• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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: 29 Oct 1867

My dear Genl


When I recd your letter of the 8th June, I had just returned from a short trip Bedford County, & was preparing for a more extended visit to the W. Sulphur springs for the benefit of Mrs. Lees health. As I could not write such a letter as you desired, & as you stated that you would leave New Orleans for Mexico in a week from the time you wrote, to be absent some months, I determined to delay my reply till my return. Although I have been here more than a month, I have been so occupied by necessary business & incommoded by the effects of an attack of sickness from which I have not yet recovered, that this is the first day that I have been able to write to you.

I have avoided all discussion of political questions since the cessation of hostilities & have in my own conduct & in my recommendations to others, endeavoured to conform to existing circumstances. I consider this the part of wisdom as well as of duty. But while I think we should act under the law & according to the law imposed upon us, I cannot think the course pursued by the dominant political party the best for the interests of the country, & therefore I cannot say so, or give them my approval. This is the reason why I could not comply with the request in your letter.

I am of the opinion that all who can vote, should vote for the most intelligent, honest & conscientious men eligible to office, irrespective of former party opinions, who will endeavour to make the new constitutions & the laws passed under them as beneficial as possible to the true interests, prosperity & liberty of all classes & conditions of the people.

With my best wishes for your health & happiness & my kindest regards to Mrs. Longstreet & your children.

I am with great regard

very truly & sincerely yours

R E Lee  




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Helen M. Taylor Collection, Mss1 T2144 a, Section 6, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 May 1   

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