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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Richmond 25 Apl 1861


My dear Cassius,


     I have recd your letter of the 23rd. I am Sorry your Nephew has left his College & become a Soldier. It is necessary that the persons on my Staff should have a knowledge of their duties & an experience of the wants of the Service, to enable me to attend to other matters. It would otherwise give me great pleasure to take your nephew. I shall remember him if anything Can be done.

     I am much obliged to you for Dr May’s letter. Express to him my gratitude for his sentiments, & tell him that no earthly act would give me so much pleasure, as to restore peace to my Country. But I fear it is now out of the power of man, & in God alone must be our trust. I think our policy should be purely on the defensive. To resist aggression & allow time to allay the passions & reason to resume her sway. Virginia has to day I understand joined the Confederate States. Her policy will doubtless therefore be shaped by united Counsels. I Cannot Say what it will be. But trust that a merciful Providence will not turn his face entirely from us & dash us from the height to which his Smiles had raised us.

I wanted to Say many things to you before I left home. But the event was rendered so imperatively speedy that I Could not.


     My God preserve you & yours,

Very truly,

R E Lee


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 6, M2009.253, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 12


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