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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Chaffins 9 Oct ‘64

I recd dear Mary your letter of the 5th. I pray before the return of another birthday that God in his great mercy may have restored you to health & granted us peace from our sins, peace with ourselves & peace with our enemies. I feel sensibly the kindness shown to you by the good & kind family with whom you are. You must give them my sincere thanks & affectionate regards. The goodness of God has been shown us through all the Course of our lives, & though afflictions have befallen us yet how sparingly have they been inflicted in Comparison with his blessings. I join heartily in your prayer that we may suffer every thing rather than depart from him! I think you should feel encouraged to leave everything in his hands. “O tarry thou the Lords leisure; be strong & he shall comfort thine heart; and put thy trust in the Lord”. You must not be Cast down by reverses. They must Come, to show us our weakness, our dependence & to call forth renewed execution. The enemy is very numerous & still increasing & is able by his superiority of numbers to move at pleasure. Still I trust he may not be permitted to have every thing his own way & that his Course will at last have an end. A sudden change has arrived in the weather. Last night was very Cold & it Continues this morg. I fear you will suffer travelling at night in such weather. You will find the house almost vacant. I think Shirly is the only one present. Custis & Major Cox are down here & Capt Leigh & Sweet Annie arrived are next door. I am told, in Mrs. Randolphs house. I wish I had some  safe & quiet place to which you Could retire. Richmond will be the scene of great excitement  & probably of danger & distress. I think if there is any place near where you are in which you Can remain, you had better do so. I have just had a visit from Mr. Collins. He says the people at the White House & Roman Koke are well. Old John at the former & Seneca[1] at the latter died this year. The enemy when they visited West Point in the summer, drove off their Cows &c & took their meat, still they have enough. Mr. Moore was pillaged also, but from his account all have done & are doing better than I Could have expected. They Carried off Fleming & kept him about a fortnight when he escaped. He made two trips to Washington & they tried to get him to join the army, offered him bounty &c. He refused. He learned that one of the young men from R[ichmond] had joined the army & lost his leg, Edmund, Flemings son who had gone off with his Grd Mother had died, & about half of the others since they left their homes. I hope the rest will do well. Tell Agnes & Mildred I enjoyed their letters very much but have not yet had time to reply. I will when I can. Give much love to my dear daughters, & kindest regards to Dr. and Mrs. Cocke & all the family.

Very truly & affy yours

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 547, Section 28, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Gibson, 2017 June 23


[1] Old John & Senece were slaves. Lee would refer to family servants as “the people.”

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