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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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




March 30th [1864]


My dear sir

I write to beg the favour of you to allow my two young friends Peyton Skipwith1 & John Cocke2 of Bremo3 if still with you to visit us sometimes on Sunday being the only day when we dine sufficiently early for them to return in time to the Institute. I will take care that they attend church & shall be most happy if you will grant them permission to visit us.

I will also take this occasion to thank you for your care of our silver & papers & to enquire if you think they can remain perfectly safe where they are until the close of the war, as I should like to preserve the only relicks left us of our happy home. It would give me great pleasure if you could call & see me when you come to town

yrs most truly & respectfully

M C Lee



Source: Sarah Henderson Smith Papers, Mss1 Sm 653 a, p. 55, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 July 28




1. Peyton Horatio Skipwith (1848-1926).

2. John Hartwell Cocke (1847-1920).

3. Bremo plantation in Fluvanna County, Virginia. John Hartwell Cocke began building the estate in 1808. The Greek revival style mansion was completed in 1819. During the war, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee stayed at Bremo and suffered a serious fall while staying there. The house escaped wartime destruction, and the Lees stayed there for a time after the war before moving to Lexington. The house was delcared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

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