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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Arlington, Washington City P.O.  20 April 1861



26th May

Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott

Command. U. S. Army




Since my interview with you on the 18th Inst. I have felt that I ought not longer to retain my Commission in the Army. I therefore tender my resignation which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once, but for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted all the best years of my life, & all the ability I possessed. During the whole of that time, more than a quarter of a century, I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors and the most cordial friendship from my Comrades. To no one, General, have I been as much indebted as to yourself for uniform Kindness and Consideration, & it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry with me to the grave the most grateful recollections of your Kind Consideration, & your name & fame will always be dear to me. Save in defence of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the Continuance of your happiness & prosperity & believe me most truly yours,


R E Lee



Source: Hand written copy, Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.250, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 29  

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