• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 Va : 23 Nov 1866

My dear Sir

I am very glad to learn from your letter of the 3rd last of the prosperous condition of your school & self. I hope you will persevere in your enterprise & build up an Institution suitable to supply the wants of your region of country. I know of no greater benefit you can confer upon your state than to provide proper instruction for its youth.

I enclose a list of works on Civil Engineering. The branches of this science are so numerous & extended, that they cannot be comprehended in a single work. You must therefore take those that will suit your purpose & and be the most advantageous to your pupils.

Wishing you all success

I am very respy your obdt svt

R E Lee

Mr Geo. W L. Fly1



Source:  Digital scan of original letter, Robert E. Lee Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 6


1. George Washington Lafayette Fly (1835-1905) was a Confederate army officer in Texas. He was born on 1835 June 2 in Yalobusha County, Mississippi and moved to Texas in 1853 upon graduating from Madison College to rejoin his parents, who had since moved to Brazoria County. After the death of his father in 1855, Fly and his mother settled in Gonzales County, where he would return after the war. During the Civil War, Fly was commander in the Second Texas infantry in 1861, a regiment mustered into Confederate service as Company I from a volunteer infantry Fly had organized. The regiment fought at the battles of Shiloh and Iuka in 1862. To the grief of his family, in October of the same year, Fly was reported killed at Corinth; it was eventually discovered he had been captured, exchanged, and returned to his command. Fly was promoted to the rank of major prior to the siege of Vicksburg, where he was again captured and exchanged in 1863. He was designated commandant of Galveston in 1864, which he defended until the end of the war.

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