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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



[1835 April 22; addressed to Charles Carter Lee, Floyd Courthouse Va]


            I have shot very short of the mark, and if you do not think so, why you are not fit to take onto yr. arms in naked beauty – and sweetness the young Bride of Yr. heart – a blessing as the preachers Say, (and you see I am one) I most sincerely wish you.

            Write me what you have learn’d about, cotton, my information from some of the most practical planters – is almost too flattering to be relied on – from $250 to $400 to the hand, none lower than the last amt.  I am writing this very night to [letter is torn] at Natchez – propounding many interrogations [letter is torn] to me, and so you see I am in earnest.

            I have been quite pleased to see the complementary American notices of the life of Napoleon.[1] I have not yet read it.  The truth is, old Jackson has so sicken’d me with Heroes that I shall never I believe admire one again. I really think, that miserable Poindexter affair[2] aught morally speaking to send the old dotard to the penitentiary for seven years. I have heard very few men of honor attempt to palliate much less excuse the presidents course in this business; yet I am told some do, which astonishes me more than the infatuated credulity of those who attribute Divine inspiration to the monstrous prophet Matthias[3]


Ys truly,

H. V. Somerville


Source: Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.185, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 November 3



[1] Written by Lee’s brother, Henry Lee IV.

[2] George Poindexter was born in Louisa County, Virginia, in 1779. He later moved to Mississippi, where he became a U.S. Senator. Andrew Jackson accused Poindexter of being involved in the assassination attempt on Jackson in 1835 January. The only connection the assassin, the deranged house painter George Lawrence, had to Poindexter was the fact that Lawrence had painted Poindexter’s house.

[3] Robert Matthews (1788-ca. 1841), aka Robert Matthias, aka Matthias the Prophet, a religious figure from New York, who gathered a cult following in the 1830s before getting involved in sex scandals and being committed to an insane asylum. He later died in the Iowa territory.

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