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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



My dear Mr. Bonaparte

Upon reception of Mrs Bonaparte's letter with you postscript; I dispatched a letter to Capt. Brewerton; asking if necessity did not require it, & it could be done, with justice to Jerome & the Academy; that he be allowed to retain his military appointment in the Corps, & to waive the Academic appointment of Asst. teacher of French. But it was too late & the deed was done. I am glad to find your letter of the 12th, that you are more reconciled to the change, which I do not think will be to his disadvantage, or will interfere with his being made Adjutant, when the necessity of his present office ceases.

Mr. Jerome Bonaparte Perhaps you think like a sensible man, that when a thing is done, nothing remains but to make the best of it. That is right, still I must not leave you under the impression you entertained when you first wrote. You then seemed to be at a loss to reconcile the kind feelings, which you believed Capt. B. to entertain for Jerome, with his present appt. If the appt. of an asst teacher of French, was necessary, it is surely a compliment to Jerome's knowledge & character, that he should be selected. That is plain. But should it be necessary to make one from his class, it would be doing him an injustice, who stands first to select the second. That I should object to. And if Capt. B. believed that Jerome, was the fittest person in the Corps for the situation, his duty to the Institution & justice to the cadets of the fourth class would require him to appoint him. You see now the disadvantages of having a son, whose services are necessary to the Country. This necessity may pass away with the present term. In that case, I think it very certain, that he will be restored to his mil: rank, & appd Adjutant next encampment. His present rank at the Aacdy is however above that of his fellow cadets & next to the Commd Officers.

Tell Mrs Bonaparte, I had sat down to write her, & thank her for her kind letter of the 9th, which as I did not merit, I did not expect, but the uncertainty of its finding her in Winchester, & my unwillingness that any letter for her, should be hawked about by the Postmasters, deterred me. I nevertheless am truly grateful for her kindness & duly appreciate it.

The houses in town all give indication of the return of their occupants. Windows are open, bushes are flourishing, & dust flying. Yours still retains its closed impressiveness. Mr. Meredith has come back charmed with Jenny Lind, & the people here are in esctatics at the announcement of this move; that the Germanic Band will again this winter, gladden them with their soft music. All the Belles of the city are said to be engaged, which has caused the belief in others of their <sense>, that the millenium is at hand. Mrs. Lee has been much occupied in assisting one of her Virga cousins, Miss Stuart, whom you may recollect having seen here last spring, select her wedding paraphanalia. It is finished, & I have just been summoned to pass judgment on the dresses that have arrived from Miss Browns.

Tell Mrs B. I have sent her message to Custis, who will be greatly delighted at it. Rooney sends his love & begs she will pardon Grace for declining her polite invitation for the 2nd VA. At 12. She never attends feasts of the <illegible> who have lost their tacts. He says how you must regret the sacrifice of Nobles graceful appendage. You would now have a pair of them.

All join me in kindest regards to Mrs B. Mrs W. & yourself & in the pleasurable expectation of the arrival of the 1st VA. Please present me in an acceptable manner to Dr & Mrs Hoffman & believe me

my very best yours


R E Lee


I have learned that the Capon was closed. Inquire before you go.


Lee wrote the postscript on the letter's opening page.


Source: R. E. Lee Collection, Leyburn Library, Washington and Lee University


Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 22

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