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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



University of Va

April 12th 1861


Dear Agnes

Your letter has been in my hands for some time, & if I acted with stead fastness, I would keep it much longer, but my affection for my sisters all ways makes me very lenient to wards them. Have you any rain down your way? I think Pa told me you had, but if you hav’nt you need not fear for we have enough up here to last nearly all the state for a year. It commenced a steady continual shower, last Friday evening a week ago, & has been raining ever since except yesterday when it held up and the sun came out, but it lasted but a short time, & commenced again to day about noon and has been pouring ever since. To morrow we were to have a grand turn out of the “Southern Guard” but alas our [sic] how many brave hearts have been dampened by this rain! To morrow we were going down to town in full uniform with a band of music, & there join in with the “companies” of Charlottesville to celebrate the birthday of Jefferson by going through the battalion drill & by firing, a rare treat to us young soldiers. But we’ll all stay at home I expect, there are a great many young men, besides those be longing to the military who are suffering greatly with the “put-outs”, for to morrow the “Jefferson Literary Society” has its intermediate celebration, & to it they expect to curry their lady friends. But its no go, the rain ai’nt going to stop for any one & I expect he who caused the rain knows [a] great deal better than we do what is good for us,  & what is not. Mr Alexander came up to see us & we had a long chat with him he expects to go to Washington next Tuesday & I suppose he will see you all. We were all startled a little while ago, by one of our friends coming in with a dispatch from Richmond, that the Southern troops had commenced firing at Sumpter [sic]; I expect however that it is false like the most of them.

But from what we here [sic] now, I expect we will see pretty soon the accounts of real war. The Funeral of Geo Tucker former Prof of this place in two schools, mathematics & Moral Philosophy. He was eighty years old when he died, 10 years over our fourscore [sic] years & ten.

I must now bid you good night with my kind remembrances to Miss Helen, & best love to all, & believe me your afft brother

Rbt E. Lee Jr





Source: Transcribed from digital scan of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 279, Section 15, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 May 5



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