Robert E. Lee and His Children
Virginia Louise Lee



* B. J. Hendrick, The Lees of Virginia, opp. p. 438.



Miss Agnes Lee Monthly Report for Nov. 29, 1856
Highest Number 6
—————— —————— —————— ——————
Conduct – 6 Diligence – 6 Neatness – 6 Attendance – 6
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Studies Studies Studies Extra Studies
—————— —————— —————— ——————
Orthography Astronomy Natural Theology – 6 French
Definitions Elocution Science of Things Familiar Robertsonian System
Reading Rhetoric Political Economy Le Grand Pere
Writing – 6 Philosology & Natural History Moral Philosophy Collot’s Dramatic French Reader
Geography Roman & Greek Antiquities Physical Geography Paul et Virginie
Drawing Maps Town’s Analysis Elements of Criticism Lettres de Mme de Sevigne
History Trench on Words – 6 Butler’s Analogy Historie de France Fleury – 6
English Grammar English Synonyms Geology Cours de Geographie
Ancient Geography Algebra – 6 Logic Rhetorique Girand
Natural History Geometry Principles of Taste Mythologie, Noel et Chapsal
Book of Commerce Natural Philosophy Bank’s Sublime & Beautiful Colloquial Exercises
Arithmetic Chemistry – 6 Book-keeping Arithmetique, Bourdon – 6
Parsing and Punctuations Botany Trigonometry Grammaire Francaise
Parker’s English Composition English Literature Intellectual Philosophy Latin – 6
Mythology Evidences of Christianity Weekly Composition 6 Spanish
Physiology History and Chronology Biblical Literature 6 Italian
Drawing & Painting – 6
Needle Work
Piano – 6
Vocal Music

Very respectfully,
R. H. Phillips, Principal

New Testament – 6

Virginia Female Institute       185

Report Card of Miss Agnes Lee

* Copied from original Lee MSS. Va. Hist. Society, Richmond, Va.


Lee’s Advice to His Children*

Study hard, gain knowledge, and learn your duty to God and your neighbor: That is the great object of life.

In your youth you must be careful to discipline your thoughts, words and actions. Habituate yourself to useful employment, regular improvement, and to the benefit of all those around you.

As to reading and music—all accomplishments will enable you to give pleasure, and thus exert a wholesome influence. Never neglect the means of making yourself useful to the world.

If you want to be missed by your friends—be useful.

You know my objections to incurring debt. I cannot overcome it.

You must patch up your house, and get a sweet wife. You will be more comfortable, and not so lonesome. Let her bring a cow and a churn. That will be all you want.

Experience will teach you that, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, you will never receive such a love as is felt for you by your father and mother, that lives through absence, difficulties and time. You own feelings will teach you how it should be returned and appreciated.

I hope you will also find time to read and improve your mind. read history, works of truth, not novels and romance. Get correct views of life and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to learn to live pleasantly, to do good, and when summoned away to leave without regret.

Do not go out to many parties; preserve your simple tastes and manners, and you will enjoy more pleasures. Plainness and simplicity of dress, early hours and rational amusements, I wish you to practice.

You must bear in mind that it will not be becoming in a Virginia girl now to be fine or fashionable, and that gentility as well as self-respect require moderation in dress and gayety.

A farmer’s life is one of labor, but it is also one of pleasures, and the consciousness of steady improvement, though it may be slow, is encouraging.

We must never yield to difficulties, but strive harder to overcome them.

I am clear for your marrying, if you select a good wife, otherwise you had better remain as you are for a time. An imprudent or uncongenial woman is worse than the minks.

I hope that your are becoming more interested in making those around you happy. That is the true way to secure your own happiness.

* Ladies Home Journal, XXI (Nov. 1904), 10.


General Robert Lee Cake1

10 eggs
1 pound sugar
½ pound flour
Rind of one lemon and juice of ½ lemon

Make exactly like sponge cake, and bake in jellycake tins.

Then take the white of two eggs beat to a froth, and add one pound sugar, the grated rind and juice of one orange, or juice of 1/2 a lemon. Spread it on the cakes before they are perfectly cold, and place one layer on another. This quantity makes two cakes.

General Lee Cake2

Nine eggs, the weight of seven in sugar, the weight of five eggs in flour; add the sugar to the well beaten yolks of eggs; then add the whites beaten very light, stir in the flour gently, and flavor with fresh lemon; beat for five minutes and bake in jelly-cake tins. When cold spread each layer with the following fillings:

Strain the grated rind and juice of two oranges and one lemon through a fine sieve into a pound of pulverized sugar; add to this a grated cocoanut and the white of one egg, beaten to a froth. This recipe makes two cakes of three layers each, and is exceptionally fine.

General Lee’s Favorite Dish—“Smothered Chicken”3

Take one fat hen and soak it in salt water overnight.

One hour before dinner stuff with dressing made of bread, sage and strips of ham.

Wrap chicken in thick brown paper and let it “smother” in the oven for one hour.

1. Marion Cabell T yree, Housekeeping in Old Virginia (New York: G. W. Carleton & Co., 1927), p. 321. From cards in Lee MSS, Virginia Historical Society.

2. Mrs. Thomas L. Rosser, Housekeepers and Mothers’ Manual (Richmond, Virginia: Everett Wadday Co., 1895), p. 308. From cards in Lee MSS, Virginia Historical Society.

3. James C. Young, “What General Lee’s Servant Remembers,” Colliers, 79 (5 Mar. and 12 Mar. 1927). The general’s former cook said this was General Lee’s favorite recipe but that he loved chicken fixed any way.

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