• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Arlington Feby 21st 1833

Dear Captain


I have only this evening heard that dear Madam has placed in your arms a fine little daughter. Upon the accomplishment of this happy event you must accept my sincere congratulations and inform the little lady of the most fortunate fate that awaits her, the all accomplished and elegant Master Custis Lee begs to place in her hands his happiness and life, being assured that as for her he was born, so for her will he live! His only misery can be her frown, his only delight her smile. He hopes that her assent will not be withheld from his most ardent wishes, and that in their blissful union Fortune may be indemnified for her miscarriage of the Affaire du Coeur of the Father and Mother. Do present us most affectionately to Mrs. T. and allow us to hope that she is perfectly well and will be more careful of herself than were we ourselves. I have been expecting this pleasing intelligence since an ominous dream of Mrs. Lee’s some few nights ago. I have only to wish that these dreams may be confined to others than ourselves, and to predict that the Engr. Quarters will in time be pretty well filled. I expect to leave this place for Old Point next Friday week (1st March) and will finish my discussion upon these matters. Ever since my arrival here I have been looking out for some important news to make the apology of a letter, but have found none. Of course you have seen by the papers the accounts of Proceedings in Congress. The South has had to bear some hard kicks from all sides. Mr. Burgess by a home question brought them all to a stand. He said that by the last census, the number of whites rather exceeded the number of Blacks. Therefore, when Gent’n were saying that such and such operations were incompatible with the labour of the Blacks, he would be glad to know what the Whites were doing, as they never took any account of their labour. I could have answered it. 

John Randolph of R. has arrived in W. and it is reported that he is to assemble the people in the House of R. and deliver a speech from the Chair, against nullification, the Proclamation, Gen’l Jackson, Mr. Clay, Calhoun and Webster. Mary received a few days since a letter from Mrs. Hale. They were all as well as usual. I have not been to Wash. for some days. Smith yesterday informed me that Col. Thayer has resigned his situation at W. P. and that Col. Totter, yourself and some other Capt. of Engrs. were spoken of to supply his place. Thus you see Honors are falling thick upon you. If there is any truth in these reports, you will have heard of them from Head Qrs. Mrs. Custis and Lee send much love and congratulations to Mrs. H. and T. and this latter hopes to deliver in person all particulars when she arrives on the 2nd March. Remember me to every one, and believe me.


R E Lee




Source: Typescript of original letter, George Bolling Lee Papers, Mss1 L5114 d 26, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 19

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