Savannah 22 Nov 1861


My darling daughters [Annie and Agnes Lee]


I have recd your joint letter of the 24th Oct: from Clydale.[1] It was very cheering to me & the affection & sympathy you expressed were very grateful to my feelings. I wish indeed I could see you, be with you & never again part from you. God only can give me that happiness. I pray for it night & day. But my prayers I know are not worthy to be heard. I recd your former letter in Western Virginia but had no opportunity to reply to it I enjoyed it nevertheless. I am glad you do not wait to hear from me, as that would deprive me of the pleasure of hearing from you often. I am so pressed with business.

I am much pleased at your description of Stratford & your visit. It is endeared to me by many recollections & it has always been a great desire of my life to be able to purchase it. Now that we have no other home, & the one we so loved has been so foully polluted; the desire is stronger with me than ever. The horse chesnut you mention in the garden was planted by my mother. I am sorry the vault is so dilapidated. You did not mention the spring, one of the objects of my earliest recollections. I am very glad my precious Agnes that you have become so early a riser. It is a good habit, & in these times for mighty works advantage should be taken of every hour.

I expected much at being obliged to come from Richmond without seeing yours from mother. I hope she is well & happy with her Grd child. Fitzhugh, you may have heard has come in to see his little wife.

This is my second visit to Savannah. I have been down the coast as far as Amelia Isd to examine the defences. They are poor indeed & I have laid off work enough to employ our people a month. I hope our enemy will be polite enough to wait for us. It is difficult to get our people to realize their position.

I have seen good old Mrs Mackay, now 83, & her daughters Mrs Joseph Stiles (the mother of your friends) & Mrs Elliott. Mrs Wm H. Stiles is in Cass [County] with her Grd Children Henry & Robt Stiles are here. You may have heard that Mr Lowe[2] has been captured on his way from England & that Mrs Lowe is with the Glens in Baltimore. She I presume will soon be here, but he will be detained by our Yankee enemies. Give much love to all with you, Lucien Jones[3] is here, corresponding I learn with Sweet Margaret to win a place in Carries heart[4]

Goodbye my dear daughters

Your affectionate RE Lee


RE Lee


Source: Transcribed from the original letter, the Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.277, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall. Gift of Mary Custis Lee (Mrs. William Hunter deButts), granddaughter of Robert E. Lee.


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 14



[1] Cleydael was in King George County, Virginia. It was the summer home of the Stuart family. The Stuarts usually lived at Cedar Grove, their plantation in King George County, built by Dr. Richard Henry Stuart (1808-1889). Dr. Stuart was born in Westmoreland County. In 1879, he inherited Stratford from his wife, Margaret Robinson McCarty.

[2] Lee may be referring to Enoch Lowe, governor of Maryland in the 1850s and a Confederate sympathizer. The editor of the LFDA has been unable to verify the story about Lowe being captured.

[3] C. Lucian Jones, paymaster in the service of the Confederate navy.

[4] Margaret (1837-1893) and Caroline Stuart (1844-1872), daughters of Dr. Richard Stuart.