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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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




11 May 1861


I have recd your letter of the 9th from Arlington. I had supposed you were at Ravensworth & directed my letter to Burke‚Äôs Station, as advised by Cousin Anna. I also addressed my last letter to Custis there. My letter to you contained a check on Br Farmers Bank Alexa in your favour for $500.  

I told you of the Safe arrival of the boxes &c here. This morg I despatched them to Lexington except the box of papers, which I retained. I advised in my letter to Custis, should he determine to Come here as he proposed, to bring his horse, equipment &c., blankets, towels, knives, forks, spoons, if there are any at the house, for both of us, Perry & Billy. It will save their purchase & the supply here is meagre. He has been appd Major of Engrs in the Provisional Army of Virga without any application on my part, as I had intended to have awaited his arrival. They were making some appts in that Corps & he was appd at the Same time. Tell him he is under no obligation to accept.

I am very Sorry to hear of the case of our young friend. It is a high handed measure which will be justified by military necessity. Under the same stern Law many enormities will be Committed I fear on both sides.

I am glad to hear that you are at peace, & enjoying the Sweet weather & beautiful flowers.

You had better Complete your arrangements & retire further from the scene of war. It may burst upon you at any time.

It is sad to think of the devastation, if not ruin it may bring upon a spot so endeared to us. But Gods will be done. We must be resigned.

May he guard & keep you all is my Constant prayer.

truly & affy

R E Lee


Give much love to all.

I shall not want my dressing case, which you said Custis would bring on. If not too late, take to Ravensworth.




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 290, Section 15, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 6    

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