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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Camp 28 April 1856


My dear little daughter

I was much pleased to receive your letter I did not know that you could write So well. I think in time when you get more accustmd [illegible] to spelling in writing, you will write a beautiful letter, & Minnie Sprole & I will have delightful times reading them, I am very glad to hear that your hens are doing so well. You must have plenty of eggs, chickens & ducks for Rob & the children when they come home this summer. You know your brother Fitzhugh has a magnificent appetite, & those girls from Staunton, never See a chicken. I wish I had you here to take care of mine. I brought them many hundred miles in a coop behind [illegible] & every evening at the end of the days march, would let them out, & at night they would most in top of the wagon. They laid Several eggs on the road, I have only seven hens, & some days I get seven eggs. Having no plank, I have been obliged to make them a house of twigs. I planted four posts in the ground & bored holes in each three feet from the ground in which I inserted poles for the floor, & around which were woven the branches that formed it. There are so many reptiles in this Country to [illegible] Cannot keep fowles [illegible]. The sides & top were formed in the Same way & the whole is covered with branches with their leaves on, which makes a shady house, but affords but little protection against rain. Soldier hens however must learn not to mind rain. I converted the coop they came in, into nests. They pick up so much Corn, among the horses that I do not have to feed them & they seem quite domesticated. I have no cat, nor have I heard of one in this Country. You will have to Send me a kitten in your next letter. The Indians have [illegible] there are so many wolves [howling?] around us all night, that they frighten away all the mice. My rattlesnake, my only pet, is dead. He grew sick & would not eat his frogs &c & died one night. I hope you will have a nice graden & study hard, & learn your lessons well. You must write to me whenever you can & believe your affectionate father


R E Lee



Source: Lee Family Papers, Folder 9, Mss1 L51c 155, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 6

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