• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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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Camp, Orange Ct House 10 Sept ‘63

                I have recd my precious daughter your letter of 23rd Aug; It must have arrived here shortly after I was called to Richmond where I was detained more than a week. I am glad to hear of the progress made in your studies & feel assured that you will Continue to improve by diligent application. The struggle which you describe you experience between doing what you ought & what you desire is is Common to all. You have only always to do what is right. It will become easier by practice, & you will always enjoy in the midst of your trials, the pleasure of an approving Conscience. That will be worth every thing else. You say rightly, the more you learn the more you are conscious of your ignorance. Because the more you know, the more you find there is to know in this grand & beautiful world. It is only the ignorant who suppose themselves omniscient. You will find all the days of your life that there is much to learn & much to do. As regards the length of time to continue at school I am now willing to leave that to you. You can leave at the end of the present session or Continue, as you think best. While there, endeavour to learn all you Can. You will find in after life you cannot know too much. I found on my return from Richmond monday (7th) letters from your mother, Agnes & Charlotte. The former I hope is better. She does not experience so much pain but I fear cannot move with more ease. She is Comfortably located in a beautiful healthy country among kind friends. Mary & Agnes are with her. Charlotte & Annie Leigh are in Charlottesville. They were detained there by Charlottes indisposition. She is better now poor child & will either return to the Bath Alum or go to the Yellow Sulphur which is not far from where your mother is. I suppose you know she is at Capt Bufords (Bufords depot Bedford County VA: at the foot of the Peaks of other who for many years has been in the habit of accommodating wayfarers. I left Custis well & busy as usual. Fitzhugh is still a prisoner at Ft Monroe. His wound is nearly healed & he is able to walk about, though his leg is still stiff. His keepers are kind to him & give him all that is necessary. I understand some ladies have obtained the privilege of sending him a basket of supplies once a week & that they are very bountiful in their provision. I see no prospect yet of his exchange. Rob is in advance with the Cavy. I have not seen him since his first arrival. I saw Miss Norvell when in R. she says she wishes to join you at St Marys so does Miss Champe Conway[1]. Evelyn Carter of Annifield[2] I understand is going there this Fall. I am very glad you have such a kind friend in Mrs Evans. You must exhibit to her your appreciation & express to her my thanks for her kindness. I want to see you very much “my precious life” & long for the time to Come when we may all be together again. God grant in his Mercy, that time may soon Come. I have been obliged to write in great haste amid many interruptions & have not said half I wish. Margaret & Carrie Stuart, whom you know have been pent up in King George for so long by the enemy, came up with me to see the army. They are staying at the Ct House with Mrs Ewell, under whose charge I placed them, but as they are two miles from me I fear I shall scarcely ever see them. Mrs Randolph was to have come up with them, but could not leave the morg I did. Good bye my dear daughter. May God bless you now & forever is the constant prayer of your devoted father

R E Lee

 

Source: Photocopy of Original, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 477, Section 23, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Gibson, 2017 July 20

 

[1] Champe Conway Robinson (1847-1901). Her father was Dr. James Hugh Conway of Richmond, and her mother was Ellen V. Bradfute of Staunton. Champe married Col. John M. Robinson. She died in Baltimore in January of 1901.

[2] Annfield, plantation in Clarke County. Robert E Lee’s wife, Mary, was born there during her mother’s visit in 1808.

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