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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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


 

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Richland Stafford Co Va

August 12, 1866

 

My dear old “K”1

Your letter from Puebla of April 11th 1866 lies before me. It has been a long time coming but it is indeed welcome. I am still here farming, just got done threshing wheat, will soon carry it to market and then ---- what did old army officers used to do after they had done got a leave of absence and done drawn their pay!

Now as to your questions. I have heard of no old army officer who resigned and came south, who has since been reported or arraigned as a deserter.

There was no desertion in the matter nor could they (i.e. the War Dept. authorities) with all their petty malignity make out such a case. You can return to these dis-United States as soon as you desire. Don’t ask for what is commonly called a pardon though, it is a great mistake a great many have made and amounts to nothing except an increase of humiliation on your part.

I would just come back whenever I wanted. You can go anywhere and not be molested in any way – no questions asked. When you do come on, come and see me. My father and mother are living with me and will be most happy to receive you. You had better travel with an interpreter for you foreign gentlemen are always so hard to understand.

We are progressing tolerably well in this country. The revolutionary caucus or conclave yclept2 congress has adjourned much to the relief of the whole country. They had it in their power to do much good in restoring things to their old shapes, but were animated by vindictive passions only, and have left the country in a much more divided and distracted than they found it.

I have been living such a quiet secluded life down here in the country I cant give you much news of the whereabouts & doings of our friends.

Lomax & Pemberton have bought places and are farming near Warrenton. Cosby got a place near these too, but I learn has given it up and gone to California. Most [of] the old officers have got places in the National Express Co of which Joe Johnston is President, or are have like myself adapted rural pursuits. Longstreet Hood Wheeler and some others have gone into business in N. Orleans Gen Lee I believe I wrote you is President of Washington College in Lexington, & [h]is position has filled to overflowing that institution. Custis is a professor at the Va. Military Institute located at the same place. WHF is farming at White House. But you must come in and see for yourself how things are progressing. Dont stay away out there and leave us to battle this thing out. You will perhaps see before this reaches you that a Grand convention from all the states is about to assemble in Phil. Its object is to rebuke Congress, show how things ought to be done to produce reconstruction and to strengthen the conservative Party at the north, which is Mr Johnson’s also. The Radicals fear a union of that party with the southern wing will be too strong for them & finally wrest the control of the Government out of their hands, hence their refusal to admit our representatives. But damn politics. Write to me foreign K. Excuse this letter, it is really (as your race say) an olla podrida.3 My Post office is Garrisonville Stafford Co., Virginia and I am yr sincere friend Fitz Lee  

 

 

 

Source: Digital photograph of original letter, Fitzhugh Lee Papers, 1866-1887, Earl Gregg Swem Library Special Collections, College of William and Mary

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 November 5

      

 

 

1. Colonel Manning Marius Kimmel (1832-1916) was a native of Missouri and graduate of the United States Military Academy. He served in both the United States and Confederate army. He left the Union for the Confederacy in 1861 and served in the trans-Mississippi. He ended the war serving on the staff of John B. Magruder. He returned to the United States in 1868 after living in Mexico. He died in Henderson, Kentucky, in 1916. 

2. Archaic term for “by the name of.”

3. A phrase referring to a Spanish style stew that mixes meats and vegetables.

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