• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 20 Nov ‘64


My precious little Agnes

I was not able to reply to your last letter. The one in which you put so speedily in execution your “good intentions.” It reached me on the field north of James river at the time of Genl Grant’s movement against our left, previous to the last. I tore in bits & consigned it to the winds, lest it might adorn the pages of some of the veracious sheets of our northern bretheren. But I read it Agnes, every word, & it brought me pleasant thoughts in our struggle, & softened the asperities of the day. Every day is marked with sorrow & every field has its grief, the death of some brave man! We have had more days quiet since Grants last lateral move, & beautiful weather to enjoy it in. I suppose he is preparing some great blow with which he intends to demolish us, but from which I trust a merciful Providence will shield us. I got a letter from your Uncle Carter the other day. He was contemplating a visit to Richmond, where he said Mrs. Taylor was going for a milder atmosphere. I was sorry to hear she was quite feeble. The rest of the family were well. I have not heard of your brothers for some days. They are all at some distance from me now & I presume each is engrossed in his occupations. On my last visit to the right I saw Mrs. Hampton who had come on to see the Genl. Miss Sallie had left that very day for Abingdon to visit her Aunt, much to the disappointment of some young gentleman who accompd me. Miss Jennie Pegram is at present agitating the thoughts of that class of soldiers in this city. I see her bright face occasionally as she flashes it on her beaux, but in pity she turns it away from me, for it is almost dazzling. How is my wounded nephew?1 No wonder he covers his breast with his beard, which he hopes like the shield of Achilles will turn aside the darts of such fair arches. Cupid is always busy when Mars is quiet & our young heroes think it necessary to be killed in some way. It matters little to them which I hope your poor mother has some relief from her suffering. You must do everything to compose & Comfort her. I was so sorry to hear of the affliction of the warwicks. I know how it will grieve sweet little Sallie. But what a gain to the dear child. Release from the sin & sorrow of this world! Give my love & sincere sympathy to her, & her father. You must also give much love to your mama & sisters. I hope to see you all again some of these days, but cannot say when.

Your affectionate father

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 553, Section 28, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 December 12            


1. Fitzhugh Lee (1835-1890), the son of Sidney Smith Lee, was wounded at the battle of Third Winchester, which was fought on 1864 September 19. He also had several horses shot out from under him at the battle.

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