• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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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Arlington April 19th [1861]

 

My dear Mildred,

 

Mamma thinks you may have an opportunity to send your bonnet over to Mrs. Barnes to-day, so as “Agnes never writes” I have seated myself to concoct an epistle to send any how. The bonnet is very sweet I think & the spencer too, I hope it will fit if the sleeves are too long take up two plaits on the seams just at the bend of the arm. The young ladies had just begun to wear those waists over low-necked dresses to little parties in New York last fall & I think they are so stylish & pretty. We are all very sad here at the present state of affairs. Papa, Mamma and Mary went to Alexandria this morning. Helen & I learnt out walking to-day Virginia had seceded! I cannot yet realize it, it seems so dreadful. But she had to take one side or the other & truly I hope she has chosen the right one. It is a very solemn step & I fear we will have to go through a great deal of suffering.

I am sorry you are away from us, though fortunately you are in the midst of kind friends. So you must acquire all the knowledge you can to be the better prepared for any emergency. Your hand writing is improving very much, if you only keep it large enough to give it character. I heard from Rob two days ago. He has joined the “Southern Guards” who were much disappointed by the rainy weather then threatening to prevent a grand parade they expected the next day. Annie is with Charlotte & Fitzhugh ; when we last heard from her she was going to pay a little visit to Cousin Rebecca Tabb. Cousin Nannie Stearns is now in Alexandria. We are all well here bodily at least. I believe we have written you of Robert’s death, & a few weeks ago Aunt Patsy’s little girl Matilda died also. 

Custis is still at Ft. Washington, I don’t know when he will get through. Your Cousin Angela Turner is in W[ashington]. but his Father thinks there may be trouble traveling now so  he has written for her to come home. I have nothing new to tell you. You have probably heard of Miss Nellie Hale’s marriage. We meant to go, but it was so rainy we could not. Helen Bratt is engaged to Mr. DuBarry I believe I wrote you. Nothing here is talked or thought of except our troubles. Our poor country & our Fathers & brothers need all of our prayers. Yours are still in the Army. Tom is the only one who seems to be happy these blue days. He constantly comes to me for a little petting. Good-bye, dear Mil, write to me soon & I will write again. Helen sends love. Your fond sister

Agnes

 

My kindest remembrances to Rebecca Hatry, also to cousin Marietta & Kate if she is not still with Cousin Margaret Turner     

 

 

 

Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 280, Section 15, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

 

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 9

 

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