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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Petersburg 12 Nov ‘64


I recd to day dear Mary your letter of yesterday & am glad to hear that you are all well. I wish indeed I was near enough to See you occasionally, but I Cannot be where I wish to be. I hope your pains are diminishing, even though your power of locomotion may not be improved. I am glad to transfer to you the Sweet potatoes sent from Hanover. Give your poor half starved daughters one apiece, & do not let them eat them all from you. Miss Jeannie Fairfax1 must look charming at her present standard. Tell her I hope I shall see her before she loses an ounce of Avoirdupois. Poor Sis Nannie I do not see how she could have expected to improve, having separated herself from her Husband. I only wonder that she has any gravity. He has always said she could not exist away from him, & yet she is so rash as to venture. She may expect entire demolition some of these days, if she continues the practice. Do endeavour to exert your influence over her on the subject. Tell her I shall be obliged to write to my brother Smith & expose to him her hardihood unless she will abandon it. I hope my namesake fared better & is enjoying himself with his sweet hearts. I suppose their arrival has taken our brother Smith from you. I hope he is well. I think you may make up your mind that Mr Lincoln is reelected President. I have heard nothing reliable on the subject, but I Could not see before the election occurred how he could fail. I must take it for granted. We must therefore make up our minds for another four years of war. I trust our merciful God will sustain us & give us strength & courage to bear unceasingly the chastisement & trials he may deem fit to cleanse us of our sins & make us worthy to become his servants. You must give much love to the girls, & Compliments to all friends. I have nothing of interest to relate. I was invited to the wedding of a young couple the other night, Capt Hinton & Miss Bland. The bride I was told was a relative or connexion of mine, but I could not go, or even partake of the bridal supper with the happy pain & their attendants. I hope they may continue always happy. I do not want socks yet awhile for the army but shall soon, & when I do want them, I shall want them in numbers, about 50,000. Keep the young girls working. I think Miss Lizzie Wickham might knit a pair for one of her old uncles soldiers. Tell Miss Norma Stuart if she will send me a pair, I will give them to a handsome young soldier

With constant prayers for your welfare

I am very truly & affy yours

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Mss1 L51 c 550, Section 28, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 October 6  



1. Jane Cary Fairfax (1840-1922), the daughter of Orlando Fairfax (1806-1882) and Mary Randolph Cary Fairfax (d. 1887). Her brother was Private Randolph Cary Fairfax, who was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg.

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