• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 Va: 1 Jany 1868


My dearest Markie

With the return of a new year my mind reverts to you with fresh pleasure. Although so distant, you are often present to my thoughts, & always come to brighten reminiscences of the past. I hope the New Year may bring you every happiness, & that all Heavenly blessings may be showered upon your head! My interest in time & its concerns is daily fading away & I try to keep my eyes & thoughts fixed on those eternal shores to which I am fast hastening.

I am glad to inform you that your Cousin Mary’s general health was I think improved by her visit to the W. Sulphur springs last summer. She looks better, is stronger, freer of pain & is consequently better able to take exercise than when you saw her. In good weather she is able to ride out, & to move all over the yard & garden on her crutches, though she is unable to make a single step. Agnes is the only one of the girls at home. Mary is in Baltimore, & Mildred has not yet returned from Richmond. After Fitzhughs wedding she remained to one of her young friends marriage, Miss Lizzie Triplett, to whom she had been under promise for a year to act as bridesmaid. It took place on the evg of the 26th last, & M. now writes that she & Robert will return next week. I hope they may not be disappointed, for save my two nephews & niece, Mildred Lee, Custis & Agnes form our domestic circle.

The holydays have produced some gaity among the young people & several parties have occurred. Agnes is a regular attendant upon all associations for amusement, but Custis seems to partake of so much of my gravity that he cannot be induced to go anywhere.

I am glad you liked my new daughter. I formed her acquaintance when the armies laid around Petersburg, she had then not left school, & I was much pleased with her. She was very kind to her Papa when he went to see her married, & has promised to come & see him in the sweet months of spring. We now have cold & icy winter upon us. The mountains & hills are covered with a thick mantle of snow & present this morg a mild representation of Alaska. I fear the arrival of our son & daughter may be delayed by the difficulties attending our imperfect communications at this season, but your thoughtful present of the picture of the latter, for which I thank you every time I look at it, serves to fix upon her in her absence my eyes & thoughts. How are you progressing with Travellers portrait Markie? He is getting old like his master, and looks to your pencil to hand him down to posterity. I am perfectly satisfied with what you have done for his rider. You must remember me most kindly to sweet little Katie & Gerty. Tell them that Robt Campbell is growing finely & attending school daily: that the shadow of the incomparable Hattie has grown no less, & that she has become the favourite friend of my niece Mildred. All the household unite with me in love to you Markie & I am as ever & always your Cousin

R E Lee




Source: Transcribed from digital scan of original letter, Letters of Robert E. Lee to Martha Custis Williams, 1844-1870, Huntington Library, San Marino, California              

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 October 2

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