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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Camp, Orange, 9 Aug ‘63

                I have not heard from you dear Mary since your first arrival at the H.S. I fear therefore there is not mail Communication with that celebrated resort & that my letters have not reached you. I have written two or three times since my return to the valley & addressed them as you directed to the “Care of Dr Saml Goode &c”. I hope the waters have afforded you some relief dear Mary & that you enjoy some comfort & ease in the society of your daughters. Rob called on his way to the Brigade & spent a day with me. He was going to serve with Col: Chambliss Commg the brigade of F till his return. Tell Chass: that Pres: Lincoln for special service of Genl Graham captured at Gettysburg has applied for his particular exchange & F has been named to the Secy of War to be exchanged for him. If it is accomplished the battle of Gettysburg will at least be of interest to her. I hope it may be done & that they both may be well & happy again. Rob was very well & did not think that Custis’ marriage would take place soon, or that he would be married this year. So Mrs Lee you have no immediate prospect of aquiring any new daughters, & you must take good care of your old ones. I hope they are all well. Rob: says sister is fat & plump I should like to see her & that Charlotte says she is the thinnest person in the whole Confy. I cannot believe that tell her & I am since the baths at the Hot will benefit her. He called at Hickory Hill [for a night] & found them all as well & kind [cut out] Mrs Wm Taylor the other day informing me of the death of her husband[1], & that she had been in bed three months with no prospect of recovery. Poor lady what is she to do. She has a large plantation & no one to aid her. Mr Frank Dickens also called to see me the other day & gave me an account of his suffering. I suppose you heard of his being obliged to leave his home as he has been in Richmond for some time. He says Aunt M. is well & tolerably unmolested. She has been plundered of every thing they could take off, but pursues the even tenor of her way. He has been arrested & imprisoned 13 times. Mrs D. & the younger children are at home. I rode in to Orange Ct House this morg to church & Miss Fanny Hunter our former neighbour came up & spoke to me. She was in deep mourning. I saw also several other ladies of my acquaintance. Mrs Ewell, Mrs Pendleton, Mrs Heth &c, who had imitated Charlottes example & were pursuing their husbands. The poor men say their wives cannot come to see them & they are not allowed to visit them. I have recd a letter from Markie, saying she had heard that two Federal officers were in prison in Richmond & were to be executed in retaliation for the death of Orton & her Cousin & begging me to intercede in their behalf. She sent me a copy of Ortons last letter to her which I will send you. Markie has been misinformed as to the proposed retaliation. I do not know how to get a letter to her. You must give much love to all my daughters. I trust you are all being benefited & that God will guard & protect you all. I have to write on my knee now & it is very fatiguing.  [Rest of letter is missing].



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 470, Section 23, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Gibson, 2017 August 8


[1] William Penn Taylor (1790-1863) son of John Taylor of Caroline (1753-1824). He served in the War of 1812 and operated the “Hayfield” plantation in Caroline County. He also served in the U.S. Congress for one term in the 1830’s. He is buried in Fredericksburg. William was married to Elizabeth Moore.

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