Skip to main content

Edmund McCaffray Collection

Identifier: SC-MS-166

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence and documents by and about Civil War General Robert E. Lee, his wife Mary Custis Lee, his nephew Fitzhugh Lee, and additional Civil War contemporaries. Content varies from updates on medical care to military requests for promotions and reimbursements. It spans from the height of the war in 1863 to post-Reconstruction in 1885, and largely originates to and from Virginia, of where Robert E. Lee was in command. A selection of the letters focuses on his failing health in the months before he died in October 1870.


  • Creation: 1863-1885


Conditions Governing Access

Access to portions of this collection have been restricted by Special Collections in order to preserve the original materials. Contact staff at the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History ( for information on access to this collection.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical and Historical Note

Robert E. Lee was a Confederate general and commander of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. As of June 1862, he commanded the Army of Northern Virginia and was made General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States from February until April 1865, when he famously surrendered to Union General in Chief Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

Lee was born and raised by a military family in Virginia, where he worked as a military engineer and served in the U.S. Army, before resigning to join the Confederacy when the Union was set to march on Virginia. He married his third cousin, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee, a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington via her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, in 1831. They had seven children. Lee initially fell ill with suspected heart disease in 1863 and never fully recovered. His health continued to fail through the remainder of the 1860s, until he finally passed away in the Fall of 1870.

James Ewell Brown Stuart, also known as Jeb for his initials of J.E.B., was a calvary commander and general in the Confederate army and served as one of Lee's most trusted confidantes and advisors. He was a major player at the Battle of Gettysburg, where his separaton from Lee's army has been charged with causing a failure to secure victory. Lee's nephew, Fitzhugh Lee, also served in the war as a Brigadier General under Stuart. Fitzhugh later became the 40th Governor of Virginia.


.5 Linear Feet (Contains 1 document box and 1 map case folder)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Edmund McCaffray in February 2000.

Digital Access

Portions of this collection have been digitized and/or are born-digital. For access to these digital materials, please browse the finding aid via the "Collection Organization" tab and select an individual file or item to see if it contains a linked digital record.

Edmund McCaffray Collection
Nicole Yatsonsky
2021 January 28
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository