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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Head Quarter’s

W H F Lee’s Cav Div Sep 13 [1863]

My Dear Mother

                Your letter of the 6th inst reached me in Richmond last Friday & as I was going to start for the army, the next morning I deferred my answer until I should have arrived in camp.

                On my way down I spent the night with Pa who as usual treated me very well giving all kinds of nice fruits & pressing me to accept for the cover of my person, a hat pair boots & a pair gloves all of which I declined. He took a great fancy to those home-spun shirts, two of which you have, so you had better have them sent down to him.

                I am very sorry that I left before you could have your talk out, but your daughter Mildred was the cause, as she had me talking all the time to Dr Cocke & family & arguing with herself. I enjoyed myself as much as I would have done anytime. I am afraid that I am not by nature as agreable as most people nor as good consequently, rather hard to manage & requiring to be delt with softly. I am truly thankful to God for all his kindness to me through this war & during my life time, but I am afraid I forget it very often, nor am I thankful in the right way, my thankfulness I am afraid is but selfishness & I know that my life spent with out reference to that dread hereafter. I wish I could be made to see how wrong I am. I do see of course but not in the right way, nor do I mend. My Dear mother I have been a sinner all my life & unless God in his infinite mercy & through the mercy of his son & our Savior can make my hard cold heart & dead love grow warm, it seems that I am dead forever. Pray for me my dear Mother in his name that I may be visited by the Holy Ghost & awakened from this deadly lethargy. Give my best love to all the girls & remember me to the Cockes. We start tomorrow with five days rations for some where I don’t know. We all need your prayers, may God who has been so kind to all of this for continue in his mercy for Christ’s sake

From your dearest son

Robert E Lee



Source: Photocopy of Original, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 478, Section 23, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Gibson, 2017 July 24

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