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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



171. Richmond St.

Cincinnati Ohio /

5 Sep 1887.


My dear, Sir Robert.

I brought the boots with me and will express them from here to you or to Paris as you wish please let me know I was just on the point of writing to you when your letter came.

I would do any thing for you or the memory of other days and our great Hero. But I am disgusted at the rank injustice and miserable chicanery of those concerned in this monument business which is very likely a business with them. The idea of allowing a stranger to make a new model outside of the competition after the competition was over—a man whose model in the competition was a failure in every sense, & to ignore my right & expressed desire, to make a new model for them, is an injustice to me that alienates me to all time from any thing., connected with our home.

I can never root out my old memories but, to have my letters to Miss Randolph remain unacknowledged, my telegram to Gov Lee likewise—& my letter to Col Anderson ditto—makes me feel that I am the subject of some miserable plot to oust me from the only work that my heart was entirely in. I always knew that Miss Randolph was my prejudiced enemy, and still I hoped that her trips to Paris might have been compatible even with the fact of fairness and justice in an open competition.

I saw a young man modelling on a Bust of your father in Mercie’s Studio when I passed through Paris and I saw the wax model upon which he got the commission it was evident to me, how this whole job was broken up. I came home to see my folks but I never expect to see my birthplace again. I have buried my hopes in the grave of our lost cause, and will never forget your own kindness towards me nor that of your great father & mother, whilst I shall always curse those who have brought injustice in their names.

As ever yours truly

M. E


Sir Robert E Lee


West Point




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 g, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 July 19

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