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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



"Robert E. Lee"


by Benjamin H. Hill, 1874



When the future historian shall come to survey the character of Lee

he will find it rising like a huge mountain

above the undulating plain of humanity,

and he must lift his eyes high toward Heaven to catch its summit.


He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices.

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery;

a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression;

and a victim without murmuring.


He was a public officer without vice; a private citizen without wrong;

a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy;

and a man without guile.


He was Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny;

Napoleon, without his selfishness; and Washington, without his reward.

He was obedient to authority as a servant,

and royal in authority as a true king.


He was gentle as a woman in life; modest and pure as a virgin in thought;

Watchful as a Roman vestal in duty; submissive to law as Socrates,

and grand in battle as Achilles.



Benjamin H. Hill, 1874




Source: Vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall



Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 11

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