Master Edward A. Barbour


The grief which I experienced at your father’s death1 is greatly relieved a[t] learning that you possesses a large share of his mental vigour; and bid fair at a future day to fill the place he held in the love and estimation of his fellow citizens.

That you may the more certainly do this permit me to urge upon you to study in your youth, the holy precepts of the bible; to practice virtue in preference to all things; and to avoid falsehood and deception of every kind, which will be sure to debase the mind and lead to every vice and misery.

In contemplating the virtues and achievements of the good and great men of whom history presents so many examples, keep constantly in mind the conduct of your father, and endeavour to equal him in goodness, tho you may fall short of his greatness. Wishing you every happiness and success in life I am very truly your friend

R E Lee

Lexington Va 15th Aug/66



1. Colonel William Morgan Barbour (1834-1864). He was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, and was educated at St. James preparatory school in Hagerstown, Maryland. He became a lawyer and married Ada Sarah Alexander (1838-1908). Ada was also a native of North Carolina. Barbour entered the war as a captain and was wounded at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He was taken prisoner at Spotsylvania and wounded again at Deep Bottom in August 1864. At Jones Farm, his last wounding proved fatal. He died on 1864 October 3 in a hospital in Petersburg and was buried in the city. Later, he was reburied in Wilksboro, Maryland. With Ada he had three children: William (1859-1937), Mary Ellis (1861-1930), and Anna Hill (1863-1938). 



Source: Checked against original letter (not in Lee’s handwriting, nor signed by Lee), Mss2 L515 a 30, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 October 24