York April 10th 1866
In addressing you I assure you it was not the promptings of idle
officiousness. Although I have not
the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, I know your history and have
admired you for years; this is my only excuse for taking so much interest in
every thing that relates to Gen. Robt E. lee.
I am in the land business, and am perfectly familiar with all the laws
relating to real estate in Virginia.
I know that the Arlington estate has been sold for taxes, and that you,
or the legal representative of said estate, at any time within three years from
the date of its sale have the privilege of redeeming it by paying the taxes and
the cost of the sale. Ask any
lawyer acquainted with the land laws of your State and they will tell you that
what I say is correct.
It is a great shame that the beautiful Arlington, belonging to the
relatives of the father of his country should become an asylum for lazy negroes
and a graveyard for those who have lost their lives in efforts to make these
same negroes the equals of the white man.
I have taken the liberty of showing your letter to some of your true
friends here. We think we can, in a
quiet way, raise, if not enough, a considerable sum toward redeeming Arlington.
I trust I have not done wrong. My
object is to benefit you and save the spot on which so many of the leisure days
of my boyhood were so happily spent from worse than vandal desecration.
I find the following paragraph in the Washington correspondence of the World
of this date: (Clipping
“GRAVES OF FEDERAL SOLDIERS IN VIRGINIA
By direction of the Quartermaster-General, Brevet Major James Gleason,
Quartermaster United Sates army, will start in a day or two to make a tour of
inspection of all the battle-fields of Virginia, for the purpose of
ascertaining, as far as possible, the number and location of all the Union dead
that have been buried on the field. It
is the intention of the government to have all these remains brought to
Arlington Cemetery for interment, where a monument will be erected to their
Now Sir pray look to this thing. Consult some lawyers on the subject, and
I am sure you will obtain information that will enable you, with the assistance
of your friends, to redeem Arlington.
I know nothing of the provisions of the will of the late Mr. Custis.
If you are the owner by paying the taxes and costs you can get it back.
It being purchased by the Government diverts this property from you no
more than if it had been bought by an individual.
Wm. H. Hope
Robt. RE. Lee