• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 us about how you can contribute to this historic project.



West Point     14 March ‘55


Many thanks my dearest Markie for your kind remembrances & affectionate Consideration.

My future plans form the constant subject of my thoughts. The reasons that govern my course I have given in my note to your Uncle. Personal considerations or convenience, would not induce me to sever my connexion with my Corps, or to separate myself from my family. And the thought that my presence may be important to the latter, or necessary to my children is bitter in the extreme. Still in a military point of view I have no other course, & when I am obliged to act differently, it will be time for me to quit the Service. My trust is in the mercy & wisdom of a kind Providence who ordereth all things for our good, & who can guard & protect us whether united or separate. To him I pray that my absence may not be felt by those I so much love, & that he will provide them with all they need.

The change from my present confined & sedentary life, to one more free & active, will certainly be more agreeable to my feelings & serviceable to my health. But my happiness can never be advanced by my separation from my wife children & friends—You know Markie how painful it will be to part from you. But I shall not anticipate that it will be long, but shall hope that we shall all again be united, here & here after.

Mary will no doubt tell you of Custis. He had reached Augusta safely. I must leave to her all domestic relations & subscribe myself as ever

Your sincerely attached


R E Lee




Source: Digital scan of original letter, Letters of Robert E. Lee to Martha Custis Williams, 1844-1870, Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 September 15


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