Family cherishes Gen. Lee’s letter

Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 16, 2015

January 19 is the birthday of Robert E. Lee. I would like to add a little personal touch to this great American.

My great grandfather wrote Gen. Lee in 1867 bemoaning the loss of his eldest son and conditions in the impoverished South. Gen. Lee responded with compassion and wisdom which shows his character and concern for “everyday folk.” Here is Gen. Lee’s response to J. D. Driesbach, Oct. 3, 1867:


Lexington VA: 3 Oct 1867

My dear Sir,

I received this morning your letter of the 28th and sympathize most sincerely in your misfortunes, and especially in the death for your noble son. When, however, we reflect upon the suffering of the living, and the peace and happiness of the righteous dead, we should be reconciled to the loss of friends and rejoice at their departure to a better world.

I thank you for the compliment paid me by giving my name to your little son, and hope that you will so educate him as that he will become a good, wise and useful man. I send him my photograph, the best I have, which I hope will serve to remind him sometimes of me –

With my kindest regards to all your family and best wishes for your welfare

I am very truly your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee


Lee Driesbach (the young son named for Gen. Lee), my great-uncle, graduated from the University of Kentucky Medical School and for many years was a well known Physician in New Orleans, La.


Hank Roberts