Lexington, December 23d 1870
I send you with pleasure my dear sir the informative you desire Genl Lee was born on the 19th Jany 1807 at Stratford in Westmoreland County Va, removed with his Mother & family to Alex. Va. about the year 1811 & in 1825 at the age of 18 was admitted to the Military Academy at West Point where he graduated with the first honors in 1829. he was married on the 30th, June 1831, & in 1835 was appointed assistant astronomer for determining the boundary lines between Ohio & Michigan, promoted 1st Lieut in 1836 & Captain in 1838. In 1846, he was appointed chief Engineer on the staff of Genl Wool in Mexico & rose through many brevets for gallant services In 1858, he resigned his position in the Engineer corps while Superintendant of the Military Academy at West Point & became a cavalry officer under Col Albert Sydney Johnston & distinguished himself in Texas & in 1861 resigned his position in the U S Army & entered the service of the late Confederate States.
I have given you sir the principal eras with their dates of Genl Lee’s crowded & eventful life, perhaps more then you cared for you can fill up the intervals more minutely as his career in Mexico & the South is well known in the histories of those wars.
With a due appreciation of your kind sympathy & mention of one who was beloved & admired by all who knew him.
Believe me truly & respectfully,
Mary Custis Lee
Source: Photocopy of original letter, vertical files, Jessie Ball DuPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 24