• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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., 3 April, 1867.

Maj. R. J. Moses1

Moses & Garrard

Columbus, Georgia

My Dear Major:

I have read with the attention the subject demanded the article enclosed in your letter of the 23rd ult. I think there can be no doubt in the minds of those who reflect, that conventions must be held in the Southern States under the Sherman bill, that the people are placed in a position where no choice in the matter is left them, and that it is the duty of all who may be entitled to vote to attend the polls and endeavor to elect the best available men to represent them and to act for the interest of their States. The division of the people into parties is greatly to be reprehended, and ought to be avoided by the willingness on the part of every one to yield minor points in order to secure those which are essential to the general welfare. Wisdom also dictates that the decision of the conventions should be cheerfully submitted to, by the citizens of each State, who should unite in carrying out its decrees in good faith and kind feeling. As I am retired from the necessity of deciding how to act, I think it safer to leave to those who have to bear the responsibility the decision of the questions involved, without embarrassing them with the opinions of those who do not feel this responsibility.

Under these circumstances, and for reasons which I am sure you will understand, I have a great reluctance to obtrude my opinions upon the public, and must therefore request that you will not publish my letter which has been written out of my kind regard for yourself.

Very truly yrs.

(sgd) R. E. Lee



Source: Photocopy of letterbook copy, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 738, p. 30, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 5


1. Major Raphael J. Moses (1812-1893) was appointed chief commissary officer to Confederate general James Longstreet in 1862 and served in many major battles and campaigns across Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Moses was in contact with several famous Southern generals, including Robert E. Lee, with whom he was very close. He attended the last meeting of the Confederate government at the Bank of the State of Georgia (Heard House) on 1865 May 5 and carried out the last Confederate order: possessing $40,000 in gold and silver from the Confederate treasury to feed and supply Southern soldiers returning home from the war.

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