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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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




13 May ’62


My dear Mary

I can only write a few lines to you. It is very late & I got but little sleep last night & have been much occupied all day. But the loss of the Virginia has produced such profound sensation that all personal considerations are smothered. I fear Agnes will not be able to get up. I will leave with Mr. Caskie funds for you. All I have in Bank. Tell Annie & the girls it will be necessary for them to take the bonds &c. The thing is done & cannot be undone. I desired to make some arrangement to provide for them as well as I could. I wish it was better, but I hope it may be sufficient for their wants. It is better it should be so. I have considered the matter maturely. I had intended writing a letter to them all, explaining the matter & my reasons. I wish it to stand & hope it may serve their convenience & comfort. As for yourself I will leave the bonds either with Mr Caskie or Mr John Stewart (whose house we occupy). They are coupon bonds & if lost are gone. The girls’ are registered, & can be renewed.

Custis will write & tell you every thing.

God bless you my dear wife & children.

Truly & affy

R E Lee




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 352, Section 18, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 27

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