Lexington Va: 6 March ‘66


My dear Son

I have recd your letter of the 19th Ulto: in reference to the mill, & am Sorry to hear that it is in such bad condition. I agree with you in thinking that it had better be repaired as far as practicable before it breaks down. Can you get a good man to undertake it, who knows what to do & how to do it, for as yet you are inexperienced in work of that sort, & may make mistakes? Everything depends on that. If you can, see what is best to be done & ascertain the expense. Then see to the means. I can probably lend you $1000. (one thousand) which if I can, will be without interest, & that will enable you to Commence & see farther, I will write to Mr Caskie to see if he can collect some interest due & he can inform you. But you must repay me, for I must make some provision for your mother & sisters. As to saw mill, you & Fitzhugh must decide. I do not know either about the timber, or the facilities for disposing of it. If those things are favourable a saw mill, under good management would be advantageous, & would also enable you to build @. If you cannot get a good man, you will have to manage yourself, & take charge of the mill too, I think the saw guard I attached to the Arlington mill cost me $300. It was Pages mill circular saw. Prices are higher now, I am clear for your doing every thing to improve your property & make it remunerative as far as you Can. You know my objection to increasing debt. I cannot overcome it. You would be safe with me.

I hope you will overcome your chills &c, By next winter you must patch up your house & get a sweet wife. You will be more comfortable, & not so lonesome, if you get the right one. Let her bring a cow & a churn. That will be all you will want. Mildred will keep the cake. She has some hens, but no cow, & can only give us fresh eggs without butter.

Give my love to Fitzhugh. I wish he was regularly established. He cannot afford to be idle. He will be miserable. Remember me to all your neighbours. We are tolerably well Agnes has reached Richmond. I do not know where she goes next. Your mother & Mildred Send much love & I am as ever your father

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c, Section 31, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 February 7