Submitted and annotated by esteemed member Bob Huddleston

Understandably at the end of the Civil War, there was a great deal of bitterness against those who were perceived as being the "leaders" of the Rebellion. Obvious targets included those Confederate officers who had resigned form the Untied States Army to follow their states.

Following President Lincoln's instructions and his own desire to "Let us have Peace," General Grant granted Lee and those who surrendered t Appomattox paroles which prevented the more vindictive of the Northern leadership from trying Lee or any of his officers and men for treason.

And, over the next few years, the ex-Confederates were granted amnesty by presidential proclamation.

Although the various amnesty acts and the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited certain classes of ex-Confederates from filling many United States political and military positions, they did secure personal liberty and, over time, even the prohibitions against former Confederates becoming officers in the United States Army and Navy were lifted.

Robert E. Lee died in 1870, but the Army continued to receive letters concerning his status -- enough letters that the adjutant general's office eventually established a formal "201" Personnel File for the long dead general. Now in the National Archives, and available on microfilm (M-2063), Lee's 201 File contains information from his appointment to West Point to his resignation in 1861 and on after his death.

Copied here is a letter from RG 407, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-, sent in 1945 in response to a request from a woman in California. It is, in effect, a form letter, sent out in the name of the Adjutant General by a clerk.

It is important because the sequence of pardons, declarations of amnesty and various laws applied to other ex-Confederates, as well as General Lee.

One minor error: it reports that when Lee applied for a Presidential Pardon, he failed to include the Oath of Allegiance as required by law. A few years ago the oath turned up, misfiled, perhaps deliberately by someone who did not want to see Lee pardoned. Bob Huddleston

A.G. 201

Lee, Robert E.

(16 Jan 45) RO-R

Mrs. Sam. A. Davis,

235 South Jackson,

Glendale 5, California.


Dear Mrs. Davis:

In response to your letter of 16 January 1945, herewith in a copy of my letter of 27 June 1936, regarding General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A.


201 File, Old Records Division, Adjutant General's Office, 1917- , RG 407, National Archives Microfilm M-2063, Military Service Records of Robert E. Lee