• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Harpers Ferry

1 Decr 1859

 

I arrived here dearest Mary yesterday about noon with the four Comps from Fort Monroe, & was busy all the evg & night getting accommodation for the men &c, & posting sentinels & picquets to ensure timely notice of the approach of the enemy.

The night has passed off quietly. The feelings of the Community seem to be Calmed down & I have been recd with every kindness. Mr Fry is among the officers from Old Point. There are several young men, former acquaintances of ours as cadets. Mr Bingham of Custis’ class, Sam Cooper &c but the Senior officers I never met before, except Capt Howe, the friend of our Cousin Harriet R. I presume were are fixed here till after the 16th. Tomorrow will probably see the last of Capt Brown. There will be less interest for the others, but still I think the troops will not be withdrawn, till they are similarly disposed of.

Custis will have informed you that I had to go to Baltimore the evg I left you, to make arrangements for the transportation for the troops. After which I went up to see our poor Sister. She is better I think & Florence1 too, though both were in bed. Returning I called at our nans. Her Robert had gone to hear a Mr Henry Grattan Guinness,2 said to be a great sacred orator, but returned before I left. They both seemed well & happy. But Agnes will tell you all about them. In addition to the sorrow I felt at leaving home was added that of her leaving B[altimore] unnecessarily where I was told she was enjoying herself.

I heard in B with great sorrow of the death of Charles Turner. He died just after landing in Liverpool. It is now supposed of Cancer in the stomach. No friend was with his wife. May God have mercy on them both!

This morg I was introduced to Mrs Brown, who with a Mr Tyndale & Mr & Mrs McKim,3 all from Phila had come on to have a last interview with her husband. As it is a matter over which I have no controul & wish to take none, I referred them to Genl Taliaferro.4

You must write to me at this place. I hope you are all well. Give love to every body. Tell Smith that no charming women have insisted on taking care of me, as they are always doing of him. I am left to my own resources.

I will write again Soon & will always be truly & affy yours

R E Lee

 

 

 

Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c, Section 12, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 October 30

 

 

1. Florence Lee Soltyk (1838-1919), the daughter of Edward Vernon Childe and Catharine Mildred Lee Childe (1811-1856).

2. Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910), an Irish evangelical preacher.

3. Hector Tyndale (1821-1880) and James Miller McKim (1810-1874) both of whom were Pennsylvania abolitionists.

4. General William B. Taliaferro (182201898), a native of Gloucester County, Virginia, who was in command at Harpers Ferry. He later served in the Confederate army

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