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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Richmond 26th April 1861


My dear Mary1

I return with my signature the pay accounts forwarded by Carter. I doubt the propriety of preventing them & if presented I doubt whether they will be paid. I would therefore suppress them but for the possibility in the settlement of my accounts with the United States some stoppage or disallowance of which I’m ignorant may have been made against me for which there may be an offset to pay all charges against me. I wish if Custis or Lawrence Williams think proper they may be presented, otherwise destroy them & say nothing about it. I am very anxious about you, you have to move, & make arrangements to go to some point of safety which you must select. The Mt. Vernon plate & pictures ought to be secured. Keep quiet while you remain & in your preparations. War is inevitable & there is no telling when it will burst around you, Virginia yesterday I understand joined the confederate states, what policy they may adopt I cannot conjecture. I send a check for $500, which you had better apply tell Custis in settling up matters &c. May god bless & preserve you & have mercy on all our people is the constant prayer of your affectionate husband

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 281, Section 15, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 October 6   


1. This letter is a copy, written by Lee’s wife, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee.

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