• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Lexington October 22d 1866

I am sure my dear Fannie you are anxious to learn of the safe arrival of your pretty fowls which I shall value most highly at the same time that I must scold you for parting with them. You ought to have kept them to raise from, they are so beautiful. Your white cock is a beauty & reigns supreme in our yard as we have gotten rid of the other one which rejoiced in the name of Garibaldi. I have not decided yet what to call this one. You did not tell me his name. We have also gotten lately a pretty yellow cat which is a great pet & we call him after one we had at my dear old home at Arlington ‘Tom Tita’—He kills a large rat every day for his dinner and breakfasts on mice so you see he is quite well employed. I am sorry you all continue sick you will have to move away I think. Cannot your father recover his property on the E. Shore for I suppose he would prefer returning there--& your native climate might suit you better. Your Aunt wrote or sent me a message sometime since about obtaining a situation to teach in this vicinity & when I returned from the Springs I wrote to some of you, & enclosed the letter to Mr. Gibson asking him to send it to you as I had heard of a situation in which Music especially playing on the guitar was a requisite. As I have never heard from her I suppose she did not receive the letter & the situation is I presume now filled. It was down on the James River near City Point & perhaps would not have suited her—I found the little box containing the hair here also on my return from the Baths. It is very pretty & I shall keep it as a memento of you—I cannot imagine why I did not get it sooner, & now I am going to send you the last $5.00 of the money entrusted to me & you & your sister must get something nice and pretty for Xmas. I am sure you will spend it wisely—Should you move away from your present home you must write & tell me where you are going that I may write to you sometimes—You must also remember me most kindly to your Father & Mother & the rest of your family in which Genl Lee begs to join—He often speaks of you all & your kindness to him while in Camp. He is kept very busy now at the College. There are so many students—I suppose they are all studying very hard as they never seem to find time to visit me—There is also a large girl’s school here called the ‘Ann Smith Academy’ quite an old institution but the girls are not allowed to speak to or to even bow to the students when they meet them on the street—I suppose the day scholars are not so particular but the boarders are kept very strict—How would you like that?—There has been an immense fire raging in the Mountains for nearly a week. Last night it presented the appearance of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy & the fire running down the sides looked like streams of Lava but the rain today I hope will extinguish it as the poor little hares & squirrels must have suffered severely in having all their winter stores consumed even if they escaped with their lives—I have no sympathy with the rattle snakes & should be glad to know they had all perished—tho’ I suppose a wise Providence has made them useful in Creation. The Genl has just come in & says I must tell you he will take good care of your fowls & that he has not forgotten you—Ever & truly your friend

M. C. Lee




Source: Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 44, Number 4, October 1936, pp. 336-337

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 23                


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