Sep 24, 2020 - Sale 2546

Sale 2546 - Lot 49

Price Realized: $ 938
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 300 - $ 400
(CIVIL WAR.) Wilmer McLean. Personal letter by the man who later crossed paths with history at Manassas and Appomattox. Autograph Letter Signed to Belle Hurst of Claymont, VA. 3 pages, 9 3/4 cx 7 1/2 inches, on one folding sheet, with address panel on final blank (no postal markings); small seal tear on final leaf, otherwise minor toning and minimal wear. Centreville, VA, August 1849

Additional Details

Food merchant Wilmer McLean (1814-1882) was the Forrest Gump of the Civil War. The First Battle of Bull Run broke out at his homestead in Manassas, VA in 1861. He soon moved to sleepy Appomattox, VA to avoid the fighting, but his house was commandeered in April 1865 by Robert E. Lee to negotiate the surrender to Grant.
Offered here is a long personal letter written by McLean at age 33, long before his dual brushes with destiny. He urges a young woman to take his hand in marriage. She apparently rejected his advances, as he married the widow Virginia Mason in 1853--it was her house in nearby Manassas to which he moved.