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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Hartford Jan 2nd 1861


My dear Mrs. Lee,

I was very happy to see again your well known hand-writing, and to learn that you and your loved ones were in the enjoyment of health. It also gave me pleasure to know that two editors of your excellent book should have been sold, though I could not but regret that my notice of it, which was written con-amore should not have been used.

I am so sorry for your loss of good Mr Dana & for his great trouble. I think him a most excellent & truly pious man. When I was in Alexandria, he offered to take me to Arlington, and I much regretted not being able to go, and he spoke of your beloved Parents in such affectionate terms, that it was very soothing to my feelings.

But what are we to say of the fate of our beloved country. I cannot bear to think of the disruption of these States, planted like glorious trees, in the blood & prayers of the sainted patriot fathers. I am sick at heart, for I had continued hoping against hope, though the skies darkened every moment. I love the South, especially have I loved the Old Dominion. We shall be the scorn of History and of all time, for wrecking the happiest government that the world has seen, for such causes. Oh, that we had some Washington, to arise, and save us from the effects of our folly and madness.

I rejoice, my dear friend, to hear that you have such comfort in your children. The Lord bless them, and you & your excellent Husband.

I ask your acceptance of a book, as a love token. The patriotic poems that were written before the present crisis, have now but little adaptation. Indeed, I feel as if the whole were scarcely worth your reading, but hope you will permit the gift to bear to you the good wishes for a “happy New Year”

from your affectionate friend.


L H Sigourney




1. Charles B. Dana (1807-1873) rector of Christ Church in Alexandria, but he had moved to Mississippi in 1860.

2. Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865) was a poet, known as the “Sweet Singer of Hartford.”




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 268, Section 14, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Coin Woodward, 2022 June 1 




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