Special Items on Display

General Patrick Cleburne's Frock Coat

This uniform coat was sent to a family friend after Cleburne was killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. Thirty years after the event, the donor of the coat found it “so dirty and so moth-eaten” that she “hesitated about sending it on to Richmond.” Thankfully, she did send it. This is the first time in many years that this unique artifact has been on public display.

 

General Robert E. Lee's Dress Frock Coat

According to Custis Lee, who donated it to the Museum, this coat was the one Lee wore to the meeting with Grant. All wartime photographs of the general, including the 1865 Matthew Brady photos, show lee wearing uniforms with the rank insignia of a Confederate colonel. At Appomattox, his staff officers stated that Lee was dressed, "with more than usual care" and "dressed in his neatest style, new uniform, snowy linen, etc."

 

General Robert E. Lee's Dress Sword

Of the presentation swords in the collection, the most famous belonged to Gen. Robert E. Lee. Worn as part of his full dress uniform for his meeting with Ulysses S. Grant, it is often referred to as the “Appomattox sword.” Given to Lee by an anonymous Marylander in 1863, the sword was made by Devisme in Paris, France, and includes the inscription: Aide toi et dieu t’aidera (“Help yourself and god will help you” or “God helps those who help themselves”).