Cover for LAAS: Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee

Wartime Washington

The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee

A fascinating and rare insight into the life and world of Civil War-time Washington from the womanís perspective, this collection of letters is an invaluable perspective on life in the nationís capital during an important period in American history.

Elizabeth Blair Lee was raised in Washington's political circles, and her husband, Samuel Phillips Lee, third cousin to Robert E. Lee, commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. When they married, Elizabeth promised to write every day they were apart. Of the hundreds of letters with which she kept her promise, Virginia Jeans Laas has edited a choice selection that illuminates the functioning of a nineteenth-century family and the Mrs. Lee's unique perspective on the political and military affairs of the nation's beleaguered capital.

"No other woman who lived through the Civil War in Washington could have seen it with the perspective of Elizabeth Blair Lee, and it is rare good fortune that her account of daily life in the nation's capital--social, political and mundane--is now available in Wartime Washington. . . . Certain to remain a valuable source of insight into Washington at war."-- Nat Brandt, Washington Post Book World

"An unprecedented picture of life in Washington's inner circle." -- Kirkus Reviews

"The letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee are an exceptional jewel in the treasury of published Civil War documents. . . . Her letters provide an unusual perspective beyond the intimate, even gossipy, view of those who served in high places. She came from a Southern slave-owning family, with relatives and friends on the Southern side. Her letters reveal better than any woman's published account the anguish of a nation and of families torn asunder." -- Elizabeth Hayes Turner, Civil War History

"This intelligently edited collection of almost 400 letters by a well-connected, intelligent, and alert woman is a treasure trove for period specialists and scholars of the American family." -- Library Journal

"An illuminating and historically significant volume. . . . The editor's thoughtful commentary, well-chosen annotations, and succinct yet information-packed introduction combine with the letters to make this fascinating volume a `living' historical record of great value to researchers and of lasting interest to the general public." -- Booklist

"Certainly one of the richest letter collections of its kind in existence, and this volume will make it much more accessible both to scholars and to the general public."-- Lawrence Frederick Kohl, Journal of American History

"Laas's editing of Lee's letters is superb."-- Janet L. Coryell, Journal of Southern History

"This is a very handsome volume, illustrated with well-chosen photographs; the introduction is trenchant and well written. Both for the scholar and the general reader, Wartime Washington is filled with a wealth of valuable details and moments of unexpected pleasure."-- Patricia Brady, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

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