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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



November 28th Novr


                Your affectionate letter should have been sooner acknowledged my dear Carter but I have not recently felt in the writing vein which often seizes me & then all my correspondents suffer. I am much indebted to Mr. Eskridge in his kind offer but fear it would little advantage either of us for me to try it; as my case seems to baffle all remedies. I am now taking a famous remedy that E. Childe brought me from Paris but I do not perceive that it has produced the slightest effect. Fitzhugh also brought up an infallible remedy external & applied it himself but with no better result. I do not mind any external application but object to taking medicines the may affect my health & destroy the little comfort & ease that is left me. I must endeavour to resign myself to god’s will. Should you see Dr. E. you can thank him & tell him thus, why do you not try it upon Lucy. She is younger & maybe relieved whenever I hear of her, she seems to be suffering. I congratulate her upon having her sister settled so near her. It is a source of great regret to me that my sons are so far off especially now that I am unable to go to them. I greatly enjoyed the visit of Fitzhugh & his sweet wife & think he has been most fortunate in his choice. She seems very amicable & sensible & to interest herself in all that concerns her husband. This is also our nephew Edward’s wedding day who I hope may be equally happy in his choice. He regretted very much not going to see you but as you were not at home & he has promised to bring his wife over next summer you will see them soon. He is very much of a foreigner but seems to have affectionate memories of his relatives here. Many went down to Richmond to stay with the Caskies until they broke up their house.  She will make a visit to the White House & other friends & I much fear will not return to us before Spring, tho’ I wanted her to come back Xmas with Rob. Lexington is not a very attractive place in the winter. Tell Mildred the ladies are very busy getting up a Xmas tree for Sunday School. I understood from Henry that she had no return of chills but Mr. Wilkerson was here & said he spent 6 weeks at your house last summer told me that she had fevers while he was there. I hope you will not let her forget the little I was able to teach her last winter as I fear her Momma will not have much time to devote to her & she writes me her Aunt Bettie is going away. I am waiting to hear she has read that French Book before I send her another I have missed her quite as much as she has done us & feel the greatest interest in her improvement & welfare in all respects.

                I congratulate you upon being able to celebrate your 70th birthday so profitably & your cheerfulness amid all our troubles. Your toast was admirable & comprehensive. Your brother Robert desires his love to you all as do the girls & Custis, the latter & his papa seem to be absorbed in their duties all the time & to enjoy but little relaxation. I feel that if I could only once be set on my feet again I should never wish to sit down. Truly every heart knoweth its own bitterness, we have one consolation at our time of life that all trouble must soon pass away & if our faith rests upon the only sure foundation we shall then be forever with our Lord in a place where sorrow & sighing are unknown. I have been enjoying this beautiful weather riding out in the carriage of a kind friend here & though I get in & out with great difficulty yet when once seated comfortably do not mind the jolts. I got a letter from Aunt Maria who complains a good deal of her rheumatism. She was in Alex[andri]a & Smith had been staying with her but was not very well. He was going up to Ravensworth where Mary Goldsborough was to join her. I here from Parke quite often who always writes daily & from my Aunt Rosalie Webster who is still living in Cumberland takes care of Aunt Eleanor & Sarah the latter more than 80 years old, but still able to work among her flowers. I have written you quite an epistle & wish I had something of more interest to communicate. I think it is time the Morrows were making their appearance but do not know that Richardson has written about them recently.

yrs affectionately,

Mary Custis Lee



Source: Photostat of original letter, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Memorial Library, Stratford Hall. Original at Yale University Library.

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 20

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