<br /> Lee Letter: a026

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Mildred Lee

My dear little daughter

I was much pleased to receive your letter. I did not know that you could write so well. I think in time when you get more accustomed to spelling in writing, you will write a beautiful letter, & Minnie Sprole & I will have delightful times reading them. I am very glad to hear that your hens are doing so well. You must have plenty of eggs, chickens & ducks for Rob & the children when they come home this Summer. You know your brother Fitzhugh has a magnificent appetite, & those girls from Staunton, never see a chicken. I wish I had you here to take care of mine. I brought them many hundred miles in a coop behind my wagon & every evening at the end of the days march, would let them out, & at night they would roost on top of the wagon. They laid several eggs on the road. I have only seven hens & some days I get seven eggs. Having no plank, I have been obliged to make them a house of twigs. I planted four posts in the ground & bored holes in each three feet from the ground in which I inserted poles for the floor, & around which were woven the branches that formed it. There are so many reptiles in this country that you cannot keep fowles on the ground. The sides & top were formed in the same way & the whole is covered with branches with their leaves on, which makes a shady house, but affords but little protection against rain. Soldier hens however must learn not to mind rain. I converted the coop they came in, into nests. They pick up so much corn, among the horses that I do not have to feed them & they seem quite domesticated. I have no cat, nor have I heard of one in this country. You will have to send me a kitten in your next letter. The indians have none & there are so many wolves prowling around us all night, that they frighten away all the mice. My rattlesnake, my only pet, is dead! He grew sick & would not eat his frogs &c & died one night. I hope you will have a nice garden & study hard, & learn your lessons well. You must write to me whenever you can & believe your affectionate father

R E Lee


Ely-DeButts PapersLibrary of Congress

Transcribed in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 119 – 21.