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History Detectives

Lee's Last Orders, Natchez House, Napoleonic Sword

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LEE'S LAST ORDERS--Beech Island, South Carolina--In the archives of a gentleman's club in this rural town is what is believed to be a hand-written, signed copy of one of the most famous documents in the history of the Civil War--Confederate General Robert E. Lee's farewell address, "General Order #9," composed at Appomattox, Virginia upon the surrender of his troops in April 1865. The Beech Island Agricultural Club, a social organization formed by local plantation owners in the 1840's, has owned this copy for almost 120 years. Is this really the "original" copy of "General Order #9"? NATCHEZ HOUSE--Natchez, Mississippi--There is a magnificent home on the "Spanish Esplanade" overlooking the Mississippi River that for years was believed to be the original home of one of the Spanish dons that colonized the area. The original owner was actually a free man of color named Robert D. Smith who built it himself in 1851, 14 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. The new homeowners, Ruth and Jim Coy, have been actively pursuing the history of Robert Smith and they have a question. According to a recently discovered record, Smith arrived in New Orleans on a slave ship. How did Robert Smith go from traveling on a slave ship full of captive individuals destined for servitude to owning a luxurious home? NEPOLEONIC SWORD--St. Martinville, LA--A magnificent sword that has been handed down for generations in a St. Martinville family has a mystery around it. Family lore has it that Napoleon was injured and their great-great grandfather treated Napoleon's wound. He was rewarded with this sword. Is this really the sword of Napoleon?
 

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