Items relating to the American Civil War, 1865.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Left to right: albumen print of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America; the last letter written by the Confederate General Robert E Lee prior to his surrender in April 1865; albumen print of Lee. From the album asembled by John Downes Rochfort, who visited American Civil War sites in 1867. The American Civil War (1861-1865) was precipitated by the secesion of South Carolina from the Union when Abraham Lincoln, who supported the abolition of slavery, was elected President in 1860. Eventually 11 southern states rebelled, forming the Confederacy under the presidency of Jefferson Davis. General Lee was the south's outstanding general, keeping numerically superior Union forces at bay in Virginia for much of the war.