• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 22 Jany ‘66

My precious little Agnes


I have recd your letter of the 17th transmitting the photographs, for which I am very much obliged. I return the one for Miss Laura Lippitt, whom I wish I Could see once again.1 It would be far more agreable [sic] to me than any photograph. I had quite a successful journey up notwithstanding the storm. The Sun increased as we approached the mountains & night had set in before we reached Staunton. The next morg before Sunrise in spite of the forebodings of the wise ones, I took passage in the single Car which was attached to the Locomotive, & arrived at Goshen about 10 Am, where after some little encouragement, the stage driver attached his horses to the stage & we started slowly through the mountains, breaking the track. On reaching the Baths, the north river was unfordable, but I was ferried across with all my bundles (I picked up two more in Staunton & one at Goshen) & packages, in a skiff, & took a stage detained on the opposite bank for Lexington, where I arrived in good time, I found all as well as usual, & dissapd at not Seeing you with me, though I was not expected. I told them how anxious you were to come with me, & how you wanted to See them, but that you looked So wretchedly, I could not encourage you. I hope you are now in Norfolk & that the fish & oysters will fatten you & cure your feet. Had you not better by the Salt water on your hair, for nature Seems to be parsimonious to you on that respect? But get strong & Keep well & do not wear yourself out in the pursuit of pleasure. I hope you will soon join us, & that Lexington may prove to you a happy home. Your mother is a great sufferer, but is as quiet & uncomplaining as ever. Mildred is active & cheerful & Custis & I as silent as is our want. Major Campbell Brown is here on a visit. I am surprized to find he is such a talker.    

I am very sorry to find that Pastor Cocke has been obliged to leave on account of his health. I have one Comfort, my dear nephew will never injure himself by studying. Do not be alarmed about him.

I am so sorry Fitzhugh is still sick. Remember to Col. Taylor, all his mothers family, his wife, The Bakers, Seldens, &c. I know none of the latter but the Dr. for whom I have always had a great esteem

Your Mother, brother, & Mildred send their best love & Kindest wishes

I am always your devoted father

R E Lee




Source: Checked against original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 617, Section 31, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 March 21



1. Laura Alexander Lippitt (1844-1925) was the daughter of Reverend Edward Russell Lippitt (1798-1870) and Mary Ann Frances Alexander Lippitt (1804-1878). Her father, a doctor of divinity, was originally from Rhode Island, but moved to Virginia and settled in Fairfax. The Lippitts knew the Lees, and Laura’s brother, Armistead (1844-1925), was the subject of a humorous story concerning Robert E. Lee. When Lee returned from fighting in the Mexican War, he had been gone so long that he mistook Armistead for his son Robert. He picked up Armistead to kiss him, whereupon he was told of his mistake. Laura Lippitt married William Byrd Page in 1873 in Clarke County, Virginia. She had four children with him.  

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