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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Richd 8 May ’61

My dear Mary

I recd yesterday your letter of the 5th. I grieve at the necessity that drives you from your home. I can appreciate your feelings on the occasion & pray that you may receive Comfort & strength in the difficulties that surround you. When I reflect upon the calamity impending over the Country my own sorrows sink into insignificance. The chests 4 in number, & 2 trunks arrived monday. I shall send them if possible to the Mil. Institute Lexington. You must hear this in mind so as to recover them. I do not know that they will be undisturbed here. Give much love to dear Cousin Anna. If the Conflict approaches R[ichmond], I think the Mts: in Fauquier, Shenandoah Co, or some part out of the line of approach into the State, from the hostile states, would be the most peaceful. All had therefore better retire to some secluded spot. Be Content & resigned to God’s will. I shall be able to write seldom. Write to me as your letters will be my greatest Comfort. I send a check for $500. It is all I have in Bank. Pay the chidrens school expenses. I doubt whether there will be any July dividends Coming in.

Tell Custis he had better if he can, & it is not too late, [to] bring with him from A[rlington], towels, blankets, &c &c for both of us for field service. Those Mexican blankets would save useful. Knives, forks & spoons of some sort will be necessary & any thing else that Could be applied would lose their purchase. He had better also bring his horse, bridles & saddls [sic]. Every thing of mine of the kind you know is lost to me. The supply of such things here I am told is meagre. I should like if he could get it the bit of Mexican pattern that was in the drawer of the deck in the office. I presume though all my suggestions are useless. Tell Cousin Anna I had recommd Dr. Snowden for appt as asst surgeon before the reception of her letter, at the request of his father, but the Gov has not yet acted on his nom’n.1 I was very glad to get her letter. She must make no hesitation in writing whatever she chooses. I see Smith every day. He is well & a great comfort to me. I saw our good Bishop Meade yesterday.2 He was well. I send much love to every body. The epaulette hooks came safe. I have no time for more. May God bless & preserve you all & save our beloved Country

Truly & affy your husband

R E Lee  




1. Dr. Harold Snowden (1836-1901), a native of Alexandria, Virginia. He was the son of Edgar Snowden, Sr., who published the Alexandria Gazette. He was educated at the University of Virginia and the Jefferson College of Medicine in Philadelphia. He served in the 17th Virginia regiment as an assistant surgeon, part of Pickett’s Division in the 1st Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. In January of 1863, he was promoted to full surgeon. In the spring of 1864, he was ordered to Savannah, Georgia.

2. William Meade (1789-1862) was the third Episcopal bishop of Virginia. He died on 1862 March 14 in Richmond.



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 287, Section 15, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 5    

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