Memoirs of Robert E. Lee his Military and Personal History Embracing a Large Amount of Information Hitherto Unpublished by A.L. Long, a former military secretary to General Lee, was published in 1887 by J. M. Stoddart & Company. This volume’s full text is searchable by Accessible Archives subscribers. It can be found in our The Civil War Part III. The Generals Perspective.
Dedicated to the Disabled Confederate Soldiers:
The gallant men with whom he has a right to sympathize, the author respectfully dedicates the following pages.
To overcome the inactivity to which loss of sight has for some years subjected me, I have sought occupation in recording the recollection of familiar events. Having obtained a slate prepared for the use of the blind, I soon learned to write with a moderate degree of legibility. In order to excite a pleasing interest in my work, I undertook something that might prove of future benefit. Having served on General Lee’s personal staff during the most important period of his military career, I began an eye-witness narrative of his campaigns in the war between the States. In the execution of my work I received valuable assistance from my wife and daughter, my two sons, and Miss Lucy Shackelford (now Mrs. Charles Walker), all of whom lovingly and faithfully served me as copyists and readers. I am also indebted to Colonel C. S. Venable of General Lee’s staff, Major Green Peyton of Rodes’s staff, and Major S. V. Southall of my own staff, for indispensable aid in reviewing my manuscript, informing me of facts that had not come to my knowledge or reminding me of such as had escaped my recollection. My work is now completed, and I offer it to the public, hoping it may prove of value as a record of events which passed under my own observation, and many of which have been described directly from my notes made at the time of their occurrence. It is not intended to be a history of the war in detail, but a statement of my personal knowledge of General Lee’s life, actions, and character, and of the part played by him in the great events of which he was the ruling spirit.
After receiving my manuscript the publishers desired a change of plan which would embrace some of the interesting social and domestic features of General Lee’s life. This part of the work has been edited and conducted through an arrangement with the publishers by General Marcus J. Wright, formerly of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, but now, and for some years past, agent of the United States War Department for the collection of Confederate records. My wife has rendered important aid in this part of the work by contributing personal incidents and other valuable material obtained through her friendly relations with the family of General Lee. It is also proper to acknowledge the use of the publications of Rev. J. W. Jones, Colonel Walter H. Taylor, Miss Emily Mason, the Southern Historical Society papers, Swinton, and the Report of the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War (Federal). I have had occasion to refer to the Memoirs of General Grant and The Campaigns of General J. E. B. Stuart, by Major H. B. McClellan. I have been greatly encouraged in the publication of this work by the cordial concurrence of General G. W. Custis Lee, General W. H. F. Lee, Major R. E. Lee, Miss Mildred Lee, Governor Fitz Lee, and other members of the family.
I further desire to acknowledge my indebtedness to Colonel R. N. Scott, U. S. A., for opportunity afforded me at the War Records Office of studying official reports, maps, and the confidential letter-books of General Lee, relating to the events described in the present volume, many of which have never hitherto been published, and which will prove of great value and interest both in rightly understanding military operations and in estimating the character and genius of that great soldier.