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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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


 

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Near Petersburg 25 Decr ‘64

 

My dear daughter

I must take a portion of this Holy day to reply to your last letter. I was sorry to hear of the visit of the enemy to Kinlock, & fear the discovery of the dressing case may have added to the rigour of their search & probably to the distress of the family, as its ownership was apparent both on the exterior & interior. I valued the case on account of its donor, but its loss does not detract from my fond recollection & appreciation of him. I regret however that Some trinkets that it Contained should have fallen into hands for which they were not designed. I Cannot recall now what they were, as I had not opened it since I packed it away on first going to Texas. I recollect among them was the ring containing Genl & Mrs Washington’s hair, with their initials in pearls, given me by your Grd Mother & which I had bequeathed to Custis. There was also an antique, the head of Socrates I think set me by my sister Mildred, which I left for Fitzhugh. there were some other little things I think for you girls, but I cannot recall them, & the case was designed for Bertus. It is now useless to regret its abstraction, & if it had escaped that party, it might subsequently have fallen into the hands of another. I thought the case was at R___ & had I Known it was at K___ think it probable I should have made an effort to get it away. But it is now too late, & we will think nothing more about it. Fearing that Torbert1 might have succeeded at Gordonsville & proceeded further I had ordered Fitzhugh’s division to the Chickahominy & it had gotten within six miles of here before I heard of his repulse, where I halted it. Bertus Came on, Friday evg as cold as a stone, & remained that night. As the division rested Saturday, Fitzhugh & Johnny rode in during the morg to see me. All well & the cavy has returned to day to its camp. I find Robs boots on the wane. A new pair I gave him this Fall is gone & his only remaining pair going. I wish you would send me both pairs of those long boots (coming above the Knees) I will send him a pair. Also please send me my flannel drawers. I hope I will not have to trouble you again. Put my leather slippers in the bundle to prevent another call. I went in to church this morg & Col: Marshall has gone in to Petersburg this evg. I am all alone. Cols: Venable & Taylor have gone to their homes to spend Xmas. The latter under the expectation of recg Xmas gifts from his Sweetheart. Col: Talcott dined with me to day. His father mother & two younger brothers are in Mexico, & the three girls will now join them. Probably with them. Mrs. Montholon is also there & her daughter Julia about to be married.2 I pray the new year may bring you much happiness & peace to the country. With much affection, your father

R E Lee        

 

 

 

Source: Checked against original letter, Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a, Section 14, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 January 7

 

 

1. Alfred Archimedes Torbet (1833-1880), a graduate of the United States Military Academy and an infantry and cavalry commander of Union troops during the Civil War.

2. Julia Helene de Montholon Garcin (1844-1929) was the daughter of the French ambassador and aristocrat Charles de Montholon and his wife Mary Victoria Gratiot de Montholon. Julia's mother was from Philadelphia and the daughter of General Charles Gratiot. Julia was a native of Richmond, but she died in France. In November of 1864 in Mexico, she married Nicolas Edmond Garcin (1834-1915).

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