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Robert E. Lee to Louisa Washington letters

 Collection — Box: 1, Folder: 1-7
Identifier: WLU-Coll-0669

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of six letters written from Robert E. Lee to Louisa Washington between September 1861 and December 1868. Louisa Washington was the eldest child of John Augustine Washington, III of Fauquier County, Va., the last Washington family descendant and private individual to own the Washington family estate Mount Vernon. A key subject of select letters is Colonel John A. Washington’s death on September 13, 1861 while serving on the staff of General Robert E. Lee as his aide de camp. Washington was killed by Union soldiers while on a reconnaissance mission in western Virginia – a striking blow to Lee, as not only was Washington a lineal descendant of George Washington, but they had also become very close friends during their months together since the onset of the American Civil War. Included in this collection is Col. Washington’s final dispatch written his hand and sent to Lee just before he died. Lee kept the final note throughout the Civil War until returning it to Louisa as a keepsake of her father. Another highlight is a letter in which Lee, upon Louisa’s request, offers advice to her concerning a memorial inscription for her father’s grave monument. Lee provides insights about memorial inscriptions including generally accepted protocols and his personal feelings on the subject.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1861 - 1868

Language of Materials

This collection is entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials from Washington and Lee University Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with the source. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the Head of Special Collections.


8 Item

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Washington and Lee University, University Library Special Collections and Archives Repository

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA