• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Lexington, Va: 9 September 1869


My dear Nephew,


     I have recd your letters of the 22 July & 11 Aug last, & am required at the pleasing intelligence contained in the latter, announcing your intention of embarking from Liverpool on the 4th Inst: for this Country. I hope to See you so some that I will defer any detailed account of affairs till we meet. I wish it was in my power to proceed to Boston to welcome you & my niece to America, but the resumption of the College exercises will take place the 16th Inst: about the time of your arrival, & my presence at that time is necessary here. I shall therefore have to receive you in Virginia, & I hope that as soon as you have regulated your business & seen your friends at the North that you will come directly to us.

     Let me know the day of your probable arrival, when you must drive up to our house.

     Your Aunt & Cousins are enjoying their usual health, & only returned from their visit to the Springs on the 6th Inst: My daughter Tabb & my Grd Son are with us and I hope will remain till your Arrival. Fitzhugh & Robert are at their homes but Custis & the three girls are in Lexington.

     You will find one sad gap in our family. Your Uncle Smith[1] died Suddenly on the 23rd July.  It was a grievous affliction to me which I must bear as well as I can. His poor wife & sons are at Richland. Your Uncle Carter is at his residence in Powhatan County. His family are all well. Mrs. Fitzhugh is at Ravensworth. Mrs. Julia Stuart, Julia Calvert, is on a visit to us at this time, but will return to her home on the Potomac in a few days.

     All unite with me in much love to you & your wife. Thank my dear Niece for her kind letter of the 22nd July. I fear that my letters do not reach you, though I always direct them to 25 Rue d’Astory. My replies to your last letters, those now acknowledged, would not have reached you before your departure from Europe. I therefore determined to await your arrival this Side of the Atlantic.

     Most truly your Uncle,

R E Lee


Mr. Edward Lee Childe


The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2009.379, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 2



[1] Sidney Smith Lee, Lee’s brother. Smith, in fact, died on the 22nd of July. Lee was unable to attend the funeral, which happened on the 23rd. Smith is buried in Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery in Alexandria.

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