• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 May 25 [1869]



            I need not assure you my dear Lettie[1] now much pleasure it will give us all to have you with us at commencement. We shall move into our new house[2] next week & shall have always room for you even should other friends come at that time for you are not so very large. I wish your dear Mamma could come with you. I should be so glad to see her once again. The Genl went to the Convention in Fredericksburgh[3] but will return in a few days and we shall I hope be comfortably settled in the course of the week so you must come whenever you are ready and drive straight up to our door. Tell Miss Johnson I have a book for her sent by Mr. Edey who seems to have a deep interest in her spiritual welfare. I am awaiting a good opportunity to send it & suppose I shall scarcely have one before Martin Burk returns. I hope his parents have forgiven his sister who seemed to be a very nice little girl when I saw her. We have all been very busy with a strawberry feast which we have been holding for the benefit of our Church & the girls are just now bringing home the articles which were not sold I am sorry to say was a good many. No one wanted really anything but strawberries & cream. I hope they sold well but we had to get them from Lynchburg as but few can be had here, & I fear they will cost us about $30.00 though we have not gotten the bill yet. We made only about a $1.60, we had hoped for $200 but the students on whom we calculated on most were all out of money. You know boys never can keep any. I must write you a very stupid letter for I am so tired out with all duties today & occupations the girls are very busy fitting themselves up for the summer I never seem to have a moment’s leisure. I fear they are bad managers of their time when you write to Kitty give my love to her tell her I often recall the time when she was in my room in Richmond so gay & joyous with Genl Stuart. How bright all were in spite of the war for we all hoped & believed we should succeed in the dearest wish of our hearts alas, how, all hope is fled & a dismal blank is before us. Yet our only hope is that God who knoweth our paine [sic] & remembereth that we are but dust will not afflict us beyond what we are able to bear & all nature is so joyous & smiling that we should not be sad. Good night I may write some more tomorrow the girls send much love with me to you & all.



                                                Mary Custis Lee


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box M2009.405, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 8



[1] Letitia Burwell, a first cousin once removed from Robert E. Lee.

[2] The new president’s house for Lee and his family at Washington and Lee. Lee would live in this house until his death in October 1870.

[3] Lee was in Fredericksburg for a meeting of religious leaders.

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