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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



My dear Agnes [ca. 1862 July1]


I must acknowledge your numerous little notes which I should have done before but while Rob was with me for 10 days I was constantly sewing for him would get up at 5 in the morning & sew till 8 when we had breakfast. He had lost all his baggage & had not even a change & when he came up the steps dirty as he could be with a small beard & whiskers had I met him any where in the street I should have passed him by without knowing him. Fortunately, I had his trunk should furnish him at once with some clothes so he got into a bath & was much relieved by his ablutions. He was quite unwell & worn out & slept incessantly for almost a week when he went to a barber & had his hair cut & beard shaved off & looked more like himself & when he went away was quite smart but Jackson’s men have such a fatiguing time I feel quite anxious about him. Chapman Leigh was here today & we had a long talk about papa. He says he thinks Warrenton the most convenient place we can get to, but we shall see as to a servant. It will be next to impossible to get one. I cannot have Sally before the close of the year & I know not where to look for one, I would have brought Celia but she you know has gone to the Yankees we must now wait upon ourselves & it will not cost more to put out our washing than to pay the board of a servant you were all so very anxious to be boarding you now experience some of the pleasures of it with all our large number of servants we have not one available. We must learn to wait upon ourselves till we can settle somewhere & then I hope get white servants. I am now going down to see Charlotte & talk over our plans. Rooney is with her & I expect to see your papa this evening if it does not storm. Some of your money is in the Bank of Virginia just send an order in your next letter cashier Bank of Va. I will pay J. K. Caskie the dividends due in my name all 3 of you. Dear Agnes I intended to have sent this letter by mail yesterday but as I did not finish it, I thought it was as well to send it by Chapman who is certainly going on Monday. I had intended to go with him but Charlotte is going to her grandfathers & I have long wanted to pay a visit there & at Hickory Hill so I shall go there & remain a week or 10 days. It will give me a chance of making some blackberry cordial & other things for the Hospitals in which I have become much interested & where such things are much needed. Chapman seems to think there is no place so desirable as Warrenton the Amelia Springs are nearer Richmond but there is more likely to be a crowd there & a scarcity so you had better content yourselves for the present when you get money all that have been there a month had best pay their board & get receipts  MC Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 335, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 13             



1. The letter is undated, but it makes reference to Robert E. Lee, Jr., being in Jackson's forces. Rob joined the Army of Northern Virginia in late March 1862. Jackson did not gain fame for his "foot cavalry" until the spring of 1862. Given the fact that Rob returned home exhausted, he must have been with Jackson's men for some time. In late October, he would serve on the staff of his brother Rooney. A letter from Charlotte Wickham Lee, dated 1862 July 19, also describes Rob being in a sorry state after recent action with Jackson's men. Jackson himself was too drained from his fighting in the Shenandoah Valley to do much good at the Seven Days battles. Mrs. Lee's reference to the hospitals also suggests it as written not long after the Seven Days campaign.

2. James Kerr Caskie, father of Norvell Caskie.

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