the hope that I may have the opportunity of meeting you personally, Faithfully yours,
PS It occurs to me that you might be interested in having a copy of my final report on the last two years of the recent war. I will see if I have a copy in my office at the Pentagon, which I still maintain, and will autograph it and send it to you.
GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers (Secretary of State, General)
1. A lawyer in New York City, Charles Marshall had sent Mrs. Marshall a copy of his father’s An Aide-de-Camp of Lee: Being the Papers of Colonel Charles Marshall, Sometime Aid-de-Camp, Military Secretary, and Assistant Adjutant General on the Staff of Robert E. Lee, 1862–1865, ed. Frederick Maurice (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1927). The elder Charles Marshall (1830–1902) was a distant cousin of George C. Marshall.
2. In 1890, George C. Marshall Sr. had purchased considerable property in and around Luray.
3. Charles Marshall had written that a facsimile of Lee’s farewell order appeared in the book on p. 276. “I have the original of this in my possession and am somewhat troubled about its ultimate disposition as I think it should more appropriately be at a public institution of some sort. My present inclination is to leave it to Stratford House. Possibly your husband might have some thoughts on the subject.” (Charles A. Marshall to K. T. Marshall, February 20, 1948, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Secretary of State, General].)
Stratford Hall, a 1730–38 Georgian great house, was built by Thomas Lee, General Lee’s grandfather. Robert E. Lee had been born there in 1807. Since 1929 the plantation had been owned by the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association. The “Museum in Richmond” is the Confederate Museum, established in 1896. The handwritten General Orders Number 9 of April 10, 1865, is in the museum’s collection of Lee papers.