General Lee's 1865 surrender manuscript auctions for $79,000

AMHERST, N.H. (WWBT) - A rare and historic original manuscript signed by Robert E. Lee, General of the Confederate Army, sold Wednesday night for $79,294, according to Amherst, NH-based auction house RR Auction.

"After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources, signed "R. E. Lee, Genl."

Lee's farewell address was an official message from the commanding general to his Confederate troops, signed by Lee on April 10, 1865—was posted to a tree outside the Appomattox, VA Courthouse. Handwritten copies of General Order No. 9 were also distributed to Corps commanders and other staff members with each copy personally signed by Lee.

This particular copy of the order was given to the family of General J. J. Archer, who had been taken prisoner of war at the Battle of Gettysburg and died in 1864.

"It is an amazing document that plays an important part in our nation's history, says Bobby Livingston, Vice President of Sales & Marketing with RR Auction, Lee's surrender was certainly instrumental in bringing about the end of the American Civil War."

General Lee had hoped that this General Order No. 9 would alleviate the South's humiliation and overwhelming sense of loss that came with the surrender, and show his respect. Confederate forces had held the general in such high regard and respected him so much that they would have gladly continued to fight—following him to certain death.