Sunday, April 23, 2006

Interesting Document

In my research for my ancestors with the "Lee" surname, I came across a very interesting letter to General Robert E. Lee that I copied and thought I'd share with you. I am most likely not related to him, but this makes for interesting reading. It was found in the Lee family vertical file at the State Library of NC at Raleigh.

I think reading real letters and diaries from real people of this era really shines a new light on why it's important to study history and remember that these people had many similarities to us, that they endured hardships and that they made our freedom possible...

A Letter to General Robert E. Lee

From Dr. Aldert Smedes

St. Mary's (a college in Raleigh), May 22d, 1863

My Dear Sir,

Amid the toils and dangers to which you are exposed for your country's welfare, you are richly entitled to every drop of comfort, which it is possible to pour into your cup.

The term of your daughter's residence at this school is about to expire, and it affords me great pleasure to assure you that her diligence and proficiency as a pupil, and her conduct as a lady, have been worthy of her parentage. This is bestowing the highest praise upon her. She has been exemplary in her observance of the minutest rules of discipline, and has scarce allowed a moment to pass unemployed and unimproved.

She carries away with her the most cordial esteem and regard not only of all her teachers and young companions, but many of our community whom her father's name had attracted towards her. Her modesty is not the least of her recommendations; she never betrays by look, word or gesture the least consciousness that she is the daughter of the man whom the Nation delights to honor.

While you, General, have had a daughter under my tuition, I have had two sons fighting as lieutenants, under your banner. Both were at the battle of Chancellorsville; where one, the adjutant of the 7th NC fell mortally wounded. He was a noble, gallant and what is infinitely better, a Christian boy. This is my consolation in so grievous a bereavement. His brother went though the same battle unhurt. He is attached to the 5th Regt. N.C.J.

But I will not intrude upon time which belongs to the country.

I am, General, with the most sincere respect and esteem,

Dr. Aldert Smedes

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