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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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




[On poor Charlotte’s death

From Binnie]

Shirley Jany.. 18 /64

Dear Cousin Mary

Constantly thinking Mama would be well enough for me to leave for Richmond, & hoping then to see you, I have delayed writing the sorrow I so keenly feel for you all in your recent heavy loss. Our thoughts too so painfully turn to poor Fitzhugh in his weary captivity, & now this horrible calamity—much more crushing because preceded by the long separation. We can only pray for him. Dear Charlotte!  I had learned to love her so well during the past year. We were together in grief & this brought us near.

The last time I saw her was only a few days before I came down here. When I entered her room she was sitting in the bright firelight, looking so pretty but sad. She spoke then more seriously of her sickness than ever before to me—even alluded to the possibility of never seeing her husband again. Before I left, her usual gay manner came back. Little did I dream as we lingered in saying goodbye that it was forever. Was it a foreshadowing impulse that made me turn after parting that my eyes might rest upon her once more, & for the last time in this life? The two little graves look less lovely now, but we her relatives & friends shall miss her sadly for many a long day.

Mama joins me in much love & sympathy to you all. She thanks you warmly for your kind messages.

Very sincerely & affectionately




Source:  Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 g 25, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 7

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