• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Lexington 3 Oct ‘65


My dear Mary

I have just recd your note (without date) forwd in the package sent by Custis. I am glad to hear that Rob is improving & hoped you had the pleasure of seeing Mr Dana I have written to Col: Moorman in reference to his son, & hope he has all the information he desires. The College opened yesterday, & a fine set of youths, about 50, made their appearance in a body. It is supposed that many more will be coming during the month. The scarcity of money every where embarrases all proceedings. Genl Smith informs me that the Mil Institute will Commence its exercises on the 16th Inst: & that Custis was unanimously elected to the chair of Civil Engr &c. I am living at the Lexington Hotel & he must come there, if he comes up. Dr Madison has sent me word, that he expects to vacate the house about the middle of this month, & I hope therefore to get some repairs, which it requires the cleaning, white washing &c completed by the last, so as to be ready to move in by the 1st Novr. I have not heard from Mr Green yet in reference to furniture, but very little will do to begin with. The ladies have furnished me a very nice room in the College for my office, new carpet from Baltimore, curtains &c. They are always doing something kind. You had better bring up Miss Skipwiths woman. I fear we shall not be able to procure white servants. I am told there is a very good woman cook now at the Baths who might be procured, but I know nothing of her. Servants of some kind (black) I have no doubt can be obtained as soon as the house is ready. Mrs. Wm Cocke is in town looking very well & she says her health is improved. She is as kind as ever. Preston has entered the College & Edmd has arrived in Kentucky. I came up, 30 Sept from the Baths. Annie & Miss Belle still there & very well. They expect to be here on the 10th Inst & will take the packet to Lynchburg, where Miss Belle will proceed on the Orange & Alexa R. R. to Baltimore & Annie Continue to Richmond. Mr Chapman Leigh was expected to sail on the 7 Inst: for this country. I heard on my arrival here of the death of Lou Byrd (Wickham). It is very sad that the young are dying so. But they are the happier. I am glad Aunt M has returned to her home & hope she was benefited by her visit. You must give much love to her when you write. I am very sorry she has lost her horses. You tell me nothing of the girls. I hope Agnes is getting strong & fat. I wished for them both at the Baths. Annie & Belle were my only Companions & I could not trespass upon them always. The scenery is beautiful here, but I fear it will be locked up in winter by the time you come. Nothing can be more beautiful than the mts: now. All enquire kindly after you & hope you will be comfortable. Give much love to Custis & the girls & kind remembrance to all at Oakland.

Most affy R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 597, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 August 27                   


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