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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Near Cartersville Va: 8 Sept ’65



My dear Captain

            I have just recd your letter of the 8 Ulto. We have certainty not found our form of Govt: all that was anticipated by its original founders. But that may be partly our fault, in expecting too much; & partly to the absence of virtue in the people. As long as virtue was dominant in the Republic, so long was the happiness of the people secure. I cannot however despair of it yet. I look forward to better days, & trust that time & experience the great teachers of men, under the guidance of an ever merciful God, may save us from destruction, & restore us the high hopes & prospects of the past. The thought of abandoning the County & all that must be left in it, is abhorrent to my feelings; & I prefer to struggle for its restoration, & share its fate, than to give up all as lost. Still I have a great admiration for Mexico. The salubrity of its climate, the fertility of its soil, & the magnificence of its scenery, possess for me great Charms; but I look with delight upon the mountains & rivers of my native States Still.

            To remove our people with their domestics, to a portion of Mexico which would be favourable to them, would be a work of much difficulty. Did they possess the means, & could the System of apprenticeship you suggest, be established, the U. S. Govt: I think would interpose obstacles; under the circumstances there would be difficulty in persuading the freedman to emigrate. Those citizens who can leave the County, & others who may be compelled to do so, will reap the fruits of your considerate labour, but I shall be very sorry if your presence be lost to Virginia. She has now need for all her sons, & can ill afford to spare you.

            I am very much obliged to you for all you have done for us, & hope your labours in the future may be as efficacious as in the past; & that your separation from us may not be permanent.

Wishing you every prosperity & happiness

I am most truly


R E Lee






Source: Facsimile of original, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library



Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 4

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