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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



St. Mary’s, May 22nd, 1863


Gen. Lee,

My Dear Sir,

Amid the toils and dangers to which you are exposed for your country’s welfare, you are richly entitled to every drop of comfort which it is possible to pour into your cup.

The terms of your daughter’s residence at this school is about to expire, and it affords me great pleasure to assure you that her diligence and proficiency as a pupil, and her conduct as a lady, have been worthy of of [sic] her parentage. This is bestowing the highest praise upon her.

She has been exemplary in her observance of the minutest rules of discipline, and has scarce allowed a moment to pass unemployed and unimproved. She carries away with her the most cordial esteem and regard not only of all her teachers and young companions, but of many of our community whom her father’s name had attracted towards her. Her modesty is not the least of her recommendations; she never betrays by look, word, or gesture, the least consciousness that she is the daughter of the man whom the Nation delights to honor.

While you, General, have had a daughter under my tuition, I have had two sons fighting as Lieutenants, under your banner. Both were at the battle of Chancellorsville; where one, the adjutant of the 7th N. C. fell, mortally wounded. He was a noble, gallant, and what is infinitely better, a Christian boy. This is my consolation in so grievous a bereavement. His brother went through the same battle unhurt. He is attached to the 5th Regt. N.C.I.

But I will not intrude upon time which belongs to the country.

I can, General, with the most sincere Respect & Esteem.

Your obedient Servant

Aldert Smedes




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 449, Section 22, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond  

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 October 4


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