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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Van Buren Ark

Sept 23rd [1866]

To Gen R. E. Lee

Dear General


Some weeks since my little son was the happy recipient of a few lines from your pen. He is yet too young to appreciate the honor conferred upon him but I trust that as he grows to manhood the counsels contained therein linked as they are to his father’s memory will take strong hold of his heart ever preserving his steps from vice and exciting him to emulate the great and the good.

Your name General is mentioned in every southern household with the deepest respect but I doubt not that more acceptable than even this is the gratitude which arises from thousands of hearts whose sorrows have been blessed by your sympathy — and such, dear Gen is my gratitude

Very truly yours

Ada S. Barbour1




1. Ada Sarah Alexander Decherd (1838-1908) was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, on 1838 February 23. She had three children with Colonel William Barbour (who spelled his last name “Barber” until the middle of the war), who was killed in 1864. In 1870, she moved with her brother William to Van Buren, Arkansas. In 1872, she married Benjamin Decherd (1828-1908), who worked as a judge in Crawford County. She lived in Arkansas until her death in 1908. 




Source: Transcribed from original letter, Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a 875-883, Section 14, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond  

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 October 24

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