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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Shirley [December] 27th 1861

My dear Mildred

                I have been hoping to hear from you but suppose you have been very busy at school if you have reached there which I have never heard certainly I enclose a check for $100.00 which you must give to Mr. Powell. He can give you the receipt & you can enclose it in your letter to me which you must write immediately Direct to me care of Hill Carter Espr. Shirley near City Point Virginia as I shall probably be here a fortnight longer at least I staid in Richmond several days & got a grey dress for you I thought it would suit any colour I will either make or send you the pattern of a pretty sleeve, your green mousseline that your sisters got for you. I have not got as I do not know what they did with it I have written to enquire but havenot heard from them yet. There are very few goods in Richmond & every thing is very high. I have made you 3 pair of drawers & have got you a thimble scizzors, cuff pins & hope you have been able to get your bonnet trimed to you. Mind the caps in Richmond are mostly made of Brows of lace narrow quilted at the end the black in the middle & a row of white each side of that white lace on your summer bonnet is clean enough it is the right width & you could get some black for the middle. I do not know when I shall be able to send your things or when I shall get them all together. I have got you a very warm wrapping called an English Jacket. The cloaks I saw were all old fashioned & ugly. They have nothing new. I hope you will like the things when you get them. at any rate I have done the best I could. what else you need you will have to get in Winchester. I thought you had quite a nice black veil. I did not see any prettier in Richmond, I saw Custis every evening He enquired after you & said he intended to write to you, you must kiss Evelyn & Papa Burnwell for me & give my kind love to all the Powells. Write me about the health of Winchester, & how many boarders you have I saw Mrs. G W Smith in Richmond & she talked a great deal about you. I came down here nearly 2 weeks ago & ever since my dear little boy has been so ill. He is nothing but skin & bone. I attend to him night & day, He sleeps with me The Doctor now thinks he may get well but it will require most tender & careful nursing. I cannot leave him ‘till he is better or no longer needs my services Tell Evelyn to tell her Mother I shall write to her soon. You must write me at once a long letter & tell every thing. I will send your things as soon as I can. In the mean time you must be patient. Did you ever get your skirt from Armfield[1]. I have not heard from Robbie since I left Charlottesville but am going to write to him. I have not had a line from sister. Charlotte sends her love & says she should not like to have you see the Baby now. He is such a poor little skeleton. I have not heard from your papa for some time I hope my dear child that you have commenced your studies in good earnest & especially that you will study your own heart & see if all is right there if the love of God is spread abroad in your heart & the souse of sins forgiven. I pray for you & for myself & all my children that we may live up to the profession we have made. Your cousin Annie Leigh formally Annie Carter has a lovely little baby it is the best little thing & allows every one to play with it. Poor little Rob is too sick to play at all, except occasionally. Do not delay to write my dear Mild I am so anxious to hear. May God bless you & have you in his holy keeping you affectionate mother

M C Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 331, Section 16, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Gibson, 2017 July 7 


[1] Plantation near Chantilly, Virginia

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